Power Up: Most Americans support background checks on guns. Will Trump act?


  • Background checks: Eighty-nine percent of Americans support expanding federal background checks to cover private sales and gun-show transactions.
  • Red flag laws: Eighty-six percent support implementing “red-flag” laws to deny guns to those deemed a hazard to themselves or others.
  • Key: “Both measures are supported by at least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households and other traditionally conservative groups,” our colleagues Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin report. 
  • There’s less support for a ban on sales of military-style assault weapons but a majority nevertheless: 56 percent of respondents support a federal ban on assault weapons, along with a mandatory federal buyback program. 

As Congress comes back to Washington under renewed pressure to act after 53 people were killed in mass shootings in August alone, more Americans say they trust congressional Democrats over Trump to handle the nation’s gun laws:

  • By a 51 to 36 percent margin, respondents trust congressional Democrats over Trump on the issue — with independents siding with Democrats by a 17-point margin.
  • It’s “a divide that could have political ramifications for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections,” per Mike and Emily. 

The overwhelming public support for gun control belies Trump’s inconsistency and Congress’s inaction on the issue: 

  • On the Hill: Congress is sitting on two bills the House passed this past February to expand background checks that Trump previously vowed to veto.
  • Trump himself has wavered on tougher gun laws: He previously capitulated to NRA pressure after the Parkland, Fla., shooting and many remain pessimistic that he’ll follow through on endorsing extensive background checks, despite some public support for them.
  • It’s in Trump’s court: “If the president is in favor … and I know that if we pass it’ll become law … I’ll put it on the floor.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Sept. 3. 
  • More: “The president needs to step up here and set some guidelines for what he would do,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said yesterday on “Meet the Press. “I’m afraid what’s going happen here is what always happens is we take this silly “if we don’t get everything, we won’t do anything” and fail to do the things we could do with more early mental health help … “

THE GENDER DIVIDE: There’s another political pitfall Trump risks in the face of inaction on the gun issue going into 2020. The Post-ABC poll finds a stark gender divide on support for tougher gun laws. 

  • “More than two-thirds of women say they are worried about a mass shooting in their community, compared to just over half of men. And women are 20 points more likely to be confident than men that passing stricter gun control laws would reduce mass shootings,” per Mike and Emily. 
  • Distrust for Trump: By a margin of 59 to 28 percent, women are more likely to trust Democrats in Congress over Trump to handle the issue. 
  • “Democrats understand that gun safety is America’s new kitchen-table political issue, and this is something that you would not have seen just a few years ago,” Peter Ambler, executive director of the gun-safety advocacy group Giffords told Mike and Emily. 
  • Even some moderate Democrats who flipped Republican districts have joined calls for tighter laws: “I don’t really see any reason for ordinary citizens to own weapons of war,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) said of her support for reimposing an assault weapons ban.

LOOKING AHEAD: “The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Sept. 25 on [a version of the assault weapons ban] — a significant step for Democratic leaders who have long treated an assault weapons ban as too politically risky,” per Mike and Emily. 

  • Judiciary is also expected “to advance a proposed federal ban on high-capacity magazines and a third bill that would bar people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from being eligible to purchase firearms — measures that go beyond the party’s previous comfort zone.”

On The Hill

What can Congress actually get done before the year ends? No, seriously. To find out, we asked our colleague Mike DeBonis.

  • “Anti-robocall legislation: The House and Senate have passed separate bills this year aimed at tackling the robocall epidemic, and the key players in both parties have said they want to move quickly this fall to reconcile differences and pass something into law. Virtually every member of Congress would love to do something to end this constituent-irritating scourge.
  • “Budget deals: The big budget deal that got done in July was a big deal mainly because it smoothed the path for passing actual spending bills — thus avoiding the prospect of a long ‘continuing resolution’ that would keep this year’s spending levels in place for 2020. Now Congress (mainly the Senate, which hasn’t yet put a single 2020 appropriations bill on the floor) has to get off their duffs and actually write the bills. Expect a short-term CR ahead of the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, setting up passage of bills in the weeks before Christmas. 
  • New NAFTA “It’s looking like a long shot at this point given the lack of visible progress from the Trump administration in meeting House Democratic demands, but there is definitely a constituency in both parties to get this done before we enter the election year.”

At The White House

HOW THE AFGHAN TALKS FELL APART: “On display were all of the characteristic traits of the Trump presidency — the yearning ambition for the grand prize, the endless quest to achieve what no other president has achieved, the willingness to defy convention, the volatile mood swings and the tribal infighting,” the New York Times’s Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal and Michael Crowley report. “What would have been one of the biggest headline-grabbing moments of his tenure was put together on the spur of the moment and then canceled on the spur of the moment.”

