— -- By MICHAEL FALCONE
--JEB BUSH KICKS OFF A TRIP TO EUROPE TODAY, addressing the Economic Council of the Christian Democratic Union Party's annual conference in Germany. He's expected to take aim at Putin and Russia, asking, according to excerpts of his remarks as prepared for delivery: "Who can doubt that Russia will do what it pleases if its aggression goes unchecked?" More: “Russia must respect the sovereignty of all of its neighbors. And who can doubt that Russia will do what it pleases if its aggression goes unanswered? Our alliance, our solidarity and our actions are essential if we want to preserve the fundamental principles of our international order… an order that free nations have sacrificed so much to build?”
--WHERE HE’S GOING: Bush will be traveling to three nations: Germany, Poland, and Estonia. His first stop is in Berlin today, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH and CHRIS GOOD note. He’ll then head to Poland on Wednesday, with a stop in Warsaw on Thursday. From there, he’ll head to Tallinn, Estonia on Friday. There Bush will meet representatives of all the Baltic states at the International Center for Defense and Security and then tour NATO’s Cyber Defense Center of Excellence. On Saturday he will go to the e-Estonia showroom to meet with tech innovators. The stops are opportunities for Bush to focus on economic cooperation between the U.S. and Europe and to promote trade deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: So there’s no “complete strategy” for training Iraqis to combat ISIS, President Obama said Monday. And a domestic headline from that same news conference in Germany may be just as jarring: There’s also no “Plan B” for addressing the possibility that the Supreme Court could invalidate subsidies flowing to Americans who get their health care through federally run state exchanges. The president refused to entertain the possibility that the high court would side with plaintiffs in the case now before it. “If somebody does something that doesn't make any sense, then it’s hard to fix. And this would be hard to fix,” he said. “Fortunately, there’s no reason to have to do it.” He may be right, and he may even have some special insight into the minds of the justices. There may also be sound political and legal reasons to say there’s nothing wrong with the law, and nothing he should be looking at fixing. But if he’s wrong, 6.5 million Americans will lose access to affordable health care – reversing a central achievement of the president’s time in office. Maybe they will blame Republicans. But they will definitely be scrambling to restore their health coverage – and looking for any plan that gets that done.
with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
PRESIDENT OBAMA ON ISIS FIGHT: ‘WE DON’T YET HAVE A COMPLETELY STRATEGY.’ Ten months since the start of the American-led intervention against ISIS in Iraq, President Obama said yesterday that the United States does not have a "complete strategy" to defeat ISIS and stem the group's rise in Syria and Iraq. "We don't yet have a complete strategy," Obama said at the G7 summit of world leaders in Germany. "The details of that are not yet worked out." Obama said he will announce a proposal for escalating the speed and scale of the training of Iraqi forces "when a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon." He said the Iraqis still have to make commitments to make the strategy complete. The president's comments echoed a statement he made last August shortly after U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS first began, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS and BENJAMIN SIEGEL note. http://abcn.ws/1Mik0Em
OBAMA VOWS TO ADDRESS ‘SIGNIFICANT VULNERABILITIES’ AFTER LATEST CYBERATTACK. President Obama acknowledged the U.S. government needs to address "significant vulnerabilities" in its technology systems, commenting for the first time on the recent cyberattack that compromised the personal information of 4 million current and former government employees. "We have known for a long time that there are significant vulnerabilities and these vulnerabilities are going to accelerate as time goes by," the president said yesterday. Obama would not comment on who perpetrated the most recent hacking, but said both state and non-state actors are targeting the United States, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports. http://abcn.ws/1T7981m
THAT TIME OBAMA AND ANGELA MERKEL’S CONVERSATION TURNED INTO A SCENE FROM ‘THE SOUND OF MUSIC.’ In between family photos with leaders at the G7 Summit, cameras caught German Chancellor Angela Merkel animatedly speaking with a relaxed President Obama. The photo of Merkel with her arms outstretched prompted comparisons to Julie Andrews’ famous twirling scene in the Austrian Alps in “The Sound of Music.” PHOTO: http://abcn.ws/1dYlYPu
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s CHRIS GOOD: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in New Hampshire where he's attending a Politics and Eggs event hosted by the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. Rand Paul will deliver a keynote address at the Baltimore County, Md., GOP's annual dinner at 6:30 pm ET at Martin's West. Carly Fiorina will be in New Hampshire, where she'll attend an event with the Hudson GOP in Hudson at 12 pm ET and a New Boston GOP event in New Boston at 7 pm ET.
