TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 25

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Secretary of State John Kerry proposes plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip; Obama Administration considers refugee status for Honduras; Veteran Affairs reform efforts break up; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie battered by fellow Republican governors

  • “Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip that would first impose a weeklong truce starting Sunday…” [NYT]
    • “Gaza officials said Israeli strikes killed 27 people on Friday, including the head of media operations for Hamas ally Islamic Jihad and his son. They put the number of Palestinian deaths in 18 days of conflict at 819, most of them civilians.” [Reuters]
  • “U.S. defense and diplomatic officials said Thursday that Russia is firing artillery across its border at Ukrainian military positions, an assertion that Moscow now is directly engaging in hostilities against Ukrainian government forces.” [WSJ]
  • “When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. If the activists are right, the sweeping move would upend a contentious policy fight and carry broad political consequences.” [TIME]
    • “Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus plan to meet with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and White House counsel Neil Eggleston at the White House on Friday morning.” [TIME]
  • “Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico…” [NYT]
  • How VA Reform Fell Apart In Less Than 4 Days [HuffPost]
  • “Boehner told reporters that the House will pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open sometime in September, avoiding a government shutdown that would otherwise occur on the last day of the month. The legislation would likely expire in early December…” [National Journal]
  • Chris Christie Battered By His GOP Rivals on Governors’ Circuit [TIME]
  • The drug that’s forcing America’s most importatant—and uncomfortable—health-care debate [WashPost]

A brief message from Michael Scherer, TIME Washington D.C. bureau chief:

We will hold an #AskTIME subscriber Q&A this Friday, July 25, at 1 p.m., with TIME’s political correspondent Zeke Miller, who covers the White House and national politics, and congressional reporter Alex Rogers.

You can submit your questions beforehand on Twitter using the #AskTIME hashtag or in the comments of this post. For this to work, we depend on smart, interesting questions from readers.

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TIME 2016 Election

Chris Christie Battered By His GOP Rivals on Governors’ Circuit

Republican Governors
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listen as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a press conference at the Republican Governors Association's quarterly meeting on Wednesday May 21, 2014 in New York. Bebeto Matthews—AP

On paper, New Jersey's Chris Christie leads the nation's Republican governors. In practice, he is becoming a favored target of his peers.

Forget, for the moment, about the cornfields and the straw polls, the live-free-or-die gun shops of Manchester and the sticky-sweet BBQ pits of South Carolina. There is a point in the 2016 presidential campaign, when the action that matters most is more likely to happen under gilded ceilings of Manhattan’s toniest restaurants than where voters actually live. Which is why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie found himself supping at Cipriani on May 18, seated between the billionaire who might fund his way to the White House and a rival governor who wants the job himself. It was a test meal, in its way, and Christie fumbled it.

Organizers had told the press to attend to hear Christie give a muscular address on his foreign policy vision. But the real audience was his table-mate, Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who dumped more than $100 million to elect Republicans in 2012 and was promising even more. Just weeks earlier, Christie had flown to Vegas with three other current and former Republican governors to meet with Adelson at his Venetian casino under the banner of the Republican Jewish Coalition. There Christie had botched his message, speaking of Israel’s “occupied territories,” a term that the Zionist Adelson does not favor. Christie later apologized during his few private minutes with the GOP kingmaker. Now he was back for what organizers called a “Major Speech on Israel and the Middle East.” And something went wrong again. He didn’t mention Israel once in his 18-minute address. In the midst of a political rehabilitation tour, his tablemate Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw a clear opportunity. When he rose to speak minutes later, Perry shoehorned three references to Israel within 90 seconds.

As the head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie is the charismatic captain of a club composed of formal partners but tacit rivals. And that rivalry has only gotten stronger in recent months. Despite surface-level niceties and some degree of symbiotic friendship, many want to see him and his presidential ambitions go up in flames. On Thursday, the tensions broke into view as Republican state leaders broke with Christie, who has refused to publicly appear with Rob Astorino, a long-shot candidates hoping to replace Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Glad to be with my buddy @RobAstorino in Aspen,” tweeted Perry, a few days after Christie told reporters he did not believe that the Republican Astorino had a chance of winning. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have all since expressed support for Astorino.

