The Note: Trump’s truths hurt

President Trump's lawyer says "truth isn't truth."

The TAKE with Rick Klein

"I have nothing to hide," President Donald Trump declared in a tweet over the weekend.

"Truth isn't truth," argued his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Underpinning both men's statements is the fact that even now, just two weeks before Labor Day and with the midterms fast approaching, the White House position on the Robert Mueller probe is designed more to enrage than engage.

With Mueller's team seeking its first conviction, and time running out on the latest supposed deadlines for Trump to agree to questioning, the president has returned to his efforts to divide at all costs.

That puts FBI agents, a range of former national security officials and even some past and maybe current aides on the other side of the line being drawn by Trump. In this narrow sense, at least, the president isn't hiding anything at all.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton had a hard time Sunday explaining the White House's decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance.

"There is a line and somebody can cross it," Bolton told ABC News' Martha Raddatz during an exclusive interview, without stating whether Brennan was that person nor whether he had done anything explicitly wrong.

The crux of Bolton's argument defending the president's controversial decision was that Brennan may have revealed classified information and should not be in a position to be able to do it again someday.

Of course leaking classified information is a crime, and by talking around the issue with innuendo and suggestion, Bolton causally accused Brennan of something incredibly serious.

"Whether he actually used classified information, I think people will be able to determine," Bolton continued, again, without explanation or examples.

"If there's any kind of misconduct, I think there are lots of grounds to have your security clearance revoked for behavior that calls into question your ability to hold the material in confidence," Bolton went on, skipping over the fact that having a clearance does not mean you have access to classified material, only that you might be able to should the right person in government want you to.

The growing, bipartisan chorus of former intelligence officers who have been speaking out against the move say the decision had nothing really to do with Brennan at all, but was aimed to scare and deter potential critics.

The TIP with Meridith McGraw

"King Trump," "Great Divider in Chief" and "un-American" — those are just some of the ways New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described Trump over the weekend as they ramped up a war of words.

Cuomo, who faces a Democratic primary on Sept. 13 against Cynthia Nixon, recently did a riff on Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan that fell flat and caught the attention of the former Manhattanite and president.

"We're not going to make America great again," Cuomo said. "It was never that great."

Trump blasted Cuomo, saying it was a "dumb statement" and potentially "career threatening."

But despite the stumble, Cuomo's rhetoric -- specifically aimed at Trump -- is part of a larger campaign strategy to set up the governor as a foil to the president in a state where his poll numbers aren't so great.

"He's taking on Trump in tough, direct, visceral language that doesn't resort to petty name calling traps other Democrats have fallen into," a Cuomo strategist told ABC News.

"We see this as an opportunity for him to elevate what he's done in New York as an antidote and alternative to what Trump has done as president."


  • Jury deliberations in the Manafort trial resume at 9:30 a.m.
  • First lady Melania Trump will speak at a bullying prevention event in Rockville, Maryland, on Monday morning.
  • President Trump participates in the "Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection" event at the White House at 3 p.m.
  • The Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 6157, which is the legislative vehicle for the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education Department minibus.

    "John Dean type 'RAT'" is not who White House Counsel Don McGahn is, President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning, in response to a New York Times report that McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. "I allowed him and all others to testify -- I didn't have to. I have nothing to hide."


    ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News' Terry Moran discussing White House counsel Don McGhan's extensive cooperation with the special counsel. And, ABC News' Luis Martinez runs down the major moments of ABC News' exclusive interview with National Security Advisor John Bolton.


    Progressive veterans frame climate change as a national security issue. Self-described "ass-kicking, motorcycle-riding, Texas Democrat" MJ Hegar, a candidate for Texas' deep-red 31st district, has a novel approach to environmental politics: she doesn't care if her supporters believe in man-made climate change, but says it's hard to deny the corrupting effects of petroleum dependence on American foreign policy. (Lee Harris)

    'Great divider in chief': Gov. Cuomo continues war of words with Trump. Gov. Andrew Cuomo ramped up his war of words with President Donald Trump during a political speech at a Brooklyn church on Sunday morning, calling him "King Trump" and the "great divider in chief."(Meridith McGraw)

    Trump adviser John Bolton on possibly privatizing US war in Afghanistan: I'm 'always open to new ideas'. President Donald Trump's national security adviser addressed the idea of using private contractors to help fight the U.S. war in Afghanistan, saying he is "always open to new ideas." (Quinn Scanlan)

    John Bolton defends revoking of security clearance of former CIA director, Trump critic. President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton floated the possibility of reviewing longstanding policy of maintaining security clearances of former government officials. (Quinn Scanlan)

    Trump adviser: Russia, China, North Korea and Iran could meddle in US midterms. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Russia is only one of four countries that could potentially try to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. In an exclusive interview Sunday morning, Bolton told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz that the U.S. is also concerned about possible election meddling by China, North Korea and Iran. (Roey Hadar)

    Pennsylvania bishop named in report denies cover-up but says, 'I ... understand the rage'. A Catholic bishop among those named in a grand jury report alleging widespread sexual abuse by hundreds of Pennsylvania priests pushed back against calls by a survivors' group for him to resign, saying he has never covered up sexual misconduct by clerics but has instead acted on allegations by victims. (Roey Hadar)

    White House counsel cooperated with Mueller's probe, met with special counsel's team several times: Sources. White House counsel Donald McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's meddling with the 2016 presidential election, sources with knowledge of his interviews tell ABC News. (Katherine Faulders and Tara Palmeri)

    The conservative DC legal group behind a challenge to Mueller probe. The latest legal challenge to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, now heading to the U.S. Court of Appeals, is being steered by a veteran Washington legal group that has a history of taking on Democrats and is bankrolled, in part, by longstanding Republican donors. (Ali Dukakis)

    Trump claims social media platforms are 'totally discriminating' against conservatives. President Trump weighed in on social media platforms' banning certain content, claiming in a series of tweets that the sites are "totally discriminating" against conservative voices supportive of his administration. (Meridith McGraw)

    Family feud: Partisanship creating political division between relatives. Political family feuds have spilled into the public realm recently with several relatives taking a stand against the political views of their family members. Most recently the uncle of Stephen Miller, President Donald Trump's former senior advisor, wrote a scathing op-ed on Politico of his nephew -- writing that the advisor was an "immigration hypocrite." (Karolina Rivas)

    President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is under a federal investigation on whether he committed bank and tax fraud, The New York Times reports. According to people familiar with the matter, federal authorities in New York are examining whether Cohen misrepresented his assets to obtain more than $20 million of loans and whether he failed to report income from his taxi business to the Internal Revenue Service.

    A White House speechwriter for President Trump was fired last week after reports that he had spoken on a conference attended by well-known white nationalists, according to The Washington Post.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Tuesday for the latest.