The Note: Trump renews impeachment talk and more with own words
The TAKE with Rick Klein
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What might have been in the past is now in the conceivable future.
And President Donald Trump now has to deal with an uncomfortable present, as a consequence of his own words. In just a few sentences of an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump gave fresh ammo to 2020 Democratic candidates to revive impeachment talk, handed new talking points to his opponents and reinforced concerns about his 2020 preparations inside his own party.
Despite all the fallout from last time around, and contradicting the views of his own FBI director, the president pushed back on the idea that if a foreign government provided information on a political opponent, it would be considered inappropriate and should be reported to authorities.
“If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said. “It’s not an interference. They have information — I think I’d take it,” adding that he might notify the FBI “if I thought there was something wrong.”
It’s a shocking moment because it has forward-looking implications — one predicate for some who are on the fence about impeachment. For others, such as 2020 Democratic candidates Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, this just reinforces previous calls for impeachment proceedings.
“I think we have a president who neither understands the Constitution of the United States, or respects the Constitution, somebody who does not believe in the separation of powers and somebody who thinks he’s above the law. I mean, that is why I believe the House should begin impeachment inquiries on Trump. So, no, I’m not shocked,” Sanders said Wednesday night.
It also comes in the context of quarrels with his own advisers about his campaign vulnerabilities. Trump’s insistence that he is “winning in every state that we polled” doesn’t match up with the facts.
The president is trusting his own instincts and — perhaps reflexively — defending his own son’s actions related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But for those hoping he learned productive lessons from 2016, it’s not an encouraging answer.
The RUNDOWN with Kendall Karson
The shuffling is over, the first debate stages appear to be set and the largest and arguably the most important gathering of the Democratic field yet is poised for Miami at the end of the month.
The Democratic National Committee will formally announce the 20 candidates who’ve secured a podium Thursday afternoon, but after Montana Gov. Steve Bullock failed to earn 1% in a pair of last-minute polls that could have put him over the top, only 20 appear to have qualified.
But for Bullock, the sole candidate who will be sidelined because of a late DNC rule change to the list of eligible qualifying polls, the exposure he’s getting now for being left off could potentially eclipse any short amount of time he would have shared on the prime-time stage with nine other candidates.
With two weeks before the June 26 and 27 debates, Bullock is capitalizing on the attention — vacillating between his gripes with the committee and his successes in Montana, including expanding Medicaid for Montanans just before he entered the race a month ago.
The little-known prospect appears to be playing the long game, positioning himself in a lonely camp as a successful Democrat in the Trump era, pointing to his win in a state the president carried by more than 20 percentage points in 2016, to land on an even more crucial stage in the fall debates.
The TIP with Briana Stewart and Sasha Pezenik
He said their names.
Chynal Lindsey and Muhlaysia Booker, both trans women of color recently killed in former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s home state in Dallas. Their cases are two of several in a string of violent attacks against trans women of color — a population facing steep marginalization both within the haven of the LGBTQ+ community and mainstream society.
O’Rourke invoked their names as he unveiled a proposal Wednesday morning on achieving equality for LGBTQ+ Americans and reinstating protections discontinued by the Trump administration.
O’Rourke led a morning Pride run on the Hudson River’s banks in New York City — just steps from the historic Stonewall Inn and on the heels of his plan’s rollout. As he jogged he kept step with his supporters and potential voters who put their candidate through his paces on issues important to LGBTQ+ community.
And while other candidates have sought to highlight the issues impacting the trans community on the trail through thoughts, prayers and tweets, O’Rourke mentioning the women by name as he rolled out his LGBTQ+ policy proposal was a notable moment.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Thursday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who tells us about his exclusive interview with Trump. In the interview, the president said of receiving hypothetical information on a political opponent: “I think I’d take it.” Then ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin explains why the U.S. is planning to send more troops to Poland in the coming months. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. Conservative Columnist George Will sits down with ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl to talk about his new book “The Conservative Sensibility,” and claims the impact Trump has had on the Republican party and on the country will create significant, lasting damage beyond his term in office. https://bit.ly/2EVDqEd
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