Put your weapons down. The U.S. Senate might not be completely broken after all, as Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested yesterday. After an unusual, closed-door meeting of the full Senate Monday night, Reid said this morning that Republicans and Democrats are close to reaching a “nuclear option” disarmament agreement. Democrats have threatened to change Senate rules so that only a simple majority vote is required to approve President Barack Obama’s Cabinet appointees. But they have been reluctant to use the so-called political bomb because they don’t want to be on the receiving end when they’re in the minority. Reid said he thinks the body has settled on a way forward that will be amenable to everyone: “I think it will be something that is good for the Senate. It is a compromise.”
Unlikely allies. Who says the Senate can’t reach bipartisan agreements? In what is being billed as a surprise alliance, two very conservative Republican senators—Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky—have joined hands with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to promote changes to the military’s sexual assault policy. Gillibrand’s proposal would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether to pursue charges of sexual assault. Military leaders oppose the changes, saying they will interfere with unit cohesiveness, but advocates say only those unconnected to service members involved in assault cases can make unbiased decisions.
Snowden saga. Is anyone tired of the Edward Snowden saga yet? For those who aren’t, here’s the latest: A Russian official confirmed today that the former CIA analyst accused of leaking classified documents to a London newspaper has officially requested temporary asylum in Russia. Officials now have three months to rule on the request. If it’s approved, Snowden would be free to live, work, and move freely in Russia. But presumably, President Vladimir Putin’s condition still applies: Snowden must stop leaking information about America’s electronic surveillance programs if he wants to gain his freedom. Putin has promised not to send Snowden back to the United States, where he faces espionage charges, much to the Obama administration’s frustration.
Busted. Mexican officials are celebrating the capture of one of the most brutal drug lords currently terrorizing towns along the country’s border with Texas. Acting on a tip, a team of Mexican marines captured Zeta cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, 40, just outside Nuevo Laredo last night. He was traveling along a dirt road in the countryside in a pickup with his accountant, a bodyguard and $2 million in cash. Although the trio had eight guns between them, officials say no one fired a shot during the confrontation and subsequent arrest. Morales is charged with murder, torture, kidnapping, and other crimes.
Nixon advisor dies. Leonard Garment, lawyer, friend, and adviser to President Richard Nixon, died yesterday at age 89. During the Watergate scandal, Garment urged Nixon not to destroy tapes of conversations captured by secret recording devices installed in the White House. Those recordings eventually led to Nixon’s downfall and resignation. After leaving Washington in 1973, Garment set up practice in Manhattan and represented high-profile clients, including Oral Roberts.