The Note: Democratic candidates avoid Trump's bait

Democrats know where President Donald Trump wants to take them.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Democrats know where President Donald Trump wants to take them. They don't want to go there.

Critical to Trump's defense of himself -- up to and including a misleading campaign ad, and the president's attempts to malign and perhaps threaten the whistleblower -- is to focus scrutiny on former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Democratic 2020 contenders may not love the arrangement that saw Hunter Biden gain work from foreign entities while his father was vice president. But there's no sign of them turning on the Democratic front-runner.

"As far as I'm concerned, leave Joe Biden alone," Sen. Kamala Harris said over the weekend.

"I will be standing firmly in defense of Joe Biden throughout this process, because this in no way can besmirch his character, his honor, and his incredible service to this country," Sen. Cory Booker said on CNN Sunday.

GOP defenses of Trump could run counter to public opinion. An ABC News/Ipsos poll out Sunday shows nearly two-thirds of Americans view Trump's ask of the Ukrainian president as a serious problem. Such among 9 in 10 Democrats -- and, perhaps more surprisingly, nearly a third of Republicans.

The president is playing the victim card. But Trump's strategy truly only works if he can victimize others -- something his rivals aren't inclined to allow.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Late Friday night Trump signed a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open and funded until right before Thanksgiving.

The bipartisan deal averted a possible government shutdown this week.

With an impeachment inquiry now underway, the question now becomes whether Trump and Republicans will play ball again or risk grinding the government to a halt over pending investigations.

"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," the president said during his February State of the Union address.

Democrats have sworn they can walk and chew gum at the same time: investigate and legislate, but that theory will be tested with real consequences very soon.

The TIP with Justin Gomez

The clock is ticking on Sen. Cory Booker's self-imposed deadline to fundraise $1.7 million in 10 days to cap off the end of the third quarter, which he says is required to continue his presidential campaign.

The latest figure released by Booker's campaign, late Sunday night, showed he was about $10,000 shy of his goal heading toward Monday night's midnight deadline.

When the call for help originally was announced Sept. 21, the senator insisted this was not an "end-of-quarter stunt" and that the 10-day window would decide whether he had a "path in this race."

Another confidence boost for Booker should he hit his fundraising target is the revelation he's made the donor threshold to qualify for the November Democratic presidential debate. The senator now just needs two more qualifying polls to make the stage.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning’s episode features the latest fallout from the whistleblower complaint, with ABC News Senior Executive Producer Chris Vlasto and ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks. Then ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell recaps a weekend of clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and police in Hong Kong.


  • The Federal Election Commission's third quarter fundraising period for the 2020 presidential election ends at 11:59 p.m.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has a meet-and-greet at Zoka Cofee in Seattle at 9 a.m. PDT.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has a "Breakfast with Bernie" event at the American Legion Merrill-Follansbee Post in Hooksett, New Hampshire, at 10 a.m. He then has a town hall at Boards & Brews in Manchester at 2 p.m. He has a "Nursing Home Workers Solidarity Action" event with SEA/SEIU Local 1984 at Rockingham Nursing Home in Brentwood at 3:45 p.m. Later, he has a rally at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 5 p.m.
  • Marianne Williamson appears on the Fallon Forum radio show, broadcast from Fallon Urban Farm in Des Moines, Iowa, at 11:05 a.m. CDT. She then has a "Caucus for Kids" event at New Horizon Academy at 3 p.m. Later, she speaks at Drake University at 7 p.m.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has a "Coffee with the Candidate" event at Farm Grounds in Nevada, Iowa, at 12 p.m. CST.
  • Andrew Yang has a rally at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. PST.
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS at 11:35 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the sharpest political analysis every weekday.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.