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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: The news out of Ferguson

The latest in Ferguson, from NBCNews.com: "No shots were fired by police during violent protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. At a 2:30 a.m. ET press conference on Tuesday, Belmar reported "a lot of gunfire" in the streets overnight. Around 12 buildings were set ablaze as the protests "spun out of control," Belmar said. At least 29 arrests were made and an automatic handgun was seized."

The New York Times: "The most credible eyewitnesses to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., said he had charged toward Police Officer Darren Wilson just before the final, fatal shots, the St. Louis County prosecutor said Monday night as he sought to explain why a grand jury had not found probable cause to indict the officer."

Full coverage from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is here.

The Associated Press notes how most police shootings don't end in prosecutions.

Statement from the Congressional Black Caucus: "This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value; that you may kill Black men in this country without consequences or repercussions. This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America."

Why Hagel had to go, from NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s resignation at the urging of the president is not a sign of a broader shift in the White House’s national security or defense policies, according to former and current administration officials. Rather, Hagel’s departure reflects two new dynamics that have emerged since he took the helm at the Pentagon early last year. Hagel’s background as a Vietnam War veteran and former Nebraska senator was seen by administration officials as giving credibility and clout to implement one of President Obama’s major priorities back then: a broad overhaul of America’s military that would reduce defense spending and shrink the U.S. Army to its smallest force levels in decades."

And the New York Times: "Shortly after President Obama announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the White House on Monday, he walked over to a meeting of his entire National Security Council staff, where he told the embattled group that they were critical to an ambitious foreign policy agenda. The timing was a coincidence, but it seemed an unmistakable sign that Mr. Hagel’s departure does not portend a broader internal shake-up. If anything, it may represent the final triumph of a White House-centric approach to national security."

POLITICO writes that Hagel and Obama also clashed over Guantanamo.

Ted Cruz thinks Obama should replace Hagel with Joe Lieberman.

From NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell: "Nine out of ten Latino voters support President Barack Obama’s recent action to defer the deportations of more than 4 million immigrants, according to a new poll released by pro-immigration group Latino Decisions."

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell: "The head of the Phoenix veterans' hospital at the center of the Veterans Affairs scandal was formally removed on Monday, VA Secretary Robert McDonald told NBC News."

CONGRESS: GOP tries to avoid shutdown

"House Republican leaders are beginning to coalesce around a strategy to avoid a government shutdown in less than a month," writes POLITICO. "The likely proposal would fund nearly the entire government through September 2015, but immigration enforcement related funding would be renewed on a short-term basis, according to several high-ranking GOP lawmakers and aides who described the plan as it stands now."

"Republicans who remain convinced that there was an Obama administration coverup surrounding the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, are pinning their hopes on one last congressional probe to produce proof of a scandal," writes the Washington Post. "Others in the GOP, however, are urging that the party drop the Benghazi conspiracy theories and move on."

Via Reuters: "Several U.S. Republican lawmakers insisted on Monday that the extension of nuclear talks with Iran be accompanied by increased sanctions, setting the stage for a battle with the Obama administration after their party takes full control of Congress next year."

Jonathan Gruber has agreed to testify next month before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

OFF TO THE RACES: Barber’s legal challenge in Arizona

Rand Paul wants a "declaration of war" against ISIS, reports Leigh Ann Caldwell.

ARIZONA: The latest in that unresolved Arizona congressional race: "Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Barber filed suit in U.S. District Court Monday, seeking to count the ballots of 133 voters his campaign contends were disenfranchised in the congressional race against Republican Martha McSally. McSally has a razor-thin lead of 161 votes, out of more than 219,000 cast in the 2nd District race. A recount is scheduled for after Dec. 1, but it will be delayed if Barber's legal challenge is heard by the courts."

FLORIDA: Rep.-elect Carlos Curbelo is already facing questions from the FEC. "The Federal Election Commission has asked the Miami Republican to respond to a series of questions for omitting or mislabeling more than $93,000 in campaign contributions, which Curbelo has blamed on a computer software problem."

LOUISIANA: Rick Perry will campaign with Bill Cassidy today.

Edwin Edwards is going up on TV this week.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA); NAACP Community Activist John Gaskin; Platte County, Mo. Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnde; Ferguson Township Democratic Committeewoman Patricia Bynes; Criminal Defense Attorney John Burris; Keith Beauchamp, Host and Executive Producer of The Injustice Files, and Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson on the decision in Ferguson.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Missouri Public Safety Director Daniel Isom, Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Ferguson Community task force member Rasheen Aldridge, Journalist and attorney Lizz Brown, NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director Sherrilyn Ifill, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, NBC’s Pete Williams, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and student activist Xavier Souter. We’re also expecting to hear from the parents of Michael Brown during a 12PM ET press conference.