By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- EXCLUSIVE — JULIAN ASSANGE SITS DOWN WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In an ABC News exclusive, ABC’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS goes one-on-one with WikiLeaks founder and international man of mystery Julian Assange, who has been hiding out in London’s Ecuadorean embassy after fallout from his website’s publication of a trove of classified U.S. material in 2010. This Sunday only on “This Week,” Assange speaks out on the latest on Edward Snowden’s run from the law after his leaks on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs. Tune in: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
- NSA CHIEF ON SNOWDEN — ‘THE DAMAGE IS REAL’: NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said yesterday that he’s worried about more leaks of highly-sensitive, classified information, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD reports. During his speech, Alexander sought to defend NSA’s surveillance programs and hit back at “inflammatory” and “sensational” news and commentary about the leaked programs. “The damage is real,” Alexander said at a speech in Baltimore, citing “a long-term detrimental impact on the intelligence community’s ability to detect future attacks. These leaks have inflamed and sensationalized for ignoble purposes the work that intelligence community does lawfully under strict oversight and compliance. If you want to know who’s acting nobly, look at the folks at NSA, FBI, CIA, and the Defense Department that defend our nation every day and do it legally and protect our civil liberties and privacy.” And he defended the intelligence community’s practices in general. “I think our nation is among the best at protecting our privacy and civil liberties,” Alexander said. http://abcn.ws/11R664q
- DISSECTING AN HISTORIC WEEK AT THE HIGH COURT: Also on “This Week”, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., discuss the future of same-sex marriage after this week’s historic Supreme Court decisions. The powerhouse roundtable also weighs in on those landmark decisions and tackles all the week’s politics, including the next steps in the battle over immigration reform, with ABC News’ Matthew Dowd and Terry Moran, Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. Plus, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis reflects on her epic filibuster that drew national headlines and her fifteen minutes of fame. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program.
- FOND FAREWELL: To ABC’s Z. BYRON WOLF, a mainstay of the Washington bureau and ABC’s Political Unit, who is departing to become senior planning editor at CNN. Zach has played many roles in his 13 years at ABC News, most recently as deputy political director and senior political editor. Throughout his more than a decade at the network, he has been a loyal colleague, a voice of calm in the digital storm and a valued friend. We will miss him and the entire ABC News family wishes him well as he moves on.
–OBAMA HEADS TO SOUTH AFRICA. “President Barack Obama, in the midst of an historic tour of Africa, says he isn’t certain about whether he’ll be able to visit gravely ill Nelson Mandela when he arrives in South Africa,” the Associated Press’s Nedra Pickler reports. “Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route from Dakar, Senegal to Johannesburg, Obama said, ‘We’ll see what the situation is when we land.’ Obama adds, ‘I don’t need a photo op and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela’s condition.’”
–IN ASPEN: ABC’s REENA NINAN participates in an Aspen Ideas Fesitival panel, “Knowledge Exchange: You, The Worldwide Leader in News.” “The professional world as we currently know it is in the midst of radical change. … One key change is the relationship that new professionals have with news — where they’re getting it, how they’re personalizing it and how they are, in fact, serving as redistributors of news. This is the rise of individuals functioning as micro news networks, curating their own news feed from a multitude of traditional and nontraditional sources, and then broadcasting it through their social channels and networks.” More information: http://www.aspenideas.org/
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
REPORTER REFLECTS ON OBAMA’S EMOTIONAL VISIT TO AFRICAN SLAVE SITE — AND HER OWN. In an emotional visit to Senegal’s Goree Island, President Obama stood at the threshold of the “Door of No Return,” the place that’s come to symbolize the journey of millions of African slaves, who were bound, shackled and sent to America and other foreign lands. American Urban Radio’s April Ryan, herself a descendent of slaves, has now visited Goree Island with three U.S. presidents, including Obama. She told Politics Confidential’s JONATHAN KARL she gets goose bumps talking about the significance of the first African-American president’s visit to the “Door of No Return” at the historic slave house. “Now you have an African-American president, a true African-American president, a son of a man born in Kenya, who does not necessarily have a direct link to slavery, and he will walk through that door,” Ryan told Politics Confidential aboard a ferry bound for Goree Island. “He’s come home, he’s come home,” Ryan said. “And when I say he’s come home, he, like myself, is a child of the motherland.” http://yhoo.it/17HbkYr
