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First Read's Morning Clips

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day.

OBAMA AGENDA: “I will veto that [immigration] vote”

Obama commenting to MSNBC's Jose Diaz Balart on the stand-alone immigration legislation that the Senate will take up: "If Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the speaker of the House, John Boehner want to have a vote on whether what I'm doing is legal or not, they can have that vote," the president said. "I will veto that vote - because I'm absolutely confident that what we're doing is the right thing to do."

The latest on U.S.- Israel relations, via the New York Times: “The polarization seems to be growing. J Street, a pro-Israel group more aligned with Mr. Obama’s positions on Iran, is running a full-page ad in Thursday newspapers attacking Mr. Netanyahu for coming to Capitol Hill just two weeks before his own election. “Prime Minister Netanyahu: Congress Isn’t a Prop for Your Election Campaign,” the ad declares.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to greenlight Loretta Lynch's AG nomination today.

Breaking overnight: "The identity of the masked executioner clutching a knife in ISIS beheading propaganda videos was revealed on Thursday. A U.S. intelligence official confirmed to NBC News that a Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi is the person known as "Jihadi John" in the ISIS videos."

Elizabeth Warren writes in a Washington Post op-ed that language in the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership "would undermine U.S. sovereignty."

CONGRESS: DHS ball in Boehner’s court

Here's our wrap-up of yesterday's moves in the Senate on the DHS fight.

The Wall Street Journal: "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) told Republicans in the chamber to keep their schedules flexible over the weekend. If Congress looks unable to meet the Friday midnight deadline, lawmakers may opt to pass a short-term extension of just a few days or a week to prevent funding from lapsing while legislation works its way through Congress, aides said."

And from POLITICO: "The Senate majority and minority leaders cut a deal that did not have Boehner’s blessing, sources say, and now the speaker is weighing whether to go down without a fight. House Republican leaders are strongly considering amending the Senate’s “clean” DHS funding bill and dumping it back on McConnell’s doorstep. That would complicate the fraught negotiations on the eve of a funding deadline for the domestic security agency and illustrate a new level of dissonance between the top two Republican leaders, according to multiple lawmakers and aides involved in the deliberations."

D.C. officials aren't backing down despite House Republicans' attempts to prevent the city from enacting its new marijuana legalization law today.


CPAC is here! But it won't look exactly like past confabs, with some format changes. Here's what you need to know, from the Washington Post.

From the New York Times: “On Tuesday, representatives of seven super PACs and other organizations backing 2016 contenders met with donors at the home of Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, near Jackson Hole, Wyo. The meetings included some of the most sought-after big donors in the Republican world: Mr. Ricketts and his son, Todd; the billionaire investor Paul Singer; and Linda McMahon, the onetime Senate candidate and professional-wrestling magnate. Former Vice President Dick Cheney also spoke, according to one attendee.”

Interesting data point from the Des Moines Register on Common Core polling: "Fifty-six percent of Iowans ages 18 and older have a positive view of the education initiative in the United States to define what students in kindergarten through 12th grade should know at the end of each grade. Twenty-nine percent have a negative view, and 15 percent are not sure."

BIDEN: He avoided 2016 talk during his trip to New Hampshire.

BUSH: Jeb Bush hopes to change the minds of conservative activists at CPAC tomorrow, reports the Washington Post. "Bush will field questions and engage with the audience in a 20-minute session that is shaping up to be part “Charlie Rose,” part Rush Limbaugh and part town-hall meeting. Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality, will moderate the discussion."

The Wall Street Journal notes that “Jeb Bush is drawing contributions from Republicans who favor gay marriage and other causes at odds with the GOP base, signaling his potential appeal across a large swath of his party’s ideological spectrum but also potential challenges to winning his party’s presidential nomination.”

He said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show yesterday: ""I wouldn’t be conflicted by any legacy issues of my family. I actually, Hugh, am quite comfortable being George Bush’s son and George Bush’s brother. It’s something that gives me a lot of comfort on a personal level, and it certainly wouldn’t compel me to act one way or the other based on the strategies that we would be implementing and the conditions that our country would be facing."

CLINTON: Breaking last night, from the Washington Post: "The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday."

JINDAL: Turns out that he and Sen. David Vitter are not BFFs. Via National Journal: "The pair's poor relationship dates back to 2007, when Jindal was in the midst of his second run for governor and Vitter was caught up in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal. Jindal made no effort to defend Vitter then, and three years later, the rift was cemented when Jindal declined to endorse Vitter during his 2010 bid to keep his Senate seat."

PAUL: Rand Paul spoke to Katie Couric about his plan for fighting ISIS.

WALKER: The Wisconsin Senate has passed a Right-to-Work bill amid some protests last night; it heads to the GOP state Assembly next.


*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Congressman Adam Schiff about 3 men arrested in alleged plot to join ISIS, Attorney Michael Laux and Spencer Ellison, son of Eugene Ellison who has filed a law suit against the Little Rock police dept. in Arkansas after his 68 year old father was shot and killed in his home by two off duty police officers, and celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpirito about his new book: Cook Your Butt Off.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker will interview Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Peter King, MSNBC Terror Analyst Michael Sheehan, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, USA Today Immigration Reporter Alan Gomez, NBC’s Richad Engel, Ayman Mohyeldin, Kelly O’Donnell and Luke Russert and MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt.