CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 26, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
SCOTUS SLAPS DOWN POTUS ON RECESS APPOINTMENTS ...The Supreme Court unanimously sided with Congress on Thursday in the high-stakes power struggle over presidential recess appointments, in which officials are placed in top government jobs temporarily without Senate approval. The justices' unanimous ruling on the narrowest of grounds against the Obama administration could invalidate hundreds of decisions by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency at the center of this legal fight.
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Republicans were quick to praise the court’s verdict as a move that they say helps to curb President Obama’s overreach. The decision is "a clear rebuke to the President's brazen power grab," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proclaimed. The decision comes one day after House Speaker John Boehner declared he would be suing the president for overstepping his executive authority.
DID LERNER WANT THE IRS TO INVESTIGATE GRASSLEY? A former IRS official at the center of a congressional probe of the agency's targeting of conservative political groups asked while still on the job 2012 whether the tax agency should investigate an issue involving Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, internal e-mails show. The disclosure of the e-mail exchanges on Wednesday by the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee further inflamed GOP sentiment against Lois Lerner, who has refused to testify before lawmakers investigating the IRS targeting scandal.
CRUZ: HOLDER’S IRS FAILURE WARRANTS IMPEACHMENT ... Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz slammed Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday for not appointing a special prosecutor to look into ongoing IRS controversies. “If Attorney General Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuse of power by the IRS, he should be impeached,” Cruz said on the Senate floor.
WALKER NOT FOCUS OF FUNDRAISING PROBE … Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is not currently the focus of an investigation into allegations of illegally coordinated fundraising efforts between the governor's campaign and outside conservative groups in the midst of a heated 2012 recall campaign, according to a statement released Thursday by a lawyer representing the special prosecutor heading the probe.
Randall Crocker, an attorney for special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, noted in his statement that "at no time" has Walker, a potential 2016 GOP White House contender, "been served with a subpoena."
WORLD CUP: U.S. LOSES ... AND WINS: The United States lost to Germany 1-0 at Arena Pernambuco in Recife today, but will still advance to the Round of 16 as a result of Portugal’s 2-1 win against Ghana. The U.S., a member of the Group G bracket subdivision, will play the winner of Group H on Tuesday.
THE BUZZ: POLITICIANS PROMOTE WORLD CUP SPIRIT ... You weren’t the only one who took a break from work to watch the game today. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a longer lunch break for New Yorkers. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers ‘coincidentally’ moved up Senate votesbefore the game. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf wore a U.S.A. sweater to an official briefing. And even the Presidenttook time out of his day to watch the big game aboard Air Force One.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks finish lower amid interest rate worries. Dow slips 21 points. S&P 500 drops 0.1%. NASDAQ ends flat.
Who was the only president to serve a full term without nominating a Supreme Court justice?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Environmental Protection Agency tells Congress it lost emails too
One day after focusing on lost e-mails at the IRS, the House Oversight Committee learned Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency is also having trouble recovering e-mails the committee wants as part of a separate investigation. – Lisa Desjardins
Leading CNN Justice: Justices strike down abortion clinic buffer zone
The Supreme Court on narrow grounds struck down a Massachusetts law Thursday creating no-protest "buffer zones" on public property surrounding health clinics that perform abortions. In what is a free speech dispute that touched on the larger political and social controversy over abortion, the court ruled unanimously. – Bill Mears
Leading CNNMoney: Facebook is 69% male and mostly white
Like many of its Silicon Valley peers, Facebook's workforce and management team is overwhelmingly white and male, according to the social media giant's first diversity report. Released on Wednesday, the report is the latest in a flurry of voluntary diversity disclosures by high-profile tech firms. – Charles Riley
Leading Drudge: USA Grinds To Halt For World Cup Game
Step-by-Step Instructions for Fleeing the Office and Taking in the All-Important Match
Leading HuffPo: Torn Apart
Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year carried out more than 72,000 deportations of parents who said they had U.S.-born children, according to reports to Congress obtained Wednesday by The Huffington Post.
