The Note: Congress starts pushing Trump out of the way

The Senate is choosing to go its own way on health care.

ByVERONICA STRACQUALURSI
August 2, 2017, 7:01 AM

— -- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • A new, new story: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump weighed in "like any father would" on his son's misleading statement about the meeting he had with a Russian lawyer. But she also asserted that the statement was "true" and that the president "certainly didn't dictate" it.
  • The Senate is choosing to go its own way on health care: Bipartisan health care hearings will kick off next month without President Trump's involvement.
  • The Justice Department plans on scrutinizing affirmative action policies to determine if white applicants are being discriminated against, The New York Times reports.
  • Christopher Wray steps into James Comey's shoes as the new FBI director, after he was confirmed Tuesday 92-5.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and President Trump are not "very happy" about the new Russia sanctions bill, but adds that "all indications" are the president will sign off anyway.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    There's a whole lot of jokes being told by White House officials these days, or so we are told. But this is not one of them: Congress is starting to treat President Trump as an interested – if not totally informed – bystander, and not the leader of a legislative agenda. Let Obamacare fail? Change the Senate rules? Bipartisanship has actually broken out on health care, with efforts brewing to shore up the individual insurance market. On Russia, Trump is reluctantly set to sign a sanctions bill his secretary of state says he and the president are not "very happy about," forced by overwhelming numbers in Congress. Of course, Sen. Jeff Flake has a whole book out now about standing apart from Trump. And few on Capitol Hill are following the White House's lead anymore when it comes to that supposed "witch hunt." The cause is a volatile combination of vanishing credibility and eroding capability. If you can't believe what the president says, and can't trust him to do what he says must get done, leadership is hard to establish. Trump's Washington can't run on Trumpism alone.

    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "He certainly didn't dictate, but you know, he, like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do." --Sarah Sanders on President Trump's involvement in crafting Donald Trump Jr.'s first statement on the meeting he had with a Russian lawyer in 2016.

    WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

    Trump makes an "announcement" at 11:30 a.m. ET with Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue. They will introduce a new bill that would limit legal immigration to prioritize high-skilled immigrants, The Washington Examiner reports.

    "THE BRIEFING ROOM." After every White House press briefing - on camera or not - ABC News' political team will have full coverage and analysis from Political Director Rick Klein, correspondents Jonathan Karl, Cecilia Vega, Mary Bruce and others. Catch us on "The Briefing Room" at the ABC News Politics Facebook page, the ABC News YouTube page, ABCNews.com/LIVE and the ABC News app.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam

    ANALYSIS: John Kelly's impossible mission as White House chief of staff. He's got the job – but will he be able to do it well? Within his first 24 hours on the job, new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly displayed reasons for optimism, quickly moving to establish control and cleaner lines of authority. But Kelly also saw first-hand why imposing discipline on the president and his top aides may be a hopeless endeavor. http://abcn.ws/2vlrPu1

    Nikki Haley meets new Russian ambassador to the United Nations. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met her newly-installed Russian counterpart, ambassador Vasilly Nebenzia Tuesday. "Ambassador Haley and Ambassador Nebenzia discussed counterterrorism, North Korea's dangerous provocations, especially its recent missile tests, and the U.S.-Russia relationship at the UN going forward," U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement. http://abcn.ws/2uXzRa8

    WHO'S TWEETING?

    @lpolgreen: Why the Mooch Lost His Cool: @VickyPJWard talks to the man himself. http://bit.ly/2w4NXXo

    @Hadas_Gold: BREAK: full transcript of the WSJ interview with Trump from last week http://politi.co/2w3opK8

    @PeterAlexander: Trump explaining to several club members why he frequently visits Bedminster: "That White House is a real dump." http://amp.timeinc.net/golf/tour-news/2017/08/01/president-donald-trump-relationship-golf-more-complicated-now?source=dam …

    @aabramson: NEW: Boy Scouts just told me in e-mail if a call was placed to President Trump after his speech, the organization is unaware of it. http://ti.me/2uX59xW

    @GlennThrush: 'I don't think anyone just wanders into the Oval Office' says Sarah. I have witnessed people just wandering in.

    @NRO: Two Million for Teleskov: Knights of Columbus Take a Lead in Rebuilding Christianity in Iraq http://natl.io/O3JB7n via @kathrynlopez

    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.

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