— -- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
President Trump knows whom he's wishing luck to -- or, at least, he thinks he does. As Trump prepares for war with James Comey, the president looks like he's going rogue – fuming at aides, clashing with his long-loyal attorney general, and tweeting statements that complicate foreign policy, his domestic agenda, and his administration's own legal efforts. Except it's always more complicated than that. The thing that unites Trump's actions – besides the near-universal desire inside his circle that he dial it back – is that he's talking to his base. And in the case of Comey, that base is inclined to like what it hears from the president: The new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 70 percent of Republicans think Trump fired Comey "for the good of the country," rather than to protect himself. And 55 percent of Americans overall say they doubt Comey's word – damage from a year where Democrats hated him long before Trump turned on him. Among Trump's rawest political talents? Sizing up his opponents, and sensing their weaknesses.
If Comey's coming testimony Thursday is the Super Bowl of congressional hearings, then the pre-game starts today. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will all appear before the Senate Intel committee today and face lawmakers hungry for answers about how the Russia investigations are proceeding. According to new reporting from the Washington Post, Coats told colleagues back in March that President Trump was frustrated with the FBI's Russia probe and asked him whether he would intervene and get the bureau to back off. Last time he testified, Coats said his conversations with the president were private, but a targeted and specific question today could be hard to dodge from the stand. Rosenstein will be tested about the timeline of events leading up to Comey's firing and whether the former FBI Director was really nixed without notice, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks writes.
A SOUTHERN BRAWL
Never before has so much of the national electoral narrative rested on the shoulders of two suburban candidates for one of 435 seats in the U.S. House. But when the former Georgia secretary of state who flopped in bids for the Senate in 2012 and governor in 2014 and a 30-year-old former Congressional staffer who makes documentaries came face-to-face on the debate stage on Tuesday night, it was clear that Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff knew their race means so much more than just one seat on the floor of the U.S. House. The two clashed over foreign policy, health care, tax policy and everything in between. But perhaps the real winners in the Georgia 6th Congressional district race will be the residents of northern Atlanta, who have been bludgeoned by tens of millions of dollars in television ads and dozens of national political staffers for months and are just now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, ABC News' Ryan Struyk notes. http://abcn.ws/2rTdfYP
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Jared has actually become much more famous than me -- I'm a little bit upset about that." - President Trump on son-in-law Jared Kushner
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Just a warm-up before Thursday. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers are supposed to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
President Trump will give a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio today on his infrastructure initiative. Will Trump stay on topic?
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Adam Kelsey
Eric Trump funneled cancer charity money to his business: report. Eric Trump is slamming a Forbes report that alleges his charity, the Eric Trump Foundation, has been funneling donations -- from donors who believed the money was going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital -- to the Trump Organization by paying high sums for use of Trump properties during fundraisers and re-donating some funds to charities friendly with Trump interests. http://abcn.ws/2s3nhYu
Trump's legislative priorities outlined, challenged amid Russia investigation. In a briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short acknowledged that the investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign makes advancing the White House legislative agenda on Capitol Hill more difficult. "There is no doubt that keeping members focused on investigations detracts from our legislative agenda," Short said. http://abcn.ws/2rySZva
Health care on Senate Republicans' agenda. While Senate Republicans insist they are making progress on health care overhaul, they are not confident that they can meet the summer timeline being put forth by the White House. Instead, Republicans on Capitol Hill are trying to manage expectations. "We're getting closer to having a proposal that we'll be bringing up in the near future," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. http://abcn.ws/2rKeBDo
The truth about President Trump's $110 billion Saudi arms deal. President Trump called an $110 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia "tremendous" and bragged about the billions of dollars in investments and jobs that would be brought to the United States as a result. But the reality is that the United States is nowhere close to receiving that kind of money, at least right now. ABC News found only approximately $25 billion of the $110 billion in the actual pipeline, and future sales are not guaranteed. http://abcn.ws/2r4dBrN
Hawaii becomes first state to enact law that aligns with Paris Agreement. Hawaii has become the first state to enact a law that aligns with the Paris agreement after its governor signed two bills into law Tuesday that "support the commitments and goals" of the accord, Gov. David Ige's office announced Tuesday. http://abcn.ws/2rSYEN0