READ IN: Wednesday, June 18, 2014: Benghazi mastermind arrested, Whip candidate forum today, Scalise has 100+ votes, Amash leads GOP opponent by 20, NRCC details fall ad buys, and Allen West is outraged, again

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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- U.S. military commandos snagged Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the alleged ringleaders of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic consulate in Benghazi in 2012, after he returned home Sunday night from a day of militia skirmishes. The commandos quickly moved him out of Libya to a nearby U.S. warship. President Obama approved the raid on Friday. There were no casualties; Khattala will be transported back to the U.S. for trial. (Washington Post)

-- The crisis in Iraq is allowing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to consolidate power as he rallies the country's Shiite majority in the face of threats from Sunni extremists. Maliki has suspended negotiations on the formation of a new government, and Shiites who wanted to block him from a third term in office are now supporting him. Maliki attended a meeting with top Shiite and Sunni officials on Tuesday, though his spokesman said there is no discussion of offering the kinds of concessions the Obama administration has sought before it offers military aid. (Washington Post)

-- The IRS said Tuesday it cannot find emails from six additional workers sought by congressional investigators, after those workers' computers crashed. IRS technicians told House Ways and Means Committee staff agency officials knew emails sent by Lois Lerner before 2011 were lost three months before it promised to deliver those emails to the committee. Among those whose emails are missing is Nikole Flax, who served as chief of staff to deputy IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. (New York Times)

-- The three candidates vying to become the next House Majority Whip will address colleagues this morning in a closed-door candidate forum at the Capitol. Advisors to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) say he had more than 100 votes on his side, though short of the 117 needed to win outright; Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) aides said he has nearly 90 commitments. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) is bringing up the rear. (Washington Post) The vote takes place at 2 p.m. in the Longworth House Office Building. Read this step-by-step guide to the process from The Post's Ed O'Keefe.

-- One set of Republicans who haven't inserted themselves into the leadership race: Conservative groups like Heritage Action and the Club for Growth. FreedomWorks has endorsed Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) for majority leader. (Reuters) Note that the two groups that haven't endorsed are run by former members of Congress. They know how quickly outside interference in a leadership race can backfire.

-- The Pennsylvania delegation, at 13 members the fourth-largest in the House GOP Conference, is trying to play an influential role. But the delegation's ideological diversity is making it difficult for them to rally around a single candidate for whip. (The Hill)

-- Front Pages: WaPo, the Chicago Tribune, NYT and WSJ all lead with Khattala's capture. USA Today leads with an investigation into small-aircraft deaths and subpar manufacturing standards.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- WH'16: When Mitt Romney wanted to fundraise on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) turf, Christie told him to scram. So how's Christie going to feel about one of his potential 2016 rivals raking in Garden State greenbacks? Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was in Lakewood, N.J., on Tuesday for a lunchtime fundraiser with a crowd of about 30 people, where he attacked Hillary Clinton as part of the D.C. insider crowd. (National Review) Speaking of Clinton, she was grilled last night by Fox News' Bret Baier over Benghazi and Khattala's arrest. (Mediaite)

-- Michigan: Despite high-profile opposition from members in his own party, Rep. Justin Amash (R) leads businessman Brian Ellis (R) by a 55 percent to 35 percent margin in a new EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan's 3rd Congressional District. Amash's favorable rating among Republican voters is at 64 percent. (Detroit Free Press) A measure of how unpopular Amash is within the House GOP: Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) recently held a fundraiser for Ellis.

-- Florida: The state Democratic Party has launched its first ad against Gov. Rick Scott (R), accusing him of Medicare fraud during his time running Columbia/HCA, the firm that paid a $1.7 billion fine. It's a similar message to ones used by Scott's 2010 Republican primary opponent and his Democratic opponent that fall. Scott's campaign has already spent $13 million on ads; the Democrats' opening salvo will air in Tampa Bay, Orlando and West Palm Beach. (Miami Herald)

-- Mississippi: James "Scooby Doo" Warren, a top Mississippi Democratic operative, has put together a GOTV plan to draw African American voters to the polls on behalf of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in next week's runoff. Warren is working through the Mississippi Conservatives PAC and a prominent bishop who helped fund print ads backing Cochran in the primary. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) Pro tip: Trying to do a Scooby Doo impression in writing just doesn't work.

-- New England: Northeastern states will share prescription data across state lines, establish agreements between state Medicaid programs and launch a coordinated media campaign to combat the alarming rise of heroin use, which has hit their states especially hard. New Jersey, meanwhile, will allow first responders to use medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose. (Hartford Courant, Newark Star-Ledger)

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama has no public events on his schedule. Vice President Biden is in Bogota, Colombia, where he meets President Juan Manuel Santos this morning for a bilateral meeting before traveling to the National Center for Historic Memory. After meeting with Embassy staff, Biden departs for Santo Domingo, Dominincan Republic, where he's got meetings scheduled tomorrow.

