Citing both American and European officials, the Times report indicated that Obama's relationship with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been gradually deteriorating.
The report said that their relationship reached a "new low" last month after Karzai rejected U.S. peace talks with the Taliban and halted negotiations with the United States over a security deal necessary to ensure that a "residual force" of American troops remains in Afghanistan beyond 2014. A recent videoconference between Obama and Karzai is said to have ended badly.
Will Senate Act on Filibuster? - The filibuster wars are poised to escalate this month as Senate Democratic leaders hold their fingers close to the trigger of the nuclear option.
Six nominations are pending — three to fill vacancies on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and an additional three to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Richard Cordray), the Labor Department (Tom Perez) and the Environmental Protection Agency (Gina McCarthy). Democratic leaders postponed the likely standoff in order to prioritize the completion of immigration legislation.
If Republicans sustain their blockade of the nominees, Reid has threatened to strip away the filibuster for nominations with the so-called nuclear option, by which the majority can change the rules of the body with a bare 51-vote majority. Sources familiar with his thinking say that while the majority leader is fed up with Republican obstruction and is ready to move forward with the nuclear option, it’s not clear he has the votes yet. With 54 Democratic senators, he has little room to spare. TPM.com has more here.
Federal Judge Blocks Wisconsin Abortion Law - A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday evening to block enforcement of a new Wisconsin law that bans doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing abortions.
U.S. District Judge William Conley granted the order following a hearing in a lawsuit filed Friday by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. It alleged the requirement would unconstitutionally restrict the availability of abortions in the state, violates the U.S. Constitution’s due process guarantee and unconstitutionally treats doctors who perform abortions differently from those who perform other procedures
The restraining order will remain in place pending a fuller hearing July 17. In his ruling, Conley said “there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement.” He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states must prove that restrictions on abortion rights must be reasonably aimed at preserving the mother’s health.
“Moreover, the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement,” he said. CNN.com has more here.
Venezuela and Bolivia have offered asylum to the 30-year-old National Security Agency leaker charged with espionage, but the U.S. government is certain to ensure getting from the Moscow airport to South America won’t be easy.
Nearly every commercial route from Moscow to South America would involve traveling through the skies of at least one member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
And the United States has been fervently lobbying its allies to deny any flight carrying Snowden access to its airspace if he attempts to evade U.S. capture on a passenger airliner. TheHill.com has more here.
The streets of Cairo were quiet on Tuesday but Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called for more protests later in the day, raising the risk of further violence.
Under pressure to restore democracy quickly, Adli Mansour, the judge named head of state by the army when it brought down Mursi last week, decreed overnight that a parliamentary vote would be held in about six months. That would be followed by a presidential election. Reuters.com has more here.
The CBC has at times been at odds with the president -- pushing for him to do more to combat unemployment and violence in African-American communities. The discussion Tuesday, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., will focus on the economy and touch on key policy debates. And many CBC members have publicly groused that the president has not paid attention to them.
A White House official said that Obama will use the meeting, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to "discuss legislative priorities, including the need to create jobs and build ladders of opportunity for American families striving to get into the middle class, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform and voting rights." The meeting is closed to the press. Politico.com has more here.