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Former IRS Official Calls Conservatives 'Crazies' in Emails

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Former Internal Revenue Service senior official Lois Lerner apparently believed conservatives were “a–holes” and “crazies,” according to emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., released a redacted email exchange from Lerner’s official IRS email account that Republicans believe shows she held personal bias and hostility against conservatives.

In the Nov. 9, 2012 email evidently sent while Lerner was vacationing in England, she appeared to refer to conservatives as “a–holes” and suggest they could cause the downfall of the federal government.

“So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in an email to a recipient whose identity was redacted. A Republican aide at the Ways and Means Committee said the person Lerner was emailing was not an agency employee.

The unknown person said American talk radio shows were “scary to listen to” and said callers to those shows were “rabid.”

The House voted earlier this year to find Lerner in contempt of Congress and also, on a separate resolution, to request that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and possible criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.

So far, Holder, who is also the target of articles impeachment in the House, has maintained that he will not comply with the House’s request.

“Despite the serious investigation and evidence this committee has undertaken into the IRS' targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously,” Camp said. “In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”

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Senators Introduce Bill to Combat College Sexual Assault

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill Wednesday to curb sexual assaults occurring on college campuses.

“If you are a young woman and you attend school, the odds jump that you will be sexually assaulted at school, probably by someone you know from your class, from a team, from a party,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “The price of a college education should not be that one in five women will be sexually assaulted.”

“We are telling our young people every day that in order to get ahead they have to go to school. Let's make sure that when they do that they're safe,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

“We are done with the days of asking victims why they drank too much, or wore the wrong thing or went to the wrong place or hung out with the wrong guy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.  “Those days are done and students are embracing a new culture of accountability that will be enforced through this measure.”

The measure, called the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), will create new support services for victims of sexual assault on college campuses, including designating Confidential Advisors for students to speak with, and ensures on-campus staff will received specialized training on handling sexual assault cases.

It also requires colleges and universities to survey all of their students on their experiences with sexual violence on campus; requires the Department of Education to release the names of schools with pending investigations into their handling of sexual assault cases; increases coordination between colleges and law enforcement; removes the ability of athletic departments to handle sexual assault cases involving athletes; and institutes a penalty for schools that don’t comply with Title IX.

The senators were joined by survivors of sexual assault, who detailed the responses they received when they reported their assaults.

“When I reported that I was sexually assaulted, someone told me that rape was like a football game and that I should look back on that game to figure out what I would do differently in that situation,” Annie Clark, a former student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

“One Sunday morning my sophomore year at Carolina, I woke up in a bed soaked in blood with bruises of my attacker. My body was covered in bruises and far away from home, I was alone in my recovery, told by my administrators that I could just not handle college,” Andrea Pino, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

The co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Rubio, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Dean Heller, R-N.V., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

The bill comes weeks after a Senate subcommittee released a survey finding that 41 percent of institutions didn’t conduct a single investigation of sexual assault on their campuses in the past five years.

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Impeach the President? History Isn’t on GOP’s Side

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- They say that history repeats itself, but when it comes to impeachment, Republicans may have learned their lesson the first time.

House Speaker John Boehner insisted Tuesday that Republicans had “no plans to impeach the president,” calling talk of removing President Obama from office “a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

But Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, told reporters last Friday the House has “opened the door” to impeaching the president by filing a lawsuit against him over changes made to the health care law that were not approved by Congress.

So why are Republican leaders apparently steering away from trying to oust the president?

One reason may be that it didn’t make too many people happy the last time.

With midterms around the corner and a majority in the Senate up for grabs, Republicans have a lot of chips on the table. The GOP needs public opinion on their side, and based on what happened last time, impeachment likely won’t get them there.

The GOP-controlled House impeached former President Bill Clinton in December 1998. But the American people didn’t seem to side with the Republicans.

Almost six in 10 Americans said they were dissatisfied -- or even angry -- when the House voted to impeach Clinton. And 62 percent disapproved of how Senate Republicans handled the following trial.

And only a third wanted the Senate to remove him from office over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

What’s more, six in 10 Americans said the House voted to impeach Clinton based on partisan politics instead of the facts of the case and 74 percent thought the same thing about the Senate.

The number of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans fell to match a then 15-year low at the time of the impeachment vote -- a potential shot in the foot at a time when Republicans were working to unify their base.

Of course, there would be several differences this time around: for example, Clinton’s approval rating was a solid 67 percent at the time of his impeachment, while Obama’s now is 46 percent.

But few observers believe that Republicans who are looking to mobilize a splintered electorate and pick up the six seats they need to win control of the Senate see an impeachment battle as the way forward.

