Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Cohen at the federal courthouse in New York in August. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former attorney who until June served as the Republican Party’s deputy finance chair, today changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, according to a knowledgeable source.

Between the lines: The move fits a pattern of Cohen publicly breaking from the man for whom he once said he’d take “a bullet.” Cohen went online around noon to the Albany-based New York State Board of Elections to make the change, according to the source.

Keep in mind that Cohen has been signaling his break with Trump for months now, after Trump didn't lift a finger to defend him from charges of campaign finance violations over Cohen's payments of hush money to keep two women quiet about their affairs with Trump.

  • In his guilty plea in August, Cohen implicated Trump by suggesting that the then-presidential candidate directed him to keep the affairs quiet.
  • His quote to George Stephanopoulos in July: “I put family and country first.”
  • The source with knowledge of the situation told Axios that Cohen’s party switch is “consistent with what he told Stephanopoulos on July 2, that constituted his declaration of independence two days before Independence Day, with the key message to Stephanopoulos that now I put my family and my country first.”

The other side: Cohen's move is sure to be treated with skepticism by Trump's allies. They've already been saying that Cohen is simply being opportunistic now that he’s headed for prison and is exiled from Trumpworld. His sentencing is scheduled for December.

The backstory: This isn't the first time Cohen has changed his party registration. He was a registered Democrat before 2017, when he became a Republican after being asked, and agreeing to become, deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee’s Finance Committee with Steve Wynn serving as chairman. (Wynn stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.)

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.