THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
Don’t take the relative Twitter silence for a declaration of peace. One upshot of President Trump’s feud with Sen. Bob Corker is the way it pushes him toward the perceived comfort of his base. The Alabama Senate race, the failure of health care and the stalled agenda, and now the Corker critique – it’s all convincing the president that the establishment is overrated. The result is Trump heading in a direction he might be inclined to go anyway. Trump is now willing to blow up the potential deal on DACA and seek to tear up the Iran nuclear deal – over the objections of key advisers. He seems to like what he sees – happy even at the response to his condemnation of NFL protests.. (Anyone think he won’t take a victory lap when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the White House today?) The president’s relationship with erstwhile allies on Capitol Hill could get worse, with Steve Bannon’s vow to try to take down virtually every Senate Republican on the ballot next year. Trump is a constantly adjusting operator, who takes evidence as inputs for him to change course. That’s particularly true when he feels the evidence confirms his instincts.
THE TRAVEL BUG
Tom Price may have been the worst offender, but it is increasingly clear a number of President Trump’s Cabinet members have a proclivity for private planes. The House Oversight Committee is expecting documents from several agencies today as part of its investigation into secretaries’ travel. Documents already turned over by the Energy and Interior departments show that waivers for pricey, non-commercial flights have not been uncommon. In the last six months, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has taken four private or government-owned planes, with an estimated total cost of $56,000. A former Energy staffer who worked under President Obama said it was not unusual for secretaries to travel on government aircraft to remote facilities, as Perry did on a trip to visit rural hydroelectric sites in Washington state in August. But the roundtrip day-trip Perry took in May from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City, which cost the department approximately $35,000, may be harder to explain, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks writes. “The degree to which these agencies are treating military planes as their own personal valets is the polar opposite of what I experienced as a senior official in the last administration,” another former energy staffer who helped plan travel for former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told ABC News.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
President Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House at 3 p.m. E.T.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders holds the press briefing at 1:45 p.m. E.T.
First lady Melania Trump will visit a opioid treatment center in West Virginia.
In the race to replace Chris Christie as New Jersey’s governor, Republican nominee Kim Guadango and Democratic nominee Phil Murphy go head-to-head in their first debate airing tonight at 7 p.m. on ABC News affiliates WABC in New York and WPVI in Philadelphia.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.” –President Trump to Forbes magazine on his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly once calling him a “moron” (Trump has a meeting with Tillerson today).
NEED TO READ
White House immigration priorities call for strict regulation, wall funding. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus called the White House’s list of demands on immigration over the weekend the most extreme policy proposals on the issue they had seen to date. Here is a closer look at a few of the many policy priorities the White House announced it wanted included in a deal: http://abcn.ws/2yUFHtP
ANALYSIS: Corker feud opens gash between Trump and GOP establishment. Sen. Bob Corker was trying. The Tennessee Republican was trying to work inside the system. He engaged with a president and a White House that do nothing in predictable ways, in navigating foreign policy around North Korea, Iran, Russia and fighting terrorism. He was trying to work around the system. He cultivated a network of allies inside and outside the Trump administration to influence policy — often by maneuvering to prevent what he saw as bad outcomes more than even getting his preferred way. That all collapsed over the weekend, lost in a haze of tweeted insults and an interview that may mark a critical pivot point in President Donald Trump’s relationship with Corker as well the broader Republican establishment. http://abcn.ws/2yV0FbV
Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer was set to focus on US sanctions, emails show. Newly obtained emails between a Russian attorney and a music promoter who helped arrange for the lawyer to meet with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign associates at Trump Tower last year appear to support the attorney’s claim that the meeting was intended to focus on an Obama-era law leveling sanctions against Russia. http://abcn.ws/2ybLYUf
Hillary Clinton links climate change to wildfires, hurricanes in California speech. “I drove here and I know about what’s going on with these terrible fires in Sonoma and Napa and across other parts of Northern California and I just want to express my deep sympathy to everyone,” Clinton said, speaking to an audience at the University of California, Davis, on Monday night. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks with hurricanes and earthquakes and now these terrible fires,” said Clinton. http://abcn.ws/2grttSq
Former White House speechwriter on working for Obama, joking about Trump. There is no one path that leads to a job as a presidential speechwriter. But for David Litt, the journey began as a young man growing up on New York City’s Upper West Side with aspirations for a career in comedy. “I did stand-up comedy at the school talent show … and it didn’t go terribly,” Litt told ABC News’ “Uncomfortable. His career turnaround came on Jan. 3, 2008. Then-Sen. Barack Obama delivered his Iowa caucus victory speech. http://abcn.ws/2g846YY
Ivanka Trump calls for “longterm congressional fix” to DACA program. Fortune
As Democrats denounce Weinstein, Clintons and Obama stay mum. CNN
A “pressure cooker”: Trump’s frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda. The Washington Post
Conservative Action Project: “The Senate needs to confirm President Trump nominees.” Conservative Action Project