The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Republican lawmakers believe President Donald Trump has made a "catastrophic mistake" with a "shortsighted and irresponsible" decision that "poses a significant threat to our national security" and has "implications far beyond" the matter at hand.
But the issues could be connected anyway.
His surprise move raises fresh questions about how the president conducts foreign policy by impulse and edict, while adding Turkey to the list of countries where the president's personal connections and private communications will draw scrutiny.
Many top Republicans have counseled themselves -- and others who would listen -- to focus on what Trump does, rather than what he says. Now, though, Trump is both saying and doing things that fly in the face of Republican orthodoxy -- and in ways that have serious national-security implications.
This might not prove to be the best moment for Trump to go to war with his Republican Party, over an issue of war and peace, no less.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Defenders of the president have tried to dismiss the commander in chief's statements of the last few days, by arguing that he was joking and not actually imploring China last week to investigate Biden and his son.
Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, dodged the fundamental question about whether asking China for that type of assistance is right or appropriate. Again and again, Jordan claimed that the president was not being serious.
"You really think he was serious about thinking that China is going to investigate the Biden family?" Jordan asked in response to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos' question.
The lingering problem, of course, is that the White House has yet to agree with that. Asked specifically if the president was in fact joking or kidding or being glib, the White House has been silent.
So, by extension, either the president was not kidding and Republicans have it wrong, or he was but the White House is hesitating to confirm to the American people -- and Congress -- that it is hard to know when exactly they can take their president seriously.
As Trump battles Democrats over an intensifying impeachment inquiry, his campaign has been working quietly for months to tighten rules around choosing delegates to next year's Republican National Convention.
The effort has resulted in rule changes in 37 states and territories, Trump campaign officials said Monday.
While the campaign argues their push for these changes wasn't made to fend off primary challengers or to avoid dissenting RNC floor speeches, the result will essentially be just that: the possibility of rival speeches will be dramatically minimized along with the presence of Republican challengers at next year's convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The rule changes couldn't come at a better time for Trump. He could be the first president to run for re-election after being impeached, putting even more pressure on the RNC and the campaign to put on what they're calling a "four day television commercial" for the president and not an "internal debate."
ONE MORE THING
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pushing back against allegations that the Trump administration used its dealing in Ukraine to investigate political rivals or possibly steer business toward campaign donors, saying he's "extremely comfortable" that there was no "quid pro quo."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on the bipartisan backlash over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from a key part of Syria. Then, ABC News' Aaron Katersky breaks down the latest court ruling on the president's tax returns. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "The Investigation" podcast. Coming on the heels of ABC News' exclusive reporting that a second whistleblower has stepped forward to express concerns about President Donald Trump's July 25th phone call with the president of Ukraine, the team from "The Investigation" talks with the reporter who broke the story. Brad Moss, a lawyer who specializes in whistleblower law, also weighs in on his concerns about protecting the whistleblower's identity in light of Trump's claims that he deserves the right to confront his accuser. http://tun.in/pjiFt
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