The TAKE with Rick Klein
As President Donald Trump pushes the world, the world is learning to push back.
Even before arriving in Brussels, for what could be his most confrontational trip yet, he berated NATO allies over their defense spending; didn't answer a question about whether British Prime Minister Theresa May should remain in power, and managed to perplex virtually everyone by saying his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin "may be the easiest of all."
The president is on the ground during a time of particular turmoil in Europe, much of it driven from inside the U.S. allies' own borders.
That may sharpen the bite carried by Trump. It has already prompted an unusual rebuke from the president of the European Council.
"Dear America, appreciate your allies," Donald Tusk said Tuesday. "After all, you don't have that many."
We've seen this before – an unconventional president who stokes tension with friends, then promotes friendship with enemies. The rest of the world is adjusting to the Trump style, but isn't necessarily in the mood or the position to accommodate his impulses.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The decision by Democrats to level a multi-pronged attack against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee might backfire.
A number of Senate Democrats expressed concern Tuesday over Judge Brett Kavanaugh's prior legal writings about presidential power, even suggesting Trump might have picked him because of his opinions about how burdensome investigations can be for sitting presidents.
"Judge Kavanaugh's background as a partisan political operative seems exactly like the kind of man President Trump would want on the Supreme Court if legal issues from the Mueller probe arise: deferential to a fault to executive authority," Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.
While that issue might ring loudly for Democratic voters, it is hardly as mainstream as, say, public concern over the possibility of the court overturning legal precedent on abortion. Recent polling shows the majority of Americans do not think the court should do that.
If Democrats were able to paint Kavanaugh as an extremist on Roe v. Wade, it is possible one or both of the moderate, female Republican senators who tend to be sensitive to those issues could feel enough pressure to give the thumbs down.
That feels more likely to sink his nomination in the end than any argument about his thoughts on separation of powers.
The TIP with John Verhovek
The Supreme Court confirmation fight isn't only about ideology – it's about big money, too.
Brian Fallon, Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman who's now heading up Demand Justice – opposing Brett Kavanaugh's nomination – confirmed that in a call with reporters Tuesday.
Fallon said his group had committed to spend $5 million on ads in states with senators who might flip – Maine, Alaska, North Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia – but he conceded they'd never be able to match the Judicial Crisis Network, which he claimed has committed twice that to back Kavanaugh.
"The Kochs are probably going to get involved at some point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Chamber of Commerce decided to spend in this fight. So we will be outspent," Fallon predicted.
"This is not going to be determined by how much money is spent on TV or on radio or on digital," he added. "Our goal is to prevent ourselves from being wiped out on that front -- and to hold our own on that front - it's not to match them dollar for dollar. Our belief is that this fight is going to be won via mobilization, it's going to be won on the ground."
Hear more from Fallon when he joins ABC's Powerhouse Politics podcast Wednesday.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"There's nothing inherently wrong, obviously, with him meeting with the head of the Russian government and I won't give him any advice on how that meeting should be conducted or who else should be in the room." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday ahead of President Trump's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Kavanaugh begins Senate charm offensive as Democrats roll out opposition strategy. Just hours after his dramatic White House East Room announcement as Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was on Capitol Hill Tuesday beginning the traditional process of paying courtesy calls on the senators who will vote on his confirmation. (Ali Rogin) https://abcn.ws/2N2JH2i
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Judge orders Manafort moved to jail closer to upcoming trials. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Marshals to move Paul Manafort from his rural Virginia jail to a detention facility in Alexandria, Va., in the Washington metro area, where the former Trump campaign chairman faces two trials – one set to begin later this month and the second in September. (Lucien Bruggeman) https://abcn.ws/2N04h3e
Stephanopoulos interview with Russian pop star behind Trump Tower meeting: Full Transcript. https://abcn.ws/2KN4ESp
Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler to continue Trump's agenda after Pruitt's resignation. Scott Pruitt's resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the end of a tumultuous time at the agency, but when it comes to policy the new acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler is not expected to change course. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2KOxIZJ
Trump pardons Oregon cattle ranchers at the center of Bundy standoff. President Trump pardoned two Oregon cattle ranchers on Tuesday whose sentencing sparked a standoff led by states' rights activist Ammon Bundy in 2016. (Karolina Rivas) https://abcn.ws/2N02nj6
Michael Flynn's lawyers say he has not joined global consulting firm as claimed. In a bizarre twist, lawyers representing retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, said late Tuesday he has not joined a new global consulting firm, hours after the firm issued a press release saying he had. (Ali Dukakis and Allison Pecorin) https://abcn.ws/2L5iYle
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.