The Note: Trumpian defenses fail another Trump ally

Hunter is the latest example of the limits of a defense of denial, deflection.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

He called it a "witch hunt" and a partisan attack waged by the Justice Department. Now, Rep. Duncan Hunter said he will change his plea to guilty on Tuesday in a federal campaign-finance case.

Hunter was the second House member to endorse candidate Donald Trump in 2016. He will now join the first to do so, former Rep. Chris Collins, in pleading guilty to a felony charge after initially claiming he was being prosecuted out of political malice.

It's the latest example of the limits of a defense of denial and deflection in the face of actual evidence. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and others in and around the Trump orbit got similar lessons.

Now, with impeachment moving forward with an initial House Intelligence Committee vote on Tuesday, the bigger question is whether similar limits apply to someone who also has the powers of the presidency.

Republican House members from the Intelligence Committee are out with a pre-buttal, arguing that Democrats are relying on "hearsay, presumption and emotion" as a "tool for settling political scores." They're choosing not to contest the basic facts.

Impeachment, of course, is more a political process than it is a legal one. That distinction has kept the Democrats' push on a steady track -- and is helping keep Republicans in line.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

A bipartisan group of senators on Monday called for new sanctions against one key ally in the alliance.

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to consider sanctions on Turkey, following reports that the country is testing components of a Russian air missile system – the latest evidence that Russia's efforts to cozy up to the NATO partner are working.

Coordinated, collective defense and strategic communication between the allies in NATO is one of the perks of membership.

But Pentagon officials have said the Russian air system Turkey is testing poses a threat to NATO systems, because Russia could use its system to pinpoint the American F-35s capabilities and potential vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi is countering the president's foreign trip with one of her own.

To both represent the U.S. and serve as a foil to the current White House, she is leading a large congressional delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, as the Trump administration continues to distance itself from most global efforts on the topic.

The TIP with Cheyenne Haslett

Just over 60 days away from the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has found herself slipping in the polls and running in a race that continues to shift around her.

And though Warren maintains that she doesn't "do" polls, nor does she plan to change in response to them, her recent swing through Iowa showed a glimpse of deviation in a campaign that's been set in its ways for nearly 11 months.

Shortening her stump speech and taking a dozen questions from the crowd, the different style -- however slight -- offered an air of unpredictability and, at times, tearful, candid moments. So is the candidate switching things up to regain enthusiasm?

"No," Warren told ABC News on Monday night. "This is a chance to just talk to more people and hear their questions and field more questions. I've been fielding questions since the very first event I did right at the beginning, in Iowa."

Expect the more voter-centered style to continue on the trail, especially in small towns or cities across Iowa where Warren has spoken multiple times before -- and where personal connections are the way to victory.


A new report by House Republicans, reviewed by ABC News on Monday, argues that President Donald Trump shouldn't be impeached because there is no evidence that his actions were done specifically to "benefit in the 2020 election." The 123-page report is the official GOP response after several weeks of closed-door and public testimony that detailed Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to announce an investigation that included Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers, who joins us from London to tell us how President Donald Trump is approaching this NATO summit with impeachment looming back home. Then, ABC News Senior Washington correspondent Devin Dwyer recaps a day of arguments about guns at the Supreme Court.

ABC News' "The Investigation" podcast. As Congress takes critical next steps in the impeachment inquiry, ABC News senior correspondent Terry Moran and contributor John Cohen break down all latest developments on "The Investigation." Cohen, a former senior investigator for the House Judiciary committee, provides his unique analysis of the public testimony thus far. As for the White House responses to the inquiry, Moran theorizes that the president's allies will take their case to the American people.


  • President Donald Trump is in London. He meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at 4:10 a.m. (EST), then with French President Emmanuel Macron at 9:20 a.m. (EST). Later, he and first lady Melania Trump attend a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace at 1 p.m. (EST) and another at 2:45 p.m. (EST), at No. 10 Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins the president in London for the NATO summit.
  • Vice President Mike Pence participates in a luncheon honoring Senator Johnny Isakson at Capitol Hill at 1 p.m. He then meets with the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma in the Vice President's West Wing Office at 4:15 p.m.
  • Andrew Yang has a town hall at the Kendal Retirement Community in Hanover, New Hampshire, at 10 a.m. He then has a town hall at Colby-Sawyer College in New London at 12:30 p.m. His last stop of the day is at the Manchester Campaign Office at 5 p.m.
  • Mike Bloomberg attends press meet with Sophie Friedman at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center in Jackson, Mississippi at 10 a.m. (CST)
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa on the fourth day of his eight-day, 18 county "No Malarkey" bus tour. He has an event at the Historic Park Inn in Mason City at 10:15 a.m. (CST) He then has two meet-and-greets later during the day. One in Osage, IA at 1:00 p.m. and the other in Parkersburg, IA at 3:15 p.m. CT.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro attends a Black Lives Matter Press Conference at Los Angeles police headquarters in Los Angeles at 9 a.m. (PST).
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., attends a Results for America Panel Discussion in Concord, New Hampshire, at 10:30 a.m. She then attends a meet-and-greet event in Milford at 1 p.m. She ends her day at Portsmouth Town Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 4 p.m.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Latino Community Roundtable in Okatie, South Carolina, at noon. He then attends a media availability in Montgomery, Alabama, at 4:30 p.m. following a Health Equity Roundtable.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends a house party at the home of John Wendell and Vicky Dworkin in Sandwich, New Hampshire, at 6:30 p.m.
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