There’s an agency with two directors and no clear direction. There’s an old tape that’s real but news so “fake” that the president wants to award a trophy.
And the “Veep”iest plotline of the day didn’t write itself until President Donald Trump brought a Pocahontas joke to an event honoring Native American war heroes.
There is also a tax bill – two of them, actually, racing against a legislative clock that’s ticking down on an overloaded agenda. Trump heads to Capitol Hill today to meet with lawmakers about the path ahead, so it’s time for some presidential deal-making…
Or is it? It’s not clear that Trump even matters in the tax-bill equation, or that his allies want him involved in detailed negotiations around this or the government-spending measure Congress must finish by the end of next week.
There are deals to be cut, but they are the province of the Senate at this point. Key lawmakers have already pronounced themselves immune from Trump’s charms. The president hasn’t proven himself adept at making legislative deals that last.
Washington’s dysfunction may still yield progress in the coming weeks. But action is likely to take place around the president – and around the drama his actions are stoking.
The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek
We’re exactly two weeks from Election Day in Alabama, and there’s a new U.S. Senate candidate vying to take advantage of the political chaos in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore.
Retired Marine Col. Lee Busby, a former top aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, is throwing his hat into the ring as a write-in candidate, he told ABC News in an interview Monday.
“With me throwing my name in, this is now a three-way gun fight, and all I need to do is get a plurality,” Busby said, “There is this huge swath between the margins that is very open to a candidacy like this one.”
Busby’s entrance into the race comes on the same day the White House confirmed President Donald Trump will not campaign with Moore before Election Day, maintaining a layer of separation while still trying to direct most of the political heat toward the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones.
While he faces long odds to winning the seat, Busby says if he can draw those undecided voters who have abandoned Moore but aren’t quite ready to support a Democrat, he has a shot at pulling off a win, as long as people remember how to spell his name.
The TIP with Jeffrey Cook
Staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau attended work Monday uncertain about which interim director would be in charge. Emails obtained by ABC News further exacerbated confusion over the agency’s leadership.
In a note to CFPB employees Monday morning, former Director Richard Cordray‘s pick to lead the agency, Leandra English, thanked colleagues and signed under the title acting director.
Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s preferred appointment, followed up with his own email, directing employees to, “Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as acting director,” further instructing staff to “please inform the General Counsel” if they receive additional communications from English.
The White House is defending Mulvaney’s position as interim director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, as English explores legal options after filing a suit against Trump and Mulvaney, citing the Dodd-Frank Act.