Jun 14, 2018, 5:57 AM ET

The Note: Trump’s birthday could bring unwelcome surprises


The TAKE with Rick Klein

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President Donald Trump’s anticipated birthday present comes with a reminder: not all gifts are welcome ones.

The long-awaited Justice Department inspector general’s report on the handling of the Hillary Clinton emails investigation is due to come out Thursday, which happens to be the president’s 72nd birthday.

It figures to provide endless fodder for Trump and his backers to talk about James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, and less-familiar names like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

But news that Michael Cohen may cooperate with investigators in the Southern District of New York – as first reported Wednesday by ABC News – demonstrates anew that Trump only has partial control of the complicated storylines swirling around him.

Trump may be inspiring a “cultish thing” inside his own party, to quote Sen. Bob Corker. Efforts to undermine Robert Mueller’s inquiry are well-established by now, and are likely to get a boost on Thursday.

But there enough independent operators in tenuous positions to make control of any narratives rather fleeting, even for a president who is gaining ever-deeper loyalty inside the GOP.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The immigration debate has come roaring back to Capitol Hill, spurred, in part, by a growing concern in communities across the country about the administration’s enforcement policy that leads to children being separated from their parents who cross the border illegally.

The House is set to vote on two reform immigration proposals next week, and now Republicans face an interesting political question: What will party members, who often use phrases like “family values,” do on this issue? And will they listen to evangelical Christian leaders, who so often have their back, but more and more are calling this policy a humanitarian crisis in the making?

PHOTO: Franklin Graham delivers the eulogy during the funeral of his father Reverend Dr. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C., on March 02, 2018.Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images
Franklin Graham delivers the eulogy during the funeral of his father Reverend Dr. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C., on March 02, 2018.

Yesterday, the Reverend Franklin Graham, who has been a staunch supporter of President Trump, told the Christian Broadcasting Network, the new enforcement policy was “disgraceful.”

Earlier this month, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, signed on to a letter with others conservative Christian leaders in the country, that read, “As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society.”

The letter sent to the president said that any blanket policy or practice by the administration that led to separated families could be “devastating,” “long-lasting,” and is “of utmost concern.”

The TIP with Molly Nagle

As speculation continues about a possible Joe Biden presidential run in 2020, the former vice president seems to have his sights set on being a player in the midterm elections—and he’s making the endorsements to prove it.

With just under five months until Election Day, Biden so far has thrown his support behind 27 Democrats in House and Senate midterm races.

PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a keynote address regarding the future of the middle class, at the Brookings Institution, on May 8, 2018 in Washington.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a keynote address regarding the future of the middle class, at the Brookings Institution, on May 8, 2018 in Washington.

The endorsements and fundraising efforts span 18 different states, and range from old colleagues like Sens. John Tester of Montana and Diane Feinstein of California, to first-time congressional candidates like Rep. Conor Lamb, who won his special election earlier this year in Pennsylvania’s 17th district. Another endorsement went to Abby Finkenauer, who worked on Biden’s Iowa Caucus campaign in 2008 and is now running in Iowa’s 1st district.

Biden has also endorsed Democrats in three gubernatorial race: Gov. Kate Brown, the current governor of Oregon, James Smith in South Carolina and Rich Cordray in Ohio.

And that’s not all. Biden has issued endorsements in seven special elections at both the state and congressional level in 2018.

His track record? Six of the seven candidates Biden endorsed - won.


  • President Trump has no public events scheduled.
  • It’s Donald Trump’s birthday today. He’s turning 72.
  • Vice President Pence speaks at the 2018 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference at 8 a.m. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. are also expected to make remarks.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Chinese President Xi in Beijing at 9 a.m. EDT.
  • Republicans face off against Democrats at the annual Congressional baseball game at 4 p.m at Nationals Park. One year ago today Rep. Steve Scalise and others were shot during batting practice.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations committee meets on the nomination of Harry Harris Jr. to be ambassador to the Republic of Korea at 10 a.m.
  • At 2 p.m., the Justice Department Inspector General is expected to release a review of the DOJ and FBI's actions during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

    "The president needed to disrupt the status quo and the president has disrupted the status quo. He should be applauded for doing that." - Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, when asked whether he viewed Kim Jong Un "as a great guy" who "no longer poses a threat to the United States."


    Pompeo insists North Korea agreement 'encompasses' verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending the agreement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong Un at the Singapore summit, insisting it “encompasses” ‘verifiable’ and ‘irreversible’ denuclearization, even though the document does not explicitly use those terms. (Sarah Koninovsky) https://abcn.ws/2l9gKWI

    Trump proclaims 'there is no longer a nuclear threat' from N. Korea after return from Singapore summit. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage Americans to "sleep well tonight" upon landing in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning following the landmark United States-North Korea summit in Singapore Tuesday. (Kendall Karson) https://abcn.ws/2MmCz1c

    Mueller names ‘Hapsburg group,’ reveals Manafort messages. A new filing from the special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed on Wednesday identifies two former journalists and the content of messages former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a Russian associate sent them in February, just two days after a superseding indictment against Manafort. (Lucien Bruggeman, Allison Pecorin and Soo Rin Kim) https://abcn.ws/2LQDKVD

    Former Senate staffer pleads not guilty as lawyer seeks gag on officials, including Trump. James Wolfe, a former 30-year Senate staffer, entered a plea of not guilty in federal court Wednesday to making false statements. The government has accused Wolfe - a longtime Director of Security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who had access to classified information - of lying about passing non-public information to two reporters. (Trish Turner and Mike Levine) https://abcn.ws/2JQsHyy

    Nevada brothel owner wins GOP state assembly primary. Dennis Hof, a 71-year-old brothel owner and reality series star, bested a five-year incumbent in a Republican primary for Nevada State Assembly Tuesday. (Matt Seyler) https://abcn.ws/2ybv8XC

