Sunday, December 16th, 2018 pm31 6:08pm

The Note: As storm approaches, a self-imposed test for Trump

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The TAKE with Rick Klein

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Politics would typically take a back seat for a few days while the nation focuses on a giant storm, right after commemorating 9/11.

Except, of course, Donald Trump is president. He’s touting the “unsung success” of his administration’s disaster response in Puerto Rico – where the death toll from last year’s hurricane was just revised to nearly 3,000 – while preparing the nation for another monster weather event.

The political impact of this storm could be felt well beyond some canceled rallies and a truncated legislative week on Capitol Hill.

Trump has set up his own fresh tests for his administration, in the middle of an intense campaign period. As other storms have shown, the president isn’t quieted easily.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Election primaries for this cycle come to a close this week, and Hillary Clinton is upping her support for some general election campaigns, specifically for some of the record number of first–time, female candidates on the Democratic side this year.

PHOTO: Xochitl Torres Small, a Democratic candidate for Congress, speaks to voters at a an event in Las Cruces, N.M., May 24, 2018.Russell Contreras/AP
Xochitl Torres Small, a Democratic candidate for Congress, speaks to voters at a an event in Las Cruces, N.M., May 24, 2018.

PHOTO: Gina Ortiz Jones is running in the Democratic primary for Texas 23rd Congressional District.Gina Ortiz Jones for Congress
Gina Ortiz Jones is running in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.

Thursday, the former presidential nominee is headlining a fundraiser for a wide of range of Democratic congressional candidates, all of whom are hoping to flip seats from red to blue.

The list of women benefiting from the fundraiser includes: Lauren Underwood, IL- 14; Gina Ortiz Jones, TX -23; Liuba Grechen Shirley, NY-2; Haley Stevens, MI-11; and Xochitl Torres Small, NM-2.

What’s fascinating about this list is that Clinton won in only three of those districts and some are pretty red. New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, for example, went to Trump by 10 points and the incumbent Republican won by nearly 30. (Clinton did win in about 24 House districts nationwide that are currently held by Republicans.)

Obviously, holding a private fundraiser is different from campaigning publicly in town. Still, it’s hard to imagine that Clinton would back candidates who don’t have a shot. The event is an example of top Democrats pushing into red territory.

The TIP with Dominick Proto

The 2018 midterm election in New Hampshire is sure to be a groundbreaking one regardless of who prevails.

PHOTO: In this Sept. 5, 2018 file photo, Chris Pappas participates in a debate of Democratic hopefuls in New Hampshires 1st Congressional District at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. AP
In this Sept. 5, 2018 file photo, Chris Pappas participates in a debate of Democratic hopefuls in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

The state’s 1st Congressional District saw Democratic candidate Chris Pappas and Republican candidate Eddie Edwards claim victory after Tuesday’s primaries. Pappas would break barriers as the state’s first openly gay holder of a major office, while Edwards would be New Hampshire’s first black congressman.

Pappas said his win will allow the nation to see there is “an ability to come together regardless of who we are to solve problems.” Equality PAC endorsed Pappas during the campaign, stating his “race is vital to our pro-equality majority in the House and is one of our best chances of electing a new LGBT member.”

He also received praise from the Victory Fund, which promotes LGBT candidates running for office.

Edwards, a former police chief, received support on the campaign trail from Rudy Giuliani – not to mention the support of two state senators who used to work for his main opponent in the primary.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump participates in a reception for all Medal of Honor recipients at the White House at 5:30 p.m.
  • The president hosts a roundtable with supporters at 6:15 p.m.
  • The president addresses the Republican National Committee at 7:15 p.m.
  • The Coast Guard holds a news conference on its Hurricane Florence response plan at 10:30 a.m.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition at 1:30 p.m.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “He never got it. He will never get it.” – San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to ABC News Tuesday, after Trump called Maria response “an incredible, unsung success.”

