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House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s claim that the White House was behind the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status appears to have been contradicted Tuesday after the panel’s ranking Democratic member released the full transcript of testimony provided by a key witness in the investigation. The witness, a self-described conservative Republican who was the IRS manager who oversaw the screenings of tax-exempt status applications in the agency’s Cincinnati office, denied ever communicating with the White House or senior IRS officials on the matter. Rep. Elijah Cummings had pushed Issa to release the full transcript before he did it himself. Issa had previously released only excerpts. Cummings explained his decision, saying he felt the transcript “debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases.” (Read more)

Toeing the Party Line: After refusing to rule out bringing an immigration reform bill that was mostly backed by Democrats to the floor, House Speaker John Boehner has now assured his party that there wasn’t “any way” that would have happened without GOP support. Boehner’s previous comments had sparked somewhat of an internal revolt, with at least one Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, threatening that Boehner could be ousted from his speakership if he broke the “Hastert rule,” a general guideline set forth by former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert that House leadership should not bring to the floor legislation that is not supported by a majority of members of the party in power. When asked during a news conference Tuesday whether Rohrabacher’s remark had any impact on his new attitude, Boehner quipped, “Maybe.” (Read more)

Bleak Future: What will happen if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decides to eliminate the filibuster on President Obama’s nominations? Well, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans will end the 60-vote threshold for everything the next time they regain the majority. Reid has threatened to invoke the “nuclear option” on nominations because GOP senators have issues with at least half a dozen of President Obama’s pending judicial and Cabinet nominees. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that if the majority breaks the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate with regard to nominations, the next majority will do it for everything,” McConnell said Tuesday. The minority leader then added what a GOP-controlled Senate—needing only 51 votes to pass legislation—would do. Priority No. 1, according to McConnell, would be to repeal Obamacare. He also said his party would repeal the estate tax, lift the ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. (Read more)

Email Trail: In a letter to the Obama administration Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized officials for using “secret email accounts,” arguing that they undermine the public’s trust in government. Not mentioned in McCain’s letter: that he, like others serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate, has a secret email address. The Obama administration is also not the first one to use secret secondary email accounts; previous Republican administrations—including George W. Bush’s—have used them since the government began using email. According to Think Progress, the Environmental Protection Agency released to it “a list of E-mail addresses used by the four people who served as Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency during the Bush administration. Each had a public address (using the typical agency format of [email protected]) and a private one.” (Read more)

Video of the Day: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has responded to Dick Cheney’s recent criticism of him. On “Fox News Sunday,” Cheney had said Paul’s position on NSA surveillance programs—which differ from the former vice president’s—was wrong. “What I would ask is who did they fire after 9/11? Not one person was fired,” he said on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Tuesday. “Do you remember the ’20th hijacker’? [Zacarias] Moussaoui, captured a month in advance? The FBI agent wrote 70 letters asking, ‘let’s look at this guy’s computer.’ In the FBI, they turned him down.” Paul continued: “It wasn’t that they couldn’t get a warrant, nobody asked for a warrant. To me, that was really, really bad intelligence, really bad police work, and, really, someone should have been removed from office for that.”

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