The Note: Trump’s pardon power

PHOTO: President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2018, as he heads for Florida.PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Trump poised to pardon Dick Cheney's former chief of staff: Sources

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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President Donald Trump has pardons on his mind – at least when Sylvester Stallone calls.

What more he might ponder in this area may rank among the most consequential decisions of this phase of his presidency.

Trump has already used his two highest-profile pardons– of Joe Arpaio, and then of Scooter Libby – to send signals about loyalty, and about special counsel probes that stray from their original purpose.

He’s using tweets now to convey loyalty to Michael Cohen in a matter that grew out of – and appears far away from – the special counsel investigation that haunts his presidency.

Whether Trump fires Rod Rosenstein and whether he talks to Robert Mueller’s team are very big deals, of course. But bigger still could be whether the likes of Cohen and Paul Manafort think they might have reasons to expect presidential forgiveness in their futures.

PHOTO: Michael Cohen, personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, arrives for a court hearing at the US Courthouse in New York, April 16, 2018. Cohen has been under criminal investigation and FBI agents last week raided his home and other locations.Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Cohen, personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, arrives for a court hearing at the US Courthouse in New York, April 16, 2018. Cohen has been under criminal investigation and FBI agents last week raided his home and other locations.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

"It’s hard to win elections when you have interference in elections," Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez told ABC's George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

But it may also be hard to win elections, if you're focused on interference.

Ideally, governments, not parties after all, protect the integrity of campaigns and voting booths.

Over the weekend, Democratic lawmakers and activists seemed split about their party's lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russian government over the hack of DNC computer systems in 2016.

Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party wrote to ABC News applauding the decision, "Our base and independents all want to see fairness in our elections and accountability."

Others, though, remained skeptical that the move may make the party looked obsessed with past losses and distracted.

California's Rep. Jackie Speier called the suit "ill-conceived."

One senior Democratic staffer wrote in an email to ABC News that while the move may good for democracy, that doesn't mean it will help the party win votes.

The TIP with Emily Goodin

What’s in a name?

For Mitt Romney, it wasn’t enough to guarantee him the Republican Senate nomination in Utah.

The former GOP presidential nominee and ex-governor who was talked about as a possible secretary of state for President Trump has looked to the Beehive state to restart his political career.

That plan hit a big bump in the road on Saturday when the state party convention failed to give him the 60 percent support he needed for the nomination and forced him into a June 26 primary with state Rep. Mike Kennedy.

Romney is expected to win the primary and, ultimately, be the next senator from the state of Utah.

But what happened to him on Saturday is a lesson for both parties: not even a name, a pedigree, a resume and plenty of money is a guarantee. And, in politics, anything can happen.

PHOTO: Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves after speaking about the tech sector during an industry conference, in Salt Lake City, Jan. 19, 2018. Rick Bowmer/AP
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves after speaking about the tech sector during an industry conference, in Salt Lake City, Jan. 19, 2018.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump hosts French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the White House for the first state visit of the Trump administration.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on President Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, CIA director Mike Pompeo.
  • Vice President Mike Pence swears in Jim Bridenstine as NASA’s new administrator at 2:30 pm.
  • The Senate reconvenes to resume consideration of the nomination of Stuart Kyle Duncan to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "What is unbelievable to me, George, is that the leadership of the Republican Senatorial Committee would leak out this conversation purposely to the Washington Post to get you to ask me questions about this. I -- I don't even know what they're thinking." Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," about a report that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had confronted Corker about his praise for former governor Phil Bredesen, the likely Democratic nominee. Corker reaffirmed his support for GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

    NEED TO READ

    President Trump, first lady to host Macrons at Mount Vernon. In a nod to history and the special relationship between the United States and one of the nation's oldest allies, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host the President France Emmanuel Macron and his wife for a rare private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. (Meridith McGraw) https://abcn.ws/2HiUTW3

    Presidents Trump, Macron solidify political bromance with state visit. Their relationship began with a show of machismo –- an extended, white-knuckle handshake on their first meeting last year in Belgium. Emmanuel Macron had reportedly studied Donald Trump’s style of domineering power-grabbing handshakes, apparently prepared to avoid being outdone by his counterpart. Instead, it was President Trump who at one point in the 5-second-long handshake attempted to withdraw his hand from Macron's firm grasp. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2HkhVvN

    Meet the prosecutor experts say could be Robert Mueller’s Supreme Court closer. Special counsel Robert Mueller built a team of more than a dozen prosecutors to investigate Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, but experts say one member might best be considered “the closer”: Michael Dreeben. (Lauren Pearle) https://abcn.ws/2F89EJi

    Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is facing ‘epic battle’ by prosecutors for his cooperation: Alan Dershowitz. Alan Dershowitz said prosecutors are engaged in "an epic battle for the soul and cooperation of Michael Cohen," the longtime lawyer to President Donald Trump whose office, home and hotel room were raided by the FBI this month. (Quinn Scanlan) https://abcn.ws/2qSmE0F

    DNC suing Trump and Russia because US has ‘not imposed sufficient costs’ on Moscow for election meddling: Perez. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said the party’s civil lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russia aims to deter Moscow from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections. (Andres Del Agula) https://abcn.ws/2qOwEJc

    ‘Obviously, Kim Jong Un has learned about public relations’ with suspension of nuclear tests: Senator. The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said North Korea's announcement that it is suspending nuclear testing shows that Kim Jong Un has “learned about public relations.” (Quinn Scanlan) https://abcn.ws/2JeVeJY

    Missouri Gov. Greitens charged with second felony. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been charged with felony computer tampering related to his alleged use of a donor list from his veterans’ charity for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign, according to a statement from the circuit attorney of St. Louis. (Emily Goodin) https://abcn.ws/2qMigB3

    EPA chief recorded a single, one-hour meeting on day 1 of Morocco trip. The Environmental Protection Agency has released new details about Administrator Scott Pruitt's schedule in Morocco last year that show he was scheduled for only one meeting on the first day of the costly trip. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2F6GaM1

    Man wearing ‘MAGA’ hat, Trump shirt attacks Hispanic subway rider in New York, police say. Police in New York City are searching for a subway commuter who did anything but "Make America Great Again." New York ABC station WABC reports the New York City Police Department is looking for a man who attacked a fellow subway rider on Friday. The suspect was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" cap, sold by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, and a red "Make America Great Again" T-shirt at the time of the attack, police said. (Mark Osborne) https://abcn.ws/2HQgNB7

    'The next generation is us': Chicago teen hopes to change community, gun policy through voting. Arieyanna Williams remembers being 9 years old and staring at the two bloody handprints on a wall near the front door of her aunt’s home in Chicago. She pressed one of her small palms against the blood-stained concrete wall as a final goodbye to her father. (Erica King) https://abcn.ws/2qPQKSu

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, amid political uproar over Russian probe, will represent government in sentencing case, according to the The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2HStP0R

    The New York Times reports Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, met personally last year with J. Steven Hard, the lobbyist whose wife had rented him a $50-a-night Capitol Hill condo, a disclosure that contradicts earlier statements. https://nyti.ms/2HXjocN

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead.

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