By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- ANALYSIS — ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The House of Representatives takes its final step today to approve its lawsuit against President Obama, opening a rare legal gambit of the legislative branch trying to sue the executive branch. No, Speaker Boehner told us again yesterday, this is not about impeachment, but rather about whether the president exceeded his authority by repeatedly changing provisions of the health care law without the consent of Congress. The lawsuit was intended to serve as a constructive alternative, so rank-and-file Republicans would be able point to something they were doing to stand up to the president. But it continues to stir talk of impeachment in conservative circles and Democrats are now eager to join in, trying to raise money and rally their base by scaring them into thinking the president could be tossed out of office. It’s hard to know whether Republicans or Democrats benefit more politically, but it’s easy to see who wins the golden prize: The Washington law firms who will be hired — at taxpayer expense — to embark on a long legal road of trying to sue the president.
- OBAMA ON THE ROAD: After some late night BBQ, President Obama spends the day in Kansas City, where he delivers on-camera remarks on the economy in the early afternoon. Also today, the First Lady speaks with African Youth at the Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
DEMOCRATS ASK HOUSE REPUBLICANS: ‘HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO SPEND’ TO SUE THE PRESIDENT? Today the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a new paid video titled, “How Much?” featuring actual footage of House Republicans (including Reps. Scott Tipton, Jim Bridenstine, David Valadao, Leonard Lance and Mark Amodei, among others) getting asked how much they are willing to spend on the lawsuit against President Obama. “While middle class Americans work hard to make ends meet, House Republicans are wasting taxpayers’ time and money on a frivolous partisan lawsuit instead of focusing on middle class economic priorities,” the DCCC’s Josh Schwerin said in a statement. The DCCC plans to run the video in competitive Republican-held districts. WATCH: http://youtu.be/ipivcRrrBSw
FROM OUR FRIENDS AT FUSION
CONGRESS SCRAMBLES TO ADDRESS BORDER CRISIS BEFORE THE RECESS BELL. Both Republicans and Democrats agree: there’s a crisis on the border, with tens of thousands of Central American children making the trek north without a parent or guardian in the past year. Yet neither party has taken action. Congress adjourns for its summer break at the end of this week. The Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Representatives have both put forward legislative proposals, but the fate of either plan remains uncertain. FUSION’s JORDAN FABIAN and TED HESSON will be following the debate until recess hits and updating this post with the latest developments. http://fus.in/1uGG07v
JOHN WALSH PLAGIARISM SAGA: THE PLOT THICKENS. The Department of Defense is getting involved in the Sen. John Walsh plagiarism scandal, ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ and ARLETTE SAENZ report. In addition to the Army War College’s investigation of Walsh’s plagiarism allegations, the DOD will begin its own investigation into the allegations, according to officials with the Army and the Army War College. There will be an official DOD investigation because Walsh is a member of Congress. Walsh has until Aug. 15 to present his case and any documents to the Academic Review Board at the Army War College. The college will then review the case and produce a written report that will include its findings and a recommendation of action. The report will then be reviewed by the War College’s judge advocate and the dean, and the recommendation will be forwarded to the Deputy Commandant to decide on whether action should be taken, according to a War College official.
