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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Iran debate rages on

From the New York Times: "In their protocol-breaking letter to Iran this week, nearly four dozen Senate Republicans suggested that the next president could simply reverse such an agreement after Mr. Obama leaves office in January 2017. On one level, they were right. A new president could decide to not go along with the terms inherited from his predecessor. But it would be an extraordinary breach of tradition, one that most presidents have avoided. As a practical matter, presidents generally do not break international agreements because it could call into question the reliability of other agreements, alienate allies and set a precedent that few occupants of the White House want to set since they would like their pacts honored after they leave office."

Failing oil prices are hurting Iraq's ability to fight ISIS, writes the Wall Street Journal.

From the Washington Post: "A sensitive leak investigation of a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stalled amid concerns that a prosecution in federal court could force the government to confirm a joint U.S.-Israeli covert operation targeting Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials."

Breaking this morning: Seven Marines and four soldiers are presumed dead after an Army helicopter crash in Florida.

CONGRESS: Trey Gowdy in the spotlight

POLITICO asks "Will Trey Gowdy blow it?" More: "Gowdy and House GOP leaders will have to figure out how far they want to push this fight — for instance, do they want to subpoena Clinton’s private email server now? — and whether they might play into her hands by overplaying theirs."

Gowdy says he'll call Clinton before his committee at least twice.

Democrats say John Cornyn tricked them by adding abortion language to an otherwise uncontroversial human trafficking bill.

Unions are fighting back against fast-track trade legislation by freezing donations to members of Congress, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Our Capitol Hill team reports that AG nominee Loretta Lynch will get a confirmation vote next week.

Asked if he thinks he’s broken any laws, Aaron Schock tells POLITICO: “I certainly hope not. I’m not an attorney.”

OFF TO THE RACES: How Hillary’s press conference played

New York Times: "No Classified Emails by Clinton? Some Experts Are Skeptical"

The Associated Press: "Clinton's email explanation won't placate critics"


The Washington Post editorial board: "Hillary Clinton had a duty higher than convenience"

The Des Moines Register editorial board: "Clinton's email answers damage her position”

Ron Fournier: "Hillary Clinton: A Pay-Phone Candidate in an iPhone World"

WSJ: "Clinton Flies Without Campaign Net"

Bloomberg: "Clinton’s E-Mail Defense Asks Public to Trust Without Verifying"

Susan Page: "First Take: Clinton's even tone edges into exasperation"

POLITICO’s John Harris: “Go to Hell: Hillary Clinton had something to say to the media about her email. It wasn’t too subtle."

And here's Perry Bacon Jr's take on Clinton's defiant press conference: "What emerged most clearly from her press conference on Tuesday, when she addressed the controversy over her use of email as secretary of state, is that the Hillary Clinton that runs in 2016 won't be that different from the woman who was first lady in the 1990's and a presidential candidate eight years ago."

BUSH: The Washington Post notes how Bush and Walker's onetime chumminess has been replaced by jabs as both jockey for position.

CRUZ: Senate spokeswoman Catherine Frazier is relocating to Houston to join his PAC and likely his presidential campaign.

O’MALLEY: From the Washington Post: “Democrats pining for an alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton are hungry for a liberal lion, and Martin O’Malley has been doing his best to fill the role. The former Maryland governor has of late called for Wall Street reform and an expansion of Social Security benefits and touted his pro-immigrant and collective bargaining credentials. But on Wednesday, the 2016 presidential aspirant will offer a different picture that is more uniquely him: that of a data-driven technocrat.”

SANTORUM: He appeared in Ohio yesterday and spoke at length about religious freedom, and the "persecution" of Christians and Jews in America.

And around the country…

UTAH: From the Salt Lake Tribune: “After less than a minute of debate, the Senate gave final passage Tuesday to a controversial bill to reinstate the firing squad as an execution method.”


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Craig Melvin guests hosts – he speaks with Senior Advisor with Ready for Hillary Tracy Sefl and Republican Strategist and radio host Steve Deace about the controversy surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email account while in office, Kunal Naik, President of the Oklahoma University Student Body about the racially charged video by members of the SAE fraternity, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) about the hearing on AUMF and funding for the fight against ISIS, and Col. Jack Jacobs and AP Correspondent Melissa Nelson-Gabriel about the military helicopter crash in Florida.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Chris Coons, Rep. Mike Pompeo, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey and NBC’s Rehema Ellis.