    THE PLAYLIST

    ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Wednesday morning’s episode features ABC News White House correspondent Tara Palmeri discussing her exclusive interview with Donald Trump, Jr. and whether President Trump’s ‘circle of trust’ is getting smaller following the release of Bob Woodward’s new book and the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times. https://bit.ly/2Ohkpz8

    ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” Podcast. On Wednesday afternoon’s episode, ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein interview Ken Starr, former special prosecutor and author of “Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation.” https://bit.ly/2w091jE

    NEED TO READ

    Trump says Puerto Rico response was ‘an incredible unsung success’ ahead of Hurricane Florence. President Trump called his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico — where an independent study suggests nearly 3,000 people may have died — an “incredible unsung success.” (Meridith McGraw, Alexander Mallin and Meghan Keneally) https://abcn.ws/2MfT65X

    Lawmakers express faith in federal preparedness ahead of Florence. As Hurricane Florence churns toward the Carolina coast, lawmakers expressed faith in first responders preparing for landfall later this week, confident that the federal government has learned its lessons from problem-plagued recoveries from Katrina and Maria. (John Parkinson) https://abcn.ws/2OhmR80

    FIRST ON ABC for ‘18 for ‘18: Democrat touts coal, Army background in first ad for W.Va. general election. Democrat Richard Ojeda, the tattooed Army veteran and West Virginia state senator running for U.S. Congress, is out with his first ad of the general election — one that highlights his military service, family ties to coal and commitment to Social Security. (Meridith McGraw) https://abcn.ws/2x2ZSaa

    Democratic governor faces progressive challenge in Rhode Island primary. As some pundits predict a potential blue wave among the nation’s statehouses this November, the one atop Smith Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, could be lighting up red. (Luke Barr) https://abcn.ws/2MmhJxZ

    Bernie Sanders’ son struggles as Pappas wins New Hampshire primary. Chris Pappas was projected to win Tuesday night’s Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District, according to The Associated Press, besting the son of a marquee name in the party, in order to go up against GOP winner Eddie Edwards in November. (Dominick Proto) https://abcn.ws/2QlUqaG

    Opioid crisis has New Hampshire primary voters in somber mood. While New Hampshire voters are traditionally animated and vocal during campaign season, one issue this year leaves many of them virtually speechless: the opioid crisis. (Dominick Proto) https://abcn.ws/2x8RHZc

    EPA change to Obama-era rule on methane leaks could lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA has announced another proposed change to Obama-era rules intended to combat climate change, this time to how the oil and natural gas industry is required to monitor and prevent leaks of methane gas during drilling. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2x52pkq

    Trump and GOP ally push disputed theory about leaks, fired FBI agent. Rep. Mark Meadows sent a letter to the DOJ and posted it publicly online, saying newly-released text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and then-FBI attorney Lisa Page raise “grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking” within the FBI and DOJ. (Mike Levine) https://abcn.ws/2CLFKPk

    Papadopoulos says he thought a Trump-Putin meeting during campaign would be ‘nice photo op.’ Papadopoulos also said on “The View” that he is an energy specialist who, when he began working on the Trump campaign, had contacts in the Middle East, but not with Russia. (Erica Y King) https://abcn.ws/2Oha6u8

    Stormy Daniels fighting to keep Trump, Cohen mired in ‘hush money’ lawsuit. Over the weekend, Trump and Cohen each filed notices with the court indicating they would no longer contest Daniels’ claims that the deal was invalid, nor would they seek to enforce the deal. They also promised not to sue Daniels over any alleged breaches of the non-disclosure agreement. (James Hill) https://abcn.ws/2O8ziDg

    Koch group now must disclose its largest givers to law authorities as the group lost its fight with a federal appeals court on Tuesday, Politico reports. https://politi.co/2Qh5ohH

    The New York Times looks into a study that claims that less than 14 percent of top staff members in the House are people of color. https://nyti.ms/2QmuuM0

    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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