The TAKE with Rick Klein
There’s so much winning – but oh so much potential losing.
The Trump presidency’s many contradictions and contradictory impulses are on full display right now.
The tax bill is on the precipice of becoming law, but a potential government shutdown looms at the end of this week.
Republicans stand a good shot at keeping their Senate seat in Alabama, but that means rallying behind and sticking with a candidate accused of sexual assault</strong>.
Then there’s Russia, where the White House’s own lawyer is creating legal headaches – if you believe official accounts.
President Donald Trump’s reaction is to lash out at his own FBI and Hillary Clinton, noise that only builds a case by the special counsel, if he chooses to go there.
Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a Trump friend, summed up the stakes on “This Week”: “Robert Mueller poses an existential threat to the Trump presidency.”
The president may control where things go from here, to an extent.
But other forces are crashing in from virtually every direction.
The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek
Eight days out from election day in Alabama, and the allegations of sexual misconduct that rocked the race last month and jolted it into the national spotlight have Alabama voters divided.
Two polls out this weekend, one from CBS News that has the Democrat Doug Jones up three points and one from the Washington Post and George Mason University that has Republican Roy Moore up six points, show how difficult it will be to gauge just how the allegations have affected Alabama voters.
According to the CBS poll just 17 percent of Alabama Republicans likely to vote say the allegations against Moore are true.
When it comes to who voters believe has a “higher standard of personal moral conduct”, voters chose Jones by a 53 to 34 margin according to the Washington Post/GMU poll. Jones will have to win a sizable portion of those voters — many Republicans — who have been driven away from Moore but are not your average Democratic voter.
One positive development for Moore heading into the final week of the campaign, national Republicans seem to have backed off their calls for him to step aside.
It remains unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will continue to push for an ethics investigation into Moore if he’s elected. McConnell told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” on Sunday that he’s leaving that decision up to the ethics committee.
McConnell said he’s leaving the decision on whether or not Roy Moore should be a U.S. senator up to the people of Alabama.
The TIP with Lucien Bruggeman
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California on Saturday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo responded to reports that emerged last week about a possible move to the State Department to replace embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Asked directly by moderator Bret Baier whether he has “had talks about another job” with President Trump, Pompeo said he’s “very focused” on his current job.
“Very focused on doing what I’m doing, Bret. It is – in spite of former [Director of Central Intelligence’s], who used to have all the [Intelligence Community], who tell me it should be a part time job now – it is all of that I’m in incredibly focused on. There is a lot of work to do. I’ve been privileged to do this for ten months and serve with the finest espionage service in the world, and I look forward to continuing to work at it,” Pompeo said.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
President Trump will deliver a speech at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, after meeting with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and touring the church’s Welfare Square. He is expected to announce his decision to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman will testify before the U.S. Supreme Court in a hearing for “Christie vs. NCAA,” the ruling of which will determine the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibits sports betting outside of Nevada and a handful of more regulated states.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will depart Joint Base Andrews en route to Brussels.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis departs Kuwait City for Islamabad, Pakistan, where he will meet with U.S. Embassy staff, as well as Prime Minister Abbassi and other government and defense officials.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions participates in the opening session of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery at the International Finance Corporation.
Billy Bush, former Access Hollywood host, will appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on ABC News’ “This Week” when asked whether or not he believes Roy Moore belongs in the Senate in the wake of numerous accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore.
NEED TO READ
Trump’s lawyer says he wrote the president’s tweet about Flynn’s dismissal. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, says he drafted the president’s Saturday morning tweet that stated he fired former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying not only to Vice President Mike Pence but also to the FBI. (Jordyn Phelps, Katherine Faulders and Devin Dwyer) http://abcn.ws/2nsWNOH
President ‘still looking into a lot of facts’ on Jerusalem action, embassy move, Kushner says. President Trump appears to not have made a decision yet on whether to formally recognize a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy there, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Sunday during remarks on Middle East peace efforts. Trump faces a deadline today to decide whether to sign another 6-month waiver of a 1995 law that mandates the embassy move, according to the State Department. http://abcn.ws/2zIokgr
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell steps back Roy Moore criticism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stepped back his criticism of embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore with just over a week until the Dec. 12 special election in Alabama. (Nicki Zink) http://abcn.ws/2iIxeHv
Senate Republican leader says ‘ridiculous’ to consider government shutdown over DACA issue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed as “ridiculous” the idea among some Democrats of forcing a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t resolve the issue of young undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation with the ending of the Obama-era DACA program. (Nicki Zink) http://abcn.ws/2AEsz0p
Special Counsel Mueller ‘poses an existential threat’ to Trump’s presidency: Trump friend Chris Ruddy. President Donald Trump’s friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, said Special Counsel Robert Mueller “poses an existential threat to the Trump presidency.” Ruddy, who spoke as part of a roundtable on ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday, said he has talked to the president about the federal probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump associates. (ABC News) http://abcn.ws/2nnIRFk
Former Trump aide Flynn ‘wasn’t acting as a rogue agent’ in Russia contacts: Rep. Adam Schiff. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal over lying to the FBI shows he was not acting on his own when he communicated with Russian officials, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said. (Ellie Smith) http://abcn.ws/2AEAsmB
What does the Senate tax plan mean for you. The massive tax overhaul passed by the Senate early Saturday morning will if enacted into law impact millions of Americans in different ways. http://abcn.ws/2ByxflX
Former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush writes in a New York Times op-ed that Trump “of course” said those lewd comments back in 2005 and seven other guys were witness to Trump’s comments. http://nyti.ms/2zL8fqo
Despite polling indicating the Republican tax plan’s unpopularity, The Washington Post is reporting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes the bill is a “political winner.” http://wapo.st/2AThHwj
The New York Times examines how businesses will realistically utilize savings as a result of the current Republican tax plan. http://nyti.ms/2As9cVW
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.