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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama discusses climate change and renewable energy sources ahead of his trip to Alaska on Monday.

The president talked about the effects of climate change, specifically in Alaska, where many residents there are already suffering from the results including wildfires and storm surges.

"Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas," said the president. "And if we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century, changing all sorts of industries forever."

President Obama also talked about the country's reliance on oil.

"Now even as we accelerate this transition, our economy still has to rely on oil and gas," said the president. "As long as that’s the case, I believe we should rely more on domestic production than on foreign imports, and we should demand the highest safety standards in the industry – our own."

Read the full transcript of the President's address:

Hi, everybody.  This Monday, I’m heading to Alaska for a three-day tour of the state.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.  Not only because Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in a country that’s full of beautiful places – but because I’ll have several opportunities to meet with everyday Alaskans about what’s going on in their lives.  I’ll travel throughout the state, meeting with Alaskans who live above the Arctic Circle, with Alaska natives, and with folks who earn their livelihoods through fishing and tourism.  And I expect to learn a lot.

One thing I’ve learned so far is that a lot of these conversations begin with climate change.  And that’s because Alaskans are already living with its effects.  More frequent and extensive wildfires.  Bigger storm surges as sea ice melts faster.  Some of the swiftest shoreline erosion in the world – in some places, more than three feet a year.

Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas.  And if we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century, changing all sorts of industries forever.

This is all real.  This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.  In fact, Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in “imminent danger” and have to be relocated.  Already, rising sea levels are beginning to swallow one island community.

Think about that.  If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves.  Climate change poses the same threat, right now.

That’s why one of the things I’ll do while I’m in Alaska is to convene other nations to meet this threat.  Several Arctic nations have already committed to action.  Since the United States and China worked together to set ambitious climate targets last year, leading by example, many of the world’s biggest emitters have come forward with new climate plans of their own.  And that’s a good sign as we approach this December’s global climate negotiations in Paris.

Now, one of the ways America is leading is by transitioning away from dirty energy sources that threaten our health and our environment, and by going all-in on clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.  And Alaska has the natural resources to be a global leader in this effort.

Now even as we accelerate this transition, our economy still has to rely on oil and gas.  As long as that’s the case, I believe we should rely more on domestic production than on foreign imports, and we should demand the highest safety standards in the industry – our own.  Still, I know there are Americans who are concerned about oil companies drilling in environmentally sensitive waters.  Some are also concerned with my administration’s decision to approve Shell’s application to drill a well off the Alaskan coast, using leases they purchased before I took office.  I share people’s concerns about offshore drilling.  I remember the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico all too well.

That’s precisely why my administration has worked to make sure that our oil exploration conducted under these leases is done at the highest standards possible, with requirements specifically tailored to the risks of drilling off Alaska.  We don’t rubber-stamp permits.  We made it clear that Shell has to meet our high standards in how they conduct their operations – and it's a testament to how rigorous we've applied those standards that Shell has delayed and limited its exploration off Alaska while trying to meet them.  The bottom line is, safety has been and will continue to be my administration’s top priority when it comes to oil and gas exploration off America’s precious coasts – even as we push our economy and the world to ultimately transition off of fossil fuels.

So I’m looking forward to talking with Alaskans about how we can work together to make America the global leader on climate change around the globe.  And we’re going to offer unique and engaging ways for you to join me on this trip all week at WhiteHouse.gov/Alaska.  Because what’s happening in Alaska is happening to us.  It’s our wakeup call.  And as long as I’m President, America will lead the world to meet the threat of climate change before it’s too late.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) gave this week's GOP address speaking about the Iran nuclear deal.

According to Royce, if the deal goes through, Iran will get a "cash bonanza," which will lead to a path of nuclear weapons.

"Is there any other reason why Iran – an energy rich country – is advancing its nuclear technology other than to make a nuclear weapon?" asked Royce in the address.

Royce spends most of the address issuing his concern toward the deal, including saying the deal would "push Iran’s neighbors to begin their own [nuclear] programs."

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

I’m Ed Royce.  I represent California’s 39th district and chair the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives.

For many weeks, the House and Senate have been reviewing President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

In September, we will vote on this consequential initiative.

This is only fitting.  Figuring out how to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.

Unfortunately, this agreement comes up short.

