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Michael Cohen, Trump-Kim summit and a female football star: The Morning Rundown

Cohen is expected to call the president a "racist," a "con man," and a "cheat" at a televised congressional hearing today.
Michael Cohen will say President Donald Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks was going to release hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election, according to his prepared opening statement obtained by NBC News. Corey Sipkin / AFP - Getty Images file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer is expected to call him a "con man" and accuse him of engaging in criminal conduct while in office at an open congressional hearing today.

Michael Cohen's testimony, which is set to be explosive judging by his 20-page prepared opening statement obtained by NBC News, threatens to overshadow Trump's high-stakes nuclear summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

Buckle up. It's sure to be a busy news day. Here's what we're watching.

Cohen plans to tell Congress Trump knew of WikiLeaks plan during 2016 election

The president's former lawyer and personal fixer is expected to testify that Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks was going to release hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election.

He will also allege that the president not only lied about his ongoing efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the election but urged Cohen to lie about them without directly saying so.

“He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project," Cohen is expected to say.

Trump, the White House and even a member of Congress have slammed Cohen as a known liar in order to discredit him ahead of his public testimony.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in December for a series of charges he pleaded guilty to last year.

His testimony begins at 10 a.m. ET. Watch NBC News, MSNBC and for live coverage.

Trump's dinner date in Hanoi may be overshadowed by events at home

On the other side of the world, Trump was dining with North Korea's reclusive leader ahead of tomorrow's nuclear summit.

But with Cohen's testimony expected to begin just as Trump's dinner finishes, some of the president's critics say they fear domestic pressures may force him into an unwise deal with Kim.

As NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in an analysis, "in short, Trump needs to put some points on the board" and some are worried about what he might do to achieve that.

House passes measure aimed at blocking Trump's national emergency declaration

The resolution, which is aimed at preventing the president from using billions to fund the wall, will go to the Senate — where the vote is expected to be close — in the coming days.

Thirteen House Republicans joined Democrats to vote in favor of it.

A historic escalation between nuclear rivals

Pakistan's air force shot down two Indian warplanes after they crossed the boundary between the two nuclear-armed rivals in the disputed territory of Kashmir on Wednesday and captured one Indian pilot, a military spokesman said.

It is a dramatic escalation in the long simmering tension between the neighbors and longtime foes.

Both countries have ordered airstrikes over the last two days, the first time in history that two nuclear-armed powers have done so.


  • Rotten Tomatoes is fighting back against trolls. The powerful movie review aggregation website announced it would ban user comments before a film premieres in theaters. The move comes after some users apparently tried to torpedo interest in the not-yet-released "Captain Marvel," the studio's first female-led superhero movie.

THINK about it

A North Korea deal that benefits Trump's personal ambitions could be a terrible one for national security, Victor Cha, President George W. Bush's top advisor on North Korea, writes in an opinion piece.

Science + Tech = MACH

An iceberg roughly twice the size of New York City could soon break off an ice shelf in Antarctica, according to NASA scientists.


Treadmill-focused workouts are popping up all over the country. Here's what to expect from gyms like Orange Theory and STRIDE.

Quote of the day

"Never in a million years did I imagine, when I accepted a job in 2007 to work for Donald Trump, that he would one day run for President, launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actually win."

Michael Cohen's planned opening remarks to Congress

One inspiring thing

Toni Harris has made a habit of tackling naysayers.

"My biggest pet peeve is people telling me that I can't," she told NBC News Joe Fryer. "And so I have to prove them wrong."

And she's doing it. The Los Angeles native is going to be one of the first women in history to play college football on a scholarship.

But her real ambition?

“My dream moving forward is to become the first female NFL player." She laughed as she added, "sorry, I can’t stop smiling when I say that."

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Thanks, Petra