This follows several other thinly veiled slights in recent months. Just last week Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal implicitly criticized Christie’s habit of picking and choosing issues to engage on, saying the GOP must offer ideas not style. “The next big elections can’t be ones about personalities or just about slogans,” he told TIME, after a question about Christie. After Christie became ensnared in a scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, Jindal had told reporters, “No one governor’s more important than the other.” In February, Scott Walker used Christie’s scandal to sidestep questions about an investigation into improper political activities by his former aides. “He addressed it early on, but obviously he’s not out of the woods yet,” Walker told TIME, saying unlike his, Christie’s troubles were “just beginning.” And when Christie was nearly down-for-the-count in the immediate aftermath of the bridge scandal, Perry fanned the flames. “Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?” Perry asked in February on ABC’s This Week.

As the Republican Party looks to its governors for leadership after years of chaos and infighting in Washington, Christie is no longer a cut above the rest, even as he travels the country as the official leader of Republican governors. Christie is routinely on the road meeting donors and reporters, and by the nature of the job working to defend the 20 Republican-held governorships up for re-election this year. Christie allies said the group was close, despite occasional disagreements. “First and foremost, they’re friends, so they want to be able to help each other,” says RGA Executive Director Phil Cox. Like any club, behind the pretense there are tense personal relationships, but the stakes are unusually high. Perry, Walker, and Jindal are just some of the governors competing in 2016’s proto-primary alongside John Kasich of Ohio, and Mike Pence of Indiana.

The Jindal-Christie relationship is the most fraught, stemming from a bitter leadership battle for the high-profile helm of the RGA in 2012. Christie won out, securing enough votes to force Jindal to accept the number two spot. And with Perry, Christie’s conversations frequently could not be described as civil, people familiar with the exchanges said. With Christie’s fortunes soured, his opponents hurriedly planned trips to New York to meet with the donor class he once seemed to have a lock on. Jindal and Perry have been there as much as twice a month since the beginning of the year, while Walker has made at least four trips as he raises money for his own re-election. Meanwhile, top donors are once again clamoring for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to enter the race.

“It’s like your fiancé cheated on you,” said a person close to one of the ambitious governors, explaining why no other governor has yet emerged as a new favorite. “You don’t propose to the next girl you meet. You take your time to have some fun and meet everyone else.” Meanwhile many of the governors Christie is working to re-elect have tried to place some distance between themselves and Christie, with fewer joint events open to reporters. The calls from New York financiers for Christie to run have become less frequent as they take stock of the field. Christie’s core argument to his party and Wall Street has been his electability, and he is still struggling to show he can win despite the setbacks. More importantly to donors, the question is whether he has learned from the experience. “He’s still surrounded by the same guys,” said one top Republican bundler who was previously committed to Christie. “Where’s the growth? I’m not seeing it yet.”

But it is Christie’s economic record that is emerging as a concrete boot to his likely campaign. His state’s finances are in shambles, with Christie forced to rollback a signature effort to begin paying down the state’s skyrocketing unfunded pension liabilities after overestimating state revenues by nearly $1 billion for each of the next two years. Christie’s state lags most of his GOP colleagues on annual rankings of the best state to do business, while its unemployment rate puts New Jersey in the bottom third of states. Where Christie talks up the successes of all GOP governors, Perry and Jindal travel the country referring to the governors as “competitors” for jobs, not-so-subtly highlighting their states’ relative successes.

The bridge scandal has also revealed the insularity of Christie’s team, centered around strategist Mike DuHaime and former law partner and political fixer Bill Palatucci. The former Giuliani for President campaign manager and Republican National Committee member, are the hard-charging pair behind the harder-charging would-be-candidate. Todd Christie, the governor’s brother, rounds out the inner circle that once included Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager who was poised to take on a role with the RGA and was forced to resign in the wake of his involvement in the bridge scandal.

Where Jindal, Perry and Walker all maintain national and grassroots donor lists thanks to political action committees, Christie’s political network is largely confined to New Jersey outside of his appeal to large donors. “He’ll start out at a disadvantage,” said on GOP digital operative familiar with the potential candidates’ operations.

