The TAKE with Rick Klein
Whether you choose to take his words seriously or literally, the words belong to the president of the United States.
As his interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos made clear, Trump is attacking even his hand-picked FBI director and Federal Reserve chairman. And the political world is scrambling from the fallout of him saying that he would probably accept campaign help from a foreign adversary -- a situation that of course came up last time, and to lasting effect.
It creates angst and awkward moments for Trump's defenders, some of whom chose not to play defense this time at all. Yet it's worth remembering that talking about what Trump is talking about isn't where Democrats necessarily hoped to be either.
Trump may be looking past his own vulnerabilities in seeking a re-run of 2016. But that election holds bad memories for Democrats, who are wary of any time Trump sets the terms of a political debate.
"We must stop this lawless president from tearing down our democracy," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a presidential candidate and member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday, coming out for impeachment after the president told ABC News he would be open to accepting information on an opponent from a foreign government.
Swalwell's declaration marks two milestones at once. Now, more than half of the Democrats running for president as well as half of those sitting on the House Judiciary Committee are in favor of starting impeachment proceedings.
But it doesn't look like a tipping point. Many prominent party figures, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings and former Vice President Joe Biden, remain firmly against the move, doubling down on support for continuing their investigations of the president and litigating any disputes in court.
And barely 1 in 4 House Democrats are in favor of impeachment proceedings, even after Trump's controversial comments about foreign assistance.
For Pelosi, the thinking hasn't changed: She believes the president wants Democrats to impeach him rather than investigate. Launching proceedings after his comments would play into that strategy.
Public sentiment, which she follows closely, hasn't really shifted, either.
In early May, a Quinnipiac poll found two-thirds of voters oppose impeachment proceedings, with just 29% in favor. One month later, those numbers have hardly budged, with 33% supporting impeachment and 61% opposed.
The TIP with Wil Steakin
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz realigned his team this week as the billionaire is set to take the summer off from flirting with a 2020 presidential run while he recovers from multiple back surgeries.
Schultz confirmed the back surgery, previously reported by ABC News, in a statement to supporters on Wednesday. Schultz said he's putting any campaign-related work on hold through the summer, but he promised to be back in touch "after Labor Day."
The billionaire told staff in a meeting earlier this week that he was staffing down to accommodate the slower pace of events.
"As Howard moves into the next phase of his exploration, he is realigning a team for that," a Schultz aide added. "You'll probably hear from him sometime after Labor Day. Remember, he was down for two months because the back injuries."
Schultz's 2020 prospects will continue to be tied to how current Democratic front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden performs throughout the primary. And because of that, and his recent surgery, the time frame for a 2020 decision can change.
According to a Schultz staffer, some on the team were caught off guard by Biden's successful rollout, and if he steamrolls through to the Democratic presidential nomination, it will affect Schultz's decision whether to run.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, who tells us why the departure of Sarah Sanders from the White House is such a big deal. ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci and ABC News Chief Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce sift through the fallout from George Stephanopoulos' exclusive interview with the president. And ABC News' Matt McGarry examines the attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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