Fox News Halftime Report -- Americans seem to have made up their minds on Russia

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FOX NEWS HALFTIME REPORT
Dec. 15, 2016
By FOX News Staff

On the roster:
 - Americans seem to have made up their minds on Russia - Time Out: Balance of cool - I'll Tell You What: mayonnaise and secretary of state - Bolton faces mounting opposition from GOP - Quite the lickin'

AMERICANS SEEM TO HAVE MADE UP THEIR MINDS ON RUSSIA
Russia, hacking and the campaign season will not end as 2016 draws to a close, but a new Fox News poll shows Americans are ready to move on.

A vast majority of those polled believe that Russia's hacking had "no effect" on the outcome of the election. Although many voters feel Trump is "too accommodating" with Russia, only about 32 percent think the country helped Trump win the election.

But some, including the president-elect are not quite as ready to move on.

Donald Trump tweeted earlier this morning arguing against the idea that Russia hacked the election writing, "If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waited so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"

With Trump fighting the issue and three committees in the U.S. Senate planning to open investigations into Russia's influence in the election next year the re-litigating of Russia's influence rolls on.

And, similar to Hillary Clinton's email scandal, leaks will keep the story going. Two senior intelligence officials tell NBC News that not only do they believe that Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election, they also believe with a "high-level of confidence" that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was personally involved.

This comes as 30 more electors signed a letter Tuesday demanding a briefing on Russia's influence in the campaign ahead of the Electoral College's meeting on Dec. 19.

Halftime Report has already analyzed the issues of both Russia's influence and the briefing of electors, but what the Fox poll tells us is that the post-election buzz is waning and the country's main concern is what will Trump do as president.

And while their forecast for his presidency seems grim, with 31 percent saying they feel Trump will be one of the worst presidents, the electorate seems to be gradually warming to him. At 47 percent Trump's overall approval rating is still under water, but has risen 9 points since November. And fully 59 percent of those polled say their feelings about the outcome of the election are "hopeful."

This is in spite of talk about an illegitimate president, campaign hacking and attempts to change the election's outcome.

Part of this is due to the natural flip of the nation from campaign mode to president-elect mode, as we see with people's shifting views of Trump's position on issues like immigration and border security.

Where over half of those polled in May thought Trump would really build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, that number shrinks to 34 percent in the latest poll. A similar flip is seen when it comes to deporting illegal immigrants, with only 39 percent believing that Trump will deport illegal immigrants verses 50 percent in May.

As both Trump and the nation settle further into the honeymoon period allotted to each new president and the sweeping solutions of the campaign transform into concrete policies, the loud cries of Russian hackers and foreign influence seems like they will turn into white noise.

THE RULEBOOK: SECURING THE SENATE
"Every consideration that can influence the human mind, such as honor, oaths, reputations, conscience, the love of country, and family affections and attachments, afford security for their fidelity." – John JayFederalist No. 64

TIME OUT: BALANCE OF COOL
Atlantic: "Several decades before he became the father of industrial design, Raymond Loewy boarded the SS France in 1919 to sail across the Atlantic from his devastated continent to the United States…At the age of 25, Loewy was looking to start fresh in New York, perhaps, he thought, as an electrical engineer…But upon closer examination, he was crestfallen…The city that now unfurled beneath him, however, was a grungy product of the machine age—'bulky, noisy, and complicated. It was a disappointment.'…The world below would soon match his dreamy vision. Loewy would do more than almost any person in the 20th century to shape the aesthetic of American culture. His firm designed mid-century icons like the Exxon logo, the Lucky Strike pack, and the Greyhound bus… Loewy had an uncanny sense of how to make things fashionable. He believed that consumers are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a curiosity about new things; and neophobia, a fear of anything too new. As a result, they gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible."

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions

I'LL TELL YOU WHAT: MAYONNAISE AND SECRETARY OF STATE
Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt break down Trump's recent pick of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and the debate now turns to the remaining picks and the next phase of the nominating process: Senate confirmation hearings. Stirewalt tells you which confirmations to keep an eye on and why you should put mayonnaise on sea bass and grilled cheese…of course. WATCH HERE.

Bolton faces mounting opposition from GOP - NYT: "The conflict has come to a head over choosing a deputy to serve under Rex W. Tillerson…Mr. Trump is weighing whether to choose John R. Bolton, a combative and strident advocate for an expansive American foreign policy who was closely aligned with Vice President Dick Cheney in the Bush administration. Mr. Bolton's nomination as deputy secretary of state would be subject to a vote in the Senate, and it is not clear whether he would survive his confirmation hearing. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has said privately that he has misgivings, according to a person who has spoken with him… [Bolton] is also facing stiff resistance from some of the Republican Party's best-known leaders in world affairs — some of them veterans of the Bush White House who often found themselves at odds with him during that period."

Tillerson's past dislike of sanctions likely part of confirmation hearings - AP: "At his company's 2014 annual meeting, Tillerson stated flatly: 'We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensibly and that's a very hard thing to do.'…It's not clear if Tillerson's view will change if he shifts from representing a $350 billion multinational company to becoming America's top diplomat. His position seems to put him at odds with Trump, who has favored some sanctions. Tillerson likely will be grilled about his views on sanctions at his Senate confirmation hearings, where he'll also face questions about his relationship with Putin."

Russian prime minister approves of Trump's cabinet picks - AP: "Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has lauded nominees for the incoming Trump administration as people with no 'anti-Russian stereotypes.' Medvedev said in a televised interview on Thursday that Moscow is glad Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been nominated for secretary of state, describing him as someone with 'pragmatic thinking.' Medvedev said President-elect Donald Trump's recent appointments show that he hires people who 'don't have ingrained anti-Russian stereotypes, or any stereotypes.'"

The Judge's Ruling: Did the Russians hack Hillary? - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano debunks the claim that the Russian government hacked into Hillary Clinton's colleagues' email accounts to tilt the presidential election toward Donald Trump and says look to leaks not hacks: "Who did the leaking to WikiLeaks? Who had an incentive to defeat Clinton? Whose agents' safety and lives did she jeopardize when she was extremely careless -- as the FBI stated -- with many state secrets, including the identity and whereabouts of U.S. intelligence agents and resources? The answer is obvious: It was the same intelligence community that cannot agree on the meaning of the raw data it has analyzed." More here.

SUBSTITUTIONS
In addition to his meeting with the U.S. Conference of Mayors at Trump Tower in New York today, Trump will hold the following meetings:

--Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of global public policy and a former senior adviser to George W. Bush

--Founder of Concerned Veterans for America and Fox News Contributor Pete Hegseth has been a rumored pick for Veterans Affairs secretary.

--Former CEO of America's largest steel producer, Nucor Corporation, Dan DiMicco, is a rumored pick for the U.S. Trade Representative post, which he has been assisting oversee as part of the transition team.

--Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Suffolk County Chairman John Jay LaValle both were early surrogates for Trump.

AUDIBLE: THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT
"We want you to keep going with the incredible innovations." – Donald Trump talking to tech founders and CEOs at Trump Tower on Wednesday.

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump names Michigan GOP chairwoman, Romney niece new head of the RNC - Detroit Free Press

Zinke officially picked as Interior secretary - The Hill

Ivanka Trump to get office in the East Wing usually used by the first lady - The Hill

Dems try to keep red state members from defecting to Trump administration - Fox News

Speaking to America's largest teacher union, Sanders makes a pitch for Ellison - The Hill

N.C. legislature seeks to limit Cooper's power as governor to make appointments - [Charlotte, N.C.] News & Observer

Reelection rates higher in 2016 than previous years - UVA Center for Politics

FROM THE BLEACHERS
Chris will be back to answer your comments, but in the meantime, share your color commentary! Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

QUITE THE LICKIN'
News Talk770: "It sounds like a sitcom storyline aimed to poke fun of Canadians, but Alberta Parks has issued a sincere warning about moose licking vehicles in Kananaskis. The warning, issued Monday, explains moose have been spotted in the Chester Lake and Burstall Pass trailhead parking lots trying to lick salt from the sides of vehicles. The warning goes on to remind visitors the recommended viewing distance for moose is [about 33 yards], and that you should not try to push moose away from vehicles. Instead visitors are told to use their car horns or remote car alarms to deter moose away. There is no end date to the warning."

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in you inbox every day? Sign up here.

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