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Obama Scolds Congress: Stop 'Hatin' All the Time'

The White House(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- With just two days left until Congress goes on vacation, President Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to get to work and “stop just hatin’ all the time.”

“We could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” Obama said, chuckling. “Stop being mad all the time. ...I’ve only got a couple years left. Come on, then you can be mad at the next president.”

In a rowdy, campaign-style speech before a packed house at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, the president slammed Republicans for wasting time on a “political stunt.”

“The main vote that they’ve scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job,” he said, to boos from the crowd.

“It’s not a productive thing to do,” he added. “Instead of suing me for doing my job, I want Congress to do its job.”

Obama touted his executive actions and efforts to circumvent gridlock in Congress, declaring, “We act when Congress won’t.”

“They are mad because I’m doing my job,” he said. “And by the way, I’ve told them, ‘I’d be happy to do it with you. The only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do anything.’”

“Imagine how much further along we’d be, how much stronger our economy would be, if Congress was doing its job, too,” the president said.

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Border Crisis Funding Advances in Senate

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate advanced an emergency supplemental bill Wednesday morning that includes $2.7 billion in funding for the border crisis.

The Senate voted 63 to 33 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure, the initial procedural vote on the bill, which also includes $225 million for the Iron Dome and $615 million for combating wildfires. (It’s unclear at this time when the next vote would be.)

The Senate’s measure is $1 billion less than what President Obama requested to address the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The Republican-controlled House is considering a much smaller package -- $659 million -- for the border.

Notably, two Senate Democrats in tough midterm races this year voted against advancing the measure -- Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Mary Landrieu, D-La. 

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'Do Nothing' Congress Gets Busy Raising Campaign Cash

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you’re looking for a senator or member of Congress this week, you may have better luck at The Capital Grille than the Capitol.

This final stretch of July is not just the last chance for Congress to address highway funding and the border crisis before a five-week vacation. It’s also the end of the summer fundraising circuit in one of the most expensive midterms election cycles in history -- the last chance to collect checks in Washington before the fall campaign season ties down incumbents and candidates in their home districts and states.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are holding at least 100 fundraisers in Washington, D.C. in the days leading up to the August recess, according to fundraising lists obtained by ABC News, with senators who aren’t even on the ballot in 2014 holding events.

With contributions ranging from $50 to $5,000, Washington politicos can join representatives and senators for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- or all three.

The events don’t stop at meals.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat, is hosting a happy hour event after work Wednesday, while Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat, is taking in a DC United soccer game with supporters later that evening.

On Monday, Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly sailed supporters down the Potomac River on a lunchtime cruise sponsored by a boating industry PAC, according to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation.

While Republicans and Democrats blame one another for the dysfunction that has gripped the Capitol -- the 113th Congress is already on track to be one of the least productive sessions ever -- they share a bipartisan knack for finding sufficient time for fundraising.

Several lawmakers are holding more than one event over the course of the week, while others are cramming in multiple fundraisers a day.

Take, for example, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, who began her day at a fundraising breakfast at Johnny’s Half Shell, a Louisiana-inspired restaurant just off Capitol Hill, and ended her day over Italian food at Carmine’s.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, hosted a noon lunch on Tuesday at Bearnaise, a French bistro on Capitol Hill, and six hours later she was in a private booth at Fiola, an Italian restaurant that sits between the Capitol and the White House.

She didn’t, however, have the restaurant to herself.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, held a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising dinner of his own at Fiola on Tuesday night.

Hoyer offered a greeting to Blackburn’s table as he made his way to one of Fiola’s two private dining rooms. (The other was occupied by a party that included Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan.)

“We don’t discriminate. For us, it’s really about hospitality,” said Jessica Botta, the director of culinary development at Fiola, which regularly hosts Washington lawmakers but also out-of-towners like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “We’re just providing a great service to Democrats and Republicans.”

The end of the legislative week is not the end of the fundraising calendar: one restaurateur expects roughly a third of his election-year business to come from fundraisers.

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McCain: US, FIFA Should 'Reconsider' Holding Next World Cup in Russia

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain and a leading Democratic senator are calling on American and international soccer officials to reconsider the decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia, casting it as a way to leverage power against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a way he’s sure to understand.

McCain, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the ESPN/ABC podcast “Capital Games” that while the U.S. can play a leadership role in pressing for a new country to be chosen for hosting duties, there should be no boycott.