with ABC’s SCOTT WILSON
SPEAKER BOEHNER SHOOTS DOWN IMPEACHMENT TALK, BLASTS DEMOCRATS FOR PUSHING IT. Speaker John Boehner shot down talk of impeachment once again Tuesday — raising his voice as he blamed Democrats for trying to push the idea for political gain, according to ABC’s JEFF ZELENY. “We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Boehner said, answering a question from ABC News at a news conference. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.” Scam or not, Democrats say they are raising record amounts of money over the threat of impeaching President Obama. Republican leaders have repeatedly said they have no plans to call for articles of impeachment. But they are moving forward with a lawsuit against the president, accusing him of overreaching his executive authority, which has kept the talk of impeachment alive. The House is set to approve this rare lawsuit in a vote Wednesday. http://abcn.ws/1pBT6us
TIMELINE: HOW THE TEA PARTY STARTED IMPEACHMENT TALK AND DEMOCRATS CO-OPTED IT. Talk of impeachment has been all the rage in Washington this summer, ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY notes. Democrats say Republicans are shilling for it. Republicans counter that the buzz is merely a Democratic fundraising ploy. So who really started it, and when? Almost immediately after Obama took office, conservative commentators on the fringes began toying with the idea of impeaching the president. Slowly but surely, the talk migrated into the mainstream as Republican lawmakers began to chime in. Back in 2010, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, told Lou Dobbs that Obama’s actions on the border came “awfully close” to violating his “oath of office” — an impeachable offense. And about a year later, Rep. Ted Yoho, an outspoken tea party congressman from Florida, outlined six reasons the president should be impeached in a post on his campaign website. Not long after, Texas GOP Rep. Michael Burgess said explicitly that impeachment “needs to happen.” http://abcn.ws/1pBT6us
OBAMA: NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA WILL HAVE ‘AN EVEN BIGGER BITE’. The United States will unleash a new round of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, President Obama said Tuesday. “The cost on Russia will continue to grow,” the president said in a statement at the White House emphasizing Russian “energy, arms and finance” as targets. “Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says.” Obama said Russia has, so far, “failed to cooperate with the investigations” into the downing of the Malaysian aircraft, adding that he and key European leaders “are united in our view that the situation in Ukraine ought to be resolved diplomatically.” Obama said he has been coordinating closely with European allies to ensure a unified response. Earlier today, the European Union agreed to a new package of sanctions on Russia, for the first time imposing “sectoral” sanctions on Russia’s finance and energy industries, as well as banning arms exports to Russia. http://abcn.ws/UA3Lxq
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW VA SECRETARY. The Senate confirmed Robert McDonald as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Tuesday, one month after President Obama nominated him for the post. McDonald was confirmed with a vote of 97-0. McDonald, a former CEO of Procter & Gamble, will join the VA as the embattled department tries to ease wait times for veterans by providing health care outside the VA system as well as hiring new doctors, nurses and clinicians at VA facilities. ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ has the scoop with five things you need to know about the new VA Secretary. 1. He Is a West Point Grad 2. He Comes From a Military Family 3. He Worked at Procter & Gamble for 33 Years 4. He Will Give Lawmakers His Personal Cell Phone Number 5. He Compiled a List of What It Takes to Be a Leader http://abcn.ws/1tXrB2u
THE MYSTERY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL GOLF BALL. Looks like President Obama’s back swing might need a little work, notes ABC’s SCOTT WILSON. A customized golf ball was reportedly found in the woods off the first hole at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. The ball had “Titleist 44″ printed on one side and “POTUS” on the other. Instagram user “larrydoh” claimed to have found the ball while playing a round of golf at Congressional Country Club over the weekend. “Looks like he’s off line again,” remarked the “larrydoh” in his post Sunday. Congressional Country Club was unable to verify whether the president plays with such a golf ball, and Titleist did not respond to a request for comment. However, the presidential golf ball very well may belong to Obama — as he was golfing at Congressional over the weekend. President Obama played a round of golf Saturday with Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser, co-hosts of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.” And on the first hole, who wouldn’t let POTUS take a mulligan? http://abcn.ws/1poOydF
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
RAND PAUL, CORY BOOKER TEASE EACH OTHER ON MAKING DC ‘HOT’ LIST. Mirror mirror on the wall, are Rand Paul and Cory Booker the most beautiful of them all? The answer is yes, at least according to an annual assessment of D.C.’s best-looking people, notes ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. The Hill released its annual “50 Most Beautiful” rankings today, which included several lawmakers from Capitol Hill, including Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. The two senators ribbed each other on Twitter for making the list. Paul, who came in as the ninth-most beautiful person, made a jab at Booker for being listed in 44th place. “Congrats to my friend @CoryBooker for being #44 out of 50 on The Hill’s Most Beautiful List,” Sen. Paul quipped. In response, Booker, 45, noted that he and Paul, 51, were added out of “pity” instead of based on looks. Other lawmakers who made the list included Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.; Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.; and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio. http://abcn.ws/1laDCw6