The Note: GOP's hopes and fears in Trump's hands

PHOTO: President Donald Trump listens to a question as he meets with the Emir of Kuwait Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 5, 2018, in Washington, DC.PlayAlex Edelman- Pool/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Trump battles Obama, bombshell book ahead of midterms

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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Former President Barack Obama over the weekend called it a “push and pull” – a contrast “between those who promote the politics of hope and those who exploit the politics of fear.”

The stage is set for two presidents to do battle over the next eight weeks, with the GOP’s hopes and fears wrapped up in the sway and conduct of President Donald Trump.

Republicans hope that concerns about Trump’s fitness for office and penchant for drama won’t subsume their messaging. They fear that there’s little to nothing that can be done about that.

They hope that the walls of Robert Mueller’s investigation don’t squeeze the president to the point of further lashing out – or worse. They fear that wrinkles like those added by George Papadopoulos are inevitable.

As for Obama, his voice gets elevated as the primary season winds to a close. Democrats recall what the politics of hope can bring, but fear the memories of when it has fallen short.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump waves to the crowd during a Make America Great Again rally in Billings, Mont., Sept. 6, 2018.Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump waves to the crowd during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Billings, Mont., Sept. 6, 2018.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The White House is benefitting from the mystery “who-dunnit” over last week’s anonymous op-ed, let alone perhaps from outing the culprit.

By focusing the attention on who exactly penned that anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, the White House can try to paint a picture of a villain, a singular bad guy.

In fact, if you stop to re-examine the content of the op-ed — written by a senior administration official who accuses the president of amorality and claims people within the administration are in essence saving the country from the president himself — you’ll find themes that are both disturbing and widely repeated.

What’s makes the article especially powerful is that the assertions line up with the recent book put out by veteran journalist Bob Woodward, and statements from outgoing staff.

As ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent Jon Karl said on “This Week” Sunday, “From the first weeks of the Trump administration, I have had top people on his team, including people very much with the program generally, tell me, ‘You think it’s crazy. You should see the stuff we stop from happening.”’

But by making it about the search for the author, the president is deflecting from the prose.

The TIP with Christopher Donato

New York’s insurgent Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon is calling a flier sent out against her “disgusting” and “deeply offensive.”

The flier, paid for by the New York Democratic Committee, insinuated “inexperienced Cynthia Nixon” is anti-Semitic and won’t stand strong for Jewish communities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he “didn’t know about the mailer” and that the language was “inappropriate.” The New York State Democratic Committee on Sunday called the mailer “wrong and inappropriate” and the committee’s executive director, Geoff Berman, said that party “will work with the Nixon campaign to send out a mailing of their choosing to the same universe of people.”

While greeting voters in Manhattan on Sunday evening, Nixon told reporters that the mailer was full of “outright lies” and called for the party to fire those individuals who were “involved in concocting this flyer, executing it, [and] signing off on it.”

The mailer was the latest setback for Cuomo this weekend. On Friday, the Tappan Zee Bridge had become “destabilized,” delaying the opening of the new Mario Cuomo Bridge. Cuomo had attended the new bridge’s ribbon cutting ceremony hours earlier.

The primary for New York governor will be held this Thursday, Sept. 13.

PHOTO: Cynthia Nixon speaks at the Democratic gubernatorial primary debate, Aug. 29, 2018, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/AP
Cynthia Nixon speaks at the Democratic gubernatorial primary debate, Aug. 29, 2018, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump has no scheduled public events. He will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence behind closed doors at 12:30 p.m. at the White House.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions gives remarks to the largest class of immigration judges in history for the Executive Office for Immigration Review at 8:45 a.m. ET in Falls Church, Virginia.
  • Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt discusses the Endangered Species Act and proposed changes to the ESA at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., at noon.
  • Andy Ellard, proprietor of a family owned machining facility Manda Machine, welcomes House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, to visit his small business and discuss how tax reform helped expand his operations at 1:45 p.m. CT in Dallas Texas.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president and having probing questions that I thought might incriminate the sitting president.” — Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos when asked about last year’s meeting with the FBI.

    18 FOR '18 CHANGES

    ABC News political team is making three changes to its "18 for '18" coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. New to the list of races is the U.S. Senate race in Texas between GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an incumbent versus incumbent matchup in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Keith Rothfus, and a closely watched race in Virginia's 10th Congressional District between Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton and GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Learn more about all 18 races HERE.

    THE PLAYLIST

    ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning’s episode features ABC News Senior Investigative producer Matthew Mosk recapping George Papadopoulous’ exclusive interview with ABC News: “He had a lot to say.” And, ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz checks in from Pyongyang, where North Korea celebrated its 70th anniversary in grand style. https://bit.ly/2Ohkpz8

    NEED TO READ

    Trump campaign members were ‘fully aware’ of efforts to set Putin meeting: Papadopoulos. George Papadopoulos, the one-time foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump who became swept up in the special counsel investigation, says members of the Trump campaign team were “fully aware” and in many cases supportive of his efforts to broker a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Matthew Mosk and Kaitlyn Folmer) https://abcn.ws/2CxznPz

    Papadopoulos’ wife acknowledges that special counsel team suspected her of being a Russian spy. Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, wife of former Trump campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, said in an exclusive live interview with her husband on “This Week” Sunday that her international political background raised “a red flag” for U.S. investigators. (Roey Hadar) https://abcn.ws/2wVlu8E

    Michael Cohen agrees to tear up nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels. An attorney for Michael Cohen, the ex-lawyer and fixer of President Donald Trump, filed a notice late Friday in U.S. District Court via his company Essential Consultants, LLC, agreeing to tear up the nondisclosure agreement barring porn star Stormy Daniels from discussing her alleged affair with Trump. (James Hill) https://abcn.ws/2QkcIsW

    Ailing US man sentenced to 15 years in Egyptian prison in case called ‘a disgrace.’ A New York City taxicab driver, a U.S. citizen, who was arrested in Egypt when he went to visit his wife and children has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in a case his lawyers call “bogus” and “a disgrace.” (Conor Finnegan) https://abcn.ws/2wWzAGC

    Republicans running for governor look for success in unlikely places: Blue states. The Washington Post reports. https://wapo.st/2MWwjRP

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump. The New York Times reports. https://nyti.ms/2NpVJ9Z

    With a string of polls showing GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead slipping, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick showed up in Washington on July 25 to deliver an urgent plea to White House officials: Send President Donald Trump. Politico reports. https://politi.co/2wWXzot

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

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