It feels historic and perhaps unprecedented that U.S. law enforcement officers and members of Congress could repeatedly sound the alarm, saying foreign state actors attacked American institutions, and the commander in chief would respond so cavalierly.
The day after the Justice Department announced new indictments against Russian military officers, President Trump’s team focused on what the legal document did not say. It did not, for example, include charges that Americans knowingly helped the hackers.
Two days after the indictment, President Trump blamed a private American political organization for not having better cyber-security.
Perhaps in his meeting today with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump will lay down the hammer, express fury or threaten retaliation. Perhaps tomorrow he will tell Americans the full force and strength of the U.S. government and military will be working around the clock to make sure Russians cannot meddle again. While there’s little indication of this, perhaps he still plans to reassure Dan Coats, his director of national intelligence, who, like others, is worried about what Russia is doing right now.
The RUNDOWN with Adam Kelsey
Within the Democratic Party’s identity crisis, liberal voters have played a foil to the establishment, dragging candidates, and the party as a whole, to the left. But in California, a new drama is playing out in which the script has been flipped.
This weekend, state Sen. Kevin de León snatched the California Democratic Party’s endorsement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein by a 65-7 percent margin, a month after Feinstein trounced her liberal challenger by nearly 33 percentage points in the state’s jungle primary.
Feinstein, 85, is the oldest member of the Senate and matriarch of a party struggling with how to pass the torch to a new generation. But the dissatisfaction of party loyalists with the senator may lie more with her actions that her age.
Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesSenate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein is flanked by fellow Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal while speaking about the Keep Families Together Act on Capitol Hill, June 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Using a formula comparing how often a senator sides with President Trump’s positions vs. how they might be expected to vote given Trump’s 2016 performance in their state, FiveThirtyEight calculates that Feinstein’s votes align with the president 7 percent more often than predicted, the highest level among Senate Democrats.
Though moderate Democrats have found success this year by compromising liberal doctrine with conservative positions, some liberal strongholds on the coasts are moving in the opposite direction by embracing ardent progressives.
The Democratic Party has come a long way to welcome its newly impassioned left-wing, but California will be a test case of whether the party’s progressive ambitions are enough to sway a populace that cast a clear vote of confidence in the “establishment” incumbent.
The TIP with Matt Seyler
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page returns to the Hill this morning for a second round of questions from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on the anti-Trump messages sent between her and FBI agent Peter Strzok during the 2016 presidential campaign. Based on what we know of her closed-door hearing Friday, there is reason to believe she’s in for a less contentious interview than Strzok faced the day before.
Strzok, who after leading the Hillary Clinton email investigation was part of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, withstood a 10-hour hearing of interrogations, accusations and raised voices with the two committees Thursday. GOP Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina called his integrity into question and Texas Republican Louis Gohmert condemned him for his extramarital affair with Page, among other attacks.
Page, on the other hand, may be heading into a much more amicable room today, if the GOP reaction to her first round of testimony is any indication.
ABC NewsLisa Page, a former senior FBI lawyer, exits a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill on Friday, July 13, 2018.
“Lisa Page is a very credible witness and she’s doing her best to help us find the truth,” said North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows after Friday’s hearing.
Even Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, who was especially caustic while grilling Strzok, indicated that his time with Page was fruitful.
“She gave us new information that he either wouldn’t or couldn’t that confirmed some of the concerns that we have about these investigations,” he said.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia … over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!” — President Donald Trump on Twitter Sunday in reference to today’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
NEED TO READ
Public backs action on global warming – but with cost concerns and muted urgency (POLL). Public awareness of global warming is up and support for action is broad, with eight in 10 Americans saying the federal government should try to achieve the same deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions called for in the international treaty rejected by Donald Trump. (Gary Langer) https://abcn.ws/2mbC91L
‘I find it hard to believe’ Putin didn’t know about Russian interference: Bolton. President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser said that when he met with Putin in Moscow at the end of June to prepare for the Trump-Putin summit, the Russian president “made it plain that he said the Russian state was not involved.” (Quinn Scanlan) https://abcn.ws/2NSk0D1
Ahead of Trump-Putin meeting, lack of preparation leads to low expectations: Sources. Publicly, President Trump has said that he’s been preparing for this summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin his whole life, while admitting at NATO that he expects “just a loose meeting.” (Tara Palmeri) https://abcn.ws/2LdZjCI
It ‘belies common sense’ Trump would ‘press’ Putin about election interference: Democratic Senator. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said that since President Donald Trump has “believed” President Vladimir Putin’s denials that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, it “belies common sense” that Trump “is going to sit down across from Putin and press him hard on the issue of Russian meddling.” (Quinn Scanlan) https://abcn.ws/2LhdnII
Former DNC chair to Trump ahead of Helsinki summit: ‘Confront Mr. Putin’ on election interference. Donna Brazile responded to the latest special counsel indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into the DNC’s server during the 2016 presidential campaign by calling on President Donald Trump to “confront” Vladimir Putin about the allegations at their summit Monday. (Quinn Scanlan) https://abcn.ws