Under its terms, the U.S. and other world powers permanently give up the financial pressure we have built against Iran.  But Iran must only temporarily stall its nuclear program.

After just 10 or so years, the restrictions on Iran’s program begin to expire.  Iran is then allowed to expand its nuclear program to an industrial-scale.

And since Iran is allowed to keep - and advance – key bomb-making technology, Tehran will then be just steps from a nuclear weapon – and that is if Iran doesn’t cheat.

This will push Iran’s neighbors to begin their own programs. 

Of course, Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.  Its leaders live by the motto “Death to America.”

Iran doesn’t behave like the peaceful countries that have nuclear programs.  Why does this agreement treat it like one? 

Well, President Obama is betting that Iran will change over a few short years into a country that can be trusted with nuclear bomb-making technology.  He is betting against history.

So many in the Senate and the House - from both parties - have decided that we can’t make this bet.  And I will be opposing President Obama’s nuclear agreement.

While most Americans are just now beginning to think about the consequences of this flawed agreement, we have been focused on Iran for many years.

Indeed, before President Obama launched these negotiations, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan and hard-hitting sanctions I authored by a vote of 400-20.

These sanctions would have given Iran’s Supreme Leader a choice between its nuclear program or economic collapse.

But the Administration was successful in blocking that legislation from becoming law.

So instead of us today considering a verifiable, enforceable and accountable agreement – what the Obama Administration sought out to achieve – the Administration settled for an agreement that gives Iran too much, too fast, and at the expense of the security of the United States and our allies.

While President Obama’s goal was to negotiate the most intrusive inspections in history – the deal falls way short in stopping Iranian cheating.

Instead of allowing international inspectors into suspicious sites within 24 hours, it will take 24 days.

That’s a far cry from “anywhere, anytime” inspections that members of Congress came to expect, and Americans should demand.

Worse, there have been revelations in recent days about an agreement between Iran and the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog.  This agreement sets the conditions in which a key Iranian military site - suspected of nuclear bomb work - will be explored.

While the details have been kept from Congress, it’s reported that instead of international inspectors doing the inspecting, Iranians themselves will take the inspection lead.

Iran has cheated on every agreement they’ve signed.  Why are we trusting them on this?

And when they do cheat, we won’t have any economic pressure left to bear, as the deal guts the sanctions and revives Iran’s economy.

And where does all the new money go?  To the largest terror network on earth, wreaking havoc across the region, arming the likes of Hezbollah and arming Hamas.

And with the Administration too eager for a deal, Iran won late concessions.  Against the advice of the Pentagon, international restrictions on its intercontinental ballistic missile program are lifted.  These missiles - designed to carry nuclear weapons - threaten our homeland.

If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, it gets a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons.

As Iran grows stronger, we will have fewer ways to respond.

We all wanted this negotiation to succeed.

But as America’s representatives, we must ask: is this agreement in the long-term national security interest of the United States?

Does it make the world and region more safe, more stable, more secure?

Is there any other reason why Iran – an energy rich country – is advancing its nuclear technology other than to make a nuclear weapon?

And why do its leaders chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel?”

I have come to my conclusions.  This deal is deeply flawed.  It makes the world less safe. 

We can – and must – do better.  

And in a few weeks, I look forward to a debate and vote on this critical national security issue.

Thank you for listening.

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ABC News(NORWOOD, Mass.) -- At a Massachusetts fundraiser Friday night, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump continued his attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton saying the former Secretary of State has “some very big problems” with her email server.

However, the real estate mogul took things a step further attacking longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) calling him a “perv."

“Who is Huma married to?,” Trump asked. “One of the great sleazebags of our time. Anthony Weiner.”

Weiner resigned his Congressional seat in 2011, after it was discovered the Democrat took shirtless photos of himself and shared them with women online.

Clinton rep Nick Merrill released a statement saying in part, “Donald Trump has spent the summer saying offensive things about women, but there is no place for patently false, personal attacks towards a staff member. He should be ashamed of himself…it’s embarrassing to watch frankly.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted some of the paid speeches that President Bill Clinton asked the State Department about were “unusual requests” but defended the process used to vet her husband’s speeches.

