-- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
"It's pretty straightforward what the president did," White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week," referring to the pardon for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. On that point, Bossert is correct: The message sent by pardoning the controversial lawman, found guilty of violating the rights of minorities and ignoring court orders, is unmistakable, delivered to law-enforcement officials and maybe those caught up in the Russia probe, too. The same could be said for the timing. President Trump chose a Friday night, hours before a devastating and deadly storm would hit U.S. land for the first time in his presidency, to pardon Arpaio and make formal his transgender service ban. His plan is to visit Texas Tuesday – long before things will be close to settled – and hit the road for his tax agenda the following day. In a different context, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked about the president's values on Fox Sunday: "The president speaks for himself." The same can be said about his actions. In the midst of a national tragedy, Trump is still making things about Trump. But once again this week, he won't be able to control the agenda by himself.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The speaker does not agree with this decision." -- Doug Andres, spokesman to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, on Trump's pardon of Arpaio.
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam
ANALYSIS: Trump made three controversial moves as the nation focused on the hurricane. You could call it "The Art of the Dump." In Washington, D.C., Friday afternoons are known as a time when public officials may take controversial actions for which they want to draw little notice. Friday night, with the ferocious Hurricane Harvey heading toward the Texas coast, the public may have been paying even less attention to politics than usual for the end of a work week. Then it came: a pair of controversial moves by the administration and the departure of a divisive figure in the White House, all over the span of three hours. http://abcn.ws/2we0jgB
Trump adviser defends Arpaio pardon as "pretty straightforward." White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert defended President Donald Trump's controversial pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio as "pretty straightforward." "I think it's pretty straightforward what the president did. I think there's some disproportionate coverage of it right now," Bossert told ABC News' "This Week" Sunday. http://abcn.ws/2wfA1dx
If the goal in Afghanistan "is stalemate, we have achieved it," former U.S. envoy says. The United States is stuck in a political and military stalemate in Afghanistan, and it is unclear whether President Donald Trump's new strategy in the country will resolve it, a former U.S. envoy to NATO Douglas Lute said. Lute was responding to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's comments about the administration's strategy to put pressure on the Taliban. http://abcn.ws/2xpinEB
Mattis tells troops to "hold the line" until the United States is less divided. In an impromptu speech while traveling abroad, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told a group of young troops to "just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other." Footage of Mattis' off-the-cuff remarks was posted to a Facebook page titled "U.S. Army W.T.F! Moments," a group that focuses on Army-related news and entertainment stories. http://abcn.ws/2weBmBt
Trump's business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president. The Washington Post
Op-ed from former Vice President Joe Biden: "We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation." The Atlantic
The future of Bannonism. The Economist
In an effort to show engagement on hurricane, Trump responds via Twitter. The Washington Post
Hurricane Harvey tests Donald Trump's presidential mettle: Ex-FEMA director. USA Today
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.