The TAKE with Rick Klein
Amid all the high-level shadow boxing setting up President Joe Biden's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden has added a new wrinkle -- one that amounts to a test for himself that awaits him back home.
Biden has cast this moment in the world community in broad terms for the United States -- a chance to assert the power of democratic nations in the face of challenges from China and Russia in particular. Asked Monday what he is telling allies who may be worried about any American slide toward autocracy, Biden again went big.
"What I'm saying to them is, watch me," Biden said. "That's why it's so important that I succeed in my agenda."
Biden was nonchalant in his condemnation of what he called the "phony populism" of former President Donald Trump. Speaking about Republicans, he flatly observed that "the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people."
Still, just hours earlier, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell served notice that his brand of hardball is still going to be played, with a warning about what Republican Senate control would mean for any Supreme Court vacancy under a Democratic presidency.
McConnell is objecting to congressional scrutiny of Trump-era Justice Department strategies, just like he did to the proposed Jan. 6 commission. And it's still far from clear whether any infrastructure or climate-change legislation can pass with Republican support, to say nothing of the prospects for tax reform.
Asked about Putin's laughing response to Biden's assertion that he is a killer, Biden said his message back would be that he is laughing as well. The world now is watching -- and will still be when Biden and Putin are both back home.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The drumbeat for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's promise to have the Senate vote on the "For the People Act," during the last week of June is getting louder.
In the lead up to that imminent deadline, Schumer is slated to meet with Texas Democrats on Tuesday, just weeks after their walkout killed the state's election overhaul bill. In the aftermath, the state Democrats highlighted their backing of a national effort to enshrine greater access to the ballot box, especially for communities of color.
The legislators are also meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jeff Merkley who introduced the sweeping bill in the Senate. Notably, the Texans are not scheduled to meet with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have been holding out on their party's push for the passage of the national election reform legislation.
That push is echoed by the White House -- on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is leading the administration's charge on protecting voting rights, traveled to the traditionally early primary state of South Carolina to discuss election mobilization and infrastructure.
Harris will have her own face-to-face with the Texas legislators on Wednesday.
Still, despite the overwhelming calls to action from activists and state officials alike, Democrats' narrow majorities in both chambers amid staunch Republican opposition continues to present a considerable hurdle in advancing the priority legislation.
The TIP with Meg Cunningham
With the exception of braille ballots, all 2.1 million Maricopa County, Arizona, ballots from the 2020 general election have been counted in the so-called "audit." Now, officials will restart ballot examinations, which halted due to a lack of technology, a spokesperson told reporters Monday.
Officials will focus on smaller details, looking for things like fold lines in ballots or the now-infamous hunt for traces of bamboo.
The weekend saw more extreme rhetoric in support of the audit as lawmakers and candidates from across the country cycled through the arena to observe. And the processes are raising flags at the federal level after Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week that methods at some audits "may put the integrity of the voting process at risk and undermine public confidence in our democracy."
That drew a rebuke from one Arizona state senator, who threatened prison time if the state's voting machines were examined by the DOJ. And in northern Arizona, concern over voter intimidation erupted Monday after people posing as Yavapai County Recorder's Office employees were reportedly canvassing neighborhoods and asking people who they voted for in November.
While in some ways the "audit" may be winding down, visiting lawmakers have started making calls for decertification of the election -- which is not possible -- if "fraud" is found.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features former Biden senior adviser for COVID response Andy Slavitt, who has more on why the Delta COVID-19 variant is causing concern for countries attempting to reopen. ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers tells us how President Joe Biden is rallying NATO allies ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And ABC News Senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer explains why Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer could soon be feeling pressure from liberals to retire. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states that hold regularly scheduled gubernatorial and state legislative elections in 2021, and both states had primaries on June 8. Those elections were something of a test between competing parts of each party and potentially a preview of the kinds of candidates who will run in 2022. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses the results as well as the broader debate playing out between the two parties over how much wealthy Americans and corporations should be paying in taxes. They also consider whether a new poll showing a rebound in America's reputation abroad is a good or bad use of polling. https://apple.co/23r5y7w
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
President Joe Biden meets with King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at 11 a.m. He then will hold a bilateral meeting with His Excellency Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Her Excellency Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission at 12:25 p.m. Afterwards, he will participate in the U.S.-EU summit at 12:50 p.m. Biden travels to Geneva where he will meet with Swiss President Guy Parmelin at 5:30 p.m. Army chief of staff Gen. James McConville and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth appear before the Senate Committee on Armed Services for a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on the service's budget. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing at 10 a.m. on the department's budget. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm appears before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for a hearing at 10 a.m. on the department's budget. Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen deliver remarks at 1 p.m. on providing access to capital to small businesses. At 4 p.m., Harris meets with immigrant women who work in the care economy on the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The vice president hosts a group of bipartisan female senators for dinner at the Naval Observatory at 6:30 p.m. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing at 2 p.m. on the agency's budget. Michael Bolton, Capitol Police inspector general, and Gretta L. Goodwin, director of justice and law enforcement Issues at the Government Accountability Office, appear before the Committee on House Administration for an oversight hearing at 2 p.m. on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Committee on Oversight and Reform holds part two of a hearing on the Capitol insurrection at 2 p.m. FBI Director Christopher Wray is among the witnesses expected to appear. The House Committee on Homeland Security holds a hearing at 2:30 p.m. on cyber threats, specifically focusing on the Colonial Pipeline ransomeware attack. Democratic Texas state lawmakers hold a press conference at 4:15 p.m. to discuss their visit with members of Congress.
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Biden's 'watch me' comment raises stakes ahead of Putin summit: The Note originally appeared on abcnews.go.com