“The process that was set up in my years as secretary of state was for any requests that my husband received to be sent to the State Department to be vetted, so it didn't matter where it was coming from. It was going to go to the State Department,” Clinton said at news conference at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis on Friday.

“There was some unusual requests, but they all went through the process to try to make sure that the State Department conducted its independent review. He did neither of those speeches," she noted, referring to requests involving North Korea and the Congo.

“We tried to really be as careful and thoughtful in that process and this is another example of how it worked,” she added.

ABC News first reported on Friday that Bill Clinton sought approval from White House staff for two speeches involving repressive regimes -- North Korea and Congo. New State Department emails showed the requests came from one of Clinton’s aides at his foundation -- including Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the time -- and were sent to State Department officials.

The emails included details for the Congo speech, but the nature of the North Korea event was unclear. The email suggested the invitation for the North Korea event may have come from Hillary Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham.

In her news conference on Friday, the former secretary of state noted her husband traveled to North Korea in 2009 to secure the release of two detained American journalists.

“President Obama sent my husband to North Korea to rescue the two journalists who had been captured. This was after a painstaking negotiation to try to convince the North Korean leader to release these two young women. And every offer we made, every diplomatic overture we made was rebuffed,” Clinton explained. “Finally, the North Koreans said, if Bill Clinton comes, we will give him the two journalists. We thought about it, obviously the president and I and others analyzed it. We wanted those young women home and we said ‘Okay.’ I tell you that, because that was a successful mission that accomplished its purpose.”

“I think it's beyond unlikely that the State Department -- not involving me -- but that the State Department would say, you know, we think it's a good idea for you to go back and see what more you can find out, see what you can pick up. Now, in the end, that was not something my husband wanted to do and not something that the State Department wanted him to do. It never happened,” she added.

Clinton also said that by submitting all speech requests to the State Department, it would allow the agency to weigh whether a speech could be beneficial -- even if the nature of the event raised questions.

“We had a process so that all of these requests would be vetted. It would be highly unlikely that it would be a positive response. Yes, we want you to go but not totally beyond the realm of possibilities. So that's the way we did it,” she said.

Clinton was also asked about new emails sent while Huma Abedin worked as a special government employee, an arrangement that allowed Clinton's top aide to work for four different employers at once. Clinton declined to answer that question.

The newly disclosed emails have prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to start an inquiry with the State Department concerning the vetting process for Bill Clinton’s speeches.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Grassley notes Bill Clinton’s aide did not include the agency’s ethics officials on his emails about the speeches.

“It appears that the pattern of conduct for reviewing matters for approval may have excluded the agency ethics official. If that is the case, the failure to involve the relevant ethics officials directly conflicts with the representations made to Congress and the public that the ethics official would be involved,” Grassley said in a letter to Kerry.

In 2009, Clinton agreed to provide information for paid speech requests to a “designated agency ethics official” to “review for any real or apparent conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Some might say it was the sweetest takeaway from the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee: The “I’m Ridin With Biden” free chocolate bar.

DNC delegates arriving at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis were greeted by the chocolate bars at the registration desk. The candy is wrapped in a drawing of Vice President Joe Biden sitting in the driver’s seat of a convertible wearing sunglasses. They were created by the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC.

“The most fun is talking to people about a potential Joe Biden candidacy and really engaging with them on what they’re looking for in this presidential race,” said Josh Alcorn, a senior advisor to Draft Biden. “We had these chocolate bars with this ‘Ridin with Biden’ logo that were pretty popular here as well.”

The chocolate bars are just one step in a strategy the super PAC executed over the last few days at the DNC summer meeting to keep delegates' minds open to a potential presidential run by Biden. They also held off the record meetings behind closed doors with 65 to 70 people.

“He’s the original authentic candidate. I think folks are really craving that,” Alcorn said.

By Thursday afternoon, all the chocolate bars were gone, Alcorn said.

“I’m a chocolate freak,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party. “That’s the last thing I did before I went to bed, I ate a Hershey bar from the Draft Joe Biden chocolates.”

While Democrats seemed willing to bite into Biden candy, can they sink their teeth into a third presidential run from Biden?

“It’s good for the party to have the quality of candidates that we have today,” Hinojosa said. “And it will be good for the party to have Joe Biden if he jumps in.”

