WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
It may be fitting that Senate Republicans are meeting today to discuss the latest version of their health care bill while President Trump is six time zones away. His appearance in Paris is a reminder that the president hasn't held a public event on U.S. soil since before his last foreign trip. And it speaks to something larger: The president is both everywhere and nowhere right now. For as much as the president has dominated Washington and national news cycles through nearly six months in office, the new normal has him strikingly beside the point when it comes to big legislative pushes. It's not only that he's not involved in health care negotiations, it's that he's barely offered a single public or even private comment about what specifically he wants in it. Asked about the consequences of inaction on health care Wednesday, he said Congress runs the risk … of making him mad: "I don't even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad. I will be very angry about it and a lot of people will be very upset." At his news conference in Paris, he'll surely be asked too much about his own actions on Russia – and those of his children – to keep much focus on a legislative agenda. There's another truth emerging, whether that makes him angry or not: The president's involvement on Capitol Hill isn't helping matters much, leaving business to chug along or stall without him.
SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL 2.0
It took three rounds of revisions and attempted votes before the House passed its Obamacare repeal bill. The Senate is now officially on round two. So far, most Republicans in the "no" column still sound pessimistic about this latest draft. It's expected out around lunchtime. Surprisingly, several of them Wednesday said they were unsure about the fine print coming in the updated bill and lamented leadership did not consult them more. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised a serious red flag when he told reporters his colleagues were arguing about whether they should promote the bill on TV. It's generally a bad sign if lawmakers aren't sure they want to defend a bill they are trying to pass, especially one this big. Running up to this new bill's rollout, conservative PACs were urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include Sen. Ted Cruz's amendment. It would allow insurers to sell plans without Obamacare-era essential health care benefits so long as one plan was offered in the state that still did. On the other end of the spectrum, moderates don't want the deep cuts to Medicaid and changes to the program's growth rate taken out all together. Perhaps Sen. John McCain summed it up best Wednesday night when he said, "There's no consensus on anything," ABC News' MaryAlice Parks and Mariam Khan note.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"[Putin] would like Hillary where she wants to have windmills....So what I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think 'probably not,' because when I want a strong military, you know she wouldn't have spent the money on military." -- President Trump to CBN News' Pat Robertson.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
President Trump and President Macron hold a news conference today.
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam
The core issues at stake as Trump plans to meet Macron. It's Trump's third trip abroad as president, and despite its brevity, it is an important one. http://abcn.ws/2uaRzcl
"Powerhouse Politics" podcast - Sen. Dick Durbin: If confirmed, Christopher Wray will have to lead the FBI differently under Trump. If President Trump nominee Christopher Wray is confirmed as director of the FBI, things may be different this time around. "Wray is a man of principle," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told ABC News' Rick Klein Wednesday, adding that Wray "is very sensitive to the fact that he needs to maintain his independence." http://abcn.ws/2t68EnZ
A.G. Jeff Sessions addresses "anti-LGBT hate group," but DOJ won't release his remarks. Sessions addressed members of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was designated an "anti-LGBT hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016, at the Summit on Religious Liberty at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, in Dana Point, California. http://abcn.ws/2ufhdfy
Senate Intelligence Committee list of interviewees expands amid Donald Trump Jr. email controversy. The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun interviewing White House and Trump campaign staffers for its Russia investigation but it is already expanding its roster of interviewees amid the Donald Trump Jr. scandal. "It was in black and white that it was part of a Russian government effort to help Trump discredit Clinton," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. http://abcn.ws/2tKN8nI
@rebeccaballhaus: Jared + Ivanka aren't in Paris w/POTUS. Instead, they're in Sun Valley for a tech conference. WH official says they paid their way.
@kguggenheim: "Jim" may or may not exist, but he's been a useful tool for Trump in criticizing Paris, AP's @vmsalama reports. http://bit.ly/2uStcgY
@KellyannePolls: Apologies to the humorless. Kellyanne Conway Uses Visual Aids to Challenge Russia Collusion Narrative | Mediaite http://bit.ly/2vftXQD
@ianbremmer: The Rock for President. Kid Rock for Senate. Chris Rock needs to throw his hat in soon.
@benshapiro: If Kid Rock loses the primaries, will he run as Alternative Rock?
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.