At the Law Vegas gathering of Republican Jewish donors in March, Scott Walker tried to steal some of Chris Christie’s thunder. He sonorously told of lighting a “menorah candle” around Hanukah and that his son Matthew’s name is derived from the Hebrew for ‘Gift from God.’ Walker sidestepped his lack of foreign policy experience by telling of Ronald Reagan’s showdown with air traffic controllers that “sent a message around the world,” and highlighted his ability to win over Latino voters around Milwaukee. Each of these anecdotes were staples of Christie’s now-familiar pitch to donors and party activists.

Thankfully for Christie, he’s still the more dynamic speaker. Following 45 minutes after Walker, Christie told the same stories—but this time, the crowd was brought to their feet for applause.

Correction: The story has been changed to properly describe the people who had characterized the New York event as a “Major Speech on Israel and the Middle East.” They were event organizers.

TIME 2016 Election

2016 Conservatives Take the Common Core Test

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 14, 2014.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 14, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin—AP

The state standards are becoming a defining issue for GOP presidential hopefuls

If you’re searching for signs that a Republican politician is serious about a 2016 presidential run, watch what he or she says about Common Core.

Over the past several months, the state education standards developed by a bipartisan group of governors and educators have become one of the conservative movement’s biggest bugbears. Common Core is now “radioactive,” as Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad put it recently. And the animus toward it within the Republican base has sent the politicians who are vying to be their next leader scrambling to distance themselves from the policy.

On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin became the latest 2016 contender to ditch the standards, issuing a one-sentence statement calling on the Badger State legislature to repeal Common Core and replace it “with standards set by the people of Wisconsin.” But Walker is hardly the first national figure to revisit his position toward Common Core as the conservative outcry intensifies.

Earlier this week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed an executive order creating a commission to examine the efficacy of the standards. The move was a hedge by Christie, who has supported Common Core, and may buy him cover to move further away from the policy later if the politics continue to sour.

Other likely 2016 hopefuls have been less equivocal. In April, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation dropping Common Core. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state adopted the standards in 2010, issued executive orders last month to spike the policy—against the wishes of his state’s education superintendent.

These GOP governors are at the back of the pack of 2016 hopefuls when it comes to ditching Common Core. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law banning the standards in his state. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all came out in opposition last year as the backlash built, fed by the (inaccurate) perception that Common Core is a federal takeover of education foisted on the states. By now, the only potential 2016 GOP candidate unambiguously in favor of the standards is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—and his embrace of the policy is a major reason many believe his brand of conservatism is out of step with the national mood.

The irony in this trend is that key features of Common Core—including tougher standards, state-drawn curricula and teacher accountability—reflect conservative values. (So much so that the American Federation of Teachers, the influential union, is now backing away from the policy.) But political winds can blow away policy convictions when they’re inconvenient. Just ask Barack Obama. He spent much of his presidential campaign attacking No Child Left Behind, the national education standards championed by George W. Bush. Once he entered the Oval Office, Obama set about promoting his own set of national standards.

TIME 2016 Election

Asked About Christie, Bobby Jindal Says Next Election Can’t Be About ‘Personalities’

Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the keynote address during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington on June 21, 2014. Molly Riley—AP

Amidst 2016 rivalry, the governor of Louisiana stops short of criticizing the New Jersey governor directly

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal looks and acts a lot like a presidential candidate these days, with a policy-focused agenda and clear strategy for distinguishing him from some of his Republican rivals.

Before a fundraiser Sunday for a local politician in Franklin, Tenn., TIME asked Jindal about the stylistic differences between him and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who made news over the weekend by dodging national policy questions. “Rather than focus on what other people may or may not be doing, I’ll just say I’ve always been a policy guy,” Jindal responded.

“The next big elections can’t be ones about personalities or just about slogans,” Jindal continued, in an apparent reference to Christie’s persona. “I think it’s incumbent upon our Republican Party to earn our way back to the majority. Let’s provide those specific answers.”

