TPM News

Federal prosecutor John Durham has begun calling witnesses to testify before a secret grand jury probing the 2003 death of a man in CIA custody and other abuses at the agency, Adam Zagorin reported for Time.

A subpoena signed by Durham obtained by the publication indicates that "the grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes (18 USC/2441), Torture (18 USC 243OA) and related federal offenses."

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OK, so the fireworks weren't quite there on Monday. The candidates seemed more concerned with introducing their dozens of grandchildren and out-doing each other's attacks on President Obama than in directly addressing each other. But the GOP debate produced some illuminating moments, from Tim Pawlenty's awkward avoidance of a confrontation with Mitt Romney to Herman Cain's plan to root out "violent" Muslims. Without further ado, here are the top five highlights:

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Staffers working for House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) improperly disclosed information about a criminal investigation being run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) which could have compromised ongoing criminal proceedings, according to a letter House Oversight Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent to Issa on Monday.

Justice Department officials met with committee staffers on May 5 and told them the committee had released a document filed under seal, Cummings wrote. A federal district court judge had issued an order prohibiting the public release of a particular document, according to Cummings' letter.

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Following her novel strategy of officially announcing her presidential candidacy during...her first answer at a presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign posted her pre-recorded YouTube announcement.

Of course, Bachmann's very participation in the debate was itself an act of running for president, but the video provides the formal kickoff that voters are normally used to seeing these days.

"Hi, my name is Michele Bachmann. Today, I filed the necessary paperwork to seek the office of the Presidency of the United States," Bachmann says in the video. "And I'm inviting you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and also to go MicheleBachmann.com.

"This is a historic day for our nation -- this is the first day of taking our country back.

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Clarifying his earlier claim that Muslims do not belong in government, Herman Cain said in the New Hampshire Republican debate Monday night that he only meant the bad ones.

"You have peaceful Muslims, then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us," Cain said. "I was thinking about the ones that were trying to kill us."

Cain raised eyebrows in March when he said he would not appoint Muslims to his hypothetical White House cabinet out of fears they would "gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government." He said he still would grill any potential Muslim candidates on whether they were properly pro-American.

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In one of the most cringe-worthy moments of Monday's GOP presidential primary debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty blew his first big chance to draw a distinction between himself and his top rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. For the past 36 hours, Pawlenty has ribbed Romney for being the architect of "ObamneyCare" -- the mandated universal private health insurance plan that Romney pioneered in Massachusetts, which served as a basis for the new national health care law.

But offered a chance by CNN host John King to confront Romney with the barb in person, an uncomfortable Pawlenty demurred.

"I just cited President Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed ObamaCare," Pawlenty said. "Using the term ObamneyCare was a reflection of the President's comments that he designed ObamaCare on the Massachusetts health care plan."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) used Monday's New Hampshire Republican debate to make a little news, announcing that she had filed the paperwork to make her run for president official.

Her intentions weren't exactly a mystery -- this was a presidential debate, after all -- but Bachmann letting slip that she had filed the papers for her candidacy earlier that day was the first official confirmation of her intentions.

On Twitter, Bachmann's new presidential account "TeamBachmann" blasted out the news shortly after the debate announcement: "I'm in. RT if you'll join my campaign for President of the United States: http://www.michelebachmann.com #cnndebate."

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated her calls for embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to step down after President Obama jumped on the resignation bandwagon Monday.

Speaking to reporters outside her office on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said that "none of us, not anybody here has the power to force somebody out of office." But she said that she thinks Weiner should heed the suggestion from his party's leaders, including Obama, that it's time to go.

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If he had to to it all over again, Herman Cain says he probably wouldn't have told TPM that Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) political-themed prayer at a social conservative and evangelical gathering in Washington June 3 sounded like the "the ultimate pander."

Cain told the Weekly Standard's John McCormack that that description was a mistake.

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