The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Robert Mueller’s investigation is now more than a year in, and we’re now less than half a year from the midterms.
For all that, it is becoming clear how much President Donald Trump is counting on … Kim Jong Un to come through.
A week that looked like it would bring a big step back for the Trump-Kim summit is ending instead on a positive note. That’s because Trump is being so relentlessly positive, choosing to ignore North Korean threats of scuttling the summit while even offering Kim “protections that are very strong” if a nuclear deal is reached.
“His country would be very rich,” Trump said.
The president is saving his Twitter wrath for the Mueller probe and Democrats these days. For now, Trump and the man he once called “Little Rocket Man” seem to be on the same wavelength.
That’s remarkable – and the president needs it to stay that way for a while longer. The stakes for his presidency are bigger than even a Nobel Peace Prize.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Congress and the country again this week dealt with tangled and, at times, conflicting policy agendas from Republicans and the Trump White House.
Imagine the roller coaster for farmers.
A $350 billion, five-year farm bill, with crucial federal crop insurance programs, is in jeopardy as some conservatives have withheld support in order to force a vote on a hardline immigration bill instead (an extreme immigration bill, mind you, that will not pass the Senate but that they think they need politically. On the other hand, undocumented immigrant arrests are up 26 percent this year under the Trump administration).
But while stress over the farm bill mounts, could farmers breathe a sigh of relief elsewhere?
The president this week did dramatically change his tune on possible tariffs against China, as farmers hoped he would.
He went from railing against the loss of U.S. jobs, to tweeting about the need to protect Chinese ones instead. Does that mean a possible trade war is off? Was the change because he needs help from Beijing on North Korea?
Foreign and domestic policy is hard and often four-dimensional.
The TIP with John Parkinson
Asked Thursday if she's concerned Democrats could be locked out of some key House districts where the party had big pickup opportunities, Pelosi let loose.
"The California system, the jungle primary, is something that is called a reform. And I remember years ago, Sen. Moynihan had said, 'If they call it a reform, it's not.' And this is not a reform. It is terrible."
There's so much "enthusiasm" this year, the House Minority Leader said, it's produced too many strong candidates.
"Many of these candidates have self-recruited, and they know their purpose, they know their subject, they have a plan to attract support to their beliefs, and they are connecting to the American voter about their aspirations and apprehensions."
To give the party a better chance at winning races in the June 5 primary, Pelosi said, House Democrats will be backing favorites.
"In the California situation, the Democrats, our congressional delegation may weigh in on some of the races to ensure that we have somebody in the top," she said. "They may be subjected to criticism for that, but I'd rather be criticized for winning, than criticized for losing."
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
• President Trump gives remarks at the prison reform summit in the East Room at 11:30 a.m.
• Then, at 2 p.m., the president meets with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the Oval Office.
• House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a ‘Moms Summit: Addressing the needs of America’s Families’ in celebration of Mother’s Day with panels on the health economic security, and civic engagement and leadership of American women at 9 a.m. on Capitol Hill.
• Missouri House members will call to order a special 30-day session to begin impeachment proceedings for Gov. Eric Greitens in wake of allegations of abuse and wrongfully obtaining a charity donor list to fundraise for political purposes. The proceedings begin at 6:30 p.m. at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.
• Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks at meeting of the Council for National Policy conservative group in Fairfax County, Va. at 1 p.m.
• This Week on ‘This Week’: The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, with Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, former Communications Director for Sen. Ted Cruz Amanda Carpenter, author of “Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us,” New Yorker Contributing Writer Ronan Farrow, author of “War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence,” American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp, and Axios National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It's clear that we don't have 218 for a specific bill." - House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, conceding that he cannot advance an immigration bill with only GOP support, as a group of moderate Republicans tries to force leadership to bring a bill to the floor.
NEED TO READ
President Trump offers Kim Jong Un 'protections' in exchange for giving up nukes. President Donald Trump Thursday offered "protections" to Kim Jong Un if the North Korean dictator agrees to strike a deal with the U.S. whereby Kim would give up his nuclear weapons but also warned about potentially severe consequences if such a deal cannot be reached. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2wRDLWD
Senate votes to confirm Gina Haspel as next CIA director. The Senate voted 54-45 Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency — once sworn in, she would become the first woman to hold the post. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2IKo8Fg
One year in, President Trump’s evolving response to the Robert Mueller probe. When the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia a year ago Thursday, President Trump said he was looking “forward to this matter concluding quickly.” (Arlette Saenz) https://abcn.ws/2KxP6gN
A year into Mueller’s investigation, is there any end in sight? As the special counsel investigation into Russian interference reaches the one year mark, the president’s legal team is publicly pressing for Robert Mueller to wrap up his probe. (Jack Date) https://abcn.ws/2L9IM03
‘18 for 18:’ National Democrats pounce ahead of California’s ‘jungle primary.’ As California’s June 5 so-called “jungle primary” gets closer, national Democrats are spending big new money on tv and digital ads targeting GOP candidates in key Southern California races, trying to narrow the crowded candidate field to get a better shot in the general election. (Esther Castillejo) https://abcn.ws/2wMlR7W
One year into investigation, Mueller shows no signs of letting up. The president calls it a “witch hunt” on Twitter, the White House calls it “Russia fever” – but Robert Mueller, who has now spent exactly one year looking into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign, shows no signs of slowing down in his secretive investigation that looms over the Trump White House. (Lucien Bruggeman) https://abcn.ws/2IRm66j
House GOP on brink of forcing immigration debate despite leadership’s opposition. At least 20 House Republicans have now signed onto a petition to force a freewheeling immigration debate in the House, moving moderate Republicans toward the brink of driving a divisive issue to the House floor — one GOP leaders prefer to avoid ahead of the midterm elections. (John Parkinson) https://abcn.ws/2KwX8WZ
Giuliani ‘encouraged by recent communications with special counsel.’ President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tells ABC News he has been “encouraged by recent communications with the special counsel” as the two parties continue conversations about a potential interview with the president. (John Santucci) https://abcn.ws/2KAKVAP
Could Bernie Sanders run against Elizabeth Warren in 2020 presidential race? Sen. Bernie Sanders is still considering a second run for president, according to his former campaign manager Jeff Weaver, and he may decide to enter the race even if it means running against another progressive powerhouse, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (MaryAlice Parks) https://abcn.ws/2rSjXxx
Chinese negotiators are planning to offer America up to $200 billion in trade concessions, but skepticism is at hand. The New York Times reports. https://nyti.ms/2KzlYFP
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.