The Note: Trump’s loyalty test

Questions of loyalty – both high and low – haunt the Trump White House.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

“A Higher Loyalty,” James Comey’s new book, has been on sale for 24 hours now.

Questions of loyalty – both high and low – haunt the Trump White House, in this moment where the judicial system is poised to apply the kind of pressure even a president may not be able to resist.

Two allies of President Donald Trump – his attorney Michael Cohen, and his friend Sean Hannity – are now publicly linked to each other and to the president in unclear ways. What they know and what they say could be of more consequence than anything the fired FBI director reveals at this point.

Speaking of loyalty, in Comey’s telling, his relationship with Trump began to unravel with the president’s insistence on it. And an alleged attempt to secure loyalty – by buying silence – is at the heart of the Stormy Daniels matter that’s drawn scrutiny of Cohen.

Trump is known to value loyalty. It may be the quality that he’ll need to fall back on the most to navigate the various legal morasses he now faces.

The RUNDOWN with Emily Goodin

Take me to your leader.

A simple request both parties in Congress are struggling with as Republicans face life without Paul Ryan and Democrats argue among themselves over the role Nancy Pelosi should play.

But the debate is about more than a person, it’s about an identity for the party.

Ryan was asked to be speaker because he was young, energetic, steeped in policy, and a person who could bring all the factions of the GOP caucus together.

Pelosi was the first female speaker, a representative of the liberal elite, and a combination of what the Democratic Party stood for – a disadvantaged group (women) and the progressive wing. Plus she could rule the unruly Democrats with an iron fist.

As both parties debate who will lead them next year, what they’re really debating is an image – conservative or moderate; young or old; establishment or something new – and what’s next for their party as they head into the 2020 election.

The TIP with John Verhovek

It's been just over a month since Democrat Conor Lamb scored an upset victory in the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, and now the GOP is facing a real possibility that another special in the state could take place before November.

Moderate GOP Rep. Charlie Dent's announcement Tuesday that he will resign from Congress "in the coming weeks" presents Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, with the choice to either call a potentially bruising and costly special election sometime this summer or wait until November to see the seat filled.

Pennsylvania state law requires the governor to call a special election at least 60 days after a congressional vacancy officially occurs, meaning that a special election could be called as early as July depending on when Dent decides to step down.

"Once Governor Wolf receives an official resignation notice with an exact date, he will make a formal decision regarding scheduling the date of a special election," a statement released yesterday by the governor's office read.

Complicating matters further is the looming specter of the new congressional maps set to take affect this fall. Under the state Supreme Court's decision, any special election held before November would be held under the old congressional map, and depending on the timing the winner could only end up serving a few months in a district that won't exist after November.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • The president has a working lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan this afternoon and then hosts a joint press conference with Abe at 5:30 p.m. Later, the president and First Lady have dinner with the prime minister and Mrs. Abe.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee hears testimony from Adrian Abramovich, who was fined by the FCC after making 96 million robocalls in a three month period, at 10 a.m.
  • The U.S. Congress holds a memorial service honoring former Representative Louise Slaughter, D.-N.Y., at 11 a.m.
  • The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection holds a hearing on protecting Olympic athletes from abuse, including testimony from victims, at 2:30 p.m.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "With all due respect, I don't get confused." – U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in a statement responding to top White House official Larry Kudlow, who said Haley "got ahead of the curve" in announcing new sanctions on Russia and that "there might have been some momentary confusion about that."

    NEED TO READ

    Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend: Officials. CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with Kim Jong Un to discuss setting up a meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump, two U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News. (Jonathan Karl) https://abcn.ws/2EVAC7a

    Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at age 92. Mrs. Bush served as the country's first lady from 1989 to 1993. She passed away shortly after deciding to forgo further medical treatments for her failing health. (Bill Hutchinson and M.L. Nestel) https://abcn.ws/2HadvYu

    Comey: 'The Republican Party has left me and many others.' "I just think they've lost their way and I can't be associated with it," Comey said in an interview on the ABC News podcast “Start Here,” adding that he no longer considers himself a Republican. (Brad Mielke and Kelly Terez) https://abcn.ws/2JWvDqs

    Trump holds off on imposing additional Russia sanctions over Syria chemical attack. The delay comes after UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Sunday that the administration was planning to unveil new sanctions on Monday to punish the Kremlin in the wake of the chemical attack on Syrian civilians, of which the administration has accused Russia of having been complicit. (Jonathan Karl and Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2EUTqmV

    Majorities back Trump summits, tougher sanctions on Russia (POLL). A bipartisan majority of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll supports tougher sanctions on Russia in response to its alleged international misbehavior. (Allison de Jong and Gary Langer) https://abcn.ws/2H8Mc0F

    North Korea, trade top agenda for meeting between President Trump, Japanese Prime Minister. President Donald Trump's planned summit with North Korean Kim Jong Un is front and center on the agenda as the president welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for two days of talks at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Tuesday. (Alexander Mallin and Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2viBh2I

    Trump advised to stay out of House speaker race: Sources. President Donald Trump wanted to endorse House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan but is being advised not to back a candidate in the race, two White House officials and a source close to the administration tell ABC News. (Tara Palmeri and Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2qHsp19

    Missouri attorney general says Gov. Greitens may have committed felony in relationship with former charity. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican candidate for Senate, announced Tuesday that his office may have found evidence of a felony by GOP Gov. Eric Greitens in an investigation involving a veterans charity founded by the governor. (Emily Goodin) https://abcn.ws/2JUbzow

    Supreme Court takes up battle between states, web retailers over sales tax. Lawyers representing South Dakota will ask the Supreme Court Monday to overturn a decades-old law that says states can’t require a merchant to collect a sales tax if that merchant has no physical presence within the state’s boundaries. (Audrey Taylor) https://abcn.ws/2vlrdpL

    'I'm tired of being threatened': Stormy Daniels speaks out on 'The View.' Her appearance on "The View" came a day after she attended a Manhattan court hearing related to the FBI raid on the office, home and hotel room of President Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen. (Meghan Keneally) https://abcn.ws/2IZZixu

    GOP hopes tough primary doesn’t hurt chances to win West Virginia Senate seat. With the West Virginia primary only three weeks away, the national Republican Party is hoping to avoid in the Mountain State a repeat of the type of loss the party faced in the Alabama special election. (Meridith McGraw) https://abcn.ws/2HFYcHN

    The Washington Post reports on the Hillary Clinton backers still upset with James Comey, blaming him for her election loss. https://wapo.st/2qBIpBQ

    The New York Times considers how James Comey's personal attacks on President Trump could hurt his impartial lawman persona. https://nyti.ms/2J3drKp

    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.