The TAKE with Rick Klein
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ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the acting White House chief of staff -- directly -- if there was a "quid pro quo" where American funding to Ukraine "will not flow unless the investigation into the Democrats' server happens as well."
"We do that all the time with foreign policy," Mulvaney said. "I have news for everybody: Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy."
The challenge for Democrats in the impeachment inquiry is focusing on what's known, as opposed to what's unknown. It's about what's being admitted, as opposed to what's being denied.
At the same time, it's about who is talking -- and more people are talking almost every day -- as well as who is not. And, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry set to depart the administration, it's about who is going as well as who is staying, plus one prominent figure -- Rudy Giuliani -- who was never working for the administration in the first place.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
There was some serious irony to the fact that President Trump got his crowd in Dallas, Texas, to finish his sentence in unison: “quid pro quo.”
Just hours after his own Chief of Staff seemed to admit to a quid pro quo scheme himself -- holding federal, congressionally-approved aid at ransom for political reasons -- the president was using those words to accuse Joe Biden’s son of corrupt behavior but without any facts.
Specifically, Trump said the former vice president’s son received a “payoff.”
When asked about his own private business ventures while his father was serving as vice president, Hunter Biden told ABC News earlier this week, “In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don't believe now, when I look back on it -- I know that there was -- did nothing wrong at all. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is...a swamp in — in — in many ways? Yeah."
The back and forth of it all has likely successfully muddied the waters for the president’s most ardent fans. The question resonating in the crowd in Dallas was how could the president have done anything wrong, if there was a corruption allegation to look into?
Not once during President Trump’s Thursday rally did he defend asking the Ukrainian government for a favor. Instead he implied there could be no wrongdoing because he released details of his call with the Ukrainian president. If in plain sight, there must mean nothing to hide.
Over and over though, he demanded to know who the whistleblower was and blasted the inspector general who escalated the whistleblower’s claim, though he appointed him.
The TIP with Adam Kelsey
We're beginning to get a sense for how Sen. Bernie Sanders' return to the trail will look. After he initially acknowledged that his heart attack would force him to "change the nature" of his rigorous rally schedule, now he's saying he "misspoke" and plans to "get back into the groove of a very vigorous campaign."
First, there's the much-ballyhooed "Bernie's Back" rally in New York City on Saturday, where Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will lend not only her endorsement, but her energy to help shoulder the load for Sanders.
And then it's back to business as usual, as the senator sits for an interview on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," travels to Iowa and South Carolina for two forums and takes a tour of Rep. Rashida Tlaib's Michigan congressional district -- all over the course of just five days.
Sanders earned solid reviews this week for returning to the debate stage with the same vitality we've come to expect over the past four years. But the weeks ahead may still be viewed as a test of whether he's up for the four arduous months remaining before the early states vote and caucus.
The combination of a reinvigorated return to the stump, a couple of endorsements from the "Squad," and his field-leading $33.7 million on-hand could be the boost he needs to arrest his recent poll slide and give his campaign a second wind.
ONE MORE THING
"I instantly fell in love with her. And then I've fallen in love with her more every day," Hunter Biden says of marrying his new bride, Melissa Cohen Biden, after only knowing her for six days. The former vice president's son talks about why his life is in "the best place I've ever been" in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who explains why acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's comments about Ukraine aid money may change the conversation around impeachment. Then, ABC News' James Longman checks in from Iraq to discuss the Syria ceasefire announcement. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a vocal supporter of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate and current CNN political contributor joins ABC News' Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the podcast. http://apple.co/2Zfz5nD
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