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The Brief: July 27, 2015

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz took a drubbing on the Senate floor Sunday from GOP leaders, who scolded him for calling the Republican majority leader a liar.

Joined by Dave McIntosh (left), the president of the Washington, D.C-based Club for Growth, and U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bry…

The Big Conversation

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz took a drubbing on the Senate floor Sunday from GOP leaders, who scolded him for calling the Republican majority leader a liar. 

The battle, which Politico called a "Senate smackdown," stemmed from Cruz's comments Friday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a "flat-out lie" over legislative strategy on the Export-Import Bank. 

The Senate's top Republicans pushed back Sunday. That includes McConnell's top lieutenant, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who said Sunday that Cruz "is mistaken." The Tribune's Abby Livingston has more on the two Texas senators: 

On Sunday the two men shared a strikingly tough exchange for two senators not just from the same party, but the same state. ...

Cornyn took the floor immediately after Cruz. He backed McConnell’s procedural maneuvers that stifled a Cruz amendment on Iran. And Cornyn questioned the legitimacy of Cruz’s charges against McConnell. 

“If the majority leader had somehow misrepresented to 54 senators what the facts are with regards to the Ex-Im Bank, I would suspect that you would find other voices joining that of the junior senator, but I hear no one else making such a similar accusation.”

“There was no misrepresentation made by the majority leader on the Ex-Im Bank,” Cornyn added.

Politico has reaction from a handful of Cruz's colleagues, as well Cruz doubling down that what McConnell has said is "on its face objectively false."

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: 2016 Could See Voter Turnout Spike in Texas, by Ross Ramsey  A competitive Democratic presidential primary made voter turnout surge in 2008. A competitive Republican primary could do the same in 2016.

Texas Body Farm Researchers Use Corpses to Solve Crimes, by Ally Mutnick — Texas State University's Forensic Anthropology Center is home to about 50 donated human corpses, which are used in research that can help doctors identify bodies, rescuers find missing persons and law enforcement solve crimes.

AG's Office Probing Valley Election Fraud Claims, by Patrick Svitek — The Texas attorney general's office has opened an investigation into a contested election in the Rio Grande Valley won by a client of Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa two years ago, according to a lawyer for the losing candidate.

Former TPPF President Announces Challenge to Straus, by Patrick Svitek — Jeff Judson, the former president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, announced Friday he is launching a challenge to unseat House Speaker Joe Straus.

In Big Bend, Pipeline Opponents Claim Small Victory, by Jim Malewitz — A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and other disgruntled landowners is claiming a small victory in its long-shot battle to block a hefty pipeline planned to carry natural gas beneath 143-miles of largely untouched Big Bend-area land into Mexico.

Appeals Court Rejects One Count in Perry Indictment, by Patrick Svitek — A state appeals court on Friday threw out one of two counts in the indictment against former Gov. Rick Perry.

Waller County Releases Sandra Bland Autopsy Report, by Sophia Bollag — Waller County officials have released the autopsy report for Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old African-American woman found dead in the county jail on July 13.

In Emails, Patrick's Office Did Not Object to Veto Memo, by Patrick Svitek — Emails released to the Tribune show Dan Patrick's budget guru raised no obvious objections while approving the release of a memo that the lieutenant governor is now railing against.

Court: Houston Must Repeal Ordinance or Put It on Ballot, by Alexa Ura — The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Houston City Council must repeal or put up for public vote the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, which extends protections to gay and transgender residents.

Elsewhere

Texas County’s Racial Past Is Seen as Prelude to Sandra Bland’s Death, The New York Times

Attorney General Lynch: Sandra Bland’s death highlights black Americans’ concerns about police, The Washington Post

Bland's image goes far beyond dash-cam video, Houston Chronicle

Dozens protest outside Katy home of state trooper, Houston Chronicle

As Texas Guard stands watch, debate over guns unfolds, San Antonio Express-News

Fikac: Experts on Perry lawyers: You get what you pay for, San Antonio Express-News

Rick Perry dismisses Trump as a long-term threat, CBS News

There's No Stopping the Trump Show, The Atlantic

Ken Paxton prepares for criminal indictment in securities case, The Dallas Morning News

Feds apologize, launch inquiry after judge’s comments to Gulf War vet, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea."

— Former Gov. Rick Perry responds to the shooting in a movie theater in Louisiana on CNN, saying that armed "citizens who are well trained" can stop similar tragedies

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