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Barack Obama’s top aide says Israeli ‘occupation’ must end

Denis McDonoughWhite House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made clear in a speech to a left-leaning Israel advocacy group that President Barack Obama isn’t letting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off the hook for his dismissal of a two-state solution.

That stance, as well as Netanyahu’s suggestion also made in the closing days before last week’s Israeli elections that he’d approved settlements in contested territory in Jerusalem for the strategic purpose of changing the borders are “so very troubling,” McDonough told J Street’s annual conference in Washington. He called the pro-Israel group, which opposes some of Netanyahu’s policies, “our partner.”


How the Senate Republicans’ letter gave Iran a boost in nuclear talks

Iran gains leverage from GOP letterThe 47 Republican senators who wrote to Iranian leaders this month may have believed they were sabotaging the talks on a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, hoping it would exacerbate fears in Tehran that any such deal could be reversed by the next U.S. president.

No one knows how the talks will end, or which party will win the White House next year, but Iranian leaders most likely believe it has strengthened their negotiating position. That’s because this partisan stunt was old news when it arrived in Tehran. The Iranians were fully prepared for attempts of this sort to undermine the negotiations in which they have invested so much.


New Subpoena Seeks Evidence Christie Administration Retaliated Against Jersey City Mayor

Christie's Bridgegate scandalFederal prosecutors issued a new subpoena to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey this week seeking possible evidence of claims New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration retaliated against the Democratic mayor of Jersey City.

The subpoena seeks records from a broad range of former authority officials regarding their interactions with Jersey City, according to a person familiar with the matter, including two Christie allies who resigned from the authority amid the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni.


Obama regrets not shutting down Guantanamo on first day

Obama in ClevelandPresident Barack Obama said Wednesday that he regrets not shutting down the U.S. Navy's prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba when he first arrived at the White House six years ago.

Obama made the remarks following an economic speech in Cleveland, where a seventh-grader asked what he regrets most about his presidency so far, the Washington Post reported.


Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Sentenced To 30 Months In Campaign Fraud

Rowlands gets second sentenceJohn G. Rowland, Connecticut's brash ex-governor turned radio commentator, stood again Wednesday in front of a packed courtroom and for the second time in ten years, was sentenced to prison for low rent political crimes, this time for 30 months.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton said Rowland showed a striking disregard for the clean election laws while trying to conceal his role as a paid consultant to a 2012 Congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley.


Obama administration sets record for denying, censoring files

ObamaThe Obama administration set a record again for more often than ever censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.


Ted Cruz Makes Impassioned Plea For Repeal Of Federal Legislation That Does Not Exist

Ted CruzSen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is known for waging political battles even if the odds of success are slim. He famously launched a 21-hour filibuster in a failed, last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. But his latest crusade may be his biggest challenge yet: repealing a federal law that does not exist.

On Twitter, Cruz blasted the federal government role in education and called for the repeal of Common Core:

Can Cruz “make DC listen”? It will be particularly hard since Common Core is not, in fact, a federal law.


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