A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- Iraqi President Fouad Massoum asked Shiite leader Haider al-Abadi to form a new government as prime minister, even as incumbent Nouri al-Maliki said the appointment was invalid. In a televised address Monday, Maliki said he was still head of the armed forces, and he said the "error" would be rectified. The armed forces remain on high alert. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden called to congratulate Abadi. (Washington Post)
-- A second night of protests over the shooting of an unarmed 18-year old by police in Ferguson, Mo., turned violent on Monday as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors. (Washington Post) The FBI on Monday opened an investigation into the death of Michael Brown, as two witnesses said he had his hands raised when he was shot multiple times by police on Saturday. (Associated Press)
-- Keep an eye on this: Hillary Clinton's not-so-veiled shot at President Obama's "don't do stupid stuff" foreign policy in this weekend's interview with The Atlantic apparently rubbed some in the White House the wrong way. Administration officials on Monday said Clinton didn't advocate strongly for arming militants in Syria. Officials also said Clinton wrote a memo as she was leaving the State Department recommending lifting the trade embargo against Cuba, though she didn't seriously advocate that position while in office. (New York Times) Staff-level tension between Obama and Clinton Worlds still exists, apparently.
-- France's government will acknowledge Thursday that stagnant growth and inflation is putting the country's recovery at risk. GDP data set to be released that day will likely show France can't meet its goals of reducing public deficit to 3.8 percent of GDP this year, and the 3 percent cap mandated by the E.U. next year. Economic data released last week showed Italy is back in recession territory. (Reuters)
-- The Marin County Sheriff's Office said Monday actor and comedian Robin Williams had died of asphyxiation. The Oscar winner, who had battled depression, apparently committed suicide at the age of 63. (Washington Post, Los Angeles Times)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with the power struggle in Iraq, with a four-column look at protests in Ferguson, Mo. NYT and WSJ lead with the political gamesmanship in Iraq, while the LA Times spotlights U.S. weapons flowing to Kurdish fighters. USA Today splashes Robin Williams' obituary across all five columns on the front.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Hawaii: The state Office of Elections said it will hold an election Friday in two precincts in Puna, on the eastern tip of the Big Island, where Tropical Storm Iselle caused the most damage last week and delayed in-person voting. Both Sen. Brian Schatz (D) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) are campaigning in Puna, handing out bottles of water and helping storm victims clean up. About 8,250 voters are registered in the two precincts; Schatz leads by 1,635 votes. (Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii Tribune-Herald)
-- Florida: Legislators finished work Monday on a revised Congressional district map that moved a total of 368,000 voters between districts in central and northern Florida. The final votes were mostly on party lines. Districts impacted the most include those held by Reps. Dan Webster (R), Corrine Brown (D) and John Mica (R), though seven north and central districts were tweaked at least somewhat. (Miami Herald)
-- Kansas: The SEC on Monday accused Kansas of misleading investors about the financial status of its public employee pension fund. The commission said the state has consented to a cease-and-desist order by adopting policies to ensure disclosures about pension liabilities in bonds it offers. (Associated Press)
-- Mississippi: The conservative blogger who paid for interviews and advocated on behalf of state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) after the June 24 runoff has apparently been subpoenaed. Charles C. Johnson tweeted a photo of a subpoena from a Lauderdale County grand jury, which asks him to bring records of conversations with John Rhodes, a local tea party leader, and Noel Fritsch, McDaniel's campaign spokesman. Johnson deleted the tweet, he said later, on "advice of counsel." (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
-- Kentucky: Harrodsburg police officer David Patterson, a Libertarian, turned in enough signatures on Monday to earn a spot on the Nov. 4 ballot against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Patterson turned in 9,100 signatures, nearly twice the 5,000 he had to turn in; Grimes's office validated the signatures in about two hours. (Lexington Herald-Leader) Protest voters, you have a home.
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama is on vacation for the rest of the week with no public events planned.
-- Vice President Biden is heading out on his own summer vacation on Long Island, where he'll hang out through Friday.
-- The DEA paid an employee of Amtrak more than $850,000 over two decades to be an informant. The informant passed on confidential passenger reservation information despite the fact that the DEA had access to the same information, for free, through a joint drug enforcement task force of which it was a part. (Associated Press) Oops.
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- New York: The race between Rep. Chris Gibson (R) and venture capitalist Sean Eldridge (D) is getting expensive. Gibson has laid down $1.3 million in ad time beginning Sept. 16, while Eldridge this week started making his own late ad buys. So far, Eldridge has bought $780,000 in ads set to run Oct. 15 through Election Day. That's about 1,600 points in the Albany market, 1,700 points in Binghampton and 1,000 points in Utica. The NRCC has $1.1 million in airtime reserved too.
-- Florida: Rep. Steve Southerland (R) will air his first ads starting Aug. 18, part of a $55,000 buy in the Dothan and Tallahassee markets. His rival, Leon Co. school official Gwen Graham (D), has been on TV since mid-June.
-- Georgia: Philanthropist Michelle Nunn (D) dropped $360,000 on a new ad flight running Aug. 12-18, on top of the $350,000 she spent last week. That's about 400 gross ratings points in each of five Georgia media markets. The NRSC's big ad buy starts today with a $600,000 foray.
-- Maine: The RGA is launching its first ad on behalf of Gov. Paul LePage (R) today with a buy in the $500,000 range. The ad comes as RGA chair Chris Christie (R) makes his second campaign swing with LePage, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.
-- South Carolina: A self-proclaimed "independent Republican" running against Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will drop $2 million to air three ads between today and Labor Day, a huge amount in a small-market state like South Carolina. By the end of the month, Tom Ervin, a former state legislator and judge, will have spent as much on ads as Haley and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) combined. (The State)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- The Pittsburgh Airport is facing tough times a decade after US Airways stopped using it as a hub. But good news comes from below: The airport itself is sitting on enough natural gas to run the entire state of Pennsylvania for more than a year. Consol Energy will drill a well on airport grounds this month; the extraction is expected to earn Allegheny County almost half a billion dollars over the next 20 years. (New York Times)
-- The Obama administration has hired about 70 previously registered corporate lobbyists for prominent posts, including Broderick Johnson, Melody Barnes, James Kohlenberger and Marc Berejka. That number doesn't include former staffers like Jim Messina, Robert Gibbs, Bill Burton and Stephanie Cutter, all of whom have corporate contracts. (Politico)
-- Stock futures are higher in pre-bell trading after markets added just a little bit on Monday. Asian markets closed higher, while European markets are trading slightly lower so far. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- The Tea Party Express has raised $9.5 million between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. It has spent $380,000 directly or indirectly on behalf of candidates. It has spent $2 million on postage and $6 million on fundraising costs during that time, $3.5 million of which has gone to the firm owned by Sal Russo. (Practical Politicking) Nice work, if you can make it conning old folks out of the money they think is going to elect actual candidates.
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Immigration advocates protested a traffic stop in Tucson, Ariz., this weekend in an effort to prevent local police from turning over the undocumented driver to nearby Border Patrol agents. (Breitbart)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Two residents of a Topeka elder care facility were prevented from voting in last week's primary elections after they couldn't find their identifications. Beth Hiller, 97, was not issued a provisional ballot as required under the law, passed back in 2011. (Topeka Courier-Journal)