Trump renews threats to GOP over election lies: The Note
His new statement may be one Republicans can't ignore.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
It's easy enough and may be tempting for rank-and-file Republicans to ignore yet another statement from former President Donald Trump making false claims about an election that happened almost a full year ago.
But consider his most recent statement on the topic and the priority he is demanding it is given. Consider as well his intended audience -- as endorsement season for next year's midterms heats up.
"If we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do," Trump wrote in a statement Wednesday.
That represents an outright falsehood (Trump-aligned forces have documented election fraud neither thoroughly nor conclusively) accompanied by a threat (diminished turnout) and a questionable prioritization ("single most important thing for Republicans").
It comes the same week that Trump urged followers to rally on behalf of yet another election "audit" and the same day the Jan. 6 committee heard from former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. And the list of Trump-loyal potential witnesses is growing, even as at least one is defying a congressional subpoena in line with what he says is Trump's request.
It also comes at a time when Republicans would love to be talking about just about anything else, including any number of crises confronting the Biden administration. A CNN poll out Wednesday that had some decent news for President Joe Biden, including a 50% approval rating, also found that only 36% of Americans say it's good for the country for Democrats to control Congress.
Dampened Republican enthusiasm is not an idle threat to the ears of many Republicans, including GOP senators and assorted turnout-watchers who think Trump cost them two Senate seats in Georgia in January by attacking the integrity of the race he lost in November.
Looking forward to next year, GOP leaders may never have felt better about their chances at taking the House and the Senate. But the question of whether Trump is helping or hurting his party takes on new urgency when he makes implicit or explicit demands of candidates and elected officials.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The pressure is on for one of the nation's most visible industries after the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees set a nationwide strike date for next Monday. Unless an agreement is reached by then, 60,000 members of the union will bring film and television production to a stop.
In a statement released Wednesday, IATSE said it is continuing negotiations this week "in the hopes of reaching an agreement that addresses core issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale."
The development is one of many similar movements across the country as workers flex their influence within big-name companies like John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, and Kellogg's. The pressure from the workforce is amplifying existing economic tensions amid an evolving labor environment complicated by the pandemic.
Companies are also weighing logistical struggles due to supply chain bottlenecks. On Wednesday, the White House announced plans to alleviate the movement of goods across the country by increasing the operating hours of the Port of Los Angeles, the largest port in North America. Still, Biden called on private businesses to "step up" to better facilitate the supply chain.
"If federal support is needed, I'll direct all appropriate actions. And if the private sector doesn't step up, we're gonna call them out and ask them to act," the president said.
While it remains to be seen how the Biden administration's efforts translate into private businesses' strategies and operations, the issue will remain a priority for the White House given the associated political cost of looming inflation months before the holiday season.
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
It was quite the fumble from former football star Herschel Walker's Senate campaign in Georgia.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported early Wednesday that Trump-endorsed Walker would be in Texas Saturday to attend a fundraiser hosted by a woman whose Twitter profile picture was a swastika made from what looked like vaccine syringes.
In a statement to the newspaper, a campaign spokesperson initially said the image was "clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic." But hours later, amid mounting criticism, his spokesperson issued a new statement saying the fundraiser was canceled.
"Despite the fact that the apparent intent behind the graphic was to condemn government vaccine mandates, the symbol used is very offensive and does not reflect the values of Herschel Walker or his campaign," spokesperson Mallory Blount told ABC News.
Even before Walker, a political novice, officially launched his campaign, some Republicans were concerned about his viability against Sen. Raphael Warnock, a fundraising powerhouse. This misstep -- which came the same day as a political nonprofit with ties to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell opted against including Warnock in a $10 million ad campaign targeting vulnerable Democrats -- is unlikely to assuage any of those lingering fears.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. On Thursday morning's episode ABC's Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega reports on the White House response to the growing shortages nationwide. Then, ABC's Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer breaks down the SCOTUS deliberations on the Boston marathon bomber death penalty. And, ABC's Kayna Whitworth describes what life is like for 'climate nomads'. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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