“It absolutely should be reconsidered, but I would hasten to add that a unilateral decision by the United States would not bode well,” said McCain, R-Ariz. “I’d like to see the United States and others -- say, the British perhaps and other countries -- raise the issue in ordinary meetings, periodic meetings that they have. Say, ‘We need to discuss this issue. Is it appropriate to have this venue in Russia at this particular time, and aren’t there other countries that would be far less controversial?’”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has traveled to Ukraine with McCain and worked closely with him in support of the Ukrainian government, agreed that FIFA, the governing body of World Cup soccer, needs to press Putin by holding out the possibility that Russia would lose the 2018 World Cup.

“If in the face of a downed airliner, in the face of crippling sanctions from the European Union, Putin thumbs his nose at the international community and continues to send in arms and personnel into eastern Ukraine, then I’m not sure how you reward this guy and his government with a major, international competition,” Murphy said.

“This guy is all about image and right now he’s obsessed with this image as a crusading military aggressor -- a tough guy. But he also wants the ability for people to come to Russia and to see what he has done and the country that he has built. I think that this could be a real blow to him,” Murphy added. “It might in the end be even more consequential to him and his prestige than any individual sanction against his economy that the United States or Europe is contemplating.”

McCain said the value Putin sees in showcasing his country at worldwide sporting events was obvious at the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year. It was also on display at the World Cup in Brazil earlier this month, where Putin was pictured receiving a ceremonial soccer ball from FIFA President Sepp Blatter to mark the fact that Russia has hosting duties next.

“Obviously, he is a man of mammoth ego. He is the closest thing to an all-out dictator that we have seen,” McCain said of Putin. “His ego is mammoth, and any blows to his ego [are] strongly resented. But also, his behavior is basically -- he has gotten away with, literally, with murder.”

“Let us recognize and identify Vladimir Putin for what he is, and Russian behavior for what it is. And frankly that [losing the World Cup] will be the greatest blow to him, because he loves being on the world stage,” McCain added.

The calls from McCain and Murphy echo those of top government officials in the U.K. and Germany, among other countries, who have called on soccer’s international governing body to revoke the tournament from Russia in light of the nation’s involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

FIFA has dismissed such calls, arguing that keeping the tournament in Russia will foster international dialog that “can achieve positive change.”

Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Grant Wahl said on the podcast that FIFA officials appear unlikely to bow to demands of political leaders, when the organization’s sponsors hold the real sway. He said it was telling that FIFA proactively has said the World Cup will take place in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, despite recent controversy about those selections.

“I don’t think anything that happens in the very near term is going to have an influence on FIFA deciding one way or the other,” Wahl said. “FIFA’s just a very insular organization and a lot of their top people don’t to me seem all that troubled by the reputation that FIFA has. They simply look at the bottom line.”

McCain noted that some countries, including the Netherlands, are hesitant to speak out against Putin more forcefully because they depend on Russia for energy resources. That puts more of an onus on the United States to use levers at its disposal, he said.

“There’s no doubt that Vladimir Putin feels that he can literally get away with murder,” McCain said. “He is responsible, in my view, for the shoot-down of that [Malaysian] airliner and the tragedy associated with it. So he’s gotten away with murder. And look at it from his viewpoint, and all things considered, he’s doing pretty well.”

Preparing a location to host the World Cup can be a lengthy process, and both Murphy and Wahl agree it’s time to prod Putin now, while there’s still time to solicit proposals for alternative sites if he refuses to cooperate.

“You have to do it by the end of the year. ...You can’t take the chance that this guy is going to calm down and start behaving -- because what if another Ukraine crisis erupts in the winter of 2017-2018?” said Murphy.

“If the World Cup was, say, a month from now, I don’t think we would be sending teams to the World Cup and I don’t think that Europe would either,” he added.

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POLL: President Obama Rated Poorly on Mideast Conflict

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- President Barack Obama falls short of majority approval for his handling of two of the world’s prime hotspots in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, with an especially weak rating for his work on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Just 39 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, while more than half, 52 percent, disapprove. The president does better for his response to the downed Malaysian Airlines jetliner in Ukraine; 46 percent approve -- but virtually as many, 43 percent, disapprove.

[See PDF with full results here.]

The United States has realized some progress in Ukraine, where European nations this week agreed to join the U.S. in imposing sanctions on Russia. The administration continues to struggle in the Middle East, where U.S. efforts to broker a cease-fire thus far have failed.

Obama’s approval rating for handling international affairs overall, at 46 percent, is up by 5 percentage points from his career low last month. But 50 percent still disapprove, unchanged. And the number who strongly approve of Obama’s work on foreign affairs has hit an all-time low, 16 percent. Thirty-six percent strongly disapprove; that gap is the largest of his presidency.