DENNIS HASTERT TO APPEAR IN FEDERAL COURT. With his initial court appearance set for today, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert emerged Monday from his sprawling vacation home in Wisconsin, where he has been secluded from public view, returning to his estate in Plano, Ill. Hastert left his Wisconsin property early Monday morning, driving with his wife in a black SUV on the four-hour journey to his Plano home where he did not slow down as he was met by reporters at the gate. Hastert is scheduled to appear in a Chicago federal court today for arraignment on federal bank fraud charges relating to payments he allegedly made to an unnamed individual to conceal “prior misconduct,” according to the Department of Justice. ABC’s MEGAN CHUCHMACH, BRIAN ROSS, and RHONDA SCHWARTZ has more. http://abcn.ws/1B28iwV
NOTED: HASTERT TO BE REPRESENTED BY HIGH POWERED D.C. ATTORNEY THOMAS GREEN. Hastert has hired veteran Washington white collar criminal defense attorney Thomas C. Green to head his legal team, ABC News has confirmed. Green told ABC News he will head up Hastert’s defense on the bank fraud charges that were laid out in a federal indictment issued two weeks ago. Green’s resume reads like a chronology of Washington crisis management. According to the law firm’s website, he was involved defending Minnesota Sen. David Durenburger, a Republican, who was censured by the U.S. Senate in 1990 for unethical conduct involving his evasion of limits on speaking fees, ABC’s MATTHEW MOSK notes. http://abcn.ws/1HjHPMA
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:
--BOEHNER TAKES ON OBAMA ON ISIS STRATEGY. House Speaker John Boehner’s office has released a new video highlighting Boehner’s calls for President Obama to lay out a “broad, overarching strategy to confront this terrorist threat.” According to a Boehner aide: “The president’s shocking admission -- even more shocking considering that nothing’s changed since he made the same admission last August -- underscores the fact that he doesn’t take the terrorist threat seriously and has no plan to destroy and degrade ISIL, the very goal he outlined.” WATCH: http://1.usa.gov/1T8Ohuy
--UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION RELEASED AD OPPOSING FAST TRACK. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is releasing a new ad (print and digital) opposing fast track trade authority for the president. The union’s president Marc Perrone also sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging a “no” vote: “Will you stand with the irresponsible corporations and special interests that are pushing fast track and the TPP? Or will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve? President Obama has regrettably made the vote about loyalty to him. At the UFCW, our loyalty is to the 1.3 million hard-working men and women we represent and their families. Your loyalty should be to this country, to your constituents, and not President Obama, one party, or a secret trade deal.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
BEER, BBQ AND KARAOKE: THE SCOTT WALKER LOVE STORY. Nothing says romance like sticky barbecue fingers. Or at least that seems to be the case for Wisconsin governor and likely presidential candidate, Scott Walker, and his wife, Tonette, whose love story unfolded over karaoke nights and ribs at a Milwaukee barbecue joint. "I met my wife at Saz’s, where they serve ribs, I proposed to her at Saz’s, and we went to Saz’s on our wedding night, so I love barbecue," Walker told a throng of reporters and voters who surrounded him as he sliced a large hunk of pork at last Saturday's "Roast and Ride," event in Iowa. Walker said they first locked eyes at a karaoke night at Saz’s, and though they did not talk that night, Walker made his first move with a note penned on a napkin. Walker said he and Tonette make it a tradition to return to the barbecue joint almost every year to celebrate their anniversary on Feb. 6, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS writes. http://abcn.ws/1GmkmJT
@ByronYork: Bush problems might not be fixable. But if there is solution, will come from Jeb himself, not from rearranged staff. http://ow.ly/O4qbR
@PhilipRucker: O'Malley, a charmer in '84 w/ guitar in Iowa: “...the farm wives, who loved hearing him sing in their kitchens.” http://wapo.st/1QGGVKB
@tackettdc: Rubio stands out for: youth, meteoric political rise -- & persistent doubts about his financial management http://nyti.ms/1MkxG1s
@BrianSandoval: ANNOUNCEMENT: Governor @BrianSandoval’s Statement Regarding U.S. Senate Opportunity http://bit.ly/1e01hTv -Team
@ijreview: Scott Walker Knows His Path to Victory in 2016 Must Include Winning A Key Region of the Country http://bit.ly/1KRT5ie