Morning Briefing: April 19, 2012

The White House warned congressional Republicans yesterday that unless they agreed to abide by the budget deal they agreed to last summer, President Obama will not sign any appropriations bills, setting the stage for a government shutdown just ahead of the fall elections.

Mitt Romney, who four years ago said he wasn’t even familiar with the Violence Against Women Act, now supports it and “hopes it can be reauthorized without turning it into a political football,” according to a spokeswoman.

In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove concedes “there’s evidence that people want to tax the rich more heavily.” Nevertheless, he argues Republicans shouldn’t support the Buffett Rule and can “win this argument” by asserting “now is not the time to be raising taxes, especially on job creators.”

Yonas Fikre, an American Muslim, asserted that he was tortured in a United Arab Emirates jail cell at the behest of the FBI. Fikre is the “third Muslim man from Portland to publicly say he was detained while traveling abroad and questioned about Portland’s Masjid as-Sabr mosque.” Fikre says he was instructed by his captors not to tell anyone he was beaten, or “hell would break loose.”

Top U.S. defense and civilian officials condemned photos taken of Army personnel posing with body parts of dead Afghans — “the latest in a string of revelations concerning wartime abuses that have strained ties between the U.S. and Afghanistan.” The Pentagon tried to dissuade the Los Angeles Times from publishing the photos, saying it could put troops in greater danger.

The CIA is seeking permission to broadly expand their mission authority in Yemen and open the door to additional drone strikes against unidentified targets simply engaged in patterns of suspicious behavior, reports the Washington Post.

A new CNN poll finds Republican voters unsure of who they want Mitt Romney to pick as his running mate, should he win the nomination, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leading a crowded pack.

Police arrested three more people in the ongoing hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspapers, this time targeting the royal editor of The Sun and two others.

And finally: Demonstrating little confidence in Mitt Romney’s 2012 candidacy, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) says he will consider another presidential run in 2016. “2016 is way down the road,” he said, but added that he’ll give a potential bid “a good examination.” Of course, if Romney wins this year, he’ll be up for reelection in 2016.