There’s a similar, 19-point gap in strong sentiment on Obama’s handling of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians -- 14 percent approve strongly, while 33 percent strongly disapprove. The division on the Ukraine incident is less sharp, but still 9 points net negative in strength of sentiment.

Partisanship is a key driver of these views: Among Democrats, 77, 72 and 65 percent approve, respectively, of Obama’s handling of international affairs, the Ukraine situation and the conflict in Gaza and Israel. Among Republicans, those numbers plummet to 13, 20 and 18 percent.

As often is the case, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that the balance is tilted by independents: Just 37 percent approve of Obama’s work on international affairs overall, 41 percent on the Ukraine incident and 31 percent on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Obama’s rating for handling the situation involving Israel and the Palestinians is worse than four such measures for his predecessor, George W. Bush, ranging from a high of 59 percent approval in 2002 to a low of 46 percent in 2003, amid growing doubts about the war in Iraq.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone July 23-27, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,026 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y.

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House GOP Offering a Fraction of What Obama Asks to Fix Border Crisis

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Republicans are offering a relative pittance of what President Obama is asking to help shelter and deport tens of thousands of Central American children who crossed the border into Texas.

While the president said $3.7 billion is needed, the GOP is only willing to ante up $659 million, which is even less than half of what House lawmakers proposed last week.

The Republican plan also includes a provision untenable to most Democrats: it would do away with an amendment in a 2008 law that protects Central American migrants from immediate deportation if stopped by Border Patrol agents.

There is also resistance within the GOP from those on the far right who don't want to provide any emergency funding at all.

Even if a House bill does pass, with a vote likely scheduled for Thursday, there's virtually no chance of it getting approved by the Senate.

With Congress heading out of town after that for a five-week recess, any emergency funding package is probably dead through the end of the year with lawmakers focusing their efforts on the midterm elections.

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Five Things to Know About the New VA Secretary

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate confirmed Robert McDonald as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on 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.

Here are five things that could help McDonald in his new position leading the VA.

1. He Is a West Point Grad

McDonald graduated in the top 2% of his class at West Point and went on to serve in the United States Army as an Airborne Ranger captain in the 82nd Airborne Division. During his confirmation hearing, McDonald told senators his experiences at West Point and in the military influenced his leadership style at Procter & Gamble and will help him at the VA.

"I am still guided by the West Point Cadet Prayer, which encourages us to 'choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong,'" McDonald said earlier this month.

2. He Comes From a Military Family

Not only did McDonald serve in the military, but so did multiple members of his family, including his father, who was part of the Army Air Corps after World War II. His wife's father became a POW after he was shot down over Europe, and his wife's uncle served in Vietnam, where he was exposed to Agent Orange, which he still receives treatment for through the VA system.

3. He Worked at Procter & Gamble for 33 Years

McDonald started his career at Procter & Gamble as a brand assistant, eventually making his way to the top of the company, where he managed more than 120,000 employees. Procter & Gamble is a unique company in that its employees are promoted from within, similar to the tradition of rising in the ranks in the military. Lawmakers who met with McDonald ahead of his confirmation said they were impressed with his management experience at Procter & Gamble.

4. He Will Give Lawmakers His Personal Cell Phone Number

At his confirmation hearing, McDonald said he would give his personal cell phone number to all the senators on the committee to make sure he is held accountable for his work at the VA, even if that means after-hours phone calls.

"Every member of the committee will have my cell phone number. And I would expect if we're not meeting your needs you will call me," McDonald said. "When you run a large corporation globally, you have a cell phone that's on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it gets called. And so if you have concerns I want to know about them and I want to react to them."

5. He Compiled a List of What It Takes to Be a Leader

McDonald wrote a list called "What I Believe In," which includes 10 principles he lives by and could be applied to his time at the VA.

Here's the list: 1. Living a life driven by purpose is more meaningful and rewarding than meandering through life without direction. 2. Companies must do well to do good and must do good to well. 3. Everyone wants to succeed, and success is contagious. 4. Putting people in the right jobs is one of the most important jobs of the leader. 5. Character is the most important trait of a leader. 6. Diverse groups of people are more innovative than homogeneous groups. 7. Ineffective systems and cultures are bigger barriers to achievement than the talents of people. 8. There will be some people in the organization who will not make it on the journey. 9. Organizations must renew themselves. 10. The true test of the leader is the performance of the organization when they are absent or after they depart.

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Boulder, Colo. Ordered to Stop Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

iStock/Thinkstock(BOULDER COUNTY, Colo.) -- Colorado's Supreme Court is ordering Boulder County to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Boulder began issuing the licenses in June after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against a gay marriage ban in neighboring Utah, calling it unconstitutional. Now, Colorado's Supreme Court says Boulder must stop while an appeal is heard.

