The Note: ‘Co-equal’ House shows Trump power of ‘no’

A president cannot be outranked.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

A president cannot be outranked -- something the current president is good about reminding his party of rather regularly.

But he can be outflanked. And now, for the first time in his time in public life, President Donald Trump could be outvoted.

In just a few words in her speech accepting the post, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded Trump of the new order in Washington. Congress, Pelosi said, is “co-equal to the presidency.”

Her House Democratic majority already backed that message up with a series of votes to reopen the federal government, without funding for a border wall. The message continues on Friday with an election-reform package that would, among many other things, require presidential candidates to release their tax returns.

The president still has tricks up his sleeve, even though a trip to the White House briefing room wasn’t enough to take the limelight from Pelosi and the newly Democratic House.

But when “Chuck and Nancy” -- or, more accurately, “Nancy and Chuck” -- visit with the president Friday to talk about the shutdown, a new reality is in place.

There’s someone in office who has the power to tell Trump “no.”

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Secretaries of the Interior and Defense, Ambassador to the United Nations, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Attorney General. It’s a long list of top-level administration slots that are in limbo.

Following several resignations and a firing, those posts are filled with temporary leaders until the Senate confirms new appointees.

Notably, only the Judiciary Committee has sent a notice about the start of hearings to evaluate the president’s next pick for Attorney General, William Barr. That leaves a lot of work to be scheduled, let alone completed.

So, in addition to working to re-open the government, the U.S. Senate will likely spend a significant amount of time the rest of this month and the next holding hearings and taking votes to get the president’s cabinet back to full strength.

The TIP with John Verhovek

Just four days into 2019, and a presidential contender is already hitting the stump in the state of Iowa.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s decision, right before the new year, to form a presidential exploratory committee sounded the unofficial starting gun for the 2020 Democratic nomination. As she embarks Friday on a three-day swing across the Hawkeye State, voters are bound to get the clearest picture yet of her strategy on the campaign trail.

It’s a picture that is sure to change, if and when, potential candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders -- and others seeking the same rhetorical lane -- begin to make decisions about their own presidential bids.

But for now Warren’s message, which is heavy on the progressive ideas and anti-corporate rhetoric that helped spur Sanders to a near victory in the state’s 2016 caucus, will go largely unchallenged by what is expected to be a massive field of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

With five events in five cities, the trip is a crucial opportunity for Warren to introduce herself to an electorate that has the power to make or break her candidacy come February of next year.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast.

Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Political director Rick Klein, who breaks down the practical implications of the new, historically diverse Congress. Then, ABC News’ Trish Turner, Katherine Faulders and Ben Siegel preview the potential investigations Democrats might take up now that they’re in power.


The House of Representatives will be in session starting at 9 a.m. with the last vote scheduled for noon.

The Senate will reconvene at 9:45 a.m.

The new House speaker and House Democrats will hold a press event to introduce H.R. 1, a reform package titled, “For the People Act” at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will hold several events in Iowa this weekend. On Friday, she will hold an organizing event in Council Bluffs at 6 p.m. On Saturday, she will hold an organizing event in Sioux City at 9:30 a.m., a round table in Storm Lake at 12:45 p.m. and another organizing event in Des Moines at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, she will hold a conversation with women leaders at 12:15 p.m. in Ankenv.

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