Vince Powers, chair of the Nebraska Democrats, joked that the Biden chocolate wouldn’t change any Democrat’s mind for or against a presidential run by the Vice President.

“People respect him and certainly if he chooses to run that will be well accepted, if he chooses not to run, that will be well accepted,” Powers said. “Somebody of his stature is held in high respect by the delegates and really Democrats across the country.”

Alcorn said that Biden is in the midst of a “deliberative process.”

“He’s weighing whether or not this is the right decision for him and so we’re just asking people to keep an open mind as he makes this decision,” Alcorn said.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter said now that he holds the Pentagon's top job, he is very careful with his email.

"I'm extremely careful about it," Carter said during an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday.

His comments come as Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton continues to deal with criticism about her use of a private email server for official emails during her time as secretary of state.

In his old job, Carter said he used email all the time.

“Now, in this job, I use a different way of operating,” he said, noting that on the occasions he does send email, he keeps them short.

"In general, my staff uses messages, and of course we send copious messages back and forth around the world," Carter said. "For myself, I am very careful."

The office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon nearly experienced a serious breach recently when a staff member opened an email he shouldn't have, Carter said.

"The department as a whole uses email and all kinds of other electronic aids all day and we need to protect that," he said.

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Adam Bettcher/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — The day after Donald Trump asked an audience member to prove his hair is real, Hillary Clinton brought up the topic in her speech to top Democrats Friday.

“A lot of people have said a lot of things about my hair over the years, so I do kind of know what Donald is going through,” she said to laughs from Democratic leaders at their summer meeting in Minneapolis.

"If anyone wonders if mine is real, here’s the answer. The hair is real. The color isn't," the former secretary of state said to more laughs. "Come to think of it, I wonder if that’s true for Donald too,” she wondered.

Trump called an audience member up on stage Thursday in South Carolina to perform an “inspection” into whether he was wearing a toupee. The woman confirmed the hair was real.

Clinton continued to hit the Republicans throughout her speech in Minneapolis, where all the Democratic candidates but Jim Webb and potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden are speaking. "The party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump,” she said.

She mentioned gun violence promising to enact gun control measures if she becomes president stressing that she won't "sit by while more good people die across America."

She also brought up women's health issues saying she knows her GOP opponents accuse of "playing the gender card."

“Well, if calling for equal pay and paid leave and women’s health is playing the gender card: deal me in," she said.


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(NEW YORK) — Top Democrats are gathering in Minneapolis for their summer meeting Friday, where they will hear from their presidential hopefuls.

Frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Lincoln Chafee will join the attendees in the late morning, while Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley will address the members in the afternoon.

Vice President Joe Biden, who will not be attending the convention Friday, did call DNC members about the Iran deal on Wednesday.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is off the trail Friday, while stablishment favorite Jeb Bush will stump with his most recent fan — former Majority Leader Eric Cantor — in the pivotal swing state of Virginia.

Meanwhile, second tier contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are campaigning in South Carolina Friday.

Carly Fiorina stumps in Iowa, while Rand Paul continues his western tour in Wyoming.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Amid President Obama's ongoing lobbying effort to gain sufficient Congressional support to approve the Iran nuclear deal, the president Friday will make his pitch directly to the North American Jewish community in a live webcast organized by two major Jewish organizations.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also held a webcast with the Jewish American community and made the case against the deal, arguing that it will only help to pave the way for Iran to obtain a bomb.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are taking their cozy relationship to a new level. The two are now going to appear at an event together.

Cruz's campaign said they invited Trump to participate in a rally against the Iran Deal that will take place Sept. 9.

Trump broke the news of the joint event at a campaign stop in South Carolina Thursday, saying, "We are talking to Ted Cruz, a good guy and friend of mine about doing something very big in Washington over the next two weeks."

It's the latest friendly gesture between the two presidential candidates. They've publicly praised each other in the past and Cruz is one of the few GOP candidates to steer clear of bashing Donald Trump.

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will lay out his foreign policy agenda in a speech at The Citadel, a military college in the early voting state of South Carolina.

Walker is making the case that the U.S. strategy in the Middle East needs to be expanded from its focus on defeating ISIS to also include a more aggressive stance against Iran, which he says is a Shiite form of Islamic terrorism.