BOEHNER WARNS THAT ‘SOME HAVEN’T GOTTEN THE MESSAGE’ ON IMMIGRATION BILL. Just before the Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner renewed his concern about the legislation and issued a sharp reminder about the resistance the measure faces in the House, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON and JEFF ZELENY report. “Apparently, some haven’t gotten the message,” Boehner said. “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes.” During his weekly news conference at the Capitol, Boehner suggested that the legislation had been rushed through the Senate. His remarks underscored that any momentum from what is expected to be overwhelming Senate approval would be tempered by the Republican-led House. “Well, I think I made it clear that if we’re going to do this the right way, there ought to be a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in favor of it,” Boehner said. The speaker said he believed that Congress should act on rewriting the nation’s immigration laws and securing the border, but he said that members of the House would discuss the contentious issue with their constituents next week and the Republican caucus would meet July 10 to chart a path forward. “I don’t want to make any predictions on what the outcome of that conversation’s going to be,” Boehner said, “but we’re going to have a conversation and determine a pathway forward.” http://abcn.ws/17lXp6w
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: BEHIND THE SENATE IMMIGRATION VOTE. A supermajority of senators passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill yesterday that would grant 11 million undocumented immigrants immediate legal status and a path to citizenship while sending $30 billion to the southern border to beef up security, ABC’s JIM AVILA, ARLETTE SAENZ and SERENA MARSHALL write. Supporters hope the historic vote in the Senate, where lawmakers have been debating the bill for weeks, will put some wind at the back of a proposal to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. But the future of a comprehensive reform bill — even one that includes a “border surge” to double the border patrol and flow new money into security — is anything but certain. The border security provision was added Wednesday and helped win the support of more Republicans. The final vote was 68-32 with support from 14 Republicans. http://abcn.ws/16EhxzZ
WHAT’S NEXT? Yesterday’s vote in the Senate, while bipartisan with 14 GOP votes, fell well short of gaining support from a majority of half of the chamber’s 46 Republicans. No Democrats opposed the bill in the Senate. In the House, where Republicans are more keen on a piecemeal rather than a comprehensive approach, there are efforts by the House Judiciary Committee and also a bipartisan group of Congressmen to write their own version of immigration reform. If some version of immigration reform can pass the House, it would have to be reconciled with the legislation that passed the Senate.
ANALYSIS: 4 REASONS IMMIGRATION REFORM IS HAPPENING. Immigration reform has only reached the halfway point in its journey to become law. But it took a hell of a lot for it to get here. The Senate passed a landmark immigration bill Thursday that would grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants. The proposal still faces an uphill climb in the House of Representatives, but make no mistake, this is a historic day for the issue of immigration reform. The Senate approved its landmark measure 68-32, with 14 Republicans joining all the Democrats in favor of the bill. Just one year ago, a strong bipartisan vote to pass immigration reform in Congress seemed impossible. FUSION’s JORDAN FABIAN outlines four major events that happened since then to make today possible: http://abcn.ws/18klmhJ
RETIRED GENERAL TARGET IN LEAK PROBE. Retired Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the target of a Justice Department investigation into the leak of classified information included in a book by New York Times correspondent David Sanger, ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ, PIERRE THOMAS, MIKE LEVINE and JACK DATE report. Published in mid-2012, Sanger’s book, “Confront and Conceal,” and a New York Times article adapted from the book, included revelations about the Stuxnet computer virus that was part of a covert U.S.-Israeli cyberattack to sabotage Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Cartwright, 63, served as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011. Prior to that, the four-star Marine general had been in command of U.S. Strategic Command. He is also a defense consultant for ABC News. A source familiar with the case confirmed that Cartwright is the target of a year-long Justice Department investigation into the leaks of classified information included in Sanger’s book and article. http://abcn.ws/1aTIItG
