The TAKE with Rick Klein
But provocative comments and demands about defense spending mark only the start of the potential impact Trump is having on the world order. Trump, and the forces he represents, are washing over Europe and beyond, creating uncomfortable truths for U.S. allies.
The rest of the world is watching. Other nations don't necessarily have the luxury of deciding whether to take Trump seriously or literally, try as they might to discern the president's intentions.
As Trump finishes his NATO trip Thursday and moves on to the United Kingdom, where the government is near the precipice of crisis, a week of uncommon disruptions puts the president's style on full display. It has drawn rebukes from Republican lawmakers back in Washington, and threats of tying his hands further in international affairs.
Monday's meeting with Vladimir Putin may not be the easy one, as Trump foresaw. But Putin has reasons to smile at the family fights on display from afar.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
There's a reason the White House invited most red-state Democrats to the president's Supreme Court announcement. Three of them, after all, voted for his last nominee to the highest court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
It is possible at least one of them does so again.
It is hard to imagine a Senate Democrat, even one in a tight re-election race back home, casting the 51st vote to put Judge Brett Kavanaugh over the top. But if Republicans stick together and have the numbers, what do Democrats gain by demanding a "no" from someone who might benefit politically from a "yes" vote?
There are some messaging benefits, perhaps. Democrats stuck together on health care and taxes, though in both cases it was not clear Republicans had the numbers – and the idea of repealing something like health care is entirely different to begin with.
Focusing on voting as a bloc feels in some way as though the Senate Democratic leadership has already conceded. The math is the math. They don't have the numbers.
It is surprising though that on this issue, of all issues, Democrats don't seem to be thinking out of the box. At least not yet.
Leader Mitch McConnell broke years of precedent and refused to take up President Obama's nominee. Republicans actually blew up the rules, "went nuclear," to make it categorically easier to confirm someone.
Are Democrats trying to play by, or concede by, old rules that don't exist?
The TIP with Adam Kelsey
If you want to run for president as a Democrat in 2020, you have to be, well, a Democrat.
That idea may sound obvious to some, but was, in fact, one that moved a step closer to becoming official Wednesday at a meeting of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws committee.
At first glance, the change, which originated from the party's Unity Reform Commission, would appear to be aimed at Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate and ran for president in 2016 under the party's flag.
But the requirements — a public affirmation that the candidate is a Democrat and a written assurance to the party chair that they "will accept the Democratic nomination" and "run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party" — don't quite come across as earth-shattering commitments.
Instead, it's believed by some DNC members that the change targets potential outsider candidates, such as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, businessman Mark Cuban, or Republican-turned-Independent former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose allegiances may be more in question.
The rule, as written, must still be approved by the full DNC at its meeting next month in Chicago.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I've never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against NATO and Germany." — Former Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement following President Trump's blistering remarks on Germany at the NATO summit Wednesday.
NEED TO READ
FBI agent Peter Strzok to publicly testify on Capitol Hill about anti-Trump texts. FBI agent Peter Strzok, who President Donald Trump has accused of committing "treason", will testify in public for the first time Thursday and is expected to be grilled about the anti-Trump text messages he sent during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2md7Yrh
Trump: NATO allies should double their defense spending goals. President Donald Trump again blasted NATO allies on Wednesday for not spending enough on defense and asked them to increase their spending from two to four percent of their gross domestic product, or GDP. (Meridith McGraw) https://abcn.ws/2m8OQKN
John Kerry blasts Trump's NATO remarks. Former Secretary of State John Kerry condemned President Donald Trump's remarks at the NATO Summit Wednesday morning after the president bashed Germany saying the country is being "controlled" by Russia. (Erica Y King) https://abcn.ws/2NKq2p6
China promises 'firm and forceful' measures in response to new U.S. tariffs. China promised to take "firm and forceful" measures Wednesday in response to the United States' proposed levy of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. (Meena Venkataramanan) https://abcn.ws/2mc7OAr
Trump administration misses court deadline to reunite separated children with their parents. A San Diego federal judge had ordered the government to reunite all children under five years old by July 10, but as of Wednesday only four reunifications had been confirmed. (Geneva Sands and Lauren Pearle) https://abcn.ws/2L3Et9o
Democratic coalition targets moderate GOP senators in SCOTUS fight. Senate Democrats and a newly-minted coalition of allied progressive interest groups have launched a coordinated campaign to oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh that includes highlighting the stakes for average Americans on key issues such as health care and abortion rights. (Trish Turner and Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2L5PK8Q
'Look in the mirror and do the right thing': Brian Fallon to red-state Democrats on SCOTUS nominee. Brian Fallon believes Democrats shouldn't "reserve judgment" when it comes to opposing President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. (Meena Venkataramanan) https://abcn.ws/2KRwFrG
Trump's Supreme Court nominee denounced by more than 400 Yale Law students, alumni in open letter. Kavanaugh, a Yale alum, was praised in a glowing endorsement published by Dean Heather Gerken and other Yale professors following his nomination. The open letter directly criticizes that press release. (Quinn Owen) https://abcn.ws/2ueWkk5
New EPA chief Andrew Wheeler 'not ashamed' of his work for coal company. In his first official remarks to employees since taking over after Scott Pruitt's resignation, Andrew Wheeler, the acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, told career employees Wednesday he is "not at all ashamed" of his past work for a coal company. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2L5Nco3
Manafort says he's being treated like 'VIP' in jail: court filing. Paul Manafort may be in jail, but he's getting treated better than other inmates, according to special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is arguing against Manafort's call for his trial date to be pushed back. (Lucien Bruggeman) https://abcn.ws/2L95acR
London Breed, San Francisco's first black female mayor sworn in. San Francisco's newest mayor, London N. Breed, was sworn in on Wednesday in a ceremony rooted in the historic nature of her election win. (Adia Robinson) https://abcn.ws/2JfwCQN
Flint residents seek damages against government for water crisis. Attorneys for thousands of Flint residents made the case that a consolidated class action lawsuit brought by Flint residents against city, county and state authorities as well as private contractors should be allowed to continue on Wednesday. (Roey Hadar) https://abcn.ws/2L3MESU
Republican senators push proposed paid leave solution for new parents. A group of conservative senators is backing a proposal that calls for new parents to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave by using some of their expected Social Security benefits. (Nataly Pak) https://abcn.ws/2L8s7cE
Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Texas, announced Wednesday he raised more than $10.4 million over the past three months, revealing a sum that takes his already massive fundraising to new heights. The Texas Tribune reports. https://bit.ly/2zsxRfS
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.