The Note: Does Cohen's declaration of independence spell trouble for Trump?

The Note: Does Cohen's declaration of independence spell trouble for Trump?

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The TAKE with Rick Klein

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It's a declaration of independence that's curious for its timing as well as its message.

President Donald Trump's longtime fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, has chosen to speak out now as legal pressures mount mostly to remind all involved that he is empowered – and willing – to speak.

It's clear from what Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he hopes the president is listening. A man who once declared himself willing to "take a bullet" for Trump now says he has a "first loyalty" to his family and his country – not the president himself.

Amid this public messaging comes an important legal step: He is indicating that he will be ending a joint defense agreement he has had with the president.

We've seen current and former Trump aides appeal publicly to the president before, knowing that he gets messages via the media.

But the stakes for the president have not been quite like this before. Cohen's nebulous endgame – does he want a pardon, or financial help, or just a friendly phone call? – means that he, like Robert Mueller, knows more about what comes next than the president himself.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The future of labor unions is emerging as possibly a major, political issue for 2018 and beyond.

On the national level, there was the Supreme Court decision last week barring public employee unions from mandating workers pay fees.

Organizing groups, especially those on the left, are bracing for the fact that the decision could dramatically limit unions' memberships and bottom-lines.

On the other hand, the President of Illinois Federation of Teachers told the Chicago Tribune the union has been growing statewide and nationally as of late. Around the country teachers have found success and sympathy as they stick - and strike - together.

Andrew Harnik/APIllinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, right, accompanied by plaintiff Mark Janus, speaks outside the Supreme Court after the court rules in a setback for organized labor that states can't force government workers to pay union fees, June 27, 2018,.

Ironically, as labor unions take a hit with the country - and so many states - under conservative leadership, the fundamental questions that lead to the formation unions historically seem as pressing and as hotly discussed today as ever.

For example: What constitutes a good job? Unemployment may be low, but concern over wages and income inequality is high. From health care costs, to paid maternal leave, and the role of a state or business in providing insurance options -- do unions have a bargaining role to play?

And as some of the biggest American companies get even bigger, who argues on behalf of the employee?

The TIP with John Verhovek

It was just seven days ago that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a little-known progressive challenger to one of the most powerful politicians in the U.S., and now she's arguably the most coveted endorsement in Democratic politics.

What a difference a week makes.

The 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All and abolishing ICE, a platform that she says can win races for Democrats across the country, including in the pivotal swing state of Michigan, where another upstart millennial, gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, is hoping to ride the same platform to victory in the state's August primaries.

Courtesy of the CampaignMichigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed is seen here.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed the 33-year-old El-Sayed, who would be the nation's first Muslim governor if elected, on Twitter Monday, and the two Democrats spoke on the phone over the weekend according to El-Sayed's campaign.

With her elevated profile, Ocasio-Cortez's stamp of approval is no doubt valuable to progressive candidates who are capitalizing on her victory as a signal that their campaigns are more than just noise.

Democratic candidate Ayanna Pressley, whose mounting a primary challenger to longtime Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano, is another Ocasio-Cortez-endorsed candidate many are eyeing as the cycle's next potential Democratic upset.


President Trump delivers remarks at the Salute to Service dinner at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia at 6:40 p.m.


"My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will." — Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.


EXCLUSIVE: Michael Cohen says family and country, not President Trump, is his 'first loyalty.' Michael Cohen -- President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney and a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization -- has always insisted he would remain loyal to the president. But in his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Cohen strongly signaled his willingness to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York -- even if that puts President Trump in jeopardy. "My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will," Cohen told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "I put family and country first." (George Stephanopoulos)

Michael Cohen hints at possible cooperation with investigators. Michael Cohen's comments in his interview on Saturday with George Stephanopoulos was a notably blunt break from the president—a man Cohen once said he would "take a bullet" for—legal experts told ABC News. Said one former U.S. attorney: "When people that are targets of investigations are talking about doing what's best for their family, it's inevitably a code for cooperating and getting the best deal they can from prosecutors." (James Hill)

Trump expected to meet with 2nd female, 5th overall SCOTUS candidate Tuesday. The four potential nominees who met with Trump on Monday, one of whom may fill the seat soon vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, were: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Amul Thapar, sources told ABC News. Trump also is expected to meet with Justice Joan Larsen of the 6th Circuit as early as Tuesday, sources familiar with the president's meetings told ABC News. (John Santucci and Tara Palmeri)

