The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump's allies and opponents have spent much of the past five years wondering if the laws of political gravity apply to him.
It turns out that it's not physics so much as biology that has contributed to the worst political stretch of his presidency.
Blunt assessments are reaching the president directly: "He is losing," former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "The trend is obvious. The trend is moving toward Joe Biden, when Joe Biden hasn't said a word."
Trump's inability to answer a softball question about his second-term agenda last week crystalized Republican concerns.
His casual retweet of a video where a supporter yells "white power" suggests a recklessness -- or something far worse -- that the president's allies are finding harder to ignore. (Trump deleted the tweet hours later, with a White House spokesman saying the president "did not hear the one statement made on the video.")
Still, it's COVID-19 and all that it has meant for the country that has tested the president most directly. Trump saw early opportunities in selling a comeback and reigniting culture wars; flare-ups now in red states don't fit with his narrative.
The virus can't be tamed by political strategy, or by rosy assessments from White House officials. For now, at least, there are realities that Trump isn't able to escape -- even as warnings grow among those who want to see him win a second term.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Once again the Trump administration is facing serious questions and accusations about how it has responded to Russian aggression -- this time, specifically a Russian plot targeting U.S. troops.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos it was "totally outrageous" that Trump did not respond to reports that Russian intelligence officers offered to pay Taliban-linked militants to target American troops, calling the apparent lack of a U.S. response "appalling."
The key questions now ring familiar: What did President Trump know and when? Why were top congressional leaders not briefed as they normally are on sensitive military matters? Are NATO and EU partners demanding action or next steps?
A military source confirmed to ABC News that the intel first came to light around January, which means that since then, for context, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been invited to the White House and Trump has pushed for Russian inclusion in the G-7.
Pelosi said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that Democrats have called for a report to Congress and that lawmakers would try to "find out" if Trump or anyone else in the White House was briefed -- though the president suggested Sunday in a tweet that he was not.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Three more states are set to vote this Tuesday, but those races might be eclipsed by some of last week's unresolved contests in Kentucky and New York.
In Kentucky, a Senate Democratic primary between Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, and state Rep. Charles Booker, the state's youngest black state lawmaker, will be settled one week after in-person voting. Vote totals from the massive batch of mail-in ballots are expected to released on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The race could not be tighter, with Booker clinging to a narrow one-point lead over McGrath in early returns.
In New York, absentee ballots are likely to start being counted on Tuesday, bringing more clarity to a slew of close congressional races. With Jamaal Bowman, a progressive challenger, holding a more than 20-point lead over incumbent Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, much attention has turned to another committee chair on the cusp of losing a gavel and her seat. In the 12th Congressional District, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney is up by less than two percentage points over Suraj Patel, who competed against the incumbent Democrat just two years ago. And in the crowded brawl to replace retiring Congressman José Serrano, New York City Council member Ritchie Torres is currently leading the pack.
Meanwhile, as the primary season heads to its close, the reality of an election week, rather than an election day, is becoming more and more likely for November, as states across the country, particularly in the South and West, see a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
BRINGING AMERICA BACK
As COVID-19 cases increase in Texas and Florida, some city leaders are pushing back against what they say are governors' lax COVID-19 safeguards. Read this story and more by checking out Bringing America Back, an ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who examines the hospital situation as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country. ABC News' Rachel Scott tells us how the White House is responding after President Donald Trump retweeted a video of one of his supporters shouting "white power." And, retired Marine Col. and ABC News Contributor Stephen Ganyard explains the possible implications after a New York Times report revealed Russian spies offered Taliban-linked militants cash to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. At the start of the year, new voter registrations were up compared with early 2016 numbers, but as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country, new registrations plummeted. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Nathaniel Rakich and Kaleigh Rogers discuss the data they analyzed showing the drop-off and explain what happened. They also take stock of the impact the pandemic has made on Americans' ability to cast ballots during the primaries. https://53eig.ht/2N3pH1r
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