Plot twist! "Longtime Donald Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen has brought in [Lanny Davis,] an outspoken critic of the president — a former special counsel for Bill Clinton — to help respond to a federal probe of his businesses." (Bloomberg)
President Trump's harsh blast at NATO during a rally last night in Helena, Mont., was Europeans’ worst nightmare come to life, Western diplomatic sources tell Jonathan Swan and me:
The president's views on NATO and trade are inseparable: He believes that, as he said in Montana, Americans are "the schmucks paying for the whole thing."
Why it matters: When the history of the Trump presidency is written, one of the most important chapters will be the way he changed America’s relationship with Europe.
Reality check: Trump is correct that the other NATO members aren’t living up to their financial commitments. But they have been improving over the past two years.
What's next: The other NATO member states worry — and the rally seems to confirm their fears — that Trump will come into next week's NATO summit in Brussels like a wrecking ball, and beat up on them over not paying their bills.
Be smart: European officials tell us they’re still nervous because they don’t trust that Trump’s advisers actually speak for Trump.
How it's playing ... MSNBC's "Morning Joe": "FALSEHOODS FLY AT MONTANA RALLY."
"The United States and China slapped tit-for-tat duties on $34 billion worth of the other’s imports on Friday, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the 'largest-scale trade war' ever in a sharp escalation of their months-long conflict," per Reuters:
Why it matters: "The fear is that a prolonged battle would disrupt makers and importers of affected goods in a blow to global trade, investment and growth."
How it's playing ... WashPost, top of column 1: "Trade war with China begins."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Be smart ... Axios' Amy Harder: "The Environmental Protection Agency is likely to see smoother processes, less ethical controversy and a small number of potential policy shifts with Administrator Scott Pruitt gone. But don’t expect the overall direction of the agency to change."
A senior administration official tells Swan that Pruitt "ultimately lost the war of attrition":
How we see the world ... President Trump speaks to an Independence Day picnic for military families on the South Lawn of the White House.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said "his agency must reunite nearly 3,000 children with their parents, a sharp increase from the roughly 2,000 his agency contemplated last week," per USA Today:
"At first, researchers thought the declining [U.S.] fertility rate was because of the recession, but it kept falling even as the economy recovered. Now it has reached a record low for the second consecutive year," Claire Cain Miller writes for N.Y. Times Upshot:
Go deeper ... "Fertility rates are falling faster in areas with higher home values," by Axios' Stef Kight.
Group text from college buddy Jeff Kimbell ...
"The mood before the NATO summit in Brussels [next Wednesday and Thursday] is poisonous," The Economist writes:
"Trump’s campaign-style rallies have found a receptive audience at Fox News Channel, which unlike the other cable news networks often carries his speeches live and in their entirety," AP's David Bauder writes:
"Fox News is seeing what every network discovered during the campaign — that Trump draws eyeballs":
FoxNews.com from last evening ... "MONTANA MELEE: Trump claims Maxine Waters' IQ in 'mid-60s,' slams 'fake Pocahontas' Elizabeth Warren in rally to unseat Jon Tester."
Landline comeback ... "Once thought doomed, landline phones are answering the call of people who are sick of mobiles’ spotty service—and the constant pinging distractions of texts and alerts" — Wall Street Journal's Paul Schrodt (subscription):
Thanks for finishing this short week with us. See you all weekend on Axios.com.