The Note: Are ‘thoughts and prayers’ enough after yet another mass shooting?

FAN Editor

The TAKE with Rick Klein

This isn’t the week anyone thought it would be.

All eyes now turn to a tragedy and mourning in a small town in Texas, not the political dramas that were slated to mark the week and dominate headlines.

President Donald Trump, who hoped to make his mark on the other side of the world, must balance his actions abroad with responses to an unspeakable episode and its political fallout.

The same goes for his fellow Republicans, whose “thoughts and prayers” for those grieving in Texas may not be enough to keep the focus on taxes, even if Special Counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t bring any new action before a grand jury.

It goes for Democrats, too.

A year after a disappointment for the ages, and on the eve of the biggest electoral tests of the Trump era, the party is groaning under the weight of its own divisions instead of rebounding.

The Democratic Party is reliving the divides that defined the 2016 primary fights, in internal battles that don’t begin to address why Hillary Clinton lost to Trump.

Democrats face a must-win night where they just might lose in Virginia on Tuesday, a race where the outcome will help define the landscape for 2018 and beyond.

The news cycle will go on, of course.

But once again, a tragic event is shaking the nation’s psyche — and making its politics seem particularly small.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

It seems no corner of America is safe from the threat of gun violence.

Big cities, wealthy suburbs, small towns, tiny rural communities. East Coast, West Coast, red states, blue states. Mass casualty shootings have occurred across this country, leaving many again asking “why”?

What makes the United States vulnerable to this violence?

Is it the pervasiveness of guns or something in the culture?

And, with increased frequency and deadliness of these shootings, is the country reaching a fever pitch or resigned to a new normal?

Arguably, government is designed first to keep its citizens safe and Democrats have suggested stricter gun control laws as part of the solution. Republicans have balked at the idea that more controls would curb the violence and argue for better enforcement of the laws currently on the books.

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, two Republican senators and 27 Republican Members of the House supported a bill to ban the so-called bump stocks device. Despite the bipartisan backing, Republican leadership expressed little interest in bringing up the legislation.

Such inaction may quickly no longer be a politically viable option, especially as critics point to inconsistencies from the White House.

President Trump was noticeably quick to advocate for sweeping changes in immigration policy after the attack in New York last week. In a press conference Monday morning in Japan, Trump said it was a “little bit soon” to be talking about guns. According to Trump, “this isn’t a guns situation”…”mental health is your problem here.”

If Republicans do not think more regulations around firearms would help than what would? A big investment in mental health? A new tactic for law enforcement?

The pressure to offer some proposal is growing with each tragic shooting.

The TIP with Jack Date

The special counsel has responded to Paul Manafort’s request to modify his conditions of release. Prosecutors appear to be prepared to allow Manafort to travel to Virginia, New York and Florida, but not overseas. The government also asks for a $10 million bond secured by “two financially responsible sureties and real property or additional assets.” The government says it will not object if the two responsible parties are Manafort’s wife and daughter.

Prosecutors also maintain, “the weight of the evidence against him is strong.”

One factual point appears to be in dispute, according to a footnote in the government’s filing, “Manafort claims that his work in the Ukraine ended in 2014, … while the indictment alleges his continued work through 2015 on behalf of the Opposition Bloc, after the flight to Russia of President Victor Yanukovych.”

Manafort’s attorney, in a court filing Saturday, asked the government to accept three properties and life insurance policies which they value at $12.5 million as bail. The special counsel argues in its Sunday filing that, “The government does not presently have sufficient information to assess the claimed net asset value of this property, or even to be confident that the property has equity in it at all.



“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of today’s horrendous attack. This attack is an act of evil…occurred as the victims and their families were in a place of sacred worship. I cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel.” – President Donald Trump on the Texas church shooting.


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.

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