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Senate passes bill allowing Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

Senate pass bill allowing familiees to sue Saudi ArabiaThe U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow survivors and relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages against the government of Saudi Arabia.

The legislation, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, passed in the Senate by unanimous voice vote.

If it passes the House of Representatives and is signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama, JASTA would allow lawsuits to proceed in federal court in New York as lawyers try to prove that the Saudis were involved in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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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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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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Report: Powell, Rice staff received classified emails on private servers

Colin PowellIn a letter obtained by NBC, Inspector General Steve Linick said that a total of 12 classified emails, now classified as "secret" or "confidential," were found to have been sent to the personal email accounts. Ten of them were sent to Rice's aides and two sent to Powell.

Linick added that none of the emails were marked classified at the time, and none were sent from the intelligence community.

In an interview with NBC, Powell downplayed the significance of the emails, saying that the information in the messages, which were sent by ambassadors, should not be classified.

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Obama vetoes anti-climate change measures passed by Congress

obamaPresident Barack Obama has vetoed two measures that would have blocked steps that his administration is taking to address climate change.

One would have nullified carbon pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The second would have voided a set of national standards designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants.

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Pelosi unsure omnibus can pass

PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she’s unsure whether the $1.1 trillion year-end government spending bill will pass the House — despite support from President Obama and congressional leaders in both parties and chambers.

Asked if she's “confident” the package will win enough Democratic votes to move through the lower chamber, Pelosi didn't pause for a second.

“No,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “We're talking it through.”

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Dem senators call on Pentagon for transparency on child sex abuse

Dem Senators want probe into miitary chile abuseThree female Democratic senators are pushing the Pentagon for more transparency on child sex abuse cases in the military, following a recent report highlighting the prevalence of such cases.  

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) sent Defense Secretary Ashton Carter a letter Tuesday urging him to reform the military judicial system "so that it is transparent and accountable."

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