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Pentagon slams Benghazi panel for wasting money with exhaustive probe

DOD slams Benghazi panelThe U.S. Department of Defense this week sent a letter to the House panel still investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi and expressed frustration with the committee's prolonged probe and exhaustive requests, which have persisted for nearly two years.

The letter was sent to Benghazi panel chair Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., from Stephen Hedger, the assistant secretary of Defense. It is dated April 28.

"I write in response to the Select Committee on Benghazi's recent crescendo of requests of the Department of Defense," Hedger wrote to start the letter, before identifying hundreds of pages of documents, several classified briefings and other cooperation given by the Pentagon over the past year to the Benghazi investigators.

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House committee votes to require women to register for draft

Women and the draft

Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units.

A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month, touching off a provocative debate about the role of women in the military.

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Former House speaker sentenced to more than a year in prison

Denny Hastert sentenced to 15 months- Dennis Hastert, the Republican who for eight years presided over the House and was second in the line of succession to the presidency, was sentenced Wednesday to more than a year in prison in the hush-money case that revealed accusations he sexually abused teenagers while coaching high school wrestling.

The case makes the former speaker one of the highest-ranking American politicians ever sentenced to prison. The visibly angry judge repeatedly rebuked the 74-year-old before issuing the 15-month sentence, telling him that his abuse devastated the lives of victims and would probably make it harder than ever for parents to trust other adults with their children.

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60 Minutes: U.S. Rep. was told to raise $18,000 a day so he could get reelected.

Dialing for dollars: 60 MinutesRep. David Jolly says he was told his first job as a newly elected congressman was to raise $18,000 a day so he could get reelected. On Sunday's 60 Minutes, the Florida Republican calls the daily phone calls he and other members of Congress feel pressed to make to donors a "shameful" distraction from work they should be doing for the people who elected them.

Jolly and other frustrated congressmen talk to Norah O'Donnell on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Two years ago, Jolly won a special election to the seat he occupies, a seat that was up for grabs again only months later. In a strategy session, he says, one member of the Republican Party leadership showed him he had six months to raise $2 million. "And your job, new member of Congress...your first responsibility is to make sure you hit $18,000 a day," he says he was told.

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Palestine is latest GOP offensive in climate change wars

GOP use Palestine to cut climate fundsSenate Republicans think they’ve found a powerful way to hobble President Obama's participation in international climate diplomacy through the decades old Israel-Palestine conflict.

More than two dozen GOP senators told the Obama administration this week it has to cut off the hundreds of millions in contributions to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund.

They are also demanding that the administration cut off its $10 million annual contribution to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Senators ask Obama to investigate whether Pentagon misled Congress on sexual assault cases

Gillibrand

A bipartisan pair of senators is calling on President Obama to investigate allegations that the Pentagon misled Congress during testimony on sexual assault cases.

“We question whether the Pentagon has accorded this issue the importance it deserves, and our concerns are reinforced by a newly released report by the victims’ advocacy organization Protect Our Defenders, which maintains that the U.S. Department of Defense misled members of Congress during a recent congressional debate over sexual assault in the military, in a follow-up report by the Associated Press,” Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Obama on Tuesday.

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Emergency funding for Flint, Mich., stripped from Senate energy bill

Flint water plantThe U.S. Senate moved past a three-month impasse on a comprehensive energy bill Wednesday after stripping emergency funding to address the Flint, Mich., water crisis from the document.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, is the most comprehensive energy legislation since 2007. It reinforces the nation's energy infrastructure and modernizes government energy policy at time when the United States is the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas, the use wind and solar power is increasing and clean-air regulations are changing power systems across the country.

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