The TAKE with Rick Klein
It’s smiling alongside Kim Jong Un and saluting one of his generals. It’s grumpily rebuking some of America’s closest allies, in a viral series of photos.
It’s on the wall at a detention center for children, near the Texas-Mexico border. It’s just off-screen in remarkable text messages between FBI employees who couldn’t believe he’d ever be president. It’s everywhere in GOP primaries, another batch of which proceeded according to Trump’s liking.
Amid such omnipresence, the comments by Sen. Bob Corker, describing the “cult-like situation as it relates to a president,” stand out – in part because Corker stands virtually alone among Republicans in conveying such sentiments publicly.
In the realm of what’s being argued publicly, Trump continues to show dominance. It’s in what’s going on more quietly – in investigations, and in still-hushed talk on Capitol Hill – that the road ahead looks more questionable for the president.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
When it comes to the practice of separating children from their parents apprehended at the border, the White House’s political finger-pointing appears to be falling flat. That’s mainly because even Republicans on Capitol Hill are moving the issue beyond politics.
“We don't want kids to be separated from their parents,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday, adding that he thinks Congress needs legislation to fix the problem, but faulting the courts, not the other party.
Yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tried repeatedly to lay blame on Democrats for not coming to the table on immigration reform. But back in the states, churches and communities are increasingly seeing this as a humanitarian issue.
While Congress has failed to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, the practice dealing with children this way is new to this administration. People get that. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said as much.
Sanders cited a so-called legal “loophole,” but did not specify. A court case on the books requires minors to be treated with certain higher standards, which may not be available if they are kept with parents who are all now, regardless of asylum claims, taken to criminal detention centers.
The TIP with Lissette Rodriguez
Florida's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott is airing a Spanish-language ad titled “Venimos” throughout the state on local Telemundo stations. His campaign reportedly is spending $350,000 on the ad. Overall, according to the Florida Watchdog, Scott has spent at least $17 million so far on television ads, nearly six times that of his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
The “Venimos” ad features soccer fans clad in face paint, surrounded by Brazilian, Mexican and Colombian flags and families playing soccer. More important, the ad celebrates Florida’s diversity, describing how the state’s residents “come from different places” but all are “united” in their love for the sport. Scott ends the ad speaking in Spanish, telling Floridians: “The time has come to have fun. May the best win!”
This isn’t the first time the current governor has courted Spanish-speakers. Latino voters are one of the fastest-growing voting groups in Florida, and Scott, compared to Nelson, is the only one who has an “En Español” section on his campaign website, the only one who has visited Puerto Rico six times since Hurricane Maria, the only one airing ads in Spanish and the one who regularly conducts interviews bilingually with Spanish-language Florida media.
Scott and his team will be able to see how effective his bilingual campaigning is when Florida holds its primary Aug. 28.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Are you scared yet?" - Sen. Ted Cruz,in a tweet directed at Jimmy Kimmel, which includes comically underwhelming training footage ahead of their one-on-one charity basketball game scheduled for Saturday.
NEED TO READ
DOJ IG report 'reaffirmed' Trump's 'suspicions' of bias of some in FBI: White House. The White House reacted to the release of the DOJ Inspector General's investigation Thursday into actions by the DOJ and FBI in advance of the 2016 election, saying it solidifies some of the president's harsh criticism against current and former top law enforcement officials. (Alexander Mallin and Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2JOoZSy
FBI official texted: 'We'll stop it' referring to Trump becoming president: GOP congressman. The text message is contained in the DOJ inspector general's report released Thursday reviewing whether decisions made by then-FBI Director James Comey and other officials during the 2016 presidential campaign were politically-motivated. (Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2ydQ0O4
FBI Director Wray says he accepts findings of highly-critical DOJ inspector general's report. Wray said: “I take this report very seriously. And we accept its findings and recommendations." (Mike Levine) https://abcn.ws/2ydQ0O4
Suspending war games with South Korea a 'mistake': McCain. The Arizona Republican criticized President Donald Trump Thursday for halting U.S.-South Korea military exercises, calling it a "mistake" and warning national U.S. security could be undermined. (Matt Seyler) https://abcn.ws/2HQGmAt
FBI's decisions not politically motivated but agent actions hurt reputation: DOJ watchdog. The Justice Department's internal watchdog has concluded that the FBI's most controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election were not politically motivated, but the FBI's reputation has nonetheless been hurt by the actions of some of its agents. (Mike Levine and Luke Barr) https://abcn.ws/2LRVjo
House Speaker Paul Ryan opposes family separation at border. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke out Thursday against the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border while blaming the policy on recent court rulings rather than the Trump administration's policy. (Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2ycojFp
Mueller’s stepped up pressure could land Manafort in jail by week’s end. After special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors and Paul Manafort meet in court on Friday, there is a chance the former Trump campaign chairman could leave in handcuffs. (Trish Turner, Ali Dukakis and Lucien Bruggeman) https://abcn.ws/2t9MwX9
Religious leaders implore Trump White House: Stop separating immigrant families. More than two dozen of the largest religious groups in the U.S. are imploring the Trump administration to change its "zero tolerance" policy that leads to children being separated from parents caught illegally crossing the border. (MaryAlice Parks) https://abcn.ws/2MpF2Ia
Trump administration grants release of $6.6 million to Syrian aid group White Helmets. According to the State Department, President Donald Trump has authorized the release of $6.6 million in funding to the humanitarian group the Syrian Civil Defense, commonly referred to as the White Helmets. (Sarah Kolinovsky) https://abcn.ws/2JMOcgj
Scalise plays second base one year after congressional baseball shooting. A year ago, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was among four people shot during a GOP practice for the annual charity Congressional baseball game. (Paola Chavez) https://abcn.ws/2JKj0OM
Supreme Court strikes down Minnesota law banning political apparel at polling stations. A state law in Minnesota said that voters can not wear apparel with political symbols at polling stations, including buttons or articles of clothing. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2HOb1hM
Lawmakers demand review of Education Department ethics program after former for-profit college exec shapes policy: EXCLUSIVE. Two Democrats are demanding a review of the Education Department's ethics program following an ABC News report that revealed a senior Education official helped dismantle regulations designed to protect students defrauded by predatory colleges. (Erin Dooley) https://abcn.ws/2LRKXVF
Billionaire progressive activist Tom Steyer announces NextGen America’s 'Blue Wave' program. NextGen America president Tom Steyer announced the group’s "Blue Wave Volunteer Program" Thursday to “organize and mobilize Americans” to vote for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections. (Meena Venkataramanan) https://abcn.ws/2t8G9mL
The Washington Post covers a draft bill floated by Republicans that would end family separations at the border. https://wapo.st/2t7AIVp
Some of the most intense drama surrounding President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came not across the negotiating table, but in the days and hours leading up to Tuesday’s historic meeting — the Washington Post reports on the behind-the-scenes flurry of commotion prompted by Trump himself. https://wapo.st/2teUFtw
The New York Times publishes an op-ed by former FBI Director James Comey following the release of the DOJ Inspector General's investigation Thursday into actions by the DOJ and FBI in advance of the 2016 election: James Comey: This Report Says I Was Wrong. But That’s Good for the F.B.I. https://nyti.ms/2LRmkZb
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.