The Note: The tale of the Trump 'tapes' isn't over

“I did not make, and do not have, any such recording,” Trump tweeted Thursday.

ByVERONICA STRACQUALURSI
June 23, 2017, 6:45 AM

— -- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • It's a tough path to 50 votes for the Senate health care bill, especially when four Republican senators won't support the plan in its current form, and time is ticking until the July 4 recess.
  • What's next for the Senate health care bill? More discussions and most likely some tweaks while everyone waits for the Congressional Budget Office's score, which is expected next week.
  • Lordy, there are no tapes! President Trump said he wasn't sitting on secret recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. "I did not make, and do not have, any such recording," Trump tweeted Thursday.
  • More shade thrown at Mueller; In an interview with Fox News, Trump said it's "very bothersome" that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "very, very good friends" with Comey.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    The tale of the "tapes" has been a sordid one, a head-scratcher that puts some of President Trump's least-subtle impulses on awkward display. Without the tweet, it's possible we still don't know James Comey's side of the story … and that Robert Mueller never gets the job the president thinks he may be too biased to be holding. Even now, filling space otherwise reserved for a political victory lap and health care momentum in the Senate, Trump isn't quite closing out the possibility that tapes exist. (His words rarely seem chosen carefully, but "I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings" sounds like a lawyer's insert.) And Trump is keeping up his pressure on Mueller, declaring him to be "very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome." The whole episode has been bothersome, even for Trump allies. Tapes or no, the recordings of the era will demonstrate distractions, missed opportunities and even stronger consequences ahead.

    POTAYTO, POTAHTO

    After all the hype about Republicans' starting over and writing their own bill, the Senate repeal and replace discussion draft looks roughly similar to the House health care bill that has proven itself to be deeply unpopular. Experts predict it would likely have effects comparable to the House's in terms of how many Americans would lose coverage and how much more people buying their own insurance would have to pay to keep the coverage they have. As for writing a bill with more "heart," cuts would come more slowly, but the bill proposes Medicaid reductions that are more dramatic than even the House version, in the long term. But perhaps parsing this draft is a futile effort anyway. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes, and four conservatives rejected this draft within hours. Maybe the bill in the upper chamber is DOA. That, or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pre-wrote a script for us all. Monday, after getting to stand for their principles, the same conservatives now opposed could offer an amendment in act two, perhaps, and drama similar to what we saw in the House unfolds. But that assumes keeping the moderates on board. And for McConnell to get his vote next week, the resolution scene needs to come fast, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks writes.

    WHAT TO WATCH

    SUNDAY ON "THIS WEEK": After the Senate GOP unveils its health care bill draft, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., respond in a Sunday exclusive.

    VP Mike Pence gives remarks at the Focus on the Family 40th Anniversary Celebration.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Adam Kelsey

    What's inside the Senate GOP health care bill. Here's how the Senate bill differs from the one passed by the House: http://abcn.ws/2sUd2Fq

    'Powerhouse Politics' podcast: Rep. Tim Ryan says Pelosi is 'impediment' to taking back House majority. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stands in the way of the party's goal of flipping control of the House back in their favor for the first time since 2010. "It's not personal against Leader Pelosi, it's just reality," Ryan said, adding later his belief that Pelosi's leadership "provide[s] a good, solid impediment" to taking back the majority. http://abcn.ws/2t0rTil

    DNC Chairman Tom Perez cites trends as indication Dems could take the House. The results of recent congressional elections suggest that Democrats could "take 50 seats" in the House of Representatives in 2018, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said on "The View"Wednesday. http://abcn.ws/2suZJdY

    Solar border wall was "my idea," Trump says. When President Trump pitched his idea for an energy-producing border wall covered in solar panels Wednesday night to that spirited campaign crowd in Iowa, he called the proposal "my idea." Back in April, however, when Department of Homeland Security was reviewing bids for the wall project, at least one contractor, Gleason Partners LLC of Las Vegas, submitted a plan to use solar panels to cover sections of the wall. http://abcn.ws/2sGze3Q

    WHO'S TWEETING?

    @JasonLeopold: SCOOP: I obtained via #FOIA the email @PreetBharara wrote to DOJ about his phone call from Trump http://bzfd.it/2tAR48m

    @Carrasquillo: Scoop: Trump Told Dems He Wants To Do Something About Deported Veterans. His Staff Not So Much https://www.buzzfeed.com/adriancarrasquillo/trump-told-democrats-he-wants-to-do-something-about?utm_term=.nfeLpMMpQX … via @buzzfeednews

    @SethAbramson: In an interview airing Friday, Trump says he's bothered Mueller is friends with Comey and will "have to see" if Mueller must recuse himself.

    @mkraju: Yet another off-camera WH briefing tomorrow; Spicer at 1:30pm Friday

    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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