The Note: Trump's stunning claims of executive power

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks following a meeting with a North Korean delegation on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 1, 2018.PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Trump has power to pardon himself: Giuliani

The TAKE with Rick Klein

"At any time and for any reason."

That's the standard asserted by President Donald Trump's attorney regarding his power to terminate a Justice Department or FBI investigation, according to the letter sent to Robert Mueller that was revealed over the weekend.

That is a stunning claim of executive power, coming from a president who is acting more emboldened – think pardon powers and tariff impositions – in exerting his powers virtually by the week.

It's telling that prominent Trump backers and even some of his own attorneys aren't necessarily in sync on this assertion. "I would not go that far," Rudy Giuliani told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week," when asked if the president could end a bribery or murder case against him.

Giuliani also pointed to another reason for Trump not to sit down with Mueller. Asked why official accounts regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s infamous Trump Tower meeting have changed as frequently as they have, Giuliani responded: trump-lawyer-recollection-changing-statement-trump-jr-meeting/story?id=55615582" target="_blank">"Our recollection keeps changing."

Trump and his team are working both publicly and privately to delegitimize the Mueller probe. One case is being made with particular force – against the idea of the president cooperating in an interview with Mueller and his team.

PHOTO: Rudy Giuliani in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week, June 3, 2018. ABC News
Rudy Giuliani in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," June 3, 2018.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

There is an interesting and serious question brewing in the nation's most populous state: Are political parties dying or relevant anymore in California?

For the first time in recent history, there are more registered independent voters in California than registered Republicans. Democrats increased their rolls only slightly in the last four years (by one percent), and the number of voters who opted not to pick a party jumped by nearly four percentage points.

Over a quarter of the state's voters are now unaligned, and the number of Republicans in the state has fallen by more than three percentage points since 2014, according to the California Secretary of State's office.

The question now: So goes, California, so goes the nation? Roughly one in eight Americans lives in California.

What happens here politically -- in the primaries this week, for instance -- not only impacts the rest of the country, but represents a huge swath of it.

Plus, it is noteworthy that the 10 counties with the highest percentage of independent voters span every part of the state, from rural farmland outside Sacramento, to middle class and wealthy suburbs outside San Francisco, to a border county that stretches right along Mexico.

On the other hand, the Golden State has always prided itself on being unique, independent and forward-looking.

The TIP with Esther Castillejo

With Californians heading to the polls this Tuesday, Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., was making the rounds in Orange County, warning already spooked Democrats of what's at stake in this week's primaries — a living cautionary tale of what could happen if momentum doesn't translate to votes.

Aguilar is the only current congressman to have been shut out of a race after not being one of the top two vote-getters when California changed its primary system to the so-called "jungle" primary.

"I know all too well what happens when Democrats get locked out of a seat," he told a crowd in Huntington Beach Sunday while rallying for congressional candidate Harley Rouda in the state's 48th Congressional District. It was a last-minute push to energize voters in this traditionally Republican enclave that is now one of the epicenters of growing anti-Trump sentiment, and a top pickup opportunity for Democrats hoping to take back control of the House.

Across Southern California — home to three of the seven Republican-held districts in the state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that Democrats are now trying to flip — canvassers are swarming neighborhoods and some media markets have run out of ad space.

One campaign alone, Democrat Hans Keirstead's in the 48th district, made more than 4,000 calls in under 48 hours.

A few miles down the Pacific Highway in the 49th Congressional District, campaigns and outside groups have spent nearly $15 million to get their candidates on the November ballot -- the most expensive race in the nation.

Here, it's a fight for every vote and campaigns on both sides know it.

Aguilar went on to succeed in the 2014 election, getting through the primary by a mere 208 votes.

Sunday, he reminded the crowd why the home stretch is most critical.

"Every vote matters. Every vote matters. And people say it, but I live it."

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump meets with Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, at 2:45 p.m.
  • The president and first lady Melania Trump host the Gold Star Families Memorial Day Reception at 5:30 p.m.
  • The Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions at 10 a.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence gives remarks at a reception with the Friends of the Organization of American States in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 8 p.m.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the Organization of American States' General Assembly during a plenary session at 11 a.m.
  • The Senate resumes consideration of Robert Wier's nomination for U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • Student leaders of March For Our Lives hold a news conference announcing the "next phase" of their gun violence awareness movement at 10 a.m. in Parkland, Fla.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "He's not, but he probably does." —Rudy Giuliani to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," when asked whether President Trump has the power to pardon himself. "He has no intention of pardoning himself, but that doesn't say he can't," Giuliani added.

