THE BIG IDEA:
— The debate over a U.S. deal with Iran may now dominate Congress’ August recess. Karen DeYoung and Carol Morello report from Vienna overnight that, with talks ongoing, there is now no way the administration will be able to provide the text of any agreement to Congress by a July 9 deadline (which is midnight tonight). Negotiators still hope to wrap up by the end of this week, but either way the legislative branch will now get 60 days to review any deal, instead of the 30 it would have had. That was a key tenet of legislation that passed in May. Critics think they can work up public disapproval with the extra time, putting pressure on persuadable senators at town hall meetings back home.
BUT: Senate Republicans are very unlikely to find either the filibuster (or veto) proof super majorities they need to block an Iran agreement. For all practical purposes, Obama needs just 34 Democratic senators to stand behind him on a deal to prevent it from being overturned by legislation. He’d obviously veto any resolution expressing disapproval. This is why the president has turned on the charm jets with Senate Dems. Last night, he invited the members of his caucus over to the White House for a two-hour reception that focused heavily on Iran. “Don’t get nervous. Don’t get concerned about statements by the supreme leader, about statements in the press,” Obama told members, according to a post-meeting readout from Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), reported by Politico. “I am not going to sign a deal where we can’t assure that we’ve blocked all pathways to a bomb for Iran.” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) added that Obama “wanted to make it clear to us that if it’s a bad deal, there’s no deal.”
— Immigration will not just be a hot-button issue in the Republican primary; it could take center stage in the general election. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush traded barbs over their stances yesterday, both accusing each other of flip-flopping on the issue in a possible preview of what’s to come. In her CNN interview, Clinton called the GOP candidates a “spectrum of hostility” on immigration. But when interviewer Brianna Keilar pointed out that the former Florida governor once supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Clinton shot back: “He doesn’t believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at one time, he no longer does.” Bush aides quickly pushed back by arguing that Clinton did little to actively push immigration as a senator, steered clear of the Senate’s 2013 debate on the subject and wavered on whether illegal immigrants should be granted driver’s licenses during her 2008 presidential campaign. The Post’s Ed O’Keefe has a story this morning that says Jeb and Hillary are both right: the other has flip-flopped.
— Hillary is pretty good at not making news when that’s her goal. The highly-anticipated interview on CNN, her first of the campaign with a national reporter, did not really trod new ground. Clinton avoided using Bernie Sanders’ name and said nothing new about the Clinton Foundation. She got what her team wanted: most of the stories this morning are about her attacking Republicans.
— The Post announces this morning that it has snagged star political reporter Dave Weigel from Bloomberg Politics. In a release that just went out: “Dave will bring his one-of-a-kind perspective and voice to our campaign team, where he will focus on the people and movements that are galvanizing so much of modern politics. Dave is also an expert on Rand Paul and will continue to cover his quest for the White House. And Dave will anchor a new political podcast that will launch later this year.” Before Bloomberg, Weigel was a senior politics reporter at Slate and worked for the Post as a blogger on conservative politics. He also had stints at The Washington Independent and Reason magazine. He’ll start July 20. Read the full release here.
Sneak peek – Lindsey Graham will call for a mini-surge in Iraq during a speech laying out his national security agenda at the Atlantic Council later this morning. “I am running to be President of the United States to put an end to the Obama-Clinton doctrine,” the South Carolina senator waging a long shot bid for the GOP nomination will say at the top. “I am ready to be Commander in Chief on day one.” Besides saying he would immediately “walk away” from the Iran negotiations, he will push for more ground troops to fight ISIS:
- “The current force structure of approximately 3500 U.S. troops in Iraq is inadequate to the task. According to Gen. Keane, one of the chief architects of the 2007 surge, we will need roughly 10,000 U.S. troops to once again change the tide of battle in Iraq. These additional forces would allow us to train and advise Iraqi troops at the battalion level, making them far more likely to stay in the fight. With the increased numbers, we could deploy attack helicopters to give the Iraqi army a substantial advantage over ISIL. These numbers would also allow us to put in place robust special operations capability to apply constant pressure on ISIL’s leadership morning, noon, and night. They would never communicate or move without being subject to being captured or killed. I would also supply better arms and equipment to the Kurds so that they could project force from the north, supplementing our efforts in the south.”
