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Rice moving from U.N. to national security advisor in latest Obama team shakeup

President Barack Obama’s top national security adviser Tom Donilon is resigning and will be replaced by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, marking a significant shakeup to the White House foreign policy team. A White House official confirmed the personnel changes Wednesday morning ahead of a planned announcement by the president later in the day. Donilon has been a key foreign policy adviser to Obama since he first took office. But the 58-year-old had been expected to depart sometime this year, with Rice seen as the likely candidate to replace him. Rice, a close Obama confidante, came under
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Congress moving to crack down on military sexual assaults

Lawmakers outraged by sexual assaults in the military are moving swiftly to address the problem, tackling legislation that would strip commanders of their authority to overturn convictions in rape and assault cases. The House Armed Services Committee plans to consider a sweeping, $638 billion defense policy bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. Debate over numerous provisions on sexual assault, the war in Afghanistan, missile defense and the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is expected throughout the day Wednesday. A final panel vote is likely late into the evening. The House committee’s action comes one day after
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Rubio trying to round up support on immigration bill

Senate debate on a far-reaching immigration bill is becoming a test of Sen. Marco Rubio‘s influence over fellow Republicans, as the Florida conservative works to sell GOP lawmakers on landmark legislation that also may help determine the fate of his presidential ambitions. Rubio, a tea party favorite who’s acted as the bill’s emissary to the conservative community, has spent recent weeks meeting individually with Republican senators to discuss strengthening the legislation in ways that could get them on board. That included supporting changes sought by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who outlined a tough border security amendment Wednesday in The Dallas
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Questions over secret emails of Obama’s team

Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees, including the Cabinet secretary for the Health and Human Services Department, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press. The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees’ email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million
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Tough choice for Christie in New Jersey Senate selection

In filling a vacant Senate seat, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces a significant choice fraught with political implications for his re-election campaign and, perhaps, a future presidential run. Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg‘s death Monday presents the state’s popular Republican governor with a series of decisions that carry consequences beyond who will serve as New Jersey’s next U.S. senator. While Republicans and Democrats alike will be watching Christie’s next moves closely, there’s no telling what the governor — who has staked out a reputation for going his own way — will do. “I give him praise on a life well-lived,”
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Bribe-taking Congressman at end of long prison term

  Randy “Duke” Cunningham, whose feats as a Navy flying ace during the Vietnam War catapulted him to a U.S House career that ended in disgrace when he was convicted of accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, is completing one of the longest prison sentence ever given to a member of Congress. Cunningham, 71, is due to be released Tuesday. He told a federal judge last year that he planned to live near his mother and brother in a remote part of Arkansas, writing books in a small cabin. But in a brief interview with The Associated Press
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Sexual assaults force military justice changes

Determined to stop sexual assault in the military, Congress is spelling out for the services how far lawmakers are willing to go in changing the decades-old military justice system. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and officers heading each branch of the military were to testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill, but it will be members of the Senate who will provide clues as to whether Congress embraces a far-reaching approach to limit the authority that commanders have to discipline the forces they lead. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is a proponent of ambitious legislation that would
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IRS victims testify before Congress

Conservative groups who were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service are getting their say on Capitol Hill just as the details of another IRS controversy are being made public. The leaders of six conservative groups were scheduled to tell lawmakers Tuesday about their mistreatment at the hands of IRS agents. Several of the groups say their applications for tax-exempt status were delayed while agents asked intrusive questions that the IRS has since acknowledged were inappropriate. One group, the National Organization for Marriage, says the IRS publicly disclosed confidential information about donors. Leaders of the groups were scheduled to testify before
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IRS scandal puts Issa at center stage

What began as a bipartisan congressional probe into Internal Revenue Service practices is quickly turning into a verbal brawl with U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, no stranger to controversy, under attack from Democrats and even some of his fellow Republicans. Issa, the California congressman who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Sunday said in a CNN interview that the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status was “directly being ordered from Washington.” In the same interview he accused White House spokesman Jay Carney of being a “paid liar” in his comments about the IRS and said U.S.
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More problems for the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service, already under fire after officials disclosed that the agency targeted conservative groups, faces increased scrutiny because of an inspector general’s report that it spent about $50 million to hold at least 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012. The report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general about conference spending is set to be released Tuesday. The department issued a statement Sunday saying the administration “has already taken aggressive and dramatic action to reduce conference spending.” The White House and the agency were on the defensive before the report on conference spending. Agency officials and the
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