Leading Politico: The staggering price of crushing the tea party
National Republican leaders are toasting primary season as a smashing success over activist conservatives that has put the hard right on the ropes and given the Washington GOP the slate of candidates it wanted for 2014. Those victories, however, have come at a staggering cost — and Republicans are painfully aware of the price of putting down an intraparty insurrection. – Alexander Burns
Leading New York Times: Howard H. Baker Jr., ‘Great Conciliator’ of Senate, Dies at 88
Howard H. Baker Jr., a soft-spoken Tennessee lawyer who served three terms in the Senate and became known as “the great conciliator” in his eight years as the chamber’s Republican leader, died on Thursday at his home in Tennessee. He was 88. His death was announced on the Senate floor by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called him “one of the Senate’s most towering figures.” Further details were not immediately available. – David Stout
Leading National Journal: Rangel failed to report all-expense paid China trip
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who was publicly admonished four years ago by the Ethics Committee for accepting improper travel, has failed to report an all-expenses-paid trip he took to China last year. Rangel, 84, joined a 10-lawmaker delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus for a weeklong China trip last August. Seven of the other lawmakers on the trip listed it on their annual financial disclosure forms, made public earlier this month. The two other attendees, Reps. Gregory Meeks and Sheila Jackson Lee, have not yet filed their reports, after asking for extensions. Only Rangel has failed to report the trip. His office did not immediately response to requests for comment. – Shane Goldmacher
The political bites of the day
– Poroshenko: Pragmatic Putin beats emotional Putin –
CNN’S CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR TO UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO IN HIS FIRST INTERVIEW AS PRESIDENT: “What do you think President Putin wants? You’ve spoken to him. You were on the phone to him yesterday. I assume you’re having several telephone conversations with him around this important time right now. What do you think he wants? Are you the person who can forge a peace deal with him?”
POROSHENKO: “I’m ready to make a peace deal with anybody … Sometimes the position of Mr. Putin is quite pragmatic. Sometimes it is very emotional. I just try to find out the time when he is more pragmatic than emotional.”
– Jackson: Cochran strategy is a ‘triumph’ for civil rights movement –
REV. JESSE JACKSON TO POLITICO’S MIKE ALLEN: Cochran’s runoff strategy to court Democrats and African-Americans is “a triumph for the civil rights movement.”
– Cuccinelli: NRSC running a ‘Mitch McConnell power retention program’ –
KEN CUCCINELLI IN AN INTERVIEW WITH REDSTATE: “Their goals aren’t even to keep a Republican majority ... If that were the case, they wouldn’t have been on board with Thad Cochran. Their purpose appears to be a Mitch McConnell power retention program. And they’re going to stick with that. You can expect that conservatives in tough races who McConnell doesn’t presume he can have their will subjugated to his own will not get the kind of help that tools of the establishment will get. They just won’t. I think that’s one of the lessons we get out of Mississippi.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
POTUS, who's called himself a caged bear that wants to get loose, on his plans to roam around MN: "I'm feeling super loose today."
Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson)
Pretty clear this Supreme Court loves it some First Amendment.
Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger)
Hillary should be thrilled 2b compared to Romney at this point.. Has she noticed where HIS reputation is these days? http://washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-tu …
Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller)
When I asked McHenry about Scalise naming Him chief deputy, he asked me how much time I had on my recorder; so many better names, he said.
Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
In addition to McHenry as Chief Deputy Whip, Scalise names Reps Noem, Ross, Schock, Stivers and Wagner senior deputy whips #GOP
In 10 yrs GOP #immigration talk devolved from GW Bush "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande" to "send kids back" across the Rio Grande
Ana Navarro (@ananavarro)
Did it hurt your hand to write that? “@piersmorgan: USA are playing better than England. The Apocalypse has arrived.”
Hala Gorani @HalaGorani
Will Ferrell is in Brazil to support USA team, offers to bite every German player: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/21103 … via @BleacherReport
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Jimmy Carter is the only president who did not appoint a Supreme Court justice while serving a full term. Other presidents did not appoint a justice, but they didn’t serve a full four years. William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor never appointed a justice, but both died early in their terms. Andrew Johnson made one appointment, but no Senate action was taken on it.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Ryan Teague Beckwith (@RyanBeckwith) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s G Check trivia question.
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@ tom I comments as follows:
"Koskinen apologizes for IRS targeting and the gang says it didn't happen. Supreme Court rules 9-0 that Obama could not make those appointments yet the gang told us that he was perfectly fine to do that. Just another day on the ticker...."
and as follows:
"So apparently you are going to ignore dozens of posts where I have criticized the previous president for his decisions including the following"
Practice what you preach, tom. You yourself ignore comments suggesting otherwise, yet you allow your own hypocrisy to once again cloud your judgment in your immature excitement of getting "the gang" all riled up.
Eventually you might grow wise enough to understand the damage you do to your own credibility; but hey - no problem. One expects very little from a fellow blogger who has such low imagination of their own that they feel the need to co-opt others comments and use them as their own. A "gift" of yours that is not only silly, but says a great deal about your motives in commenting as well.
I just watched Morgan Freeman interviewed by Don Lemon. Fascinating The gang could learn a lot from Mr. Freeman.
Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that.