- Trolling Rand Paul, Graham will also call on the U.S. to spend more on foreign aid: “Educating a young girl in a remote region of Syria, or Iraq, or Afghanistan does more to improve our security than dropping a 500-pound bomb. Investing in the future of young men and women in the developing world provides a hopeful alternative to those who live where Radical Islam seeks to dominate, recruit, and wreak havoc. Alleviating humanitarian crises and enhancing the capacity of partner nations to bring security and prosperity to their people makes us safer. It diminishes the potential for terrorist safe havens. It empowers our allies to be more effective partners in the struggle against violent extremism.” The 10 a.m. Eastern speech will livestream here.
— Martin O’Malley will unveil a goal of making college debt-free for every student in America within five years. Trying to get younger voters excited about his long-shot challenge to Clinton, the former Maryland governor will unveil a white paper in New Hampshire. O’Malley likes to say that he and his wife took out $300,000 worth of student loan debt to support their daughters through school.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Ray LaHood’s son easily won the GOP primary in the special election to replace Aaron Schock, the Illinois congressman who resigned in disgrace amid escalating investigations into his spending habits. The 18th is a a safe Republican district, which means state Sen. Darin LaHood is now the overwhelming favorite to claim his dad’s old seat. He beat Breitbart News editor Mike Flynn. The elder LaHood, also a Republican, served as Barack Obama’s first Transportation secretary. (Peoria Journal Star)
— GREXIT (insider short hand for Greece leaving the European Union) is looking likelier by the hour. The emergency summit of European leaders, called to salvage Greece’s financial rescue, broke up acrimoniously last night, with officials warning that the country now has just five days to avoid bankruptcy, Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum report from Athens: “Following a day’s worth of talks aimed at finding a way out of months of bitter deadlock, European leaders were scathing in their assessments of Greece’s proposals, calling them inadequate and demanding the Greek government return with a detailed plan by Thursday. The leaders of all 28 European Union members will then meet Sunday in what officials said will be the final chance to save Greece from economic oblivion — or the moment the country is ejected from the euro zone.”
— “The gun used to kill a 32-year-old woman on San Francisco’s waterfront was stolen from a federal agent in a car burglary in June,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is suspected of being in the U.S. without documentation and had been deported five times to his native Mexico, pleaded not guilty Tuesday. This is the latest wrinkle in the back-and-forth between DHS and local authorities over San Francisco’s status as a “sanctuary city.”
GET SMART FAST:
- The Army plans to cut 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, USA Today reports. “An additional 17,000 Army civilian employees would be laid off under the plan officials intend to announce this week. Under the plan, the Army would have 450,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, 2017.”
- “A federal judge up in arms about non-compliance with a court order blocking President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration is demanding that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and four other top immigration enforcement officials appear in a Brownsville, Texas, courtroom next month to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court,” Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports.
- Obama pledged to travel to Vietnam during a meeting with the leader of the country’s Communist Party at the White House yesterday. It’s not clear when the president will visit, but it could come during a broader Asia trip this November. (David Nakamura)
- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both endorsed Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Puerto Rico yesterday, following Martin O’Malley and Jeb Bush.
- A new study from the University of Pennsylvania estimates that out-of-pocket costs for birth control have been cut in half because by Obamacare.
- Six British employees at the bank HSBC lost their jobs yesterday after pretending to execute an Asian coworker in a mock ISIS execution, complete with orange jumpsuit and yelling “Allahu Akbar.” They recorded it as part of a team-building exercise and posted the video to Instagram. (The Sun)
- The pro-Hillary super PAC, called Correct the Record, has been running training sessions in each of the four early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) to teach early-state Democrats how they should talk about Clinton to the media. (Philip Rucker)
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Hillary now has 47 paid staffers in Iowa. Twenty more field organizers started work yesterday, joining an existing team of 21 field organizers and six regional organizing directors who have been on the ground since April. (Des Moines Register)
- Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) told the Richmond Times-Dispatch last night that he is running for president and plans a formal announcement in the first week of August.
- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced that she will not comply with a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from her state Capitol. Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled 7-2 last week that she must. (The Tulsa World)
- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has ordered agencies in his state to protect clergy from legal complaints if they object to same-sex ceremonies, which the Kansas City Star reports could adversely affect gay adoption. Meanwhile, the state began issuing driver’s licenses with married names for same-sex couples and same-sex married couples working for the state began applying for health benefits.
- A bronze statue of Bill Cosby was removed overnight from Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. (Orlando Sentinel)
— “Nearing launch, Walker team sees Bush, Rubio as 2016 competition,” by Dan Balz in Madison, Wis.: “For months, Walker’s team has been preparing for a race against Bush’s money and Rubio’s compelling personal story.” The three most interesting takeaways from Dan’s piece, with on-the-record comments from both campaign manager Rick Wiley and super PAC leader Keith Gilkes:
- Walker’s team realizes that they cannot win the nomination without a victory in the Iowa caucuses: “His advisers expect him to win the Iowa caucuses early next year, and they say he can follow that with top-three finishes in New Hampshire and South Carolina. They also think he can score an early victory in Nevada’s caucuses.”
- Walker’s announcement tour next week will take him to each of the four early states: He will go from Wisconsin to Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire and then back to Iowa for several days of campaigning. “In New Hampshire, he will hold one town hall meeting. He will return to that state later in the month for an event that includes a Harley-Davidson motorcycle ride.”
- They expect the nomination fight to drag on through May: “Walker’s advisers doubt that anyone who doesn’t win one of the four early states will move to the heavy schedule of contests in March. They also doubt that anyone will have enough delegates to clinch the nomination by the end of March, and they anticipate that the race will drag on into May before there is a winner.”
— “With Obama’s help, Harry Reid leaving an indelible mark in the Nevada desert,” scoop by Juliet Eilperin: Aboard Air Force One last November, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked Obama to designate a huge swath of desert in central Nevada as a national monument, in part to protect a mammoth, unconventional art installation constructed over the past half a century by one man … “As soon as Friday, according to people briefed on the decision, about 704,000 acres in central Nevada will receive federal protection, in no small part because Reid loves the desert, thinks it’s beautiful and pictures it in his mind when he’s trying to fall asleep at night.”
This will be a major part of Reid’s enduring legacy (and he doesn’t mind that it infuriates conservatives like rancher Cliven Bundy): When the senator took office in 1982, his home state had less than 67,000 acres of federally protected wilderness. It now has nearly 3.4 million acres, all of which he brokered, along with 600,000 acres of other protected areas.
— “Horrified passengers witnessed brutal July 4 slaying aboard Metro car,” by Peter Hermann, Michael Smith and Keith L. Alexander: “Jasper Spires boarded the Red Line Metro train at Rhode Island Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday, joining passengers from the District and elsewhere headed to various Fourth of July festivities, among them the Foo Fighters concert at RFK Stadium. As the train rumbled toward its next stop, at NoMa-Gallaudet, a three-minute ride, D.C. police said, the 18-year-old Spires — who may have been high on synthetic drugs — tried to grab a cellphone tucked into the waistband of a recent American University graduate headed to a gathering with friends. The two struggled, police said, and the terror began.”
