TPM News

The Justice Department announced today that 11 people have been charged with spying for Russia, 10 of whom were arrested in Manhattan, Boston; Yonkers, NY; Montclair, NJ; and Arlington, VA.

The DOJ alleges that the people were allegedly "carrying out long-term, 'deep-cover' assignments in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation." The purpose of this assignment, according to the FBI, is "to become sufficiently 'Americanized' such that they can gather information about the U.S. for Russia, and can successfully recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles."

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In his opening statement in Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing today, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) took a moment to reflect on who he believes are the real activist judges on the Supreme Court. And his determination was, as one would expect, rather different than what Republicans would have Americans believe.

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A new survey of Texas by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that even though Gov. Rick Perry has mobilized his Republican base on a Tea Party platform, there is nevertheless no appetite for their favorite son to seek the presidency. In a Republican presidential primary, Perry is way at the back of the pack.

The numbers: Newt Gingrich 23%, Mike Huckabee 18%, Palin 17%, Romney 14%, and finally Rick Perry and fellow Texan Ron Paul at 8% each. The survey of GOP primary voters has a ±4.38% margin of error. Furthermore only 14% of GOP primary voters think Perry should run for president, with 63% saying he should not.

"We still are very far away from the primary election. However it is interesting that Texas Republicans prefer leading national Republicans over their own Governor," writes PPP president Dean Debnam "especially when they chose Governor Perry over Senator Hutchinson, who many considered a Washington insider." (Referring to Perry's landslide win in his Republican primary this past March, when he was challenged by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.)

Late Update: Perry really was dead last. When asked for comment, PPP told us that Ron Paul received exactly one more respondent than Perry did, with both rounding to 8%. Keep in mind that this difference has absolutely no statistical value, of course -- but it sure is entertaining.

How can a flawed iPhone be the best yet? Here's how:

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Wealthy Florida investor and Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene suggested last week that the Koran includes "crazy stuff" -- and his opponent is having a field day with it.

On Friday, Greene and his self-funded campaign was the subject of a Washington Post profile. Since then, Rep. Kendrick Meek, Greene's opponent in Florida's Democratic Senate primary, has hit Greene over and over with candid moments from the piece, subtly calling him both a religious bigot (Greene said the Koran includes "all kinds of this crazy stuff" within earshot of the Post reporter) and a misogynist (Greene called former good friend Heidi Fleiss "a businesswoman," too).

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Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) keeps insisting that the LGBT community coined the phrase "ick factor," which he recently used to describe same-sex relationships.

On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Huckabee argued that it's "disingenuous" that the gay community uses the phrase, and "somehow it's OK if they talk about it, but if someone else talks about it it's off bounds."

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The new Rasmussen poll of the South Carolina gubernatorial race gives Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley a double-digit lead over her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. Interestingly, though, this poll suggests that Haley may have gotten the opposite of a bump from her landslide win in last week's GOP primary runoff -- with her lead against Sheheen narrowing.

The numbers: Haley 52%, Sheheen 40%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous poll from two weeks ago, during the runoff campaign, Haley led Sheheen by 55%-34%, a greater margin than her opponent Gresham Barrett's 46%-38% lead over Sheheen.

The TPM Poll Average gives Haley a lead of 50.3%-36.0%.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan today will introduce herself to the Senate Judiciary Committee by promising she would adhere to the law, respect the "choices made by the American people," and keep an "open mind" while serving on the nation's highest bench. Kagan will talk about deference to politicians and the democratic process.

"The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people," she will say today, according to excerpts distributed by the White House. Kagan planned to talk about the phrase engraved on the Supreme Court building just down the street from the hearing room: "Equal Justice Under Law."

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