"Over the last seven years, we have seen far too much of this delusion and wishful thinking," Walker will say in his speech, according to advance excerpts released by his campaign.

"To believe that a stable and lasting Middle East can be built by working with Iran, any more than by working with ISIS, isn't statesmanship. It's pure fantasy,” he’ll say.

Walker has long said that he would terminate a nuclear deal with Iran on day one as president and is also calling for "lifting the political restrictions" on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, which would allow them to take a more active combat role.

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Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for the Starkey Hearing Foundation(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has obtained State Department e-mails that shed light on Bill Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world -- North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

While Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, Bill Clinton earned speaking fees around the globe totaling more than $48 million -- speeches that had to be vetted by the State Department to ensure there were no conflicts of interest with his wife's work as America's top diplomat. These newly revealed emails show speech requests that the State Department refused to approve.

The emails -- which have come to light because of a public records request by the conservative group Citizens United, which sued the State Department to get the documents -- show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees -- seeking approval for appearances with ties to two of the most brutal countries in the world.

One email sent in June 2012 to Clinton State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills from Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, passed on an invitation for a speaking engagement in Brazzaville, Congo.

The catch? The dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would both be attending -- and required photos with Bill Clinton. The speaking fee? A whopping $650,000.

The Harry Walker Agency, which worked with Clinton on coordinating his speeches, recommended declining the invite, noting the particularly grim human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its leader, Joseph Kabila.

"Given President Kabila and others invovlement [sic] we anticipate you'll want us to quickly decline" the Harry Walker representative wrote.

The speaking agency's vetting of the Democratic Republic of the Congo noted the “prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern Congo is widely described as the worst in the world.”

Desai forwarded the e-mail to Mills and other State Department employees, including long-time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, asking for state’s opinion on whether Bill Clinton could do the speech but give the money to the Clinton Foundation.

"WJC wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation,” Desai wrote using Clinton’s initials. “We'd welcome your thoughts."

A second email thread in May 2012 shows another potentially thorny event -- subject line: "North Korea invitation."

“Is it safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns about WJC accepting the attached invitation related to North Korea?” Desai wrote in an e-mail to Mills and two other State Department officials -- Jake Sullivan, then-director of Policy Planning Staff and deputy chief of staff, and Michael Fuchs, then a special assistant to the secretary of state who now serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Mills two-word response? "Decline it."

But the Clinton Foundation followed up three weeks later, saying the invite came via Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham.

"We would be grateful for any specific concerns that we could share,” Desai wrote. “Tony is seeing WJC in a couple hours.”

Mills wrote back to tell Bill Clinton, “If he needs more let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line."

There is no further explanation of what the North Korea related event entailed in the documents provided to Citizens United by the State Department.

The Office of President Clinton confirmed to ABC News that the former president did not deliver either of the speeches.

"As a matter of course, all requests were run by the State Department. Ultimately, the president did not give these speeches," Angel Urena, press secretary in the Office of President Clinton, told ABC News.

The Clinton spokesman contends Desai was not "pushing" for these speeches, but he was just seeking the facts.

ABC News reached a friend of the family speaking for Rodham who declined to comment on the nature of the North Korea invitation.

Prior to his wife’s confirmation as secretary of state, Bill Clinton volunteered to submit information for proposed paid speeches to the Department of State's ethics agency to “review for any real or apparent conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.”

Hillary Clinton defenders are likely to point to the emails as an example of the system set up by the Clintons working. Speaking requests were sent to the State Department, which had the final word.

Still, the exchanges open a rare window on the private communications between aides to the former president, the Clinton Foundation, and Secretary Clinton's State Department during the four-year period that Hillary Clinton served as the nation's top diplomat. Those relationships and communications have drawn political scrutiny in recent months, with Republicans pouncing on episodes of potential conflicts of interests.

Bill Clinton delivered 215 speeches totaling over $48 million in the four years Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

This is the first batch of e-mails released as part of the public records requests originally submitted by Citizens United back in 2014. Earlier this year, the organization filed a lawsuit after the State Department failed to provide the e-mails. The State Department delivered the material to Citizens United last week, and more messages are expected to come in the next month.

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newly released e-mails offer a glimpse into Hillary Clinton confidant and personal aide Huma Abedin, who is facing growing scrutiny for her “special government employee” status inside the U.S. State Department while Clinton was in her final year as secretary of state.

Abedin has worked for Clinton for years, including her days in the U.S. Senate through the 2008 campaign and into the Obama administration. But it was a period of several months in 2012 -- when she split time working for the State Department, Clinton Foundation, an outside consulting firm, Teneo, which has close ties to the Clintons, and for Clinton herself -- that is now drawing a closer look by the State Department Inspector General and Clinton's Republican critics about potential conflicts of interest.

Some have alleged that Abedin used her ties to Clinton to improperly exert influence for the benefit of her bosses. No evidence has been presented publicly, however, and Abedin has not been charged with any crime or formally accused of violating government policy.

Special government employees are similar to outside government contractors. They are on the federal payroll but subject to guidelines about financial conflicts of interest and other restrictions on outside activities.

The emails -- which came to light as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit filed by the conservative group Citizens United, which was seeking information about the Clintons and Abedin’s time as a special government employee -- show how Abedin at times brought together players from her three other employers.

One set of e-mails, which were first obtained by the Washington Post, show Abedin e-mailing with Declan Kelly, a Teneo executive, about an outing with Hillary Clinton, Kelly, Clinton Foundation donors and State Department officials during an official State Department trip to Ireland by the secretary of state in December of 2012.

“Maybe we can all gather for drinks/dinner and HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] can come join for as long as she can?” Abedin wrote from her State Department account to the group about plans for the night of Dec. 6, 2012. “Declan has kindly offered to organize something. Either way, doubt we will lock anything for a few days but please know she does hope to see you that night!”

Abedin and Kelly exchanged several e-mails about plans for the evening. On Dec. 4, Abedin e-mailed a group that included Kelly, and members of the State Department and Clinton Foundation with the details of the event, which the Washington Post reported was organized by John Fitzpatrick, a Clinton supporter and Irish-American hotel magnate.

The e-mails do not detail whether Clinton attended the dinner with Teneo executives, but the Washington Post determined Clinton did participate, citing interviews with participants. The day of the dinner, Abedin informed a small group, including Kelly, that Clinton might be late because “hrc has to see the russians about Syria.”

The Clinton campaign defended Abedin and criticized Republicans' for promoting "baseless" allegations about her.

"This is someone who has spent nearly two decades in public service, and is widely known for her integrity and tireless work ethic," Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said. "After the birth of her son she took maternity leave. The IG had questions about the details of her leave, Huma answered. Anything beyond that injected into the public sphere is unfounded and from partisans in Congress with a clear agenda. These emails serve to reinforce that these allegations are baseless. It's not surprising, but it is disappointing."

Abedin's lawyer declined comment.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has been investigating Abedin’s special employment status and whether her work involved conflicts of interest. He is pressing the State Department and Abedin to clarify the nature of her work on Clinton’s Ireland trip.

In new letters to State and Abedin obtained by ABC News, Grassley suggested that the emails “raise a number of questions” about Abedin’s employment.

“How can the taxpayer know who exactly you were working for at any given moment? How can the ethics officer at the State Department know?” he wrote in his letter to Abedin.

In a letter to the State Department, obtained by The New York Times, Abedin's lawyer called Grassley's allegations "unfortunate and unfounded."

"Ms. Abedin is known for her integrity and her tireless work ethic and has been a role model for young women who have sought careers in government, public policy, and foreign affairs," the lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez wrote. "No staffer - indeed nobody at all - should be subject to such unfounded attacks based on ill-informed leaks, much less someone who has made countless personal sacrifices in distinguished service to the country she loves."

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- "Crook," "weak," "joke" are just a few of the words that voters said when Quinnipiac University asked them the first word that pops into their heads when they think of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.

Quinnipiac asked 1,563 voters and reported only the words that were said at least five times.

So what do voters really think of the 2016 presidential frontrunners? Here are the answers:

Hillary Clinton -- ‘Liar’

Clinton can’t shake the reputation that she’s hiding something.

The word “liar” was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. Some of the other top words voters said to describe the former secretary of state were “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” and “criminal.”

The two issues the GOP argues why Clinton’s unfit to hold office -- “Benghazi” and “email” -- topped the