Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Jul 23, 2014

  • What is the 2014 midterm election all about? You decide.

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    What is this election year about? Is it jobs and the economy? Immigration and the border crisis? Obamacare? Women’s health issues? The Veterans Affairs scandal? The minimum wage? A world in turmoil? The image of House Republicans? Anger toward Washington? Power?

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  • House and Senate poised to offer competing border security plans

    By David Nakamura and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The Senate and House are poised to act on separate emergency border security plans, likely setting up a protracted debate in Washington as the Obama administration warns that it is running out of money to address the child-migrant crisis at the southern border.

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Jul 22, 2014

  • Obama Denounces Russia and Separatists for Obstructing Crash Site

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama on Monday sternly denounced Russia and the separatists it supports in Ukraine for blocking access to the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down last week, declaring that “time is of the essence” to recover bodies and evidence.

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  • Does Hamas have a media strategy?

    With Jim Scuitto, CNN

    CNN's Jim Sciutto talks with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, about Hamas' media strategy.

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  • Gov. Perry to send National Guard troops to Mexican border amid migrant crisis

    By David Nakamura and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans Monday to send up to 1,000 of his state’s National Guard troops to the Mexican border within 30 days, saying that the Obama administration has not kept Texas secure.

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  • Reid fears gridlock will upend border, veterans’ measures

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) openly doubted Monday that Congress will be able to complete work on measures to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs and to address the growing influx of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border before the upcoming congressional summer recess.

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  • Friend of Tsarnaev Guilty of Obstruction of Justice for Hiding Evidence

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    A friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty Monday of obstruction of justice for interfering with the FBI's investigation into the latter's possible involvement in the 2013 terrorist attack.

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Jul 21, 2014

  • SA-11 Missile Batteries Moved Out of Russia Following Plane Crash

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    New evidence points to Russia's involvement in the attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

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  • With Jet Strike, War in Ukraine Is Felt Globally

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    From the start, the telephone call did not go well. Dispensing with pleasantries, President Vladimir V. Putin launched into an edgy and long-winded complaint about the new American sanctions imposed on Russia the day before.

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  • In U.S. gay marriage cases, children emerge in the limelight

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    With legal battles over gay marriage simmering across the United States, proponents are showcasing a group they had once sidelined: children.

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  • How Hobby Lobby Split the Left and Set Back Gay Rights

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    In the Hobby Lobby decision handed down last month, the Supreme Court was asked to strike a balance between women’s rights and religious freedom. But the major conflict that has erupted in the wake of that decision has been between religious freedom and gay rights. The resulting controversy has split gay-rights and faith groups on the left, with wide-ranging political fallout that some now fear could hurt both causes.

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  • Run, Elizabeth, Run!

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Imagine there were a political movement that was against pablum in the public square, that promoted tough debates on pressing issues, that was suspicious of coronations, and cared about a presidential candidate’s qualities as much as the ideas she would bring to office? This proud movement would engage all the right-thinking members of the citizenry, liberal and conservative. It would enliven the daily discourse and it would push Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president

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Jul 18, 2014

  • Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down: Timeline of What Happened

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    ABC's Martha Raddatz reports a passenger jet crashed in the Ukrainian countryside with 298 people on board.

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  • Tragedy on Top of Crisis May Strengthen Stand Against Russia in U.S. and Europe

    By Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    The downing of a commercial Boeing 777 in the Ukrainian war zone on Thursday inflamed an already volatile international crisis and may bolster President Obama’s efforts to isolate Russia if evidence points to complicity by Moscow’s separatist allies.

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  • After Shoot-Down, Obama Confers With Leaders, Security Team

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama conferred Thursday by phone with his secretary of state and members of his national security team in the hours after a shoot-down of a commercial airliner carrying close to 300 passengers.

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  • Earlier Downing of Transport Plane Over Ukraine Foreshadowed Tragedy

    By Michael R. Gordon, Mark Mazzetti and C. J. Chivers, The New York Times

    The first vivid demonstration of the war in Ukraine’s sudden escalation came Monday, three days before the downing of a Malaysian civilian airliner.

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  • Inside John Kerry’s Diplomatic Save in Afghanistan

    By Michael Crowley, TIME Magazine

    As the sun went down over Kabul on Saturday July 13, Afghanistan’s future hung in the balance. Accusations of fraud in the country’s recent presidential election had paralyzed the country’s politics and threatened to trigger a civil war that could destroy the progress America’s costly military and diplomatic efforts had delivered since 2001. The parties in the dispute had convened at the residence of the American ambassador in Kabul, but the two sides couldn’t reach agreement.

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Jul 17, 2014

  • Raising Stakes on Russia, U.S. Adds Sanctions

    By Peter Baker and James Kanter, The New York Times

    President Obama imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, targeting some of the crown jewels of the country’s financial, energy and defense industries in what officials described as the most punishing measures taken to date by the United States in retaliation for Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

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  • Christie's political engine: His BIG personality

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would carry heavy baggage into a 2016 presidential race. Conservative activists distrust him. A budget crisis has revived questions about his leadership. Close aides created traffic problems for his constituents on purpose.

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  • U.S., EU Escalate Russia Sanctions as Putin Holds Firm

    By Margaret Talev, Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Ian Wishart, Bloomberg News

    The U.S. and the European Union imposed the most aggressive sanctions to date on Russian business and said more may follow, acting after threats to squeeze the $2 trillion economy over the conflict in Ukraine.

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