THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
So that’s it, right? A bipartisan bill has been introduced, the gun lobby says it’s on board, and the Trump White House wants a seat at the table that will generate the most significant new federal gun safety legislation of the 21st century. That’s a whole lot of movement less than a week after the worst mass shooting in U.S. modern history, particularly given the immediate reaction about the appropriate “time and place for a political debate.” But focusing on the details of the NRA’s statement on “bump stocks” suggests a reason or three for caution. By stating that devices allowing guns to “function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” the NRA is kicking the issue to regulation, not legislation. (The group’s every mention of the subject, it seems, includes a reference to the Obama ATF’s decision not to regulate – which, of course, was based on interpretations of the law.) NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre took a half-step back from the initial statement on “Hannity” last night: “We ought to take a look at that and see if it is in compliance with federal law and if it’s worthy of additional regulation. That being said, we didn’t say ban, we didn’t say confiscate.” And even if something tangible does come of this, it may be less than it seems in terms of substance. Banning or severely restricting bump stocks may be the right thing to do, but it wasn’t something anyone was talking about literally a week ago.
If average Democratic voters were tasked with choosing the party’s leader, it’s doubtful they would pick Nancy Pelosi. The debate about needing fresh faces waged well before Democrats’ big electoral loss last November. Since then, Republicans have proven how divisive the long-time, San Francisco lawmaker can be. Tying local Democratic candidates to the minority leader has emerged as a direct strategy for the GOP. Knowing this, plenty of Democrats were not shocked that the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Linda Sanchez, told reporters yesterday she thought the top brass should pass the torch. One senior Democratic aide described Sanchez’s comments as craven and ungrateful. After all, Pelosi had successfully navigated the fight over the ACA repeal and recently negotiated with President Trump on DACA. If not Pelosi, then who, others ask? No one senses real momentum around any other leader. Even some lawmakers, who were skeptical about her continued tenure at the start of the year, said yesterday it was just unproductive to be talking about changing leadership in a time where opposition to Trump is uniting Democrats, ABC NEWS’ MARYALICE PARKS writes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
President Trump will host a Hispanic Heritage Month event at the White House at 12:30 p.m. ET.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders holds a briefing at 2 p.m.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence will visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They are expected to meet with Hurricane Maria victims and discuss rebuilding efforts.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You guys know what this represents? The calm before the storm,” President Trump said Thursday during a meeting with top military leaders. When asked by reporters to elaborate on the “storm,” he replied, “You’ll find out.”
THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’
This Week on “This Week”: Iraq war veterans Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., will discuss how Congress should respond after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, with ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, NPR White House reporter Geoff Bennett, Wall Street Journal political editor Jeanne Cummings, and Politico chief international affairs columnist Susan Glasser.
NEED TO READ
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s government flights cost taxpayers over $800K but broke no laws. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has taken seven trips on government jets since assuming his post, costing taxpayers over $800,000. The trips, however, did not violate any laws, a preliminary internal review concluded on Thursday. http://abcn.ws/2xkiUeG
Trump describes White House gathering of military leaders as ‘calm before the storm.’ President Donald Trump made seemingly cryptic remarks during a White House gathering of U.S. military leaders Thursday night, saying the meeting represents “the calm before the storm.” The president made the comments as he and first lady Melania Trump posed for a group photo with his senior military leaders and their spouses in the State Dining Room of the White House. http://abcn.ws/2y3BB57
Russian hackers allegedly used popular antivirus software to steal NSA secrets. U.S. authorities believe Russian-backed hackers successfully stole highly-sensitive U.S. government documents by exploiting a popular antivirus software on the home computer of a man working for the National Security Agency, ABC News has been told by several people familiar with the matter. The massive theft took place in 2015, the sources said, after the man brought home classified documents from his job at the NSA. http://abcn.ws/2wAMDLC
‘Bump stocks’: Congress considering ban on gun attachment Las Vegas shooter used. Bump stocks were virtually unheard of on Capitol Hill until this week. Even some anti-gun lobbyists told ABC News the gun attachments weren’t on their radar before the massacre in Las Vegas Sunday. But that that is all changing, and fast.http://abcn.ws/2yrIAGf
Mueller’s team met with Russia dossier author. CNN
Anti-abortion Rep. Tim Murphy resigns after report he asked lover to end pregnancy. ABC
House passes 2018 budget, taking a crucial step toward tax overhaul. The Washington Post
Trump administration set to roll back birth control mandate. The New York Times
ROTC student takes on transgender military ban: ‘I still want to fight for my country.’ USA Today