In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The ongoing House Republican effort to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his handling of the so-called “IRS targeting scandal” took a turn towards creative filmmaking last week during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The testimony of witness Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chair of the House Oversight committee, revolved around an extended video created by his office and played for the committee. The video was a ten-and-a-half-minute, slickly-produced recounting of GOP allegations of Koskinen's supposed misconduct. It bore a closer resemblance to a campaign attack ad than to the sort of the evidence typically provided in a congressional hearing.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the committee, called the move to play it during Chaffetz's testimony “a little bit unusual.”

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A former IRS official, under a congressional subpoena, said he had doubts about the administration’s rationale for funding Obamacare subsidies that are at the heart of a House Republican lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, according to a New York Times report published Sunday. His deposition was part of a Republican-led House committee investigation and, in a moment of partisan jockeying, the deposition was made public by Democrats on the committee, who sought to get ahead of a potential Republican leak, according to the Times.

The official, David Fisher, who worked for the IRS as financial risk officer, recounted in a May 11 deposition for House Ways and Means Committee investigators a January 2014 meeting during which IRS officials were taken to an Old Executive Office Building conference room. There, they were shown a Office of Management and Budget memo justifying the administration’s funding of billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies. They were not allowed to take notes or copy the memo, according the Times, and the IRS officials were also told that then-Attorney General Eric Holder had approved of the rationale.

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When Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) endorsed Donald Trump at the end of February, Trump was having a rough time. The billionaire businessman had been hit hard during the Republican debate in Houston and pressure was mounting (from Mitt Romney of all people) for Trump to release his tax returns. Most of the Republican establishment still believed Trump could be defeated. If not before the convention, on the floor in Cleveland.

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Some men just want to watch the world burn, so the famous line in The Dark Knight goes. And some Republicans just want to break Obamacare so they can call it broken.

Their more recent efforts to attack the law won’t so much destroy it, but rather seem to be part of a larger plan to cause enough chaos to give the perception that Obamacare is failing.

“They started out strong and they got progressively weaker and they’ve become progressively less important,” Nicholas Bagley, a professor of health law at the University of Michigan, told TPM about the long conservative legal effort to undermine Obama's signature legislative achievement.

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A handful of Republican Senate candidates are operating in an alternative universe, one where Donald Trump's promises of a big, beautiful border wall and mass deportation never caught fire and instead 2016 was finally the year the Republican Party was watching its tone and making strategic moves to court Latino voters.

In Nevada, Arizona and Florida, Trump might be on the top of the GOP ticket, but Republican Senate candidates are still attempting to put the Republican 2012 election autopsy lessons of Hispanic outreach into practice.

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Approving legislation that would essentially ban abortion would bring a governor said to be on Donald Trump's veep list a costly court battle for a cash-strapped state and a lot of negative attention.

Will Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) sign it anyway?

In some ways, the choice she faces has become somewhat commonplace in the governors' mansions of red states across the country: Greenlight an obviously unconstitutional anti-abortion bill passed by a Republican legislature and invite an expensive court legal battle, or save the state the trouble by vetoing it at the risk of ticking off the social conservative base.

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Shouts erupted in the House gallery Thursday morning after several Republican members switched their votes, defeating an amendment that would have preserved anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors.

The procedural maneuvering is a little complicated but here's the gist: Late Wednesday, the House had passed defense legislation which included language that undermines an executive order from President Obama that prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) then offered an amendment that would have reversed the anti-LGBT provision in the defense bill.

That's when things got interesting.

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The GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that restricts that display of the Confederate Flag on cemeteries run by Department of Veterans Affairs.

Even allowing the floor vote was a major moment for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), as GOP leadership has largely avoided holding votes on the contentious issue after the the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, reignited the debate over Confederate flags. Similar legislation derailed an appropriations bill last summer, when former Rep. John Boehner held the speaker's gavel.

"Last year it stopped the appropriations process in its tracks," Ryan said at press conference after Thursday's vote, according to The Hill. "What changed is we have to get through these things, and if we're going to have open rules and appropriations, which we have, which is regular order, people are going to have to take tough votes."

The House voted 265-159, with 84 Republicans joining nearly all of the Democrats, to approve the amendment, which was part of the fiscal 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, according to The Post and Courier. The amendment had been introduced late last night by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), and it bars large-scale displays of the flag at V.A. ceremonies, while allowing families of deceased veterans to display small flags on individual graves on certain days of the year, according to The Hill

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During his primary, Donald Trump swore he could deport an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country, illegally. In fact, with "really good management," he vowed to get it done in two years. Then, he'd call on Mexico and get them to build a beautiful wall.

But now that Trump is the presumptive nominee, many Republicans in Congress are keeping their distance from what has become their nominee's signature campaign issue and instead dismissed it as little more than stump speech bravado.

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