The Note: Forces even bigger than a disruptive president

This week seemed to do its best to overload Washington’s circuits.

March 23, 2018, 5:55 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

This week seemed to do its best to overload Washington’s circuits.

H.R. McMaster and John Dowd are out, while John Bolton and Joe diGenova go from defending President Donald Trump on television to working for him.

Nice words for Vladimir Putin, and not-nice words for Robert Mueller. A Facebook scandal impacting the Trump campaign.

The capital teetered between a budget-busting spending bill and a government showdown, with a spring snowstorm and Sens. Rand Paul and Jim Risch rocking things along. There are threats of a global trade war, and threats of a fight between the sitting president and a former vice president.

(Along the way, Karen McDougal got her say last night, and Stormy Daniels gets her turn Sunday.)

For all the wild storylines, the week proves again that there are forces bigger than the disruptive president – and no, that doesn’t include former Vice President Joe Biden’s fists.

Congress and the judicial system are playing things out via their own rhythms. So is Mueller, and so are the markets, and so are allies and adversaries alike.

Trump, as always, is in the middle of the wild action. Even when he’s driving that action, he isn’t always alone at the controls.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Whether or not the pairs of feet on the National Mall this Saturday will correlate to actual votes in November remains to be seen.

Arguably, the purpose of the weekend’s “March for Our Lives” is much bigger and more profound than a few election victories, but as cynical as it may be, politicians tend to respond to polling data more than protests.Democrats feel confident that those marching for new gun safety legislation would likely vote for their candidates if they vote at all. As such, some Democratic campaign aides have expressed frustration that their party has not done more to capitalize on the moment.

One senior Democratic official who works closely with the Democratic National Committee told ABC News: “There should be people with clipboards organizing everyone who shows up on Saturday. It would be wise for progressive organizations and political parties to tap into what these students have built.”

But others say the fact that so many Democratic lawmakers joined in solidarity with the students who walked out of class last week was a good start in helping these activists feel heard. After all, maybe young people don’t want to be lectured on how or if to vote.

The TIP with WLS’ Eric Horng

A former Chicago police superintendent, who came under fire after the city's release of dashcam footage showing the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, announced Wednesday night he will run for mayor, challenging the man who appointed him - current mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In a video posted on his campaign website, Garry McCarthy said Chicago is on the wrong path.

"We can't lift this city up if our citizens don't trust their mayor to do what's right. The mayor has promised results for years, but he's failed over and over again," he said in the video.

McCarthy, 58, joins an already crowded field of potential challengers, including former Chicago Public Schools principal Troy LaRaviere, businessman Willie Wilson, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin.

Emanuel appointed McCarthy as police superintendent shortly after his election in 2011. He resigned at Emanuel's request on Dec. 1, 2015, after massive protests followed the release of the video showing McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in Oct. 2014. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.

The election is next February.


  • President Trump meets with the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security and the deputy secretary of state before he heads to Mar-a-Lago to spend the weekend in Florida.
  • Rep. John Lewis, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speak at Rep. Louise Slaughter’s funeral service beginning at 11 a.m.
  • Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School descend on the nation’s capital ahead of Saturday’s “March For Our Lives,” holding a rally on the steps of the Capitol Friday morning.
  • Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Washington, D.C.’s Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser hold a press conference on gun safety with students and advocates on Capitol Hill. In the evening, there will be a vigil at the National Cathedral for “March For Our Lives” participants.
  • First lady Melania Trump delivers remarks at the State Department’s Annual International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m.
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed the Convention of States Project’s national call to rein in the federal government under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Read his endorsement here.

    “Don't run for president.” — President Trump said Thursday, apparently in jest, when asked what advice he’d give his 25-year-old self at a White House forum with millennials.


    Gen. H.R. McMaster resigning as national security adviser. President Donald Trump and National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster mutually agreed that the three-star general and Iraq war veteran will leave the Trump administration, the White House confirmed on Thursday. (Justin Fishel, Devin Dwyer, Cindy Smith and Halimah Abdullah)

    Facebook senior staff brief Congress amid backlash over how users’ data was used. On the heels of a rare series of public interviews by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg - the social media giant is sending senior staff to Capitol Hill on Thursday to brief aides to key committees on the controversy over its role in the exposure of as many as 50 million of its users’ private information to a data-science firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Trish Turner, Jeffrey Cook and Benjamin Siegel)

    'Pink wave' candidates' campaign ads highlight breastfeeding. The “pink wave” of women running for office includes some candidates breastfeeding in their campaign ads — a move they say underscores the dynamic role of mothers in the political sphere. (Paola Chavez)

    Parkland students join lawmakers and gun safety advocates to call for change ahead of Saturday march. Students who survived the Parkland shooting last month joined with teachers, lawmakers and other stakeholders for a press conference on Capitol Hill today as part of their buildup to this weekend’s March for Our Lives on the National Mall. (Ali Rogin)

    Rand Paul threatening to delay Senate spending bill vote to avoid shutdown. The Senate is working against a midnight Friday deadline to pass a $1.3. trillion spending bill to keep the government from running out of money – but as he's done before – Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is threatening delays that could cause another shutdown. (Jeffrey Cook and Ali Rogin)

    House Intelligence Committee votes to release GOP report finding no evidence of collusion. The House Intelligence Committee voted Thursday along party lines to release the Republican majority’s report on its Russia investigation, formally shutting down the only authorized House investigation into Russian election meddling and allegations of collusion. (Benjamin Siegel)

    'This can be a very mean-spirited town': Tillerson's goodbye. After battling rumors he'd be leaving the State Department for more than half his tenure, Rex Tillerson has finally left the building – and he took a parting shot as he did so Thursday. (Conor Finnegan)

    Trump's proposed ban on transgender troops uncertain at Friday deadline. President Donald Trump's proposed ban on military service by transgender individuals is supposed to go into effect Friday but it’s unclear if the White House will announce any new policy. (Elizabeth McLaughlin and Luiz Martinez)

    The Daily Beast has learned that the DNC Hacker, Guccifer 2.0, who communicated with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, inadvertently revealed he was a Russian intelligence officer. The investigation was taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

    NPR reports on a new Gallup poll that shows nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers do not want to carry guns in school, and they overwhelmingly favor gun control measures over security steps meant to "harden" schools.

    Politico reports McConnell averted another shutdown with “begging, pleading and cajoling.” The chamber voted 65-32 to pass the $1.3 trillion spending package and send it to President Donald Trump.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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