The Note: The White House staff shakeup begins

Trump’s communications director Mike Dubke is leaving the White House.

ByVERONICA STRACQUALURSI
May 30, 2017, 8:11 AM

— -- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • In the first signs of a staff shakeup, President Trump's communications director Mike Dubke is leaving the White House, though his last day has not yet been set. Dubke resigned on May 18 after about three months working for Trump and offered to stay until the end of the president's first foreign trip.
  • Scrutiny now turns to Jared Kushner's security clearance in the wake of the reports that he sought to set up back channel communications with Russia during the transition.
  • Europe is sticking it to the U.S. with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's message to Europeans to "take our fate into our own hands" and French president Emmanuel Macron's "moment of truth" white-knuckle handshake with Trump, which he said "wasn't innocent."
  • Tensions boiled over in Texas over SB4, a new ban on sanctuary cities, bringing an end to a contentious legislative session with a near fistfight and with one Texas lawmaker reportedly threatening another, "I'll put a bullet in your head"
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    Office politics is a dangerous game when played White House style. A week that figures to be dominated by talk of staff changes and revamped teams has a twist: the problem-child staffer is the boss' son-in-law – whom the president has expressed "total confidence in,". Different rules apply when it comes to family, and the latest news on Jared Kushner would be complicated enough without the entanglements and conflicts-of-interest that the Trump family approach to the presidency invites. What's been alleged about Kushner and the Russians is inexplicable behavior, until or unless Kushner (whose voice has almost never been heard in public) explains himself. So yes, that explanation would fall to the embattled communications team – the one that people outside the White House are telling President Trump is failing him. This highlights what that team is up against: a series of overlapping scandals that keep expanding to add new players and circles – and in this case, reaching into an innermost circle. When you overlay a shakeup plan on that reality, you realize the problems aren't with – and certainly aren't exclusively with - those who can be fired.

    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "I don't like it. I just don't. I know that some administration officials are saying, 'Well, that's standard procedure.' I don't think it's standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position," Sen. John McCain speaking about Jared Kushner in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp.

    WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

    Press secretary Sean Spicer returns to the podium for his first on camera briefing in 15 days.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Adam Kelsey

    Homeland security secretary comes to the defense of Jared Kushner. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on "This Week" it would be "both normal… and acceptable" to seek back-channel communications with Russia, but that if those communications used Russian equipment, that "would be considered to be … somewhat compromised." http://abcn.ws/2saB6QK

    Trump honors fallen service members and Gold Star families in Memorial Day speech. President Donald Trump offered a solemn tribute to America's service members during a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, honoring those who gave their lives in war and those who have served in defense of the country. "Here at this hallowed shrine, we honor the noblest among us, the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom," said Trump. http://abcn.ws/2qA1AKr

    Sen. John McCain: Putin the 'most important threat, more so than ISIS.' While overseas in Australia for security talks, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is "the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS." http://abcn.ws/2rxTQgU

    Who is Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz? Last week, President Donald Trump retained attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him in all matters related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2006 presidential election. http://abcn.ws/2rPPsJS

    WHO'S TWEETING?

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