-- The House meets at 10 a.m. for morning business and to adopt Senate-passed amendments to a veterans' care bill. They begin consideration of the Defense Department Appropriations bill this afternoon. First votes expected at 1:30 p.m., last votes by 4 p.m.

-- The Senate resumes consideration of the Commerce, Science and Justice approps bill, the legislative vehicle that includes Transportation-HUD and Agriculture appropriations measures.

-- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee on this year's Pentagon budget request. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno throws out the first pitch at tonight's Nationals game. Secretary of State John Kerry meets today with Senate Foreign Relations Committee members and Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir before participating in an unveiling of an official portrait honoring Condoleezza Rice at the State Department.

-- Good PR Move of the Day: MGM will hire at least 40 percent of the workforce for its new National Harbor location from Prince George's County. The company said Tuesday it would contribute $1 million to the county before opening its doors and an additional $400,000 a year after that. The facility is set to open in July 2016. (Washington Post)

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.

-- NRCC: The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin reserving just over $30 million in fall airtime across 26 districts, they said early Tuesday. The list:

-- Offensive Opportunities: AZ-01 (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick), AZ-02 (Rep. Ron Barber), CA-07 (Rep. Ami Bera), CA-36 (Rep. Raul Ruiz), CA-52 (Rep. Scott Peters), FL-26 (Rep. Joe Garcia), GA-12 (Rep. John Barrow), IL-10 (Rep. Brad Schneider), IL-12 (Rep. Bill Enyart), MN-07/08 (Reps. Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan), NH-01/02 and MA-06 (Reps. Carol Shea-Porter, Annie Kuster and John Tierney), NY-01 (Rep. Tim Bishop), NY-21 (Open, Rep. Bill Owens) and WV-03 (Rep. Nick Rahall).

-- Defensive Plays: CA-21 (Rep. David Valadao), CO-06 (Rep. Mike Coffman), FL-02 (Rep. Steve Southerland), IL-13 (Rep. Rodney Davis), NY-19 (Rep. Chris Gibson), PA-06/08 and NJ-03 (Open, Rep. Jim Gerlach; Rep. Mike Ferguson; open, Rep. Jon Runyan), and VA-10 (Open, Rep. Frank Wolf).

-- Notable Absences: AR-02 (Open, Rep. Tim Griffin), CA-31 (Open, Rep. Gary Miller), IA-03 (Open, Rep. Tom Latham), MI-01 (Rep. Dan Benishek) and MI-07 (Rep. Tim Walberg). Also missing: Vulnerable Democratic-held seats like AZ-09 (Rep. Kyrsten Sinema), CA-26 (Rep. Julia Brownley), CT-05 (Rep. Elizabeth Esty), TX-23 (Rep. Pete Gallego) and IL-17 (Rep. Cheri Bustos). Don't count any chickens yet; this is only round one.

-- Tennessee: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) takes no chances. His campaign has purchased $375,000 in ads during the three weeks leading up to the August 7 primary, in which he faces a host of Republican challengers led by state Rep. Joe Carr (R). Carr has spent a grand total of $35,000 on radio ads; Alexander has spent nearly $800,000 on television since the campaign started.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- Democratic Talking Point of the Day: A new study of 465 hospitals in 30 states finds uncompensated care costs dropped by 30 percent in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, while remaining essentially unchanged in non-expansion states. Republican Talking Point of the Day: It's not clear even those savings will offset the cuts to Medicaid implemented by the ACA. (Governing)

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- GM CEO Mary Barra returns to Capitol Hill today to testify before a House subcommittee on an internal report examining why the carmaker was so slow to report problems with an ignition switch linked to dozens of accidents and 13 deaths. (Washington Post)

-- Markets are up a tiny fraction in pre-bell trading. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P all made gains on Tuesday, and most international markets are trading higher so far today. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- George Condon on one undeniable aspect of President Obama's legacy: "The politician who opposed gay marriage, was cautious on allowing gays to serve openly in the military, and resisted calls to ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation has come a long way in six years. Indeed, he has become the president who has done more for gay people than any of his predecessors." (National Journal)

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- If you haven't seen Clarity Campaigns' cool new tool that suggests which Zip code will be best for your ideological leanings, check it out now. It's pretty addictive.

-- Headline of the Day: "Md. Senate candidate wanted for theft in Texas." (Baltimore Sun)

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) thinks the U.S. captured Ahmed Abu Khatallah to distract from ... something, it's not clear what. "This smells of typical politics and especially the politics of expediency and Orwellian message control." ( Ah, here it is: Fox News thinks it benefits Hillary Clinton's book tour. (Newsweek)

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told colleagues he's running for House Majority Whip because of a promise he made to his three-week-old son after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. One of Stutzman's first acts as a freshman congressman in 2010: Voting against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed overwhelmingly. (Huffington Post)

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.



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