Anti-abortion rights groups quietly lobbying against Supreme Court finalist. Anti-abortion rights groups and activists have been quietly lobbying senior White House officials against possible Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and instead are arguing in favor of Amy Coney Barrett, two senior White House officials and people close to the selection process tell ABC News. (Tara Palmeri)

White House spox stresses Trump is 'Pro-Life' amid SCOTUS search. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not disclose any details about which four candidates the president interviewed Monday, including any names of the contenders he met with, but she did reveal that the president will look for "certain characteristics" he'd like his nominee to embody. (John Parkinson)

Pompeo heading to North Korea as regime shows little progress towards denuclearization. Three weeks after the historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will return to North Korea on Thursday at a time the regime has done little to publicly show it is working towards denuclearization. (Elizabeth McLaughlin and Conor Finnegan)

Trump administration ramps up pressure on Iran's economy. The Trump administration is claiming some early success in its quest to cripple Iran with sanctions in order to drag it back to negotiations and change its behavior, even as it softens its demand on U.S. allies to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero. (Conor Finnegan)

Trump predicts 'very good relationship' with Mexico's president-elect Lopez Obrador. President Donald Trump said Monday he had a 30-minute phone call with the newly-elected leader of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, discussing trade, border security, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the possibility of a Mexico-U.S. trade deal. "I think the relationship will be a very good one. We'll see what happens," President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. (Nataly Pak)

Trump versus Trudeau: A timeline of tough words and trade tariffs. Bold words have developed into even bolder actions between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada imposed tariffs on U.S. goods Sunday in retaliation against the Trump administration's own taxes on steel and aluminum imports. The back and forth between the two leaders can be hard to follow. This timeline breaks down the heated Trump-Trudeau exchanges leading up to Canada's recent implementation of tariffs on the United States. (Elizabeth Brown-Kaiser)

'I don't think you can go too far to the left and still win the Midwest': Duckworth on Ocasio-Cortez's strategy. A few days after Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., commented on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset victory, other established figures in the party voiced concerns that what worked locally may not translate as well nationally. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., added to the conversation on Sunday by suggesting that what worked in the Bronx for Ocasio-Cortez may not work nationwide. (Adia Robinson)

Trump paints Democrats as 'radical left' over calls to abolish ICE. Several potential 2020 presidential hopefuls are signaling a shift to the progressive left by calling for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and now President Donald Trump is using that rhetoric as a rallying cry. (Mariam Khan)

Potential terror plot in Cleveland foiled: FBI. "I'm trying to figure out something that would shake them up on the 4th of July," Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts allegedly said to an undercover FBI operative, according to court documents. "What would hit them at their core? Blow up in the, have a bomb blow up in the 4th of July parade," he continued. Pitts has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to Al-Qaeda. (Luke Barr)

Man allegedly threatens to chop up GOP Sen. Rand Paul's family with an ax. "I can't go anywhere without security. I can't even go to church without being worried about someone being there," Paul said after police arrested the man who made the threats. "The whole country needs to take a step back. Look, I never have had a cross word with Democrats. People need to not think our political differences have to end in violence." (Mariam Khan)

Capital Gazette, targeted in mass shooting, 'won't forget being called an enemy of the people.' "We will never forget Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara or Rebecca Smith, our five co-workers who were gunned down in a senseless attack," the letter released by the Gazette said. "Here's what else we won't forget: Death threats and emails from people we don't know celebrating our loss or the people who called for one of our reporters to get fired because she got angry and cursed on national television after witnessing her friends getting shot." (Karolina Rivas)

Melania Trump earned at least $100,000 in royalties from an agreement with Getty Images which mandated that a set of pictures of the Trump family were to be used only in positive media coverage, according to a report by NBC News. Several news organizations who used those images took them down after requests for comment, with some saying they did not agree to or were aware of the terms of that agreement.

Handwritten notes about a taxi business, insurance papers, letters from woman described as a "vexatious litigant" in court filings and documents federal prosecutors already had—BuzzFeed News obtained the reconstructed documents from the shredder the FBI seized from Michael Cohen just over a month ago and has published the redacted versions on their website.

Notice: The Note will be on hiatus Wednesday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. Please check back Thursday for the latest.

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