THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
It took a monster storm – two of them, actually – to calm the waters churned by President Trump. Trump emerges from this stretch looking more traditional as a president than at any point this year. He’s coordinating federal disaster response, cutting deals with legislative leaders and moving back from the brink of shutdown and default showdowns. (He even managed not to tweet his thoughts on Hillary Clinton’s return to the interview circuit, at least for now.) Trump is again demonstrating the speed with which perceptions change, inside the news cycles he knows so well. But before anyone mistakes this moment of relative normalcy for any kind of permanency or predictability, don’t miss the signs suggesting that Trumpism can’t even be controlled by Trump himself. Steve Bannon has re-emerged with a threat to hold GOP leaders “accountable” and – according to Politico – is working to recruit Republican primary challengers to incumbent lawmakers. The president will be pushed by outside forces as well as his own instincts to return to his old form, as soon as the storms fade from memory a bit.
Steve Bannon could use a civics lesson. During his first televised interview since leaving the White House, the former chief strategist accused congressional Republicans of not wanting to implement President Trump’s “populist, economic nationalist agenda.” Noticeably missing from his diatribe was any acknowledgement of the fact that members of Congress, even those of the same party, are not required to figure out the president’s program for him. Sure, it’s fair to expect Republicans who backed the president to help make good on campaign promises. Of course it makes sense for Republicans to acknowledge that their own campaigns were likely bolstered by voters’ passion for Trump. But the legislative branch is its own entity, and for good reason. This White House – and Bannon himself, on “60 Minutes” – has suggested that Congress is subordinate to them, a mindset even more perplexing given the administration’s indifference to policy details, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks notes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. It’s very obvious.” — Steve Bannon on Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan
NEED TO READ
GOP leaders are trying to block Trump’s populist agenda, Bannon says. Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, did not hold back from criticizing the “Republican establishment” in his first television interview since leaving the White House. http://abcn.ws/2vO0XjB
Hillary Clinton admits her “most important” blunder that swayed 2016 campaign. After largely staying out of the spotlight for almost a year, Hillary Clinton is back to talk about the 2016 election and how she dealt with a loss that left her “gobsmacked.” “It still is very painful,” Clinton said. “It hurts a lot.” http://abcn.ws/2wUxO9i
Special counsel interested in interviewing Priebus, Spicer, Hicks: Sources. Special counsel Robert Mueller has informed the White House he is interested in interviewing at least six current and former White House aides as part of the investigation into Russian election interference and potential ties to the Trump campaign, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. Those aides include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, longtime Trump adviser and interim communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, senior associate counsel James Burnham and White House spokesman Josh Raffel. http://abcn.ws/2wOhV5f
Bannon plotting primaries against slate of GOP incumbents. Politico
Republican Sen. Bob Corker weighs whether to retire in 2018. CNN
Trump promised not to work with foreign entities. His company just did. McClatchy