WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
So “Chuck and Nancy” are President Trump’s best new friends, and just maybe – and surely temporarily – the new power centers in Washington. Democrats were even surprised by the ease with which they convinced the president to defy his own treasury secretary and congressional leaders and go along with a gambit that buys short-term budget peace by pushing the meatiest votes to right before Christmas. Democrats, of course, will have a seat at the table on spending, debt and DACA issues, and that seat got bigger because of how the president upset the traditional power dynamics. The Republican dismay is understandable, but the shock shouldn’t be: Trump’s ideological flexibility has always been part of the appeal of Trump and Trumpism. This is the same week that also saw him vow to revisit his DACA decision if Congress doesn’t act, and where he showered praise on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who made the trip on Air Force One for Wednesday’s tax event. Trump’s deal with Democrats may yet be seen as a strategic error, particularly if it crowds out a chance for tax overhaul. But just maybe, after feeling burned by Republicans in Congress, he’s finding his own way through Washington for very good reasons.
DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY
Only in Washington can you claim victory for successfully maintaining the status quo. Democratic leadership seemed to boast of a win Wednesday, and almost everyone agreed. They appeared to strong-arm a three-month deal to fund the government, as opposed to a six- or nine-month compromise, and in doing so kept some bargaining chips for a later date. That could give them leverage on chaining the tax code and anything else that comes up in the pre-Christmas crush. But Democrats did not really get anything on their policy to-do list. They did not demand a quick vote on DACA, or make a deal restoring or increasing any federal funding levels. September was shaping up as a unique moment, when Republicans needed Democrats to vote with them to fund the government and avoid default. Democrats agreed to help on a short-term basis. But they did not pass anything new, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks writes.
WHAT ABOUT BOB?
Bob Menendez is a sitting U.S. senator facing a federal corruption trial, but he’s certainly doing his best not to act like it. The New Jersey Democrat participated in a pro-DACA event in Newark Wednesday just a block away from the federal courthouse where he is standing trial. Menendez has promised to continue his work in the Senate and has maintained his innocence ever since allegations surfaced that he accepted nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign donations from his friend, Florida doctor Salomon Melgen, in exchange for political and personal favors. A conviction could have enormous political consequences for congressional Democrats if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose term ends in January, is allowed to appoint a replacement. If the political divisions laid bare during the health care fight among Republicans has taught us anything, it’s that every single vote matters. Another Republican vote in the Senate could tip the balance on health care, immigration and taxes, meaning timing could be everything, ABC News’ John Verhovek writes. http://abcn.ws/2wIWcZR
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We walked out and everybody was happy. Not too happy, because you can never be too happy, but they were happy enough.” — President Trump on the meeting where he cut a deal with Democratic leaders and cut out Republicans
WHAT TO WATCH
House Speaker Paul Ryan will talk taxes and DACA with The New York Times at the Newseum at 8:40 a.m. ET.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to give a “major policy address on Title IX enforcement” at 12:15 p.m. ET at George Mason University.
‘POWERHOUSE POLITICS’ PODCAST
ABC News’ chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and political director Rick Klein tackle DACA’s demise and the start of Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial: http://apple.co/21V9721
NEED TO READ with ABC’s KEVIN PLISZAK
White House announces recipients of Trump $1 million Hurricane Harvey relief donation. The White House announced the recipients of President Donald Trump’s donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts Wednesday, after the president last week revealed his pledge to give $1 million in “personal money” to support those affected by the storm. http://abcn.ws/2f56oEK
3,500 more U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan. A U.S. official has confirmed that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis authorized about 3,500 additional troops to deploy to Afghanistan as part of the troop buildup associated with President Donald Trump’s South Asia Strategy. Last week, the Pentagon disclosed that the number of U.S. troops actually serving in Afghanistan was 11,000 and not the 8,400 official number it had been providing for some time. http://abcn.ws/2xPxbws
Trump sides with Democrats to raise debt limit and fund government for three months. In the White House meeting, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan all called for a longer-term hike of the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also supported that position, according to sources in the room. After Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi objected, Trump agreed to a short-term proposal to fund the government and extend the debt limit for three months, in line with Democrats’ initial position. Ivanka Trump entered the Oval Office near the end of the meeting, which soon veered off topic, according to sources briefed on the meeting. The appearance of Trump’s eldest daughter visibly annoyed the Republican leaders, according to a Democratic source. http://abcn.ws/2j3aKAm
Facebook says it sold $100,000 in ads to fake Russian accounts during presidential election. Facebook revealed Wednesday that fake accounts linked to a Russian company bought more than $100,000 worth of political ads during the presidential election, adding a new dimension to the ongoing investigations into allegations of Russian election interference. Facebook indicated that nearly 500 fake accounts purchased roughly 3,000 political ads between June 2015 and May 2017, according to Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer. http://abcn.ws/2eHt3X2
Kelly trades West Wing neophytes for Washington insiders. Politico
New surgeon general sworn in by Vice President Pence. USA Today
Trump to host full Cabinet at Camp David. CNN