By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- HILLARY DEFENDS HIGH-DOLLAR SPEAKING FEES: Hillary Clinton defended the millions of dollars she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned giving paid speeches since leaving public office in an exclusive interview with ABC’s DIANE SAWYER ahead of Tuesday’s release of her new memoir, “Hard Choices,” ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ notes. “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton told Sawyer, referring to the hefty legal fees incurred during their White House years. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.” Of her own speaking fees, which reportedly average $200,000 per appearance, Clinton said: “Let me put it this way, I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do.” http://abcn.ws/1jeR7d6
- COULD CLINTON HAVE DONE MORE IN BENGHAZI? In the interview, Clinton said her role in securing the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, which came under attack on Sept. 11, 2012, was to give “very direct instructions” to security experts and said she was right to defer to their judgment. “What I did was give very direct instructions” to “the people who have the expertise and experience in security,” she told Sawyer, referring to her actions prior to the attack that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. She added, “I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints, to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise.” http://abcn.ws/1lhNHdD
- TUNE IN TONIGHT: Much more of the interview with Hillary Clinton and ABC’s DIANE SAWYER will air during a one-hour ABC News primetime special tonight at 9 p.m. ET. ABC’s Robin Roberts will follow up with Clinton’s first live interview Tuesday, June 10, on “Good Morning America.”
14 FOR 14: THE MIDTERM MINUTE
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Hillary Clinton is everywhere this week, with a dawn-to-dusk, coast-to-coast rollout of “Hard Choices.” But perhaps the bigger question is where she goes this fall as Democrats wage an uphill fight to control the Senate and win back governor’s races in key battlegrounds across the country. She told Diane Sawyer that she intends to “help in the midterm elections” before announcing her own political plans. She’ll surely have a lot of demands from Democratic candidates, but where will she go? And how closely aligned will she get with the party’s 2014 campaign efforts? It’s not in her interest to be too closely associated with a Democratic drubbing, should there be one. That will belong to President Obama. And while she’s a loyal Democrat, there are many political upsides for her potential 2016 candidacy if Republicans control the full Congress. It will be a change election come early, a chance to give the public a taste of a Republican Congress, which could have significant benefits for her down the road.
HILLARY CLINTON REVEALS 2016 TIMETABLE. Hillary Clinton wants more time through the end of the year to think about whether she’ll run for president in 2016, according to ABC’s CHRIS GOOD. “I will be on the way to making a decision by the end of the year, yes,” she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. But first, Clinton said, she’ll go on a book-signing tour beginning this week and she plans to campaign for Democratic candidates running in 2014. “Certainly not before then,” Clinton said, referring to the end of 2014. “I just want to kind of get through this year, travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall, and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses about what I will – and will not – be thinking about as I make the decision.” Clinton said it is “probably likely” that she will not make an announcement until next year. “I’m not positive about that, but I think, you know, the way I make decisions, that’s probably likely,” Clinton said. http://abcn.ws/1k9dIY1
–A DETRIMENT TO OTHER DEMOCRATS? In the ABC News interview Clinton dismissed the notion that her deliberations are hurting the party or affecting other potential candidates. “People can do whatever they choose to do on whatever timetable they decide,” she said, noting that her husband, Bill Clinton, didn’t begin his first presidential campaign until the fall before his election year. “Bill Clinton started running for president officially in, like September or October of 1991. So, no, I just don’t think that’ a real concern. People will do what they think is best for them,” Clinton said. “Whether they choose to seek the presidency or not is very personal, for everybody.” http://abcn.ws/1k9dIY1
POLL: CLINTON SHOWS STRENGTHS FOR 2016… Hillary Clinton is strongly positioned to joust for the presidency, scoring highly on personal attributes, experience and early vote preferences alike, according to ABC’s GARY LANGER. Back in the limelight this week with the publication of her book on her time as secretary of state, Clinton is in an enviable position overall a new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows. Anywhere from 55 to 67 percent of Americans think she understands the problems of ordinary Americans, has new ideas, is honest and trustworthy and is a strong leader. And 59 percent approve of her job performance at the State Department. Should she run, among registered voters, 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor her for the party’s nomination over seven other hypothetical contenders. Vice President Joe Biden gets 12 percent, Elizabeth Warren 7 percent, with the rest barely registering. In a general election matchup, moreover, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds Clinton drawing 53 percent support vs. Rand Paul, identical to her support against Chris Christie and Jeb Bush in previous ABC/Post polls this year.