    Sanford loss magnifies 'Trump effect' on GOP primaries. The surprise defeat of South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford last night to a primary challenger, State Rep. Katie Arrington, who made his criticism of President Donald Trump a focal point of her campaign, brought into focus the looming presence the commander-in-chief has over an already chaotic midterm cycle for the Republican Party. (John Verhovek and Kendall Karson) https://abcn.ws/2l5W0yZ

    White House, Trump signal support for GOP immigration bills, Republicans say. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that Republican leaders have been working "hand-in-glove" with the Trump White House on immigration ahead of a vote next week on two immigration bills, as moderates and conservatives continue to negotiate the details of a possible compromise measure on border security and the plight of young undocumented immigrants known as "Dreamers." (Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2ygw6lI

    'Start Here' podcast: Scalise has 'come a long way,' will start at second base, says the congressman who helped save him. Early in the morning on June 14, 2017, a lone gunman in Alexandria, Virginia opened fire on a field where Republican lawmakers were practicing for the annual congressional charity baseball game. Four people were shot, including House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who suffered life-threatening injuries. (Brad Mielke and Kelly Terez) https://abcn.ws/2t9k73v

    Interior Dept. wasted more than $400,000 on canceled study: Watchdog. The Interior Department's internal watchdog says the agency wasted the money after it decided to cancel an ongoing study into potential health risks for people living near mountaintop coal mines in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2HM6Set

    With no White House invite from Trump, Democrats invite Golden State Warriors to Capitol. President Donald Trump said that he doesn't plan on inviting the Golden State Warriors to the White House this year, but the NBA champs have received another high profile invitation to the nation's capital. (Deena Zaru) https://abcn.ws/2JJgVCE

    The New York Times reports on Archie Parnell, the Democratic House candidate who won a primary in South Carolina Tuesday after admitting to abusing his ex-wife in the 1970s. https://nyti.ms/2MoAd1Z

    The Washington Post reports inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children. https://wapo.st/2LOkzvP

    "Interested in a job at the White House?" Politico reports the White House - which has been having trouble filling positions as it bleeds staffers – is now trying to find recruits at a conservative job fair on the Hill. https://politi.co/2JyvY6d

    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.

    News - The Note: Trump’s birthday could bring unwelcome surprises

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    • Jake the real Jake

      The Poorly educated will never see the light Father forgive them for their sins and selling their souls to the Devil!

    • Bill DeWahl

      The Greatest President EVER!!!!

      THANK YOU President Trump for all that you have done to Make America Great Again!!

    • coupz

      Happy Birthday President Trump!!! Thank you SO MUCH for all you have done for America and the World!

      Ignore the haters!!

    • DuelingDogmas

      Of course this just means he will be walking around the WH with no pants asking all the women to 'blow out his little candle'.....

    • Paul Brandy

      Has Trump started tweet-blasting about this yet?

      He IS the patron saint of constant deflection....

    • Jake the real Jake

      Puerile Trump's birthday 72 going on 11,
      and watch the poorly educated delete, So Sad they can't handle the truth.

    • Not Fancy

      Biden 2020 (if not sooner)

    • Nala

      and now the slimey trumpklan are holding children hostage in exchange for approval of a completely useless $25B wall for their lord and master trump

    • Rubber Banned

      It's discouraging as a patriotic American to see every candidate that Trump endorsed win his primary. We get the govt we deserve in a democracy and if this is the govt we deserve, America is surely in it's twilight.

    • KingPeter

      "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending the agreement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong Un at the Singapore summit, insisting it “encompasses” ‘verifiable’ and ‘irreversible’ denuclearization, even though the document does not explicitly use those terms." -- Wow. Unless there are specific guidelines and details written out and agreed upon by both and then signed by both, there is nothing. This document they signed is the very definition of nothing. It is vague and 1 page long, and NK has made deals like this in the past and then simply violated and ignored them. Do you really think Kim Jong is going to just get rid of everything after what he has done in the past year? Donnie apparently does, since he was Tweeting that the Threat form NK is over...um, nothing is over. Kim can launch his missiles tomorrow and that document they signed can do nothing to protect anyone, especially not the U.S.

    • mark rothschild

      Gold-Lame'...Straight Jacket...size XXXXXXXXXXXL

    • James Clark

      Democrats don't deserve such a good president as Donald Trump.
      The better America is doing with President Trump, the more somber Democrats become.
      Happy Birthday, President Trump!

    • Stephen Bishop

      I've got a birthday gift for Donald.

    • dustyrivers ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Donald, Donald jr, Eric, Ivanka, & the Trump Foundation being sued by the New York State Attorney is a wonderful Birthday present !!

    • the mysterious island

      Most Trump's supporters are experiencing an irrational fear of people who are unlike themselves (Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, immigrants, etc.) as well as they are experiencing an irrational believe that Trump would help them to get rid of said unlike people (Trump is a self-serving man, he wouldn't help anyone). Both this thoughts are totally delusional! In the 1930s and 40s the same way delusional Germans supported Adolf Hitler! I sincerely recommend most Trump supporters to seek psychiatric help before it is too late for themselves and for the country!

    • Matt

      The Trump Foundation is under Civil Law Suit for self-dealing....."happy birthday Mr. Pres-i-dent...."

    • brian nrndss

      read the first part and the article was a clear contradiction of the heading

    • brian nrndss

      anyone know of a good tarmac?
      Loretta Lynch

    • brian nrndss

      dnra yet: posting a heading like this is sacrilegious; There are somethings you do not do........
      The Note: Trump’s birthday could bring unwelcome surprises

    • Bob Carrick

      Donnie's birthday well have a miserable birthday Donnie since you are a miserable person