The Note: Undisclosed Trump-Putin meeting is latest firestorm

Trump looks for a path forward on health care though he does not have the votes.

ByABC News
July 19, 2017, 7:10 AM


  • Lunch on him: He doesn't have the votes but President Trump looks for a path forward on health care as he hosts Republican senators for lunch at the White House today.
  • Mitch McConnell can count but he still wants to hold a vote early next week to start debate on a plan that would repeal Obamacare now and work on a replacement later.
  • It's getting crowded in there. An eighth person was in that Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer, and investigators are going to want to talk to all of them.
  • Trump had a previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a "couples-only social dinner at the G-20." "Press knew!" Trump tweeted. What wasn't known: The so-called "brief" conversation was about an hour long and only a Russian translator was part of the Trump-Putin exchange.
  • On the road again: The president has a rally in Ohio scheduled now for next Tuesday.
  • Looking ahead to 2018: There's no huge impact from Trump's low popularity yet. Fifty-three percent of Americans in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll want Democrats to take control of Congress. But 51 percent say Trump isn't a factor in their vote.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    The GOP health care proposals are now in their zombie phase, and the undead can be hard to kill off. Perhaps that's why President Trump is responding to major setbacks by attacking just about everybody -- Democrats, Republicans and even the people who depend on Obamacare for their health insurance -- if he's serious about letting insurance markets fail now. Where he's not assigning blame, of course, is on himself: "I'm not going to own it," the president declared. That – aside from being a stunning abdication of presidential responsibility, if he's serious -- means that the White House plan is that there is no plan. The president will lunch with all Republican senators today to try to change minds one last time. But in blaming basically everybody, Trump's own actions have given those senators no real political wiggle room. Just because Trump doesn't have a strategy, though, doesn't mean Republicans in Congress can't. A failed vote next week would free up lawmakers to go rogue, and even – gasp – talk to people on the other side of the aisle.


    "I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it." -- President Trump


    Trump's election integrity commission holds its first meeting amid pushback from state election officials and legal challenges to the commission's request for voter data.


    The House Budget Committee will mark up its budget resolution today and likely vote the bill out of committee. Republicans need the resolution to pass in both chambers so subsequent legislation tied to it, like tax overhaul, can pass in the Senate with only 50 votes under Senate rules dealing with budget bills. Here are five interesting stipulations Republicans proposed Tuesday: Prohibit funding for high-speed rail; phase out grants to expand existing mass transit projects or build new ones; require federal employees, including members of Congress and their staffs, to make greater contributions to their own benefit retirement plans; eliminate a person's ability to receive both unemployment insurance and disability insurance; and eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Regulatory Policy and Management. "As an executive agency created merely to enforce congressional statutes, the EPA should have no policy priority agenda at all," they wrote, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks notes.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam

    Author: Bannon looked more favorably upon Ryan after Trump entered office. On Tuesday's edition of the "Powerhouse Politics," Businessweek correspondent Joshua Green said President Trump and White House strategist Steve Bannon were seduced to a "large extent" by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan after Trump "got into office." Green believes Ryan was able to woo Bannon, thanks to support for the border adjustment tax.

    Feinstein: Mueller has cleared Donald Trump Jr., Manafort for public interviews. Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort have been cleared by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify in an open session before the Senate Judiciary Committee about their June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Tuesday.

    Trump admin tries to thread its own needle on Iran. The Trump administration has once again kept the Iran deal alive while taking a hard line on the country with a new round of sanctions. Here's what you need to know about what they are doing and what could be next.

    Russians leave meeting without their seized U.S. compounds. Russia and the Trump administration are still at odds after a high-level meeting over two Russian diplomatic compounds that the United States seized last year, a Kremlin official said Tuesday, while the United States was mum on the issue. The State Department said the two sides are discussing a date to meet again.


    @jonkarl: .@realDonaldTrump tells me he's "disappointed. Very disappointed" the repeal/replace plan failed. "We need to elect more Republicans in '18"

    @DanaPerino: I recommend a POTUS press conference. Just surprise the media. Seize the day. Steer the news. Take a risk - it has served him well before.

    @WSJPolitics: Oklahoma's Mary Fallin emerges as champion of conservative criminal justice reform by @BethReinhard

    @WayneRandazzo: Chris Christie just caught a foul ball at the #Mets game. He was booed, but he did give it to a kid.

    @ABC: House to vote next week on Pres. Trump's $1.6 billion request to begin construction of border wall.

    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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