Daily Briefing: Go On, Pull Bush's Purple Finger

Parties milk Iraqi election results to gain momentum into tomorrow's State of the Union address. Bush, validated, calls Chirac, Schroder; Reid, Pelosi demand progress report. [NYT, WP, USAT, WT]

Bush may support limits to Social Security privatization; begins targeted ad buy. [WP, NYT, WT]

State Democratic Chairs override executive recommendation to endorse Dean, setting path for victory. [WP, NYT, LAT]

Bush wants to increase benefits for families of troops killed in combat to $100,000 from $12,420 and add $150,000 more in life insurance; would be retroactive. [NYT]

Republican lawmakers balk at proposed Defense Department budget cuts that affect their states. [WSJ]

Military contracts for troop services are costing much more than expected; $4b gap in one deal for Halliburton, $7b gap for Kellogg Brown & Root contract. [WSJ]

Will Bush's Social Security plan go the way of Clinton health care? Republican playbook says stay simple. [NYT]

Prominent African American ministers begin drive to ban same-sex marriage; GOP wants to expand base. (Heh.) [LAT]

Hillary faints during speech due to stomach virus. [NYT, WP, WT]

Bush pledges educational "reform agenda" with expansion of NCLB; Spellings sworn in. [WP, WT]

Networks reject ad opposing Bush's medical malpractice reform; cleared by CNN. [NYT]

Hillary's new emphasis on religion: calculated or genuine? [NYT]

Robert Gates declines offer to be first DNI. [NYT]

Codey will not run in NJ gubernatorial race; Corzine is favored. [WP]

Reid profiled as great balancer of state, national desires. [WP]

Review: Gingrich's book is a "sloppy, poorly reasoned" possible jump-start for '08. [NYT]

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FINALLY. Of course, we say "finally," because we haven't been behind the scenes in the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees to witness the negotiating and wrangling firsthand, so we don't know what it's taken to make this happen, but clear your calendars for July 17, because Bobby Mueller is goin' to Congress!

Committee chairs Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler sent the letter late yesterday, accompanied by a subpoena, for Mueller to testify at 9 a.m. Eastern on July 17, which is a Wednesday, so you will presumably not be busy with brunch. The hearings for each committee will be back to back, after which members of Mueller's staff will meet with committee staff behind closed doors.

Schiff told Rachel Maddow last night that it should not be viewed as a friendly subpoena, because as we all know, Mueller has been very reluctant to become the star of the political circus this will surely create. However, he's gonna have to suck it up, because as we all saw after what happened when Mueller addressed the nation for 10 whole minutes, there is great value in actually having Mueller breathe life into his own work, for an American audience that hasn't read his 448-page report. (And we don't blame them/you! We probably wouldn't have read it all if it wasn't our job. It would probably be on our "list," like "someday I am going to watch 'The Sopranos' start to finish finally. And then I will read the Mueller Report!")

Point is, it needs to happen on live TV, where people can gather around at work and on the train and in the Fantastic Sams while they gets their hair did, and let this highly respected public servant tell the story of how America's most hostile enemy attacked the 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump, how the Trump campaign was positively orgasmic over that reacharound, and how Trump criminally obstructed the investigation into that hostile foreign attack at every turn.

And because Robert Mueller is a patriotic American who respects the rule of law and our institutions, he will be complying with the subpoena, because of fucking course he will.

Right off the bat, we have a couple of questions:

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Beds at the 'temporary' shelter in Homestead, Florida. US HHS photo.

The House of Representatives passed a $4.5 billion emergency bill to fund detention of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers yesterday, but the bill's demands that government meet minimal standards of humane treatment led Donald Trump to threaten a veto, because no one puts cruelty in a corner. The bill passed largely along party lines, 230-195, with four progressive Democratic first-term representatives opposing it because they believed the machinery of the New Cruelty shouldn't get a single dollar more. Trump prefers a bill already passed by the Senate, which would provide a similar level of funding $4.6 billion), but lacks the House bill's crazy radical requirements that migrants be held in less horrifying conditions than have been reported in the last week.

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