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The Morning NOW: 7/12/13

There is a lot of news breaking out of Moscow this morning, as Edward Snowden meets with human rights groups in Sheremetyevo Airport.

There is a lot of news breaking out of Moscow this morning, as Edward Snowden meets with human rights groups in Sheremetyevo Airport. Alex will be following all the developments as they happen, in the meantime you can follow the Guardian's live blog or watch the Russian Times live feed here.

Joining Alex today:

Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg View/msnbc Political Analyst (@jonathanalter)

Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News White House Correspondent (@margarettalev)

Steve Schmidt, Vice Chairman, Public Affairs, Edelman/msnbc contributor

Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU (@aclu)

Sarah Slamen, Activist (@victorianprude)

First up, the jury begins its deliberations in the Zimmerman trial today. On Thursday, Judge Nelson ruled the jury would be able to consider manslaughter as a lesser charge, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years. How significant a development might this be?

Then, all the latest on Edward Snowden, who this morning was revealed to be seeking asylum in Russia. Putin has reiterated that in order to be granted asylum, Snowden "must cease his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners." Is he making Snowden an offer he can't refuse?

There were fireworks on the senate floor yesterday as Sen. Harry Reid threatened to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change the Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on nominees. This did not go over well with Sen. Mitch McConnell, who dramatically declared the proposed changes would "kill the Senate." Jonathan Chait speculates on the minority leader's real concerns:

The deeper subtext of McConnell’s argument is not one aimed at the public but at his fellow senators. It’s that the Senate is wonderful and unique, and any changes to its byways would threaten the character of the institution they all love so dearly. This is a deeply held belief by senators.

Could this really be the beginning of the end for the filibuster?

Finally, after weeks of action outside the Texas state capitol, the proposed abortion restrictions that drew thousands of activists will see a final vote today in the State Senate. The bill is expected to pass, and this time the state's Republicans aren't going to let anything get in the way of the vote, increasing security and warning that any disruptions would be dealt with immediately

Sarah Slamen, the activist who rocketed to internet fame earlier this week after being forcibly removed from the Senate floor by state troopers, will be joining Alex to discuss the proposed legislation, and what the next steps for women in Texas might be. You can watch her dramatic statement below.

It all happens at Noon, EDT.