“Police and a witness interviewed said passengers trapped in the moving train huddled at both ends of the car and watched in horror as Spires punched 24-year-old Kevin Joseph Sutherland until he fell to the floor, then stabbed him until he was dead. Court documents say the victim was cut or stabbed 30 or 40 times, in the chest, abdomen, back, side and arms. Police said the assailant then threw the victim’s cellphone and returned to stomp on Sutherland’s body.” Reading the story will make you sick to your stomach.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Hillary’s CNN interview allowed her to overtake Bernie Sanders in social media mentions yesterday. She had 90,000 mentions for the day, the most of anyone other than Donald Trump. This is an hour-by-hour mentions chart for Clinton. Note that mentions spike at 2 p.m. Pacific, when CNN aired the interview in its entirety:
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
Picture of the day:
George Pataki welcomed a new grandson:
Tweets of the day:
Ted Cruz joked about his Simpsons’ impressions:
Lisa Murkowski celebrated Alaska’s statehood:
Instagrams of the day:
Marco Rubio met with young professionals in Des Moines:
As Deepak Chopra sat down with a group of House Democrats:
And Jimmy Carter stopped by MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
Here is a self-portrait Carter painted, which also appears in his new book “A Full Life”:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New York Times, “Republicans Aim to Hamper Obama’s Policies With Spending Bills,” by Jonathan Weisman: “From environmental and work force regulations to health care and contraception, congressional Republicans are using spending bills to try to dismantle President Obama’s policies, setting up a fiscal feud this fall that could lead to a government shutdown. The House and Senate appropriations committees are churning out annual spending bills, dropping the bipartisanship that has long characterized the committees. The bills adhere to strict overall spending limits imposed in 2011 that Mr. Obama has already said he will not accept. But beyond spending cuts, the bills collectively represent a firm reassertion of power by the Republican-controlled Congress.”
Some choice examples of how the GOP is trying to use the appropriations process to block Obama’s top priorities: “In the House … The main federal family planning program, Title X, would be eliminated. The administration’s efforts to impose strict rules on for-profit universities would be reversed, as would new rules requiring retirement investment advisers to prove they have no financial conflicts of interest. Another bill, now on the House floor, to finance the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency would stop regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking; prohibit implementation of carbon emission standards for electric power plants; block new clean-water rules; and stop the government’s marine and coastal planning efforts to respond to climate change. Other bills would block the Food and Drug Administration from reviewing e-cigarette marketing and keep the Federal Communications Commission from carrying out ‘net neutrality’ regulation of the Internet.”
— Variety, “Sarah Palin pulls the plug on Internet Subscription-Video Channel,” by Todd Spangler: “Last summer, the conservative former governor of Alaska, ex-Fox News pundit and one-time U.S. VP candidate launched the Sarah Palin Channel, which she promised would deliver perspectives that “cut through the media’s politically correct filter. But after one year, Palin is ending the subscription service. She announced in a July 4 post that her video content will be distributed free on her political action committee’s site and Facebook, on which she has 4.4 million followers.”
— NBC News, “Tennessee congressional candidate charged with plot to burn N.Y. mosque,” by Pete Williams: “Robert R. Doggart, 63, of Sequatchie County, Tennessee, was indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of soliciting others to destroy religious property, a civil rights violation. Investigators say he urged followers to join him in plans to set fire to a mosque near Hancock, New York, on the border with Pennsylvania. It’s in a community known as Islamberg, a settlement with a large Muslim population.”
BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:
— Politico, “Hillary Clinton plans meeting with black lawmakers,” by Lauren French: “Hillary Clinton will meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus next week. The 2016 front-runner for the Democratic nomination will travel to Capitol Hill to hold a members-only meeting Tuesday with the nearly 50 lawmakers in the black caucus. The meeting is expected to focus on policy issues.”
–National Journal, “Senate Democrats scramble to avoid a split on education bill,” by Fawn Johnson: “The civil-rights community hates it. The teachers unions are OK with it. Both groups are in last-minute talks with Senate Democrats about altering a major education bill to avoid an impossible situation for the Democratic caucus—two of their most important constituencies pushing in opposite directions. A split among Senate Democrats could severely weaken their bargaining leverage in a conference committee with the House, which is expected to pass a far more conservative education bill this week.”
