THE TAKE with ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks

After years of scorning Democrats for ramming the Affordable Care Act through, Republican leadership is asking senators to vote on a health care bill today, even though last night they still could not specify which one. But President Trump is getting desperate. Though he was largely absent from the final stages of the debate, rarely weighed in on policy specifics and sent conflicting tweets about how senators should move forward, the president is throwing his hands up and pointing blame at his colleagues. It’s now or never on health care, he says. The president Monday night even jokingly threatened to fire a member of his Cabinet if this can’t get done. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price could face ‘The Apprentice’ treatment if the votes fall short. Despite the latest replacement options’ polling terribly, of which lawmakers are well aware, the president predicted Republicans would suffer at the polls if they do not pass something now. Chastising them might have been enough to push them over the final hurdle Monday. (More likely Senate leadership made some last-minute deals). Either way, leader Mitch McConnell clearly thinks he has the votes, just barely, to move the bill forward today. There is no other reason to ask Sen. John McCain to fly back from his recovery in Arizona.


“I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp, and it’s not a good place. In fact, today, I said we ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to the word ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer.'” — President Trump


President Trump holds a news conference today alongside Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri from the White House Rose Garden.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump then head to Youngstown, Ohio for a “Make America Great Again” rally.

Aug. 19: Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman who is now a candidate for Virginia governor, will be the keynote speaker at Americans for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit.

NEED TO READ with ABC News’ Daksha Sthipam

Trump criticizes Senate GOP for not doing “their job” in Obamacare fight. “Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is,” the president said while standing in front of a group of Americans to whom the White House referred as “victims of Obamacare.” http://abcn.ws/2vCFqL0

Kushner denies colluding with Russia, says Trump ran “smarter campaign.” Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, publicly denied that he colluded with Russia during and after the election season. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses. And I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information,” Kushner said after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators in a closed-door session. http://abcn.ws/2uQ7xbL

What’s in the Russia sanctions bill that Trump might veto. President Trump is facing a stark foreign policy choice: Sign off on punishing new sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election or veto a rare bipartisan piece of legislation that would hurt his push for better relations with Russia. Congress reached an agreement on a bill to slap Russia, Iran and North Korea with new sanctions while removing some of President Trump’s power. http://abcn.ws/2usZWiY


@pkcapitol: Team Scalise lashes out at Mo Brooks, accusing him of exploiting shooting for his AL Senate race. Via @daveweigel http://wapo.st/2vVw6Bc

@lpolgreen: What a jamboree! Trump said he wouldn’t talk politics at the Boy Scout event. (Then he did.) http://bit.ly/2gZ5uwM

@burgessev: Republicans say CBO scores on new proposals, including Cruz amendment not likely this week

@sahilkapur: Rep @Farenthold blames “female senators” for health bill’s woes, saying he’d settle it with a duel if they were men. http://bit.ly/2gXBDF2

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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