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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Latest in Ukraine and Israel

The latest in Ukraine, via the New York Times: " The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday."

More from the Wall Street Journal: "The European Union—Russia's largest trading partner—is expected to move as early as Tuesday to restrict transactions with Russia's state banks, as well as limit technology exports vital for the country's oil and weapons industries. The U.S. has vowed to follow suit."

Reuters writes of documentation that weapons are flowing from Russia to Ukraine. "Interviews with American officials, diplomats in Kiev, and Russian military analysts paint a picture of a steady and ongoing flow. These people say weapons – from small arms to armored personnel carriers, tanks and sophisticated missile systems – have flooded into the region since May, fueling the violence."

The AP, in Gaza City: "Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far."

The Wall Street Journal on deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Israel: "Suddenly, serious stress fractures are opening up as the Israeli operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip enters its third week—and they figure to get worse before they get better."

And a lot of that tension is over Secretary of State John Kerry. The AP: “The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a "misinformation campaign" against the top American diplomat.”

Notes the Washington Post: "A new Pew Research Center poll is the second in the past week to show a huge generational split on the current conflict in Gaza. While all age groups north of 30 years old clearly blame Hamas more than Israel for the current violence, young adults buck the trend in a big way. Among 18 to 29-year olds, 29 percent blame Israel more for the current wave of violence, while 21 percent blame Hamas."

A big play coming on immigration? "Even as they grapple with an immigration crisis at the border, White House officials are making plans to act before November's mid-term elections to grant work permits to potentially millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to stay in the United States without threat of deportation, according to advocates and lawmakers in touch with the administration," writes the AP.

CONGRESS: House Republicans to unveil border bill

NBC's Frank Thorp reports that House Republican leadership will present their new border bill at their weekly GOP conference meeting at 9:00 am ET today. If House Republicans file the bill by the end of the day Tuesday, they can vote on it on the floor on Thursday.

But the White House has come out in favor of the Senate version of the bill - which notably doesn't change the 2008 trafficking law. "Unlike the House Republican approach, this bill responsibly addresses the humanitarian situation without injecting partisan provisions that are unworkable and would increase costs without solving the problem," the administration said in a statement.

The Senate is expected to vote this afternoon on the nomination of Bob McDonald to be the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell notes.

And negotiators believe that they have enough support to pass a veterans affairs compromise bill through the House and Senate before the end of the week.

MoveOn is promising that over 1000 members will "drop by House Republicans’ district offices carrying a MoveOn petition with constituent signatures calling for an end to the GOP’s latest political stunt, a possible lawsuit against President Obama."

The Republican National Committee is holding a “Fire Harry Reid” rally on Capitol Hill at 1:00 pm ET.

The Hill writes that a bill that would honor the Pope is – you guessed it – stuck in Congress.

OFF TO THE RACES: Major blunder for Nunn campaign

The New York Times looks at the newly formed Mayday super PAC organized to "fight money with money." MORE: "The Mayday PAC will begin buying up to a total of $4 million in advertising for both states, where voters are historically receptive to the anti-big-money message, advertising is relatively cheap and any victories are likely to be noticed by both parties’ future presidential aspirants."

Mike Bloomberg's anti-gun group has released a new ad tying gun violence to domestic abuse.

GEORGIA: Both a major blunder and a fascinating look at the underbelly of a Senate campaign... National Review Online got its hands on Democrat Michelle Nunn's campaign plan, which reveals "the campaign's most sensitive calculations" about fundraising, opposition research, and demographics.

How it's playing at home: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hed: "Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate"

IOWA: Joni Ernst is back on the trail after two weeks of National Guard training.

KANSAS: The Kansas City Star crunches some numbers: "Outside groups have spent $570,904 either opposing Roberts or supporting Wolf. The money has come from Senate Conservatives Action, the Senate Conservatives Fund, The Madison Action Fund, and the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund."

Another poll (disclaimer: robo) by SurveyUSA shows Democrat Paul Davis leading Gov. Sam Brownback by eight points. Roberts still holds a double-digit lead against Wolf.

KENTUCKY: Mitch McConnell has a two point lead over Alison Grimes, 47-45%, according to a new (disclaimer: robo) Bluegrass/SurveyUSA poll

MAINE: The AP notes how immigration is roiling the governor's race in America's whitest state -- Maine.

NEW HAMSPHIRE: Scott Brown released a radio ad with a similar message to his new TV ad on immigration but some new language: "We’ve all seen the pictures on TV – total chaos. We’re a compassionate country. But a nation that has lost control of its borders isn’t really a nation at all."

NORTH CAROLINA: Kay Hagan is up with a new ad touting her National Journal ranking as the most moderate senator.

TENNESSEE: The Washington Post's Dan Balz on how the legacy of Howard Baker is reflected in Lamar Alexander's fight against Tea Party challengers. "Throughout his career, Alexander has embodied Baker’s style of consensus-building politics — and largely for that reason he is now, at 74, facing tea party opposition in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. But the tea party activists are competing against more than just one sitting senator and a Republican establishment lined up behind him. They are running against Baker’s legacy — a culture of Republican politics that has married conservative principles with pragmatic attitudes about governing."

VIRGINIA: The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “A federal appeals court panel in Richmond on Monday upheld a ruling from a lower court that struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.”


*** Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC's Chuck Todd interviews Ayman Mohyeldin, Martin Fletcher, Keir Simmons, Sen. Ron Johnson and Mary Burke.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Congress’s unfinished business and the immigration crisis; Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on the deadly carjacking; Attorney Lisa Green on the murder trial for man who shot Renisha McBride; and “Finding Fela” producer Steve Handel and Femi Kuti, Fela’s brother and Grammy award nominated singer-songwriter.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Director of Center for Infectious Disease Dr. Michael Osterholm, Fmr. Ambassador Chris Hill, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, South African Young African Leadser Initiative fellow Faith Mangope, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowksi, NBC’s Martin Fletcher and Ayman Mohyeldin, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and USA Today’s Susan Page.