–The Hill, “House votes to ban sale of Confederate flag in Park Service stores,” by Cristina Marcos: “The House voted Tuesday to affirm that stores on federal lands operated by the National Park Service cannot sell Confederate flags, in light of a new policy announced in the aftermath of the shooting in Charleston, S.C. Adoption of the amendment to the 2016 Interior Department appropriations bill came easily on a voice vote after just six minutes of debate, where no one spoke in opposition. The amendment reflects a policy announced by the National Park Service in June to ban the sale of Confederate flag merchandise from its gift shops and bookstores.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Dinesh D’Souza circulates fake photo of Hillary with Confederate flag. From Talking Points Memo: “Conservative author and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza usually reserves his Twitter feed for promoting odd contests about himself or cracking incomprehensible and racist jokes, but on Tuesday he focused on circulating a fake image of Hillary Clinton photographed with a Confederate flag. ‘Look closely at this Hillary photo; isn’t that a Confederate flag behind her on the bookshelf?’ D’Souza tweeted, above a black and white photo showing a young Clinton with a Confederate flag displayed nearby.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
D.C. residents say take down Jefferson Memorial, rename Washington, D.C. From PJ Media: “District of Columbia residents and tourists weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag, some saying the nation should go as far as renaming Washington, D.C. … ‘It should come down,’ one D.C. resident told PJ Media, referencing the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. ‘If we do that, though, George Washington owned slaves. Should we rename Washington, D.C.?’ he was asked … ‘Maybe take a poll across the country and see what people think about it and if they want to rename the city, do it,’ he said.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Marco Rubio will attend a breakfast, lunch, happy hour and an evening event in Urbandale, Cedar Rapids, Coalville and Wilton, Iowa. Martin O’Malley has a series of six events in Manchester, Derry, and Concord, New Hampshire. John Kasich will attend meet-and-greets in Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, South Carolina. Jeb Bush will attend a town hall in Hudson, New Hampshire. Lindsey Graham will speak about America’s role in the world at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.
–On the Hill: The House and Senate will convene at 10 a.m. The upper chamber will resume consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act. FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on encryption at 10 a.m. and the Senate Intelligence Committee on counterterrorism at 2:30 p.m. The House Appropriations Committee will mark up an FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
–At the White House: President Obama will meet with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Press Secretary Josh Earnest will brief the media at 1.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We called the speaker’s bureau and we were told that number … We’re not that sophisticated and stuff. I’m going to cry if you’re telling me he did others for a lot less.” – Tracy Frank, executive director of the Hope Pregnancy Center in College Station, Texas, which paid $40,500 for Ben Carson to speak at a fundraiser last year. The Republican presidential candidate gave 115 speeches for less money in 2014 alone. Politico notes that $2 million of his $4 million in paid-speaking income last year came from faith-based groups.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— There’s a 70 percent chance of rain, with heavy thunderstorms likeliest later in the day. “After the second wettest June on record in D.C., it has now rained on 6 of the first 7 days of July (yesterday was the first day of the month with no rain at Reagan National),” the Capital Weather Gang notes. “We’ll almost certainly make that 7 out of 8 today, and shower chances stick around through the weekend, although with lower odds starting Friday … The best chance of heavier thunderstorms [is] late this afternoon into early evening (around 4-8 p.m.). A few strong storms are possible with heavy rain, localized flooding and gusty winds.”
— The Reds shut out the Nationals 5-0 last night. Pitcher Max Scherzer had a really off night and got pulled in the fifth inning. The third game of the series is at Nats park tonight.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
President Obama calls the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team following their World Cup victory:
Watch NASA’s Opportunity rover finish a marathon on Mars, via the Los Angeles Times: “If slow and steady wins the race, then NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity takes first place. In March, more than 11 years after it landed on the Red Planet, the scrappy little robot completed 26.2 miles, or the length of a full marathon – and now you can watch its entire epic journey in this eight-minute video. The images in the video were taken with the rover’s hazard-avoidance cameras between January 2004 and April 2015. Here’s the full video.