Jindal, who is known as a studious wonk, recently founded a policy group, called America Next, in an effort to win “the war of ideas” for conservatives. “When I did the 100 pages [of policy when I first ran for governor] the political consultants said it was a foolish thing to do,” Jindal said. “Who knows, but it’s just the way I am. I can’t imagine engaging in the political process without getting into the specifics, and I think people deserve that.”

This is not the first time that Jindal has made public comments about Christie, or found himself positioned as a rival. In 2012, Jindal and Christie were locked in a contentious behind-the-scenes battle to lead the Republican Governors Association—a fight Christie won. After Christie was bogged-down in the Bridge-gate scandal, Jindal minimized Christie’s leadership role, arguing on CNN in February “no one governor is more important than the other.”

TIME 2016 Election

Here Are The Questions Chris Christie Doesn’t Want To Answer

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a town hall meeting at Winston Churchill Elementary School, April 9, 2014, in Fairfield, N.J. Julio Cortez—AP

He is making moves to prepare for a presidential run but declines to answer questions like a presidential candidate.

Sometimes the straight-talking governor of New Jersey doesn’t talk all that straight.

Gov. Chris Christie casts himself as a decider, steering his state through rough economic waters, while setting himself up for a run for the White House. At the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville on Saturday, Christie lambasted the Obama administration’s Middle East policy and its inability to negotiate with Congress.

But he skipped as many issues as he took on. Just what he would do when faced with some of the nation’s hardest policy challenges remains unclear. The man who hopes to one day inhabit the Oval Office repeatedly noted that he doesn’t yet have the job—a rhetorical crutch to avoid saying what he’d do if he got it.

Here’s the list of the questions he dodged from reporters:

On raising the gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure:

“Since I’m not in Congress or the White House I’m going to let them make those decisions. I have to make those decisions in my state. They can make those decisions down there.”

On whether the unaccompanied minors cross the border illegally into the united states should be sent back:

“I’m not going to get into all that. Again, that’s Washington’s job to figure these things out.”

Should the United States intervene militarily against Hamas?

“I’m not going to give opinions on that. I’m not the president.”

Has he decided on whether illegal immigrants in the United States should be presented with a path to citizenship as part of an immigration reform package?

“No, not as Governor of New Jersey I have not.”

He’s brusque, he’s brash. He’s famous for his back-and-forth exchanges with protestors and hecklers. And even in dodging questions, Christie has a matter-of-fact speech and abrupt delivery that suggest candor. But sometimes he still doesn’t want to answer the questions.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Christie: Gay Marriage “Settled” In New Jersey But Republicans Shouldn’t Give Up Fight

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention, July 12, 2014, in Nashville. Mark Humphrey—AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday that while same-sex marriage is “settled” in New Jersey, it’s not time for opponents to give up the fight.

Speaking to reporters at the National Governors Association, Christie said it is not time for Republicans to drop the issue, which is entrenched in the party’s platform but contributes to the party’s difficulty with younger voters. “I don’t think that there’s going to be some major referee who’s going to say now it’s time to stop,” he said, referencing his own opposition to the unions. “Certainly I’m not going to, because these are opinions that I feel strongly about.”

“The country will resolve this over a period of time,” he added, saying it is important for people to respect those who disagree with them on the issue. “But do I think it’s resolved now? No.”

Christie, seen as an all-but-certain candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said the party should not attempt a national campaign on the issue. “It should be done state by state,” he said.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, with most states’ legal bans currently under challenge in federal courts across the country. Many leading operatives have called on the party to soften its stance on same-sex marriage in order to return to the majority, but national Republicans have been slow to drop their opposition. Just four GOP lawmakers in Congress are in favor of allowing the marriages, and just one presidential prospect, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, is supportive.

Christie dropped a legal fight to block same-sex marriage in New Jersey in 2013 after the State Supreme Court indicated it would not stop the unions, saying now: “Yeah, it is a settled issue in New Jersey.”

“When I know that I’ve been defeated you don’t bang your head against a wall and spend taxpayer money to do it,” he said, explaining his decision. “Absent a change in the legislature, I think at the moment it’s settled law in New Jersey.”

Asked whether the country could resolve in favor of traditional marriage despite the momentum behind the “marriage equality” movement, Christie replied “I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.”

