The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks
With this president it is easy to get swept up in conversations about personality over policy.
"I don't think I've changed positions at all. We're working on background checks. There are things we can do. But we already have very serious background checks. We have strong background checks," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
And he suggested ways to stimulate the economy while also arguing such plans were unnecessary.
But beyond the confusing press conferences, the administration this week moved on new rules and that, if enacted, would have serious consequences for families and children crossing the border. The new plan would allow the government to detain migrant families traveling with children indefinitely, effectively calling for an end to the federal government's agreement not to hold children for long periods of time because it's detrimental to their health.
More, Trump publicly insulted a NATO ally and postponed a trip to Denmark in a way that could have jeopardized the relationship in ways that reach beyond his tenure.
The week started with anxiety about a possible recession on the horizon. It's hard to imagine such unpredictable and even manic rhetoric from this White House could do anything to reassure markets or investors. In fact, businesses tend to appreciate stability and time to plan.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Trump hasn't been the only Republican brought up by 2020 Democrats on the campaign trail -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also frequently appears in stump speeches.
Recently, most Democratic candidates have been slamming McConnell as the ring-leader responsible for blocking the passage of gun legislation.
But some Democrats also have tied their assertions of McConnell's political moves to preventing the end of the Senate filibuster. According to those Democrats, ending the procedure in the upper chamber would help facilitate the passage of policies that otherwise wouldn't have much Republican support -- provided Democrats maintain control of the House and gain control of the Senate in 2020.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been steadily leading the charge on ending the filibuster, while other Senate Democratic presidential candidates have been largely noncommittal.
That bubbling talk on the trail seems to have struck a nerve with the Senate majority leader, who issued a pointed rebuke of those White House hopefuls in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday.
"On this subject, like so many others, what was recently fringe nonsense seems to be rapidly becoming mainstream Democratic dogma," McConnell wrote.
What McConnell failed to mention in his staunch defense of the much-debated rule is that the president is another high-profile figure calling for its end. Although presidents do not set Senate rules, it seems the Senate majority leader will have to navigate his defense of the filibuster on both sides of the aisle.
The TIP with Benjamin Siegel
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ended his climate change-centric presidential bid, but Democrats' focus on the environment isn't receding.
Activists are still pushing the Democratic National Committee to approve a climate-centric debate for the presidential candidates. Party officials rejected that motion in a committee vote on Thursday, and DNC Chairman Tom Perez and other officials have argued that approving a climate debate would effectively elevate one issue over others. The candidates, they have pointed out, are free to participate in climate change forums and town halls -- such as next month's event hosted on CNN. Advocates say they plan to bring the matter to the general session of the DNC's summer meeting for a vote.
Inslee, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other party figures and activists have argued that climate change is the most urgent issue facing the country -- a mounting threat that they say overshadows nearly every other matter facing Democrats and American voters. And though he's leaving the national campaign trail to pursue a third term as governor, Inslee said his mission will not end.
"It has been a profound honor to work with you on our mission to defeat climate change. I'm proud of what we've accomplished, both in the presidential race and in my role as governor of Washington -- where we have established a model of progressive action for the country," he wrote on Twitter Thursday. "The state of Washington has provided the nation a road map for climate action, innovation, and economic growth. And we're not done yet."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver, who explains what Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's dropping out of the race tells us about the 2020 presidential field. And retired Marine colonel and ABC News contributor Stephen Ganyard talks about why there are no winners, including the U.S., in the trade war between Japan and South Korea. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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