OBAMA’S VISIT TO GOREE ISLAND A ‘POWERFUL MOMENT’. In a symbolic visit to Goree Island, President Obama yesterday toured the departure point where African slaves were once forced to leave their homeland, bound and shackled for America and other foreign lands, ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes. Stepping out alone into the “Door Of No Return” at the Slave House, the United States’ first African-American president paused to scan the horizon. Moments later, he was joined by the first lady and the two stood side-by-side in the open doorway that drops sharply to the water’s edge. “It’s a very powerful moment,” the president later told reporters, “to be able to come here and to fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade, to get a sense in a very intimate way of the incredible inhumanity and hardship that people faced before they made the Middle Passage and that crossing.” The president said his visit serves as a reminder “that we have to remain vigilant when it comes to the defense of people’s human rights — because I’m a firm believer that humanity is fundamentally good, but it’s only good when good people stand up for what’s right. And this is a testament to when we’re not vigilant in defense of what’s right, what can happen.” Obama is the third U.S. president to visit Goree Island. Bill Clinton visited in 1995 and George W. Bush came in 2003. http://abcn.ws/19FWcI1
WHAT WE’RE READING
“NEARLY ONE IN FIVE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS GETS PAID TWICE,” by the National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher. “To solve the debt crisis, Americans — who are already suffering in these tough economic times — will have to make even more sacrifices, Rep. Mike Coffman told his House colleagues last year. So, leaning on his military service, the 58-year-old Colorado Republican argued that members of Congress should take the first step and abolish their congressional pensions. ‘If there’s one thing I learned in both the United States Army and the Marine Corps about leadership, it was leading by example,’ Coffman lectured them, pointing to his chest at a committee hearing. … What Coffman left unsaid that day in a speech about his bill’s ‘symbolic’ importance was that he was collecting a $55,547 state-government pension in addition to his congressional paycheck. Having spent two decades as an elected official in Colorado, he has received retirement benefits since 2009, the year he arrived in Congress. Coffman is not alone. About 90 members from both chambers collected a government pension atop their taxpayer-financed $174,000 salary in 2012, National Journal found in an examination of recent financial records. Including a dozen newly elected freshmen who reported government pensions last year, the number now stands above 100. That’s nearly one-fifth of Congress. One lawmaker, freshman Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, received $253,323 from her government pension last year — a sum that, combined with her congressional salary, will make her better paid than President Obama this year.” http://bit.ly/19HjFbO
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
–CUCCINNELLI SAYS OBAMA IS CONDUCTING A ‘WAR ON THE POOR’. Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been trying all week to link his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, to President Obama’s energy policies. Yesterday, in a radio interview , Cuccinelli said that Obama’s so-called “War on Coal” is actually a “War on the Poor.” “But what it really is when it comes to the people, it’s a war on the poor. That’s what it is. And because the people hurt first and hurt worst are the poor in Virginia. Where we mine coal in Virginia is in Appalachia,” Cuccinelli said. “So you come with me to a pizza parlor down there in Buchanan County in Appalachia you know what? That pizza parlor’s a coal job. The coal mine closes, so does the pizza parlor. They don’t have a lot of other options.” http://bit.ly/14elLho
–DEMOCRATIC GROUP HIGHLIGHTS ‘EXTREMIST’ HOUSE MEMBERS BLOCKING REFORM . The Bridge Project, the 501c(4) offshoot of the Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, is releasing a report today aimed at putting pressure on GOP leaders in the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s example and pass comprehensive immigration reform. Titled “Barriers to Reform: The anti-immigrant policies and extremist money blocking progress in the House,” the report asks: “If comprehensive immigration reform is going to succeed, the House of Representatives must decide which side they are on. Will they choose the bipartisan path the Senate followed or are they going to be beholden to anti-immigrant Tea Party extremists?” http://ab21.org/gophouse
–MCCONNELL CAMPAIGN ATTACKS OBAMACARE. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign is out with a new web video today laying out what it says are the negative consequences of Obamacare. “This law is a disaster. Anybody who thinks we’ve moved beyond it is dead wrong,” McConnell, who is up for re-election in 2014 but does not yet have a viable Democratic opponent, says in the nearly two-minute video. WATCH: http://youtu.be/Lt5yJkrZ83I
@ggreenwald: US Army blocks access to the Guardian army-wide http://www.montereyherald.com/local/ci_23554739/restricted-web-access-guardian-is-army-wide-officials … #NetworkHygiene
@GeraldFSeib: Gallup finds four in 10 say, in the long run, the health law will make their family’s health-care situation worse. http://www.gallup.com/poll/163253/americans-wary-health-law-impact.aspx?
@mviser: This could be interesting: Martha Coakley is now seriously considering running for Massachusetts governor. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/06/27/coakley-may-enter-race-for-governor/cu7WWsuZCtj1bOsjtsUmsL/story.html …