Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Iraq: “Sunni militants extended their control over parts of northern and western Iraq on Wednesday as Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray. The militants overran the city of Tikrit, seized facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji, and threatened an important Shiite shrine in Samarra as they moved south toward Baghdad.”
* White House reaction: “The White House on Wednesday expressed concerns that Islamic militants had regained a foothold in Iraq after an al Qaeda-affiliated group seized control of a second major city…. ‘The situation in Iraq is grave,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded to reporters traveling with the president Wednesday to Massachusetts. “
* New details about yesterday’s school shooting: “Oregon police on Wednesday identified the gunman in the Reynolds High School shooting as Jared Michael Padgett, a 15-year-old freshman. They said he had no apparent connection to the fellow freshman he shot and killed before wounding a teacher and then eventually turning the gun on himself.”
* VA: “The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at giving veterans more options for medical care in an effort to cut down on the delays in treatment that have plagued Veterans Affairs facilities throughout the country.”
* More VA: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into accusations that Department of Veterans Affairs officials manipulated medical waiting lists and delayed care for thousands of veterans, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Wednesday. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Comey said F.B.I. agents in Phoenix were leading the investigation.”
* Bergdahl: “A defiant Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday defended the prisoner exchange that brought the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after years of captivity with the Taliban, telling skeptical lawmakers that the operation had needed to be kept secret from Congress to ensure that the soldier was not killed by his captors in the days leading up to the swap.”
* Did Cantor lose in Virginia yesterday because of crossover Democratic voters causing mischief? Probably not.
* Speaking of Cantor, he announced today that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will have his full support in the race to replace him in the leadership post.
* And speaking of House GOP leaders, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) announced today that she will not look to move up, and intends to stay right where she is.
* Zack Beauchamp posted quite an image: “One map that puts America’s gun violence epidemic in perspective.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.