The TAKE with Rick Klein
Interested in The Note?Add The Note as an interest to stay up to date on the latest The Note news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Call it a walk-back, a cleanup or a clarification. Just don’t call it over.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday did something he rarely does in asking for a do-over of his comments about Russia meddling. But he provided far more clarity a day earlier, when he declared that “we’re all to blame,” and expressed confidence in “both parties” -- American intelligence agencies and the Putin government.
Even his acceptance of the judgment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia tried to meddle in the election came late and with a loud caveat: “could be other people also.”
What the president said Tuesday will probably be enough for many of his supporters, on Capitol Hill and among friendly pundits, to declare the episode to be in the past.
But what happened in Helsinki wasn’t about a missing contraction or an error in transcription, any more than Charlottesville was about a stray turn of phrase regarding “both sides.”
The questions raised by Monday’s comments -- up to and including what Trump and Vladimir Putin actually discussed privately --remain as relevant now as they were then. The question for Trump allies is whether they’re inclined to continue to ask them.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
After the president's comments, it is clear every Republican candidate will be asked if he or she believes the intelligence community's assessment that Russian agents sought to disrupt U.S. elections and whether Trump is doing enough to stop them moving forward.
On the other end of the spectrum, every Democrat will likely be asked if he or she would vote to impeach the commander in chief.
The Democrat running against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was asked the question again Monday and said once more that he would.
Back in April, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who has been raking in cash for his fight against Cruz, said he had seen enough to support impeachment. “I've seen an attempt, no matter how ham-handed, to collude with a foreign government in our national election," he said in an interview.
This week, a number of Democrats used words like “treacherous” and “treasonous” to describe the president’s performance in Finland.
While House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has for some time urged her colleagues not to use the “I-word.” Statements like these to describe the president’s behavior invite follow up questions about what exactly Democrats would do to respond to this White House -- if they held power.
The TIP with Jonathan Karl
Keenly aware there was a problem after his news conference in Helsinki with Putin, Trump met with top advisers Tuesday morning to discuss what to do about it.
Sources tell ABC News the president himself came up with the idea of the "would" versus "would not" clarification, telling aides he had seen the clip, realized he misspoke, and wanted to make a statement. Those involved with crafting the statement were: White House adviser Steven Miller, press secretary Sarah Sanders, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine, Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The president also discussed it with Newt Gingrich, who had called on Trump to clarify his comments in Helsinki on “the U.S. intelligence system and Putin,” calling the remarks “the most serious mistake of his presidency.” Late in the process, Vice President Mike Pence also asked to see the statement.
The line "it could have been a lot of people" was not part of the prepared remarks. The president's aides were also not particularly surprised the president said it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Listen, I don’t accept the president’s comments today. If he wanted to make those comments, he should’ve had the strength to make them in front of Vladimir Putin." -- Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat and Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
NEED TO READ
US Embassy in Jerusalem to cost more than $21 million -- nearly 100 times President Trump’s estimate. President Donald Trump may have written the book on deal-making, but when it comes to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, it appears he won’t be getting the bargain he wanted. (Shannon K. Crawford and Soo Rin Kim) https://abcn.ws/2LsODNu
Trump: 'I have full faith and support' in intelligence community's conclusion on Russian election meddling. President Donald Trump said he "has full faith" in and accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that meddling took place during the 2016 elections as he prepared to meet with members of Congress at the White House on Tuesday. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2uBcpkj
Who is the American-born investor named in Putin’s 'incredible offer'? When Russian President Vladimir Putin called out a U.S.-born investor during Monday’s stunning news conference in Helsinki, Finland, Bill Browder was on vacation with his family – not watching Putin’s landmark summit with President Donald Trump. (Ali Dukakis) https://abcn.ws/2LqCDfu
Ryan, other members of Congress, weigh how to respond to Trump's Putin remarks. While Paul Ryan struggled Tuesday to defend President Donald Trump's performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, without criticizing him directly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor with a laundry list of things he says it’s obvious Congress should do in response to Trump's remarks. (Ali Rogin and Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2zMK6Eb
European press mocks Trump as 'weak,' 'Putin's poodle' after summit. On Tuesday, headlines and op-eds in major papers across Europe slammed Trump's decision to side with Putin over his own intelligence agencies on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Patrick Reevell) https://abcn.ws/2JvB5iD
President Trump: Putin meeting 'better' than summit with NATO allies. Amid a flood of criticism from members of both parties over his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump declined to reverse course Tuesday by instead highlighting the meeting as more productive than his gathering with NATO allies days before. (Alexander Mallin and Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2No6SEx
A number of new citizens are now seeking political office. According to Georgia state constitution, candidates are required to be a “citizen of the state” for a minimum of two years before being elected to a government position. Maria Palacios has partnered with ACLU of Georgia to sue the state’s secretary of state to reinstate her on the ballot. (Karolina Rivas) https://abcn.ws/2zPav4r
Alabama representative faces runoff, past position on Trump a key issue. In October of 2016, less than one day after the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape was uncovered by the Washington Post, Alabama congresswoman Martha Roby became one of the first prominent Republicans to announce she would not vote for Donald Trump as a result. (Adam Kelsey) https://abcn.ws/2NZhURU
Obama: Despite 'strange and uncertain' times, Nelson Mandela's legacy endures. Despite the "strange and uncertain" times President Barack Obama says we're living in he still believes in "a vision of equality and justice and freedom" he said in a speech on Tuesday to commemorate the late Nelson Mandela – Obama's first visit to Africa since leaving office. (Karolina Rivas) https://abcn.ws/2LfNkVA
Maria Butina, Russian gun rights activist linked to NRA, charged as Kremlin agent. FBI counter-intelligence agents have arrested a 29-year-old Russian woman on charges she acted as a Kremlin agent while working over the past three years to build relationships in the upper ranks of the National Rifle Association. (Matthew Mosk, Pete Madden, Mike Levine and Kaitlyn Folmer) https://https://abcn.ws/2zK7cvl
Baseball great Cal Ripken shares his advice with Bryce Harper: Powerhouse Politics. Ripken knows a thing or two about the All-Star Game scheduled for Tuesday night at Washington's Nationals Park. (Avery Miller) https://abcn.ws/2LrPiPx
Can a pro-coal Democrat carve a path for his party in West Virginia? The New York Times reports: https://nyti.ms/2LuNUvy
FiveThirtyEight reviews alternative ways to evaluate Judge Brett Kavanaugh's ideology other than simply looking at his past rulings. https://53eig.ht/2NY8u8T
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.