The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Executive privilege: A rocky legal and political road in U.S. history
President Barack Obama's assertion of executive privilege ahead of a hearing before a House committee, which subsequently recommended his attorney general be cited for contempt of Congress, sets up a fight that has had mixed results in the past. At stake are Justice Department documents relating to the flawed Fast and Furious gunrunning sting that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, wants in his hands, and that Attorney General Eric Holder says are confidential.
CNN: RNC raised $34 million in May, DNC raised $20 million
The Republican National Committee brought in $34 million last month, marking the best May in the RNC's history, according to an official with the group. In total, the RNC has raised $81.3 million in 2012. The group said Wednesday they surpassed their entire 2011 fund-raising figure in mid-June.
CNN: Obama campaign: Setting expectations for a brawl
Top aides to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign say they don't buy a new Bloomberg poll that indicates Obama leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 13 points. "We got the race we expected," one top aide said, describing "a close race" that will remain that way up until Election Day.
CNN: Justices' finances show overseas travel, book royalties, gifts
From five continents to nearly three dozen states, the justices of the Supreme Court remain busy travelers, and relatively well off financially. Eight of the nine members of the high court released their annual financial disclosure forms Wednesday, showing book income for Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer, and some unusual gifts to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
CNN: Closing arguments set after defense rests without Sandusky testimony
Closing arguments will begin Thursday in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky after his defense team rested without putting the former assistant football coach on the stand. After the defense rested Wednesday, the prosecution said it had no further rebuttal witnesses, and the judge scheduled closing arguments to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.
CNN: Sanford police chief fired in wake of Trayvon Martin case
Sanford, Florida, Police Chief Bill Lee, who drew criticism for his department's actions in the Trayvon Martin case, was fired Wednesday. "After much thoughtful discussion and deep consideration for the issues facing the city of Sanford, I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community," City Manager Norton Bonaparte said in a news release.
CNN: No verdict in Philadelphia priest sex abuse trial, source says
A Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict Wednesday on four of five charges in a landmark priest sex abuse case, according to a source familiar with the proceeding. There appear to be two holdouts, and the judge has ordered jurors to keep deliberating, the source said. It is not clear which charges could not be agreed upon.
CNN: NFL commissioner Goodell announces anti-bounty steps
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday steps the league is taking to prevent the paying of bounties to players to intentionally injure their opponents, including the creation of an anonymous tip line players can use to report infractions. Goodell's announcement came after he met with a top Democratic senator.
CNN: Media 'inciting sectarian wars,' al-Assad adviser says
Syria's government has not only had to contend with terrorists, but also with journalists bent on misrepresenting the news, according to a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Inciting sectarian wars, fabricating facts about what's happening in our country," Bouthaina Shaaban told Russia Today, a government-supported television news channel, in an interview on Tuesday. "There are many people who believe what has been put on the news and it affects them very negatively. Unfortunately the media war, throughout history, could be very damaging and very effective."
CNN: Pakistani parliament to convene Friday to elect new prime minister
Pakistan's president has summoned the lower house of parliament to meet Friday to elect a new prime minister after the nation's top court ruled that Yousuf Raza Gilani is ineligible to hold office. The session is set to convene early Friday, said Mehboob Gurmaini, a parliament spokesman.
CNN: Hamas announces cease-fire with Israel
The Palestinian group Hamas says its military wing has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel following a sharp increase in violence between the two sides. In a statement posted early Wednesday, Hamas - which controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza - says it will observe the cease-fire as long as Israel remains committed to the agreement.
CNN: Uganda bans 38 agencies it says are promoting gay rights
The Ugandan government said Wednesday it will ban at least 38 nongovernmental agencies it says are promoting gay rights and recruiting children into homosexuality. "We have investigated them thoroughly and we have found their sponsors," said Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo. "We will ask them to step aside and stop pretending to work in human rights."
CNN Money: Federal Reserve acts to revive ailing recovery
The Federal Reserve launched another $267 billion program on Wednesday that it hopes will revive the ailing recovery. An extension of its current policy nicknamed Operation Twist, the program swaps short-term bonds for ones with longer durations. The move is designed to lower long-term interest rates on everything from mortgages to business loans and spark borrowing, but without pumping more money into the economy.
CNN Money: Oil prices slide to 8-month low
The price of oil sunk to its lowest level since October following an unexpected rise in U.S. commercial crude inventories. Oil for July delivery ended the day down 3%, or $2.23, at $81.80 a barrel, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 2.9 million barrels in the week ended June 16. A Platts survey of analysts anticipated a 600,000-barrel decline.
CNN Money: Partisan reality check on tax reform
An analysis from Senate Democrats released Wednesday found that many in the middle class could pay more under a House Republican tax reform proposal than they do today, while the uber-rich would pay less. The analysis - while partisan - highlights a hard truth that both parties skate over when discussing the glories of tax reform: Lower rates will come at a cost. And someone will have to pay.
In case you missed it…
Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to give more documents to a House committee investigating Fast and Furious.