The TAKE with Rick Klein
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This story only got a first word because of a throwaway presidential comment.
What matters now, though, is who will get the final word. The question for President Donald Trump is if he can let that be anyone other than himself.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly tried to end this extraordinary public discussion of sacrifice and patriotism last week, in the press briefing room. So too did Sen. John McCain, who said on “The View” Monday, “We should not be fighting about a brave American who lost his life serving his country.”
Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow sought to end this episode on “Good Morning America,” when she backed up the account of her conversation with the president that was offered by her member of Congress. “It made me cry even worse,” she said of that call.
Then came a tweet, of course. The president declared that he had a “respectful” conversation with Myeshia Johnson, and spoke her husband’s name “from beginning, without hesitation!”
Trump spent the rest of the day on message and off Twitter. But his words linger still – along with the words of those who are urging him to let this fight go.
The president is a counter-puncher, his friends and allies are fond of saying.
Yet once again, the punches are being thrown without regard to who the target is.
The RUNDOWN with Benjamin Siegel and Mariam Khan
Throughout his first ten months in office, President Donald Trump has treated the Senate as a punching bag and an obstacle holding back his legislative agenda, questioning Mitch McConnell’s leadership and calling out independent-minded GOP senators on Twitter.
Today, he’s traveling to Capitol Hill to build bridges, in a bid to rally Senate Republicans behind tax reform.
The fence-mending could not come at a more critical time.
Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is waging war against incumbents.
Republicans are approaching the end of the year without any major wins on Capitol Hill.
The White House and GOP majorities in the House and Senate need to be in sync as they aim to pass major, complicated legislation by the end of the year — all while avoiding a government shutdown in December.
It could be an unpredictable meeting. The president is easily distracted. He’s sparred with several senators in the Republican Party, and he hasn’t always supported the GOP’s legislative agenda.
Senators have told ABC News they are eager to hear from the president. They are seeking clarity on the GOP’s path forward heading into the new year. And they want to know the president has their back.
Trump will likely rally the caucus on getting tax reform done by Thanksgiving. Senators have told us they want to hear more about what Trump has planned for tax reform — some Republicans are still in the dark when it comes to details.
The TIP with Benjamin Siegel
Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen will appear on Capitol Hill Tuesday for a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee, sources tell ABC News.
Cohen, who has served as Trump’s personal attorney for years, is of interest to investigators for his role in confidential negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2015 and 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign.
The Trump Organization seriously considered the Moscow building proposal but eventually abandoned the plan and did not pursue it, Cohen told ABC News in August.
Cohen’s lawyer declined to comment on his scheduled appearance.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” —Myeshia Johnson, whose husband Sgt. La David Johnson was killed in Niger this month, said on “Good Morning America.”
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