CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 15, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: First reported on CNN: White House releases 100 pages of Benghazi e-mails… The White House released more than 100 pages of e-mails on Wednesday in a bid to quell critics who say President Barack Obama and his aides played politics with national security following the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The exchanges detailing discussions between top Obama administration officials from multiple agencies suggest the CIA took the lead in developing talking points to describe the attack last September 11 that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. – Jake Tapper
TESTY: Attorney General Eric Holder and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, two men who have locked horns before, clashed in a House Judiciary hearing Wednesday over the Obama administration’s nomination for secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez. After Issa accused the Department of Justice of deliberatively trying to withhold information, the attorney general immediately interrupted him. “No, I am not going to stop talking now,” Holder said. “You have characterized something as something that goes to the integrity of people at the Justice Department. It is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It is unacceptable and it is shameful,” Holder said.
(CNN) - Top Democratic strategists have been invited to the White House for a meeting Thursday morning with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
The source presumes that the meeting is an effort to discuss ideas for damage control, as the White House faces an onslaught of questions regarding its handling of the Benghazi attack, the Internal Revenue Service scandal and the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records.
(CNN) – A former spokesman for the National Security Council is offering new insights into how and why administration talking points on last September's attack in Benghazi were altered.
Tommy Vietor, who left the administration earlier this year, wrote in an e-mail to journalists Wednesday that various agencies editing and revising talking points was routine, and that Republican allegations the changes were politically charged are "just silly."
READ THE FULL E-MAIL AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST
(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney comments on a collage of facial expressions reacting to recent Washington news.
(CNN) - Washington's battle over whether the United States should get involved in Syria's civil war took a new turn on Wednesday as the two top senators on the Foreign Relations Committee called for arming rebels and announced that the panel would take up their proposal next week.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the committee's Democratic chairman, and Sen. Bob Corker, the panel's top Republican, introduced legislation to provide lethal weaponry and training "to vetted Syrian groups" fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, they announced in a statement.
Washington (CNN) - The Internal Revenue Service has identified two "rogue" employees in the agency's Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for "overly aggressive" handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN.
In a meeting on Capitol Hill, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller described the employees as being "off the reservation," according to the source. It was not clear precisely what the alleged behavior involved.FULL STORY
(CNN) - The White House asked Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to reintroduce reporter shield legislation, White House officials told CNN on Wednesday.
The push comes just a few days after word that the Justice Department seized phone records from the Associated Press as part of a national security leak investigation. The legislation, which passed the Judiciary Committee in 2009 but never advanced, would provide more protection to reporters from penalties for failing to reveal their sources and more protection to protect their phone records.
(CNN) – All forty-five Republican senators are demanding President Barack Obama's administration comply with requests for information as Congress probes the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status.
In a letter addressed to Obama, the Republicans decry the IRS's actions and say the White House and the Treasury Department must make all employees available for interviews by investigators.
(CNN) – Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.
"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Ed Markey disinvited former Georgia Congressman Ben Jones from performing at his fundraiser on Tuesday evening in Washington claiming that he did not know the former Dukes of Hazzard star supported the Confederate flag as a symbol of southern culture.
"Ed Markey only learned about Ben Jones' comments yesterday, he strongly disagrees with them and we asked Jones not to be part of last night's event. Ed believes such confederate relics are highly offensive, and should not be displayed in public settings, period," Markey's Senate Campaign spokesman Andrew Zucker said.