    NEED TO READ

    California highlights slate of eight primaries Tuesday. Eight states are holding primary elections on Tuesday night, and California, the largest state in the union, will be at the center of the action with competitive races for governor, U.S. Senate and a slew of U.S. House seats, combined with the state's "jungle primary" system where the top two candidates regardless of political party advance to the November election. (John Verhovek, Esther Castillejo, Matthew Fuhrman and Adam Kelsey) https://abcn.ws/2srXkAb

    ANALYSIS: California's ‘jungle primary' has unintended consequences for Democrats. It's a simple concept: Under the law approved by 54 percent of California voters in 2010, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election in every race in California. But rather than tempering partisanship, California's once-touted "jungle primary" has sparked fierce intra-party warfare. (Rick Klein) https://abcn.ws/2Lhr2yU

    Pompeo says US wants a treaty with North Korea: What one might look like. "We are not going to do trade for trade. We are not going to let this drag out. We are not going to provide economic relief until some time as we have an irreversible set of actions – not words, not commitments -– undertaken by the North Korean regime," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. North Korea has stated it would be willing to give up its nuclear weapons, but only if the U.S. withdraws the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2xBkYza

    Kim Jong Un hasn't met Trump yet 'so he better prepare for that': Former Trump adviser. Tom Bossert, an ABC News contributor and former White House adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, said on "This Week" that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "better prepare" for his planned meeting with President Trump and that "to build trust," the regime "should stop taking those unilateral actions at this point," referring to North Korea demolishing tunnels in a recent demonstration to foreign press. (Quinn Scanlan and William Parsons) https://abcn.ws/2J7GfWR

    Timeline: Korea-US summit goes through many twists and turns The United States announced on May 10 that an historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would take place on June 12 in Singapore. As new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned earlier the same day from a visit to Pyongyang, bringing back three American detainees, the U.S.-North Korea relationship seemed to be cruising along smoothly. We break down the complicated back-and-forth since the initial announcement. (Hakyung Kate Lee) https://abcn.ws/2skfXp4

    First lady Melania Trump will not join President Trump on G7, Singapore summits. First lady Melania Trump will not be joining President Donald Trump on his upcoming trips to the G7 summit in Quebec and the highly anticipated summit between the United States and North Korea in Singapore, her spokeswoman told ABC News. (Meridith McGraw) https://abcn.ws/2szC2Rx

    Trump lawyer says 'our recollection keeps changing' about statement on Trump Jr meeting with Russians. "This is the reason you don't let this president testify [in the special counsel's Russia investigation]: Our recollection keeps changing, or we're not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption," said Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, on "This Week." He was referring to Donald Trump Jr.'s initial statement last year—which President Trump personally dictated—about a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. (Morgan Winsor) https://abcn.ws/2HgxSSS

    Giuliani threatens legal battle with Mueller over subpoena. "If Mueller tries to subpoena us, we're going to court," Giuliani told ABC News on the heels of the publication of a 20-page confidential letter sent by Trump's lawyers to Mueller arguing that the president cannot legally obstruct justice in the Russia investigation due to his position as "chief law enforcement officer." (Katherine Faulders, Tara Palmeri and John Santucci) https://abcn.ws/2LgWdKD

    50 years after shots rang out at the Ambassador Hotel, controversy still surrounds RFK's assassination. Five decades after Kennedy emerged as a beacon of hope to millions of young Americans disenchanted by a war half a world away and disintegrating race relations at home in the chaotic aftermath of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, many questions about his death remain unanswered. His eldest son and namesake now says he firmly believes his father's real killer eluded arrest and the case needs to be reinvestigated. (Bill Hutchinson) https://abcn.ws/2JfDoah

    Senate Republicans are unsure about what to do between now and the November midterms, Politico reports, so Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are "quietly circulating an unusual ‘survey' of their colleagues" soliciting feedback on dozens of legislative proposals. https://politi.co/2Lhu1Y4

    The Orange County Register looks at who—and how many—might turn out for California's primary on Tuesday. OC Register's Jeff Horseman: "The makeup of the primary electorate could sway two big questions that will pay off in the November General Election: Will the GOP field a candidate for governor? Will Democrats be shut out of Orange County congressional races and, by doing that, blow their shot at taking control of the House?" https://bit.ly/2J6iHkU

    The Washington Post reports three of North Korea’s top military officials have been replaced, according to a South Korean news agency report Monday, marking an apparent shake-up in leader Kim Jong Un’s inner circle before next week’s planned summit with President Trump. https://wapo.st/2sty0tx

    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.