The Note: Hush of tragedy

The Note: Hush of tragedy


  • Rep. Steve Scalise is in critical condition and will undergo more surgery, according to hospital authorities, after he and a lobbyist, a congressional staffer and a Capitol Police officer were struck in a shootout Wednesday morning while Republican members of Congress were practicing for a charity baseball game.
  • The congressional charity baseball game will be played tonight, with members on both teams wearing LSU gear in a salute to Scalise.
  • President Trump called for unity in the wake of the shooting and visited Scalise in the hospital Wednesday night.
  • The FBI has taken over the investigation and is looking into the deceased suspect’s potential motivations.
  • The special counsel is looking into whether President Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reports. Republicans are focused on the leak of that information, with a spokesman for Trump’s lawyer calling it “outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”
  • THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein

    A baseball game that literally pits the red team against the blue team has a chance to be more than that. But it’s only a chance, and it’s a fleeting one, if history is any guide. Tragedies tend to quiet politics, making once-urgent arguments seem petty, and serving as reminders of common bonds and shared commitments. That’s particularly true when service itself is under attack. But does anyone believe members of Congress will be applauding for the other side next week? It’s not hard – or encouraging – to figure out what happens from here, in part because it started happening almost immediately. Political statements are made (this is politics, after all); someone will be accused of politicizing tragedy; everyone will be accused of politicizing tragedy; Democrats and Republicans will return to their respective dugouts. Tonight marks an opportunity for a pause, in that most American of settings of a baseball stadium. If it’s going to be anything beyond that, it will require long memories and sustained commitments, in the shared hope of fewer tragedies that shock but fundamentally don’t surprise.


    There was humility, grief, and shock in the halls of Congress Wednesday. But there was also a deep sense of helplessness, a melancholic look in members’ eyes that violence like this was somehow inevitable, and solutions out of reach. In 2017, lawmakers know gun violence is frequent, yet full-time security is impractical. They know the only way to break through the anger, hate speech, conspiracy theories, and deep and painful partisanship they see in their districts is to be more accessible, not less. There is an expectation and a frank need for members to hold town halls, answer questions from strangers, make their faces and voices known. It could be appealing to retreat in the face of all the threats. But members of Congress were elected to represent people who they must more than ever know and interact with, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks notes.


    “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” - House Speaker Paul Ryan

    NEED TO READ with ABC News’ Adam Kelsey

    Report: Justice Dept. special counsel investigating Trump for obstruction of justice. Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice in the probe of alleged Russian interference in last year's presidential election, according to a story by The Washington Post. Scrutiny over Trump's response to the Russia probe and his interactions with his FBI director would mark a new phase in the investigation.

    Members of Congress receive threats, consider security after shooting. The shooting at the Republican congressional baseball team's practice Wednesday in Virginia has reignited a long-simmering debate on Capitol Hill this year about the threats against members and increasing security. For months, Republicans have expressed concerns about safety at town hall events while members on both sides of the aisle reported a new series of threats today after Wednesday's shooting.

    Trump gives Pentagon authority to determine troop levels in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed Wednesday that President Trump has granted him the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan. The move means Mattis will decide whether to send 2,000 to 4,000 more American troops to Afghanistan as has been recommended by U.S. military commanders.

    White House moves travel ban date to avoid mooting case. The White House released a memorandum Wednesday stating that the effective date of its revised travel ban is now “delayed or tolled until those injunctions are lifted or stayed.” Plaintiffs in the Fourth Circuit case had argued to the Supreme Court that the 90-day ban on nationals from six designated countries ended on Wednesday, which is 90 days from the “effective date” of March 16.