-- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
President Trump needs Congress more than ever, if his goal is advancing a legislative agenda. If his goal, though, is advancing Trumpism – and Tuesday-night Trump was Trumpism in its purest presidential distillation – then he won't be seeking the help of either political party. He's his own entity if he wants to shut down the government to force funding for a border wall, or tack on other controversial priorities to delicate budget and debt-ceiling talks. He's especially alone if he continues his war on senators from his own party. "In terms of being tough with members of the Senate," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said late-Wednesday, "I think everybody knows this president isn't somebody who backs down." Complicating all this is that Congress is entering a period where bipartisanship isn't a luxury, it's a necessity, given the narrow GOP margins, even aside from the Senate rules that Trump (and virtually no actual senators) wants changed. Now, the challenge might actually be tripartisanship. Try crafting a functioning government out of some combination of Democrats, Republicans, and Trumpists, with an unpredictable president not necessarily in the center of the action.
FIRST ON ABC NEWS
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launches a new campaign today going all in on the debate over Confederate statues and advocating for their removal across the country. The new drive comes after a tumultuous week for the nearly 100-year-old organization. Many donors and activists were angry to learn that the group, with its long history as a steadfast defender of free speech, had helped white nationalists in Charlottesville secure a permit to protest. The position, while consistent with its original mission, puts it at odds with legions of supporters who see the ACLU as a leader on the left and especially a voice for minorities in the era of Trump. The ACLU will host a livestream discussion tonight titled "When Heritage = Hate; the Truth about the Confederacy in the America," with its top legal expert on racial justice issues. "We'll dive into what these symbols really mean and how they've been used by politicians to rewrite history and incite racial violence," the group writes previewing the event, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks reports.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I don't think a government shutdown is necessary and I don't think most people want to see a government shutdown." -- House Speaker Paul Ryan on President Trump's threat to shut down the government if there's no border wall funding
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam
ANALYSIS: Trump seeks out divisions to heal himself. It's been a whirlwind week for Trump, just in terms of the tone he offers in public statements. Monday was somber and statesmanlike, for the most part, as he issued a national call for unity while announcing an Afghanistan strategy that will send more U.S. troops to war. The president hit similar notes Wednesday, telling a crowd of veterans that their sacrifice can serve as an example for all Americans. http://abcn.ws/2g6HCY1
How Republicans are responding to Trump's government shutdown threat. There has been little indication that Republican leadership would be willing to risk a government shutdown to get their way, as shutdowns can cost the federal government billions of dollars and tend to be politically unpopular. http://abcn.ws/2wze2BE
Charities, nonprofits pull events from Mar-a-Lago amid Charlottesville controversy. A number of high-profile charitable organizations have canceled planned fundraising events and galas at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, amid growing backlash to the president's response to the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia. In total, 19 organizations confirmed to ABC News plans to cancel or move events scheduled at Mar-a-Lago this coming year. http://abcn.ws/2idLMOn
White House sets rules for military transgender ban. The Wall Street Journal
Exclusive: Top Trump aide's email draws new scrutiny in Russia inquiry. CNN
Groups: Justice court filings defy Trump promises on religious freedom. The Hill
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.