Boulder County had been the only county in Colorado still issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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How the Tea Party Started Impeachment Talk and Democrats Co-Opted It

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Talk of impeachment has been all the rage in Washington this summer.

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."

By this spring, at least 11 Republican lawmakers – Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Steve Stockman of Michigan and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, had floated the idea of impeachment, and several high-profile Republican candidates, including Iowa U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, put impeachment on the table. As June rolled around, and the weather warmed, impeachment talk heated up, too.

Here's a brief history of how Republicans started the most recent outbreak of chatter, and how the Democrats have sought to use it to their advantage:

June 4: Former Congressman Allen West, R-Fla., talks impeachment, calling Obama's handling of the Bowe Bergdahl deal "an impeachable offense."

"Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that Barack Hussein Obama's unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult — mandated by law — with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense," West wrote in his Washington Post op-ed.

June 25: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, quashes the impeachment question. Asked whether his lawsuit against the president could be a precursor to impeachment proceedings, Boehner insists the suit "is not about impeachment."

July 8: Sarah Palin raises the issue's profile. In an incendiary op-ed published by Breitbert, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee says "it's time to impeach" Obama.

"Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president," she writes. "His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the president say, 'No mas.'"

July 10: When asked about her comments, Speaker Boehner brushes off Palin's remarks, saying simply, "I disagree."

July 10: Palin's running mate, 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, is also asked to weigh in. He says he "respect[s] always Sarah Palin's views" but believes that impeachment "was not a good thing to do" to President Clinton and prefers to "devote our energies to regaining the majority in the Senate."

July 23: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends the first in a veritable flood of emails warning of the threat of impeachment, and soliciting donations.

July 24: First lady Michelle Obama reportedly predicts "more" talk about impeachment if the Democrats lose the 2014 midterms. "If we lose these midterm elections, it's going to be a whole lot harder to finish what we started, because we'll just see more of the same out in Washington -- more obstructions, more lawsuits, and talk about impeachment," Obama said, according to the Washington Examiner.

July 25: Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tells reporters he "would not discount" the "possibility" of impeachment, noting that Boehner's lawsuit against the president "has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future."

July 25:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterates Pfeiffer's point, saying "there are some Republicans, including Republicans who are running for office, hoping that they can get into office so that they can impeach the president," and rejects the notion that impeachment is a democratic fundraising ploy.

July 27:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., unprompted, raises the issue in an interview on CNN.

"The Republicans are … on a path to impeach the president while we're trying to create jobs and have stability in our country and in the world. And I'm sorry that we didn't get a chance to talk more about that," she says.

July 27: The DCCC circulates an email claiming that "House Republicans held a closed-door meeting to discuss impeaching President Obama," and urging Dem supporters to "throw everything we've got at this."

July 29: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also blasts impeachment chatter. "Isn't it good that we're talking about this, rather than impeachment of the president?" Reid says in reference to the VA deal.

July 29:
Boehner calls talk of impeachment "a scam started by Democrats at the White House."

"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff. And coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill," the speaker said. "Why? Because they're trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's elections. We have no plans to impeach the president."

July 29:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., echoes Boehner, saying, "the only people I've heard mention [impeachment] are the White House and the majority leader."

Despite all the gossip, history is on Obama's side. Only two U.S. presidents– Andrew Johnson, in 1868, and Bill Clinton, in 1998– have been impeached. (Richard Nixon voluntarily resigned before the House could impeach him.) And not once has presidential impeachment resulted in removal from office.

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The Mystery of the Presidential Golf Ball

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Looks like President Obama's back swing might need a little work.

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, writing "Looks like he's off line again" 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?

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Chicago Mayor Says 'Kill Switch' on Cell Phones Could Decrease Theft

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for cell phones to be equipped with a "kill switch."

A kill switch would allow a cell phone owner to completely disable a phone if it is lost or stolen.

Mayor Emanuel hopes the legislation would lead to a drop-off in thefts.

"So if one of the reasons on robbery, people are robbing, is for smart phones if it automatically switches off, it takes away the incentive for the robbers to actually take the smart phones, steal the smart phones," Emanuel said.

Smart phone thefts have accounted for up to half of all street crime in some cities. Minnesota and California have already adopted the legislation.

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Rand Paul, Cory Booker Tease Each Other on Making DC 'Hot' List

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- 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.

The Hill released its annual "50 Most Beautiful" rankings on Tuesday, 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, took a jab at Booker for being listed in 44th place.

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.;  Donna Edwards, D-Md.; Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.; Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.; and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio.

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