The TAKE with Rick Klein
Washington has grown to expect occasional presidential tweet storms by now.
Yet even by the new standards set by President Donald Trump, his post-Easter rants on immigration stand out. That’s not just for the curious timing or bizarre staging (hello, Easter Bunny), but for the utter disconnect between the president’s pronouncements, actual facts, and what it all means for policy in the end.
The president is demonstrably wrong on almost every major detail he’s harping on. Democrats couldn’t kill DACA if they wanted – and they don’t – because Trump himself ordered it ended, and then opposed the bipartisan solution that drew the most Senate support to keep it in place.
Those “caravans” coming via Mexico are carrying asylum-seekers – a category of people that has nothing to do with Dreamers, who have been in the U.S. since they were children. None of this has any connection to NAFTA, the border wall, or the Senate’s filibuster rules. There is no “DACA bandwagon.”
It all makes for another presidential episode that’s as confounding as it is illuminating. The president’s point isn’t to make policy; it’s to make noise.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
With Republicans controlling every lever in Washington, plus in many statehouses, too, it is perhaps not surprising the country is wrestling with the limits of the mainstay GOP philosophy that less is more. After all, how low is too low when it comes to taxes? Is there such a thing as a government that’s too small?
Those seem to be some of the key questions facing Oklahoma right now, as nearly 30,000 teachers continue to strike and send up flares about the state of the state’s public schools. Even the Republican governor Mary Fallinargued last year that there are diminishing returns when it comes to shrinking budgets and cutting taxes to attract businesses – specifically now that, as she says, potential employers worry Oklahoma schools are underfunded and failing.
And the teachers in Oklahoma are not walking out in a vacuum. From Kentucky to West Virginia, Arizona and elsewhere, the country seems to be reaching a boiling point when it comes to public education.
Likewise, will the country decide there are appropriate limits on rolling back regulations at the federal level, too? Republican lawmakers may have a hard time squaring that a decision from the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday to relax vehicle emissions standards seems to come in direct conflict with another core Republican value: the importance of states’ rights. Will the feds really tell California it can’t have its own energy standards?
The TIP with Mary Bruce
Once again, the president is stirring the (legislative) pot and spreading untruths on Twitter, and once again Congress is largely ignoring him.
Republican leaders have yet to say a word about Trump’s DACA tirade.
Not surprisingly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a few Democratic leaders are eager to react.
“The only person the country needs on the “DACA bandwagon” is the president. He’s rejected deal after deal to save the program he unilaterally chose to end,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., tweeted in his own Twitter tirade against the president.
“The only person who’s gaming the DACA program isn’t in a caravan, he’s in the Oval Office,” he added.
But even some top Democrats are declining to dignify Trump’s comments with a response.
Asked for any response, a spokesperson for Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said simply: “Nope!”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I have spent countless hours trying to understand how the president and so many others can share such destructive lies about me.” — Jill McCabe, the wife of fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, in a Washington Post op-ed.
NEED TO READ
White House, Dems seek EPA answers on Pruitt’s rental deal. The White House has launched a formal inquiry into Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s living situation last year at a Capitol Hill townhouse co-owned by the wife of a top lobbyist. (John Santucci, Benjamin Siegel and Matthew Mosk) https://abcn.ws/2Ip3PcT
Trump, Japanese prime minister to meet at Mar-a-Lago ahead of North Korea summit. President Donald Trump will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida later this month for a summit meeting, the White House announced Monday. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2GsTMqm
White House considered as venue for a Trump-Putin meeting. The Trump administration is considering the White House as the setting for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House said Monday. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2H3XEeA
Trump defends Sinclair as media company takes fire for ‘false news’ scripts. Videos of local news anchors reading the seemingly same script in a segment decrying “biased and false news” on Sinclair-owned TV stations is raising questions about the media company after the videos attracted attention online. (Meghan Keneally) https://abcn.ws/2GrGo1J
Legal defense fund for Trump aides under scrutiny by congressional Democrats. Democrats on a congressional oversight committee are raising new concerns about a fund set up to help past and present Trump aides pay any legal expenses related to investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, ABC News has learned. (Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2GLkPN8
Connecticut Democrat won’t seek re-election after criticism of her handling of office harassment. Fighting a wave of calls for her resignation, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Connecticut Democrat, announced Monday she won’t seek re-election this fall. (John Parkinson and John Verhovek) https://abcn.ws/2pWfJ7e
‘Deep concern’ over nixing anti-discrimination language from HUD mission statement: Dems. Democrats in Congress are expressing deep concern over proposed changes at the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would see the words “free from discrimination” removed from its mission statement – a move they say would “erase decades worth of progress” in housing anti-discrimination efforts. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2q0AZYz
Facing long odds, potential Speaker Ryan challenger sees uptick in fundraising. A Democrat hoping to unseat the most powerful Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, has raised more than $2 million since the beginning of the year, his campaign announced Monday. (John Verhovek) https://abcn.ws/2uGQMBw
Trump EPA moving to relax Obama-era auto fuel efficiency, emissions standards. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is moving to relax fuel efficiency and emissions standards for vehicles manufactured between 2022 and 2025, the agency announced Monday –- something largely applauded by the auto industry, which has argued the standards set by the Obama administration are prohibitively expensive. (Erin Dooley) https://abcn.ws/2J9gj9D
Wife of former FBI deputy director McCabe calls attacks on her family ‘false and utterly absurd’. Jill McCabe, an emergency room pediatrician and the wife of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, has spoken out for the first time since her husband’s dismissal, calling attacks on her family “false and utterly absurd.” (Kendall Karson) https://abcn.ws/2GSaDmd
Fired FBI deputy director freezes crowdfunding page after it soars past $500K. A crowdfunding campaign to cover legal costs for Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director fired two days before he planned to retire and get a full pension, stopped accepting GoFundMe donations Monday night after soaring past half a million dollars over the weekend, a response McCabe called “overwhelming.” (Cheyenne Haslett) https://abcn.ws/2GpOyrk
AP reports on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorizing the Justice Department’s special counsel to investigate allegations that President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, colluded with the Russian government. https://bit.ly/2q08bjx
Bloomberg reports that a former staffer on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign is seeking to nullify a non-disclosure agreement after suing the campaign over claims of harassment and discrimination, making her the third woman to sue over Trump-related NDA. https://bloom.bg/2pYPhsE
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.