  • It was Trump’s idea to issue a controversial invite to Camp David: ” … Mr. Trump came up with an even more remarkable idea — he would not only bring the Taliban to Washington, but to Camp David, the crown jewel of the American presidency,” Baker, Mashal and Crowley writes. “The leaders of a rugged militant organization deemed terrorists by the United States would be hosted in the mountain getaway used for presidents, prime ministers and kings just three days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the Afghan war.”
  • John Bolton is adamantly opposed to talking with the Taliban: “While many in the administration have questioned the Taliban talks, Pompeo and Bolton have been at loggerheads over this issue and others, with Bolton, a well-known hawk, charging that Pompeo was trying to ‘box him out’ of decision-making on Afghanistan,” our colleague Karen DeYoung reports

The mere possibility of welcoming Taliban leaders to U.S. soil the week before Sept. 11 was more than many could bear:

  • “This isn’t a game show. These are terrorists”: “The way he conducts foreign policy, this reminds me exactly of North Korea,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He loves the showmanship. He wants to have that moment, but then all the details aren’t done, and then we end up in a worse place on the world stage than we were before.”

What’s next: “President Trump’s decision to break off peace talks with the Taliban, at least for now, left Afghanistan bracing for a bloody prelude to national elections this month, while the administration declined on Sunday to rule out a withdrawal of American troops without a peace accord,” the Times’s David E. Sanger and Mujib Mashal report. “ … After abruptly scrapping a diplomatic process that appeared to be inching toward a conclusion, it was unclear where Mr. Trump would go from here.”

The Investigations

DEMS SET TO EXPAND IMPEACHMENT EFFORTS: “The House Judiciary Committee is prepared to vote [this] week on a resolution laying out the procedures for its investigation now that it is actively considering moving to impeach President Donald Trump, a major step toward formalizing its sweeping probe, according to multiple sources familiar with the effort,” CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report

  • The details: “The vote, which is expected to occur on Wednesday, will lay out the ground rules for conducting hearings now that the committee has publicly announced it is considering recommending articles of impeachment against Trump,” Raju and Herb write. The resolution would allow the committee to take special steps that it would not do in a regular hearing.
  • The New York Times’s Nick Fandos obtained a copy of the draft resolution to formalize procedures for an impeachment inquiry: “Though the committee has already informed federal courts and the public that it is in the midst of a full-scale impeachment inquiry, the three-page resolution will be the first time lawmakers have recorded a vote to that effect. Committee leaders hope the move will send a signal to Congress and the White House that their investigation is not only proceeding but intensifying, even as the broader Democratic Party caucus remains divided over the merits of ultimately voting to impeach Mr. Trump.”
  • Possible fodder for future probes: “The U.S. Air Force has ordered a world-wide review of how it chooses overnight accommodations on long flights following revelations that air crews had occasionally stayed at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort while refueling at a small commercial airport nearby,” Politico’s Bryan Bender and Natasha Bertrand scooped last night. This is after the House Oversight Committee announced it was investigating Vice President Pence’s decision to stay at the resort.

The Campaign

THE DEM DEBATE MATCHUP DECADES IN THE MAKING: “You gave me hell,” then-Vice President Biden joked to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) in 2012 as he was swearing her in. The pair have yet to debate on the same night as they both seek the White House this year, but that changes this Thursday. 

  • Our colleagues Annie Linskey and Matt Viser wrote an incredible recap of their relationship, including their fierce disagreement over bankruptcy legislation in the late ’90s and early 2000s along with Warren’s lonely fight against legislation that contained Biden’s cancer Moonshot initiative.

Elsewhere in the race: It’s Biden (29%), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (19%), Warren (18%) and then everybody else, according to the latest Post-ABC News poll. The next closest candidate is Sen. Kamala Harris at 7%. You can read the full details here.


‘WHERE THE SKIES ARE SO BLUE’: “The city stands,” our colleague Avi Selk reports from Mobile, Ala, after Trump’s flawed Hurricane Dorian predictions. “The grocery stores are fully stocked, the Home Depot has no lack of generators, tarps and plywood, and it’s business as usual at the Waffle Houses.”

  • “Boaters on the Mobile River have been urged to caution — only because a group of manatees were spotted frolicking nearby. The highway south runs past unsunk boats and unbroken masts all the way to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, where resort-town general stores report no panicked runs on supplies — not now and not a week ago, when Trump first claimed Alabama would likely be slammed by Hurricane Dorian.”

Ivanka is on the way to the blue-skies city tomorrow, apparently to visit a tech park:

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