The Note: Erstwhile allies keep Trump on guard and off message

Michael Cohen's memorial "Disloyal" hits shelves Tuesday.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Eight weeks from Tuesday is Election Day. As the president waits on that winning streak, he can and will blame those who once counted themselves among the Trump faithful.

Labor Day weekend was overtaken by anonymous quotes offered by former administration insiders, as published in The Atlantic. While former Vice President Joe Biden was in battleground Pennsylvania on Monday, Trump was at the White House, where he used a news conference to push back on the story -- and to suggest he isn't supported by Pentagon brass who "want to do nothing but fight wars."

Tuesday is publication day for the book by former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to financial crimes including a campaign-finance violation connected to Trump, labels his former boss "a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man."

Next week brings Bob Woodward's latest -- a book helped along with the cooperation of a wide range of current and former officials, including the president himself.

The final stretch of the campaign will look different than the race has in a while. The Democratic candidates will actually be on the trail with some regularity from here, and the once-daunting cash edge enjoyed by the president has evaporated.

Onetime Trump insiders turning on him -- and the president turning right back on them -- is nothing new for this White House. But the intensity of this final stretch is likely to magnify new revelations, and keep the focus away from where the president wants it.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Trump kicked off his Labor Day press conference painting a rosy picture of the nation's economic recovery.

"Under my leadership, next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country," he said.

He did not address, however, the fact that in August more people said that they had permanently lost their jobs instead of only being furloughed.

While it's true unemployment rates have continued to fall, they are also falling at a slower rate now than over the summer, which could be a sign that a full recovery and rebuilding could take a long time.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are still without work, and those receiving unemployment benefits are no longer receiving those supplemental funds that they received earlier this year. The extra monthly money proposed by the White House mostly has not kicked in yet.

Another key data point when dissecting economic numbers and forecasts: Of the 1.4 million jobs added in August, over a quarter million were temporary government hires for the census.

The TIP with Averi Harper

"I mean they're an incredible family, and what they've endured, and they just do it with such dignity and grace," said Harris. "They're carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders."

Blake remains paralyzed in an area hospital.

While Harris was on the ground in Wisconsin, the Biden-Harris campaign announced that she would travel to Miami with her husband Doug Emhoff Thursday. Harris, according to Biden himself, will be utilized to maximize the ground covered in battleground states between now and Election Day.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers, who tells us how President Trump and Joe Biden plan to make their case as the final stretch of the campaign begins. ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein explains why the holiday weekend could prove troublesome to states that had seen progress in battling COVID-19 cases. And ABC News' Zohreen Shah checks in from the fireline in California after a weekend of record heat and big wildfires.

FiveThirtyEight's Politics Podcast. As he had in 2016, it appears that President Trump has an advantage in the Electoral College, setting him up to potentially win reelection while again losing the popular vote. On this installment of Model Talk on the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Nate Silver and Galen Druke discuss how big Trump's advantage in the Electoral College might be and answer questions from listeners.


  • Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" and "The View."
  • President Donald Trump will deliver remarks in Jupiter, Florida, and later host a campaign rally in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Jill Biden will virtually host roundtable conversations in Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada as part of her national "Back-to-School" tour.
  • New Hampshire and Rhode Island will hold statewide primaries.
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