…YET WITH SOME CHINKS IN HER ARMOR. But, LANGER notes, she falls well short of universal appeal – and even even among Democrats who support her for the nomination, 58 percent also say they’d rather see other candidates run as well – a preference for a race, not a waltz. That, of course, would keep her in the spotlight and perhaps hone her campaign performance. But contested campaigns are never a sure bet, even for frontrunners, as Clinton herself found in 2008. Strong as it is, Clinton’s support for the nomination is not monolithic. While solid across groups, she does better inside the party, with 74 percent support among Democrats, than outside it, with 58 percent support from independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. That could open the door, at least a crack, for an intraparty, anti-establishment opponent. http://abcn.ws/1k8S0DA
REP. MIKE ROGERS CONVINCED RELEASED TALIBAN WILL RETURN TO FIGHT AGAINST U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers called the U.S. deal with the Taliban for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a “serious geopolitical mistake,” and said he is “absolutely convinced” that the five Taliban members transferred from the Guantanamo detention center will return to the battlefield against the United States, ABC’s IMTIYAZ DELAWALA. “We have made a serious, serious geopolitical mistake. We’ve empowered the Taliban,” Rogers, R-Mich., told George Stephanopoulos this morning on “This Week.” “The one thing that they wanted more than anything, George, was recognition from the U.S. government so they can use that to propagandize against areas that are unsecure still in Afghanistan. They got all of that.” Rogers said he is certain the five Taliban members released from Guantanamo to Doha, Qatar, for the next year will use their time to prepare to return to the fight in Afghanistan, as they are free to meet with Taliban political leaders in Doha and can have family members travel to Qatar. “We believe that’s certainly an opportunity for a courier network, to get them prepared for what’s next,” Rogers said. http://abcn.ws/1hvzZ7t
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
D-DAY VET RECALLS PROMISES TO GOD HE MADE 70 YEARS AGO. Meet Cosmo Uttero – A D-Day veteran who returned to Normandy for the first time last week since he stormed Omaha Beach 70 years ago, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. Uttero was 20-year-old private when he took part in the largest amphibious assault in history. Now 90, Uttero, who came to Normandy under the sponsorship of the National World War II museum, traveled from his home in Bradenton, Fla., to see the beaches where he and Allied forces fought. He recounted that day to ABC News. “Coming in I see bodies in the water and bodies on the beach, a ship on fire, and the battleship firing, and small arms coming over the cliffs,” Uttero said. “I was wondering what’s it like to die. I thought I was going to die and I didn’t know whether it was going to hurt, whether it was going to be quick. That’s one thought that struck me.” “You become religious very quickly. Oh yes, made a lot of promises,” Uttero said. “That’s why I still believe in God.” WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1nXgkQI
@russellberman: Is @EricCantor in for a primary scare on Tuesday against David Brat? My feature on his race from the 7th district http://thehill.com/homenews/house/208570-team-cantor-we-got-this …
@jonathanchait: Obama defined four major domestic goals when he took office. Now he’s completed all four. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/06/obama-has-now-fulfilled-his-4-big-promises.html … pic.twitter.com/L0krhB62b5
@jparkABC: Two-termer @RepAlanNunnelee (R-Miss.) having brain surgery today to remove “small intracranial mass” on right side of his brain.
@danbalz: @DavidChalian is new CNN political director. Terrific choice. Smarts, energy, judgment. Congratulations, David!
@KYTrey: The Beginning of a “Maggie Williams Era”? http://harvardpolitics.com/online/beginning-maggie-williams-era/ … via @harvardpolitics