TIME 2016 Election

Here’s What You Need to Know About Chris Christie’s Latest Bridge Scandal

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' conference in Washington D.C. on June 20, 2014.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' conference in Washington D.C. on June 20, 2014. Drew Angerer—EPA

Officials are investigating Christie's office's actions surrounding yet another bridge

The scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge has hurt New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions, but just when Christie seemed to be moving past it, another bridge scandal put him back in the news Tuesday for all the wrong reasons.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources briefed on the matter, reports that authorities already looking into the Christie administration’s handling of what’s become known as Bridgegate are now also probing whether the governor’s office pushed for the illegal use of funds to renovate a different bridge. While it’s easy to label this as another Bridgegate, the questions surrounding each bridge differ dramatically.

For those trying to sort out the two scandals and what they mean, TIME offers the following guide to Bridgegate, Part Two.

What are officials investigating this time?

Officials from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible violations of securities law. According to the Times report, Christie’s office repeatedly insisted that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey provide funds to repair an ailing state bridge despite repeated legal counsel against the move. The Pulaski Skyway, located solely in the state of New Jersey, does not fall under the purview of the Port Authority.

Why does this issue fall under securities law?

The funds in question originated from municipal bonds collected for improvements to the Lincoln Tunnel, the Times reports. If the government collected money for that purpose and spent it on something else, officials could face prosecution for misleading bondholders. The involvement of both state and federal officials suggests that investigators are examining the potential violation of both state and local securities law. The SEC and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office wouldn’t comment. In an email, a spokesman for Christie said proper legal procedures were followed and noted that Christie has publicly discussed using Port Authority funding for the bridge renovation in the past.

What is the Pulaski Skyway?

The Pulaski Skyway is a New Jersey bridge that connects Newark and Jersey City—a stretch frequented by commuters, including many headed to New York City. It has grown increasingly dilapidated in recent years. The state had to install a net to catch falling debris from the bridge. In April, it closed for a two-year renovation funded in part by the Port Authority money in question.

What are the political implications of the latest scandal?

That remains to be seen. The first bridge controversy centers on allegations that Christie allies closed lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against a local mayor who wouldn’t endorse his reelection. The story badly damaged Christie’s reputation as a no-nonsense politician who puts governing ahead of politics. But in some ways, the latest scandal appears to suggest the opposite intent on Christie’s part. The Pulaski Skyway is a dilapidated overpass in desperate need of renovation. Repairing it undoubtedly serves the state’s interests, while closing lanes on a busy bridge that connects New Jersey and New York did not.

Still, despite the seemingly laudable goal of fixing a crumbling bridge, no politician wants another controversy, and that remains true here. Political observers still consider Christie a 2016 presidential contender, even though the Bridgegate controversy has undoubtedly stripped him of his early status as the GOP front-runner.

And what actually happened with the George Washington Bridge?

After the closing of lanes leading from Fort Lee, N.J., to the George Washington Bridge in caused enormous traffic jams in September 2013, allegations emerged that Christie staffers had planned the disruption to wreck havoc in in Fort Lee because the town’s mayor didn’t support Christie’s reelection campaign.

Aides have resigned in the face of question and Christie has sent others packing, but Christie has always maintained he knew nothing about the lane closures or what motivated them until after the fact. An internal investigation commissioned by Christie’s office cleared him of any wrongdoing. Still, New Jersey residents remain skeptical. A poll conducted after the report’s release suggested that only 32% of residents thought Christie has been entirely honest about the issue. And 47% said they thought Christie was directly involved.

The investigations into both bridges remain ongoing.

TIME Chris Christie

Christie’s Office Faces Probe Over a Second Bridge

Faith And Freedom Coalition Holds Policy Conference
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' Policy Conference on June 20, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

The New Jersey governor's administration has reportedly been linked to a second bridge investigation that could bring charges of intent to deceive bondholders

Associates of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been subpoenaed for a second investigation involving a New York bridge, the New York Times reports, even as federal investigators continue to investigate the Christie administration for politically motivated lane closings at the George Washington Bridge.

