The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump may be more likely to poll the folks at Mar-a-Lago than consult a public opinion poll on the subjects of the day. (In either event, he’s far more likely to trumpet the results that conform to his worldview.)
But whether it’s based on statistics or instincts, the policy choices confronting the president are stark when it comes to gun control and immigration, in the wake of tragedy impacting one subject, and on the eve of a deadline impacting the other.
New ABC News/Washington Post polling data out Tuesday morning tell the story of national frustration on guns. Nearly six in 10 Americans believe stricter gun laws could have prevented the massacre in Florida last week, with 77 percent saying Congress isn’t doing enough to stop such shootings, and 62 percent saying the same about Trump.
The backlash against “thoughts and prayers” as a reaction to a massacre is being fueled by students and survivors in this instance. Similar grassroots action is percolating among Dreamers this congressional recess period, with just two weeks left before Trump’s self-imposed deadline for action.
The president has shown ideological flexibility when it’s suited him in the past. There will be deals to be reached still, if Trump decides they’re worth discussing.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
President Trump has tweeted some 26 times in the last three-and-a-half days since his Department of Justice announced an indictment against 13 Russian nationals, alleging concerted and concealed efforts to inject chaos into the American political landscape to swing an election.
He has tweeted about Russia 13 times, but offered no consequences for the state involved in aggressive election meddling, no retaliation against the foreign actor, no safeguards to ward off potential attacks.
Instead, he has repeated — and exaggerated — a statement from the law enforcement community about there being no charge of collusion between his campaign and Russia – included in the indictment.
All in all, the head of the party that used to emphasize and run on national security still seems uninterested in creating a security plan. In fact, the president seems insulted by the idea that this team should respond at all to this cyber, social invasion by Russia.
Over the weekend, the president belittled and blamed President Obama, a member of his own cabinet, Oprah Winfrey and congressional Democrats.
(Unrelated to elections, but a sign of the divided times perhaps, he also gave a shoutout to NASCAR, but not to the American athletes competing in the Olympics.)
The TIP with John Verhovek
With one decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may have fundamentally altered the race for control of the U.S. House in 2018.
The congressional map it issued yesterday drew Democratic praise nationwide, and while the GOP looks poised to challenge the map in court, it appears the congressional battleground for 2018 in Pennsylvania is set.
The new map significantly redraws districts that encompass the Philadelphia suburbs, a key purple part of a purple state where Democrats are poised to pick up seats, and it creates another competitive northeast Pennsylvania district that will be an open seat this year with the retirement of Republican Rep. Charlie Dent.
Thirteen of the districts in the previous map went to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, while just five went to Hillary Clinton. Ten of the districts in the new map were won by Trump, while eight went to Clinton, according to an analysis by redistricting expert Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Obama attorney general Eric Holder, has already identified key states where it claims “Democrats have an opportunity to protect against Republican gerrymandering.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
•President Trump has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis at 12:30 p.m. The president will also meet with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin in the Oval Office at 2:45 p.m.
•Later, Trump hosts the Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony at the White House at 3:30 p.m. Among those being honored are first responders from the San Bernardino, California, terror attack in 2015.
•Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, and state Sen. Kevin Matthews, a Tulsa Democrat, announce a new state education curriculum related to Black Wall Street and the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“@MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!” — President Trump tweeted Monday night.
NEED TO READ
Most see inaction on mass shootings; mental health screening is a priority (POLL). Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading the public’s preferences for action. (Gary Langer) http://abcn.ws/2EVY7kF
Trump voices support for Mitt Romney in campaign for Senate. Romney was extremely critical of Trump during the 2016 election, including a speech from March 2016 in which he meticulously outlined all of the problems Trump presented if elected. (Mark Osborne) http://abcn.ws/2EQxT2F
FACT CHECK: Feds say Trump tweet misstates how FBI works. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that the FBI’s Russia investigation had caused the agency to divert resources or attention that could have prevented last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. (Mike Levine) http://abcn.ws/2CvjYtO
Trump linking Florida shooting to Russia investigation sparks backlash. President Donald Trump felt liberated Friday afternoon, sources close to him told ABC News, when the news broke that the special counsel probing interference in the 2016 presidential election unveiled a grand jury indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups accused of meddling “with U.S. elections and political processes.” (Katherine Faulders) http://abcn.ws/2CxFDS0
Trump ‘supportive of efforts’ to update background check system after Florida shooting. The White House says President Donald Trump is “supportive of efforts” to update the nation’s background check system in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting last week that killed 17 people, many of them teenagers. (Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2Cvxs8L
President Trump’s shifting stance on assault weapons. President Donald Trump’s position on gun control, particularly regarding assault rifles, has appeared to shift over the years. (Meghan Keneally) http://abcn.ws/2EHiRgr
Tillerson dismisses criticism on Russia sanctions amid growing questions. The indictment Friday of 13 Russians accused of waging “information warfare” in the 2016 U.S.presidential election is raising new questions about why the Trump administration still has not imposed sanctions designed to punish Russia and deter it from interfering in the 2018 midterms. (Conor Finnegan) http://abcn.ws/2oiTHdb
‘Russia did not meddle’: Kremlin dismisses US indictments on election interference. The Russian government has dismissed U.S. allegations of interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying it does not meddle in other countries’ affairs. (Julia Macfarlane) http://abcn.ws/2HtAqi3
Pennsylvania’s new court-ordered congressional map dramatically straightens borders. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued a new congressional map for the state, in a decision that could have major ramifications for the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives. (John Verhovek) http://abcn.ws/2CvKdAj
EPA postpones Israel trip amid scrutiny of administrator’s travel. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has canceled a scheduled trip to Israel amid scrutiny over his high travel costs. (Stephanie Ebbs) http://abcn.ws/2Cu77rD
A Kansas candidate for Congress is continuing his AR-15 giveaway, despite backlash. http://bit.ly/2HmyU0T