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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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With business mogul-turned-reality show hack-turned presidential candidate Donald Trump dominating headlines as of late, leave it to The New Yorker to show the effect his campaign is having on the rest of the 2016 field. The cover for the July 27, illustrated by Barry Blitt, shows a shirtless Trump belly flopping into a pool of his fellow White House contenders, featuring a panicked Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).

Since entering the 2016 race, Trump's hyperbolic style coupled with his derogatory comments, particularly about immigrants, has put the rest of the Republican field on the spot.

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Republican lawmakers knew about a viral Planned Parenthood "sting video" well before it was released Tuesday, CQ Roll Call is reporting.

Since the video -- which appears to show a Planned Parenthood medical official discussing how abortion providers typically go about procuring fetal tissue for researchers -- was released, congressional leaders have called for an investigation into the claims raised by the group behind the video. Abortion foes say the video reveals that Planned Parenthood is selling the organs of aborted fetuses.

At least two members of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus admitted to CQ Roll Call that they had seen the video before its public release. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), pictured above, said he saw the video a month ago but didn't act on its supposed revelations immediately because "the hope was to have as much information as possible so that the authorities could be notified effectively before the media."

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) initially said he saw the video weeks ago only to attempt to walk back those comments -- telling CQ Roll Call that “This interview didn’t happen” -- before his spokeswoman clarified that he wanted to do his "due diligence" before embarking on an investigation. The Energy & Commerce subcommittee, which Murphy chairs, announced Wednesday that it was investigating the claims made about Planned Parenthood in light of the video.

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A standoff between Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and state legislators came to a head Thursday, when leaders in the statehouse refused to consider 65 pieces of legislation he attempted to return with vetoes. Democrats and Republicans alike say they consider those bills already to be law, as LePage missed the 10-day deadline to properly veto the legislation.

The offices of Maine House Speaker Mark Eves (D) and Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) confirmed to TPM that the legislation had been sent to the revisor of statutes to be chaptered as law.

"We are not going to take them up. We've communicated that to the governor, but they won't be brought up today because they're already law," Jodi Quintero, Eves' spokeswoman, said.

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The Supreme Court's popularity among Republicans has taken a serious dive, a new Gallup poll finds, while Democrats have embraced the court more than ever.

According to the survey released Thursday, 76 percent of Democrats approve of the Supreme Court, up from 47 percent in September 2014, while Republican approval has sunk 17 percentage points to the current 18 percent in the same time period. In the meantime, approval among Independents has increased slightly, from 46 percent to 49 percent.

Gallup used telephone interviews to survey 1,009 adults nationwide between July 8-12, 2015, for a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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An undercover video surfaced Tuesday purportedly showing a high-level Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of tissue obtained from aborted fetuses. Heavy emphasis on purportedly.

Conservative media outlets have covered the video extensively. Abortion opponents have alleged the video shows there is a black market for fetal tissue, and the originators of the video allege Planned Parenthood is breaking the law. The apparently casual, some might say callous, tone of the Planned Parenthood official -- shown on the video talking about how to avoid "crushing" certain parts of the fetus during the abortion procedure to preserve more desirable tissue -- has further enflamed the debate.

The video is being blamed (or credited, depending on your point of view) for fueling an effort to derail a bill in Congress to mint a commemorative breast cancer coin because some of the proceeds from the coin were to go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which provides some non-abortion funding to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is on the defensive, arguing the video was "heavily edited" and doesn’t show any wrongdoing.

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage has made amends with the 17-year-old boy whose cartoonist father he said jokingly he would like to shoot.

LePage sent Nick Danby, son of a well-known Maine cartoonist George Danby, a personally-penned apology note addressing the comments, a governor spokesman confirmed to the Maine Sun Journal. LePage's office did not provide the governor's letter to Danby, but offered the Sun Journal a copy of the letter Danby wrote in response.

"Thank you for the warm and thoughtful note — I appreciate your concern and frankness," Danby wrote. "I wanted to respond by telling you that I was not offended — I thought they were quite humorous — nor was I the one who reported the incident — I think in many respects you were simply representing the feelings of many Mainers."

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A number of undocumented immigrants and their children have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas for what they say is a policy designed to deny their U.S.-born children birth certificates.

"Defendants have acted with the intent to discriminate against the Texas-born children on the basis of their parents' immigrations status, depriving the children of their rights, benefits and privileges granted to all other citizen children," the complaint says. "Defendants have also acted with the intent of discriminating against undocumented parents on the basis of their immigration status, penalizing them and making their personal/family lives near untenable."

Lawyers from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the South Texas Civil Rights Project are representing the challengers in the lawsuit, which is being brought against Kirk Cole, the Texas Department of State Health Service's Vital Statistics Unit commissioner, and Geraldine Harris, the unit chief. The suit started with four mothers, according to the Texas Observer, but has now expanded to well over a dozen parents who say they were denied birth certificates for their U.S. born children.

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Yet again, abortion politics threaten the fate of a well-intentioned piece of legislation in Congress.

House GOP leadership cancelled a vote scheduled Tuesday on a bill to mint a commemorative coin for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, as conservatives raised concerns about the organization's ties to Planned Parenthood, National Journal reported. The coin would have raised money for the foundation's breast cancer research, and the legislation had bipartisan support, having initially been backed by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

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The Republican-controlled Congress can still kill President Obama's Iran deal, but to do so, it faces an uphill battle.

Now that the historic deal, which would lift international sanctions in return for new limits on the Iranian nuclear program, has been announced, Congress has the ability to weigh in on it under the legislation signed by the president in May.

Under the process outlined by the legislation, Obama will report the details of the negotiation to Congress, upon which a 60-day clock will start ticking for Congress to act. It can vote to approve the deal, vote to disapprove it, or simply do nothing. If it votes against the deal, it would have the legal effect of maintaing U.S. sanctions on Iran, which would effectively kill the deal.

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Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage's efforts to stop a batch of bills he intended to veto from becoming law were dealt another blow late last week when Maine Attorney General Janet Mills (D) released a letter siding with Democratic lawmakers who say the governor missed his deadline to veto the legislation.

Under the Democrats' and Mills' reading of the Maine constitution, since LePage did not return the 19 bills passed last month in the 10-day period he had to veto them, they have already become law. Since the Bangor Daily News reported on the lapse last week, LePage has dug in and insisted he could return the bills when the legislature reconvenes this week.

Another 51 bills are set to become law, the Portland Press Herald reported, as LePage refused to act on them by the 10-day deadline that expired Saturday at midnight.

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