The bridge at the center of the second investigation is the Pulaski Skyway, an aging four-lane causeway connecting New Jersey to Manhattan that the Christie administration had lobbied the Port Authority for $1.8 billion worth of road repairs. Port Authority lawyers objected to the request, warning that the bridge was property of the state of New Jersey and therefore could not legally be funded by the Authority.

Eventually the two sides reached an agreement that re-characterized the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel, which more than 40 blocks north of the Skyway. Bonds issued for the repairs described the project as “Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements,” the New York Times reports. If that statement is found to be inaccurate, it could run afoul of state and federal securities laws, and prompt felony charges to be brought against its authors.

Deborah Gramiccioni, the Port Authority’s deputy executive director and a Christie appointee, told the Times the plan to fund the bridge had been “thoroughly vetted” by the New Jersey attorney general lawyers. Christie has previously made similar statements about the funding of the road repairs. “Dozens and dozens of lawyers from both sides of the river reviewed that financing plan and approved it,” he said in April, “as did the commissioners of the Port Authority.”

The investigation was spun off of a prior investigation into the administration’s alleged involvement in lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in Sept. 2013 as retaliation against local political opponents.

[New York Times]

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 24

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Kerry in Iraq; Ex-Im debate ranges amid new investigation; primary Tuesday; Bionic future beckons

  • “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday urging them to stand with Baghdad in the face of a Sunni insurgent onslaught that threatens to dismember the country.” [Reuters]
    • “What’s not debatable are the echoes of Saigon in both Baghdad and Kabul. The final U.S. troops in Vietnam headed for home in 1973. Two years later, the North Vietnamese pressed south toward the capital of Saigon, from where Nguyen Van Thieu ruled.” [TIME]
  • “The U.S. Export-Import Bank has suspended or removed four officials in recent months amid investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks, as well as attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies…” [WSJ]
    • House Majority Leader-Elect Puts Ex-Im Bank in Jeopardy [TIME]
  • “The number of children caught crossing the Mexican border without an adult has jumped tenfold and is overwhelming officials charged with caring for them in federal custody.” [Hill]
  • “As the tumultuous fight for Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat in Washington hurtles toward a close on Tuesday, this bitter reality has started to dawn on Republicans here: The larger battle for power within the Mississippi Republican coalition is only just beginning.” [Politico]
    • “If Charles Rangel is going to get pushed out of Congress, it won’t be without a dance.” [Politico]
  • “Investigations into the Christie administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have zeroed in on possible securities law violations stemming from a $1.8 billion road repair agreement in 2011…” [NYT]
  • Science fiction come true: Moving a paralyzed hand with the power of thought [WashPost]
TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 23

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Iraq's struggling army; Domestic drones; Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's views on Ex-Im and immigration; Chris Christie's compassionate conservatism; Scott Walker's "unelectable whiteness"; New Yorker's 9,000 word profile of Ted Cruz

  • “As Iraqi Army forces try to rally on the outskirts of Baghdad after two weeks of retreat, it has become increasingly clear to Western officials that the army will continue to suffer losses in its fight with Sunni militants and will not soon retake the ground it has ceded.” [NYT]
    • “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Iraq’s prime minister in Baghdad on Monday to push for a more inclusive government, even as Baghdad’s forces abandoned the border with Jordan, leaving the entire Western frontier outside government control.” [Reuters]
    • What’s the Pentagon’s endgame in Iraq? [TIME]
  • Crashes mount as as military flies more drones in U.S. [WashPost]
  • “Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Sunday he wouldn’t support reauthorizing the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, placing in doubt the future of a major agency that facilitates U.S. exports.” [WSJ]
    • McCarthy’s role is debated in his land of immigrants [NYT]
  • How Rep. Steve Scalise smoked Rep. Peter Roskam in the House Whip race [Breitbart]
  • Paul Ryan Hammers the IRS [Slate]
  • Inside the Vast Liberal Conspiracy [Politico]
  • The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker [New Republic]
  • Ted Cruz, The Far Right’s Most Formidable Advocate [New Yorker]
  • “New Jersey governor Chris Christie has a new cause: treatment, not prison, for nonviolent drug addicts. Can it soften his image—and the Republican Party’s?” [Atlantic]

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