The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump has never needed an excuse to go after his predecessor.
New dynamics are complicating those attacks. Former President Barack Obama is starting to respond — and Hillary Clinton may as well, as she headlines her first Biden campaign fundraiser on Tuesday.
Trump’s own attorney general asserted Monday that Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden are highly unlikely to face charges from his Justice Department.
“As long as I’m attorney general, the criminal-justice system will not be used for partisan political ends,” Attorney General William Barr said.
The pushback might, under other circumstances, chasten the man making unfounded accusations about “Obamagate” and crimes he claims – without evidence – were committed by the previous administration.
But these new dynamics are about as likely to silence Trump as a new nickname applied by Biden.
Trump’s constant tweets and complaints weren’t getting widespread coverage before Barr spoke out. Denials and disavowals may end up getting the president and his allies what they want: attention.
Obama and Clinton advisers have long worried that getting into regular back-and-forths with Trump is exactly what the president wants. For them and for Biden, though, it’s proving increasingly untenable to ignore Trump — even in the midst of this unprecedented public-health crisis.
The president may not be getting the answers he wants. But getting answered at all can often be his point.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Congress may have written the checks, but it seems the administration has been slow to cash them.
In its first report to Congress, the newly formed Congressional Oversight Commission found that the Treasury Department, so far, has only doled out a small portion of the total money at its discretion as part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March.
The commission was tasked with keeping close tabs on how, when and to whom Treasury allocated billions intended to help businesses and communities stay afloat during this time. The team’s first report states that of $500 billion green-lit for the Treasury, only a small portion of the money has been used to prop up struggling businesses to date.
Within that $500 billion pot, $46 billion was specifically set aside for Treasury to provide as loans or loan guarantees to specific industries. Passenger airlines are eligible for up to $25 billion and cargo carriers are entitled to up to $4 billion. The remaining $17 million is available for businesses “critical to maintaining national security.”
According to the report, none of this $46 billion has been disbursed by the Treasury Department so far.
Last, none of the money appropriated to Treasury has gone to local governments either. A separate portion of the CARES Act allocated $150 billion for states and cities, but the Treasury could choose to provide additional assistance from this pot of money and so far has declined to do so.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell are set to testify Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. They will no doubt be asked why more has not been spent as unemployment surges and businesses suffer.
The TIP with Kendall Karson and Meg Cunningham
Three months before the pair of national conventions formally kick off the general election campaign, the two parties are heading down diverging paths for the marquee events.
For planners of the Democrats’ nominating event, and the party’s leadership, who already postponed from July to August, internal pressure is building to shift the convention’s format. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, the top Democrat in the state hosting the quadrennial gathering, told ABC’s Madison affiliate that a virtual convention is “probably the smartest thing,” before adding that convention organizers will likely have to scale back the event if it moves forward as planned.
Democrats have yet to make a final decision, but Evers’ comments come less than a week after the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee adopted a rule change to allow delegates to participate remotely — raising questions about whether the party’s rank-and-file will show up at all if the health risk persists.
Meanwhile, the Republicans’ gathering, set for a week after the Democrats’ convention, is on track as planned, with party leaders seeming more adamant than ever to stay on course. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel dismissed concerns over the virus hindering the convention, telling reporters on a call Monday, “I’ve not heard any concerns from delegates, or our state party chairs, or national committee members.” She added, “We will not be holding a virtual convention.”
BRINGING AMERICA BACK
Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are leading the charge for greater voting access in November’s general election with a series of proposals. Read this story and more by checking out Bringing America Back, an ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, who tells us what the latest data shows us about America’s response to COVID-19. Then, ABC News Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton gives us an update on efforts to find a vaccine. And, ABC News’ Conor Finnegan explains why President Donald Trump fired the State Department Inspector General over the weekend. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and chair of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome Powell, testify remotely in front of the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m.
President Donald Trump delivers remarks at 11 a.m. and then holds a cabinet meeting at 3 p.m. in the White House.
Dr. Jill Biden holds a virtual meet and greet in at 12:15 PM MDT, a virtual conversation with Latina business leaders at 1:15, a virtual organizing event at 2:30 p.m. and a virtual roundtable with military families at 3:45 p.m. in Denver.
Former Vice President Joe Biden attends a virtual finance event and then participate in a virtual town hall with chef José Andrés at 7 p.m.
Oregon primary election mail-in ballots are due by 8 p.m. PDT
Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.