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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OFF THE RACES: More Clinton Foundation stories

The New York Times writes that the Koch brothers are working on an overhaul of public perceptions about them. "After two elections in which Democrats and liberals sought to cast them as the secretive, benighted face of the Republican Party, the Kochs are seeking to remake public perceptions of their family, their business and their politics, unsettling a corporate culture deeply allergic to the spotlight. "

With the first debate and the convention both in Ohio, the GOP is investing heavily in trying to win back the state in 2016.

CLINTON: The Wall Street Journal: "The Clinton Foundation saw a significant increase in donations this year from fundraisers who also have volunteered to steer at least $100,000 each to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, a review of a list of the donors made public Thursday shows."

More on the Foundation, from the New York Times: "The Clinton Foundation accelerated its fund-raising in the first six months of the year, officials said Thursday, as Hillary Rodham Clinton was gearing up for her presidential run amid a crush of news reports scrutinizing the charity’s solicitation of foreign donors. Foundation officials said there were 10,516 donors so far this year, compared with 8,801 during the same six-month period last year."

From POLITICO: "Hillary Clinton’s private lawyer has a thumb drive containing classified information from as many as five U.S. intelligence agencies — but the State Department told POLITICO the law firm is taking “appropriate measures” to secure the files. The agency declined to detail steps made to protect the sensitive information in attorney David Kendall’s possession, but the issue is raising concern among Republicans on Capitol Hill who’ve criticized Clinton’s handling of the email controversy. The thumb drive has copies of emails Clinton kept on a private server while she served as secretary of state, a trove now known to contain classified documents."

As McClatchy first wrote yesterday: "The classified emails stored on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server contained information from five U.S. intelligence agencies and included material related to the fatal 2012 Benghazi attacks, McClatchy has learned. Of the five classified emails, the one known to be connected to Benghazi was among 296 emails made public in May by the State Department. Intelligence community officials have determined it was improperly released."

"When Hillary Clinton calls on Congress to lift the Cuban embargo, she’ll try to make history in two ways Friday: she’ll be the first presidential candidate to make the demand in the heart of Miami’s Cuban-exile community and she’ll be exorcising a political ghost from her family’s past. It was her husband, President Bill Clinton, who signed the embargo into federal statute in the first place," POLITICO notes.

GRAHAM: His super PAC raised $3 million.

SANDERS:'s Alex Seitz-Wald writes that labor unions have a choice to make in granting their valuable endorsements. "Do labor unions make the pragmatic decision and go with Clinton, who has a near-lock on the Democratic nomination, and a long memory for betrayals? Or do they side with Sanders, who idolizes labor organizer Eugene Debs and could hardly be more pro-union if he had been cooked up in a secret union laboratory? "

WALKER: The billionaire Ricketts family has given $5 million to Scott Walker's super PAC, the Washington Post writes.

TRUMP: The AP notes that Trump turned his trip to Scotland for a golf tournament into an extension of the campaign trail.

And around the country...

NORTH CAROLINA: The Washington Post looks at how the debate over overhauling voting laws in the state represents a pivotal moment.

VIRGINIA: "Arguments over whether the Confederate battle flag can be dropped from specialty Virginia license plates will be heard Friday in a federal court," notes WTOP.

CONGRESS: Planned Parenthood vote planned

The Senate has passed a three-month short-term fix for highway spending. "The question is whether the two chambers, which have taken sharply different approaches, can work out a multiyear package by the end of October, when the three-month patch would expire."

The Senate will vote as soon as Monday on defunding Planned Parenthood, although the bill isn't expected to get the 60 votes needed to advance.


*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports live from the Miami campus of Florida International University, where Hillary Clinton will be delivering a speech today to call for lifting the U.S. embargo with Cuba. She’ll interview NBC’s Chuck Todd, the Washington Post’s Anne Gearan, USA Today Immigration reporter Alan Gomez, Fmr. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director Sherrilyn Ifill and the National Urban League Director Marc Morial. NBC’s Luke Russert will monitor breaking developments in the search for the Florida boys lost at sea, the latest on the MH370 investigation and new details in the probe into Cecil the Lion’s death. He’ll interview NBC’s Kerry Sanders, Tom Costello, Bill Neely and Kevin Tibbles.

*** Friday’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: Thomas interviews NBC News Aviation Analyst John Cox, pilot and security expert Anthony Roman about more possible MH370 wreckage washed ashore, Former RNC Chair Michael Steele about 2016 Politics, Former prosecutor and host of “The Docket” on msnbc’s The Shift Seema Iyer about whether lion hunter Walter Palmer can be extradited, the Cincinnati officer indicted and out on bond and Charleston shooter Dylann Roof in court, Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece about the campus police officer out on bail for murder, and Attorney and contributor Raul Reyes and pollster Fernand Amandi about Hillary Clinton’s Cuba speech today