THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
The first two storms, it appears, were only wind-ups to the presidential moment that presents itself now. The crisis in Puerto Rico figures to define President Trump’s responses to this remarkable string of powerful storms. After first seeming to blame Puerto Rico’s poor infrastructure and fiscal crises, Trump is now praising FEMA and expressing his wish that the “press would treat fairly.” But this is one where claims of “fake news” will likely be subsumed by the images and realities. Those realities include millions of American citizens in total crisis. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is warning that the lack of “clear command, control and communication” will cause the situation to “deteriorate rapidly.” The general who oversaw the federal response to Hurricane Katrina is calling the situation – yes – “like Katrina.” This is a heckuva comment, from acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke: “I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths.” Maybe she will be proven right, and Trump will be praised for taking charge. But this will require a lightly staffed administration – led by a president prone to distraction – to do a whole lot of difficult work, and fast.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen.” –House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on his first day back to the U.S. Capitol after being shot in June
THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discusses the GOP’s new tax plan, Sunday on “This Week.” Plus, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., comes exclusively to “This Week,” and George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. And the Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, with Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Alex Castellanos, Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter, Washington Post columnist and co-author of “One Nation After Trump” E.J. Dionne, Bloomberg Businessweek editor Megan Murphy, and Wall Street Journal columnist and author of “False Black Power?” Jason Riley.
NEED TO READ
5 unanswered questions about the Trump tax plan. The release of a more detailed outline of what President Donald Trump and the White House have in mind for a tax overhaul has provided some new information but left many unanswered questions. The lack of specifics in the unified framework released by the White House on Wednesday means that a great deal will be decided in committees when Congress works up its version of the plan. http://abcn.ws/2xJv9Qx
Senate leader: Twitter presentation on election interference “deeply disappointing.” After three executives from the company met with leaders on Capitol Hill, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that Twitter’s presentation to investigators was “deeply disappointing.” “Their response was frankly inadequate on almost every level,” Warner said. “I’m more than a bit surprised that anyone from the Twitter team would think that the presentation they made to the Senate staff today even began to answer the kind of questions we’d asked. So there is a lot more work they need to do.” http://abcn.ws/2wYrGil
Congressman shot in Virginia returns to House floor. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to the U.S. Capitol for the first time since the June 14 shooting that left him wounded and in critical condition. Scalise entered the House floor on crutches Thursday morning with a beaming smile and was met with a standing ovation, pats on the back, and hugs from his colleagues. http://abcn.ws/2wmPfgi
Exclusive: Kushner didn’t disclose personal email account to Senate intel committee. CNN
Trump could save more than $1 billion under his new tax plan. The New York Times
Full Senate approves Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to Russia. The Salt Lake Tribune
Special counsel’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran. ABC News
Reporter’s Notebook: For the hurricane-battered island of Vieques, help seems far off. ABC News