WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
It's the family-first defense. And that doesn't sit well with any of the broad camps that have made rivalries and battles for influence defining characteristics of the Trump White House. President Trump is defending Don Jr. as a "wonderful young man" and a "good boy" who took a meeting anyone would have taken with someone who wasn't with a Russian government official, an official he suggested was only in the country because President Obama's attorney general let her in. (In reality, Donald Trump Jr. was born 10 days after the French president, clearly thought he was meeting with a representative of the Russian government and took a meeting the president's FBI director-nominee suggested shouldn't have happened. Blaming Loretta Lynch is even more fanciful.) The storyline hits the family, including the president himself, hard for obvious reasons, because it's all been created and perpetuated by hard-to-defend actions of Trump's own family. Elsewhere in the inner circle and beyond, it's a reminder of the special status enjoyed by the president's adult children and their spouses. (Don't miss this stray comment from Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas: "I think it would be in the president's best interest if he removed all of his children from the White House.") Then there's the legal team, which has as a client a president who famously doesn't follow advice, has already declared his son "innocent" and is prone to freelance when it comes to details of what he has known and when he has known it. It all makes for a toxic brew inside the multiple White House teams that are staggering through this angle of the story.
SENATE GOP STILL ON THE HUNT FOR VOTES
There is a hefty amount of skepticism, even pessimism, among Republicans in the Senate that they can muster enough votes to pass their health care bill. With two in their ranks already vowing to vote no, it would only take one more to keep the bill from even advancing to the floor. But before Thursday's new draft, there were about 10 "no" votes. A whole bunch of folks that might have rejected the latest version outright instead Thursday held off judgment and said they were still considering it. If, by some Mitch McConnell magic, the rest all go along with him for now and at a minimum vote to move the bill forward, the country and congressional nerds everywhere could see some really interesting Senate floor time. If the bill moves to the floor, Leader McConnell has encouraged the chamber to allow for a wide and open session of amendments. That's rare for leadership to advocate for last-minute, potentially major changes to a bill this important. But the bill is unpopular and lacking solid votes right now so, in theory, lawmakers could present and pass sweeping rewrites to this bill live on the Senate floor and the whole bill could change again at the last minute, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks writes.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"France is America's first and oldest ally. A lot of people don't know that." - President Trump
WHAT TO WATCH
THIS WEEK ON "THIS WEEK": Trump legal team member Jay Sekulow and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., come to "This Week" Sunday.
TWO PEAS IN A PRESIDENTIAL POD
It's like '92 and '00 never happened. Looking and sounding like two long-time friends, Presidents Clinton and Bush (43) reflected on their post-presidency lives Thursday night at the graduation ceremony for the 2017 Class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program. But how did the two become friends after Clinton defeated Bush's father in the bitter election campaign of 1992? "He was humble in victory, which is very important when dealing with other people," Bush said of Clinton. Clinton praised the elder Bush for his policy after the collapse of the Soviet Union but, at the same time, alluded to the difficulties in U.S.-Russia relations in recent years. "I completely supported what he [H.W. Bush] did in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Supporting German reunification, supporting the European Union," Clinton said, "Supporting the efforts that he made and I made, as you see today mixed results, to try to integrate Russia into the family of democracies." Clinton also decried the bickering that dominates today's political discourse. "This is killing us, all this fighting over nothing instead of saying what the heck are we trying to get done," Clinton said, ABC News' John Verhovek reports.
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam
On wall, Trump doubles down on solar, suggests "transparency." President Donald Trump re-promoted some of his ideas for his proposed southern border wall Wednesday, telling reporters that he's "not joking" about the notion of making it a "solar wall," and explaining that the barrier needs to incorporate a level of physical "transparency." http://abcn.ws/2t8vw6m
Devos' meetings over sex assault policies spark controversy. After a series of meetings Thursday in Washington examining Title IX sexual assault procedures on college campuses, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is re-examining guidance to schools. In addition to survivors' groups and educational institutions, DeVos met with "men's rights" organizations, including the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), as well as groups that speak on behalf of the accused, including Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). http://abcn.ws/2tlIwRs
Rep. Steve Scalise upgraded to fair condition after surgery. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was upgraded to fair condition Thursday after surgery to manage a deep-tissue infection related to his bullet wounds, according to a family statement released by MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The family pointed out that Scalise will require "careful monitoring to see if and when further interventions are necessary" and "remains hospitalized." http://abcn.ws/2ujMCyp
@ArletteSaenz: The closing performance at Bastille Day parade will feature a military band playing a "medley of electronic music by French group Daft Punk"
@jonkarl: Alas. A White House aide tells @CeciliaVega there is a typo in the official app WH transcript. The President said "crazy" not "cray".
@JasonLeopold: The Russian Lawyer Who Met With Trump Jr. Was Granted Entry By The State Department https://www.buzzfeed.com/gracewyler/the-russian-lawyer-who-met-with-trump-jr-was-granted-entry?utm_term=.swmPdnARm5 … via @grace_lightning
@mikedebonis: Hartzler amendment to bar gender reassignment therapy for servicemembers is DEFEATED 214-209.
@abwrig: Scoop - Pelosi & other House Dems tomorrow will announce plan to force Republicans to cast Russia votes: http://politi.co/2uXl1jE @politico
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.