The TAKE with Rick Klein
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It could happen – just maybe: a moment for leadership, governance, and even compromise.
The only thing standing in President Donald Trump’s way at this moment … is President Donald Trump.
The split screen, or perhaps split personality, of the Trump presidency is the dominant theme going into tomorrow’s State of the Union address.
The Davos version of Trump competes constantly with the Twitter version – as Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation looms over all.
The start of the next round of immigration talks, and the command of the stage provided by a State of the Union, combine to leave Trump more maneuvering room than he may get again in the near future.
The White House is promising an “optimistic” speech. That’s not quite the mood in Washington, but it doesn’t have to be out of the question for the president and his allies.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
“This midterm is going to be hard,” Gail Werner-Robertson, a wealth management executive and participant at a seminar for Charles Koch’s political network, told the conference crowd Sunday. “We can’t lose the progress that we fought so hard for…Get ready to double-down. Let’s make America great again.”
Despite the challenges Republicans face in the 2018 midterms, the mood was mostly upbeat among the group of donors like Werner-Robertson involved in the Koch political and philanthropic machine gathered near Palm Springs, California over the weekend.
In the banquet halls there was plenty of back-slapping over deregulation and especially passing tax reform last year. The wealthy bunch, most of whom undoubtedly benefited hugely from the tax law, took credit for getting the bill over the finish line and talked of their work in that space as a potential model moving forward.
The network spent $20 million hosting townhalls, digital ads, and tv ads last year backing the tax reform bill and plans to spend another $20 million selling the tax plan now to American voters ahead of the midterms.
Still there were hints of trepidation in the crowd on possible policy fights to come.
This is a strictly free trade bunch– most remain worried about the president’s isolationist rhetoric and new penchant for tariffs. And then there’s infrastructure.
While some Republicans back in Washington feel good about the possibility of something bipartisan, these small government, libertarians worry about a costly, big spending bill that could look like another stimulus.
The TIP with Alexander Mallin
House Speaker Paul Ryan has committed to donate $1,000 he received from Wynn Resorts in 2016 to a local charity, a spokesperson for his campaign confirms to ABC News.
It’s the first known commitment from a GOP lawmaker to donate money received from Steve Wynn’s corporation following the sexual assault and harassment allegations against him reported Friday in the Wall Street Journal.
Charles Krupa/AP FILESteve Wynn at a news conference in Medford, Mass., on March 15, 2016.
The Republican National Committee has still not responded for requests from ABC News about whether it plans to donate any contributions from Wynn, as both Sens. Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins urged on the Sunday talk shows.
The RNC still has also not yet commented specifically on the allegations against Wynn – despite spending several weeks slamming Democrats for accepting donations from Harvey Weinstein.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.” — President Trump told Piers Morgan in an interview that aired Sunday on Britain’s ITV, when asked if he identifies as a feminist.
NEED TO READ
Grammy Awards 2018: Hillary Clinton wows crowd with surprise cameo. Clinton appeared in a pre-recorded skit where the show’s host, James Corden, pretended to audition celebrities to record the audio version of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” a politically-disruptive book about the Trump White House. (Karma Allen and Chad Murray) http://abcn.ws/2DK1riO
President Trump will offer bipartisanship, unifying tone in State of the Union Address. President Donald Trump will talk about “building a safe, strong and proud America” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to the White House. That will be the theme of his speech, which focus on domestic and national security issues. (Emily Goodin and Alexander Mallin) http://abcn.ws/2nfYLPH
Trump defends gun control, climate change positions in wide-ranging interview. President Donald Trump defended his positions on climate change, gun control and even his tweeting and eating habits during a rare, wide-ranging interview with British television personality Piers Morgan. (ABC News) http://abcn.ws/2Gqfqbj
Trump: ‘I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist…I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.’ President Donald Trump has been called lots of things — but what’s his take on being described as a “sexist, misogynist pig?” (David Caplan) http://abcn.ws/2rNZwnK
Koch political advocacy group to ramp up spending in midterms, fight for Dreamers. Republican megadonor Charles Koch’s political network of lobbyists and activists will spend between $300 million and $400 million in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections — a 60 percent increase compared to what the organization spent in the 2016 elections. (MaryAlice Parks) http://abcn.ws/2DWjG3V
Russian billionaire tangled in Mueller probe throws lavish bash in Davos. No one throws a party quite like an oligarch. Oleg Deripaska, whose dealings with key figures in the ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election are under scrutiny, hosted an extravagant party on Friday night at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, featuring boats of caviar, magnum bottles of Dom Perignon and a performance by Grammy winner Enrique Iglesias. (Tara Palmeri)http://abcn.ws/2EggCgC
‘Dreamers’ reject White house immigration framework for restricting family-based migration. On the heels of a three-day government shutdown over immigration, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and “This Week” Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz traveled through four states along the U.S.-Mexico border to take the pulse of some people who will be directly impacted by changes in immigration policy. (Andres Del Aguila) http://abcn.ws/2DK3weP
‘You don’t need $25 billion for a wall,’ Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said “You don’t need $25 billion for a wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. Graham talked to ABC News’ “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday about a White House immigration framework that would include $20 billion for a border wall plus another $5 billion for other border-security measures. (Rachel Tillman) http://abcn.ws/2rOy5dA
Mueller ‘should look at’ whether Trump lied to the public over wanting to fire special counsel: Ken Starr. The former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton said President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert Mueller “for any reason.” But the former counsel, Ken Starr, also told ABC News’ “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz that Mueller should “look at” whether Trump lied to the public about wanting to fire the special counsel. (Mitchell Alva) http://abcn.ws/2rKO8cn
Special counsel Mueller is ‘the perfect guy to get to the bottom’ of Russia probe: Republican senator. A top GOP senator and ally of President Donald Trump said he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller “is the best person to look at” whether the president may have tried to obstruct justice through any possible interference with the Russia investigation, and said he has “complete confidence” in the special counsel. (Rachel Tillman) http://abcn.ws/2nimEp9
Marco Rubio returns to DC from Florida to fire chief of staff over ‘allegations of improper conduct’. Sen. Marco Rubio on Saturday night traveled from his home state of Florida to Washington to fire his chief of staff over “allegations of improper conduct,” the Republican lawmaker said. ” (David Caplan) http://abcn.ws/2rQ0i3U
Casino mogul Steve Wynn steps down from RNC in face of sexual misconduct claims. Casino mogul Steve Wynn has stepped down as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee just over 24 hours after publication of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him. (Alexander Mallin, Katherine Faulders and Quinn Scanlan) http://abcn.ws/2rJpzg2
Republicans in Congress were divided Sunday over protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to the Washington Post, two senators embraced plans to make it more difficult for President Trump to have him fired, while a top House lawmaker declared them unnecessary. http://wapo.st/2rJyUUZ
Vice President Mike Pence will headline a fundraising dinner Monday that is expected to rake in about $500,000 for his leadership PAC, according to Politico. http://politi.co/2DKbAw5
Britain’s ITV News reports that President Trump said he would have been much “tougher” than Prime Minister Theresa May during Brexit negotiations. Trump told Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan, the European Union was “not what it cracked up to what it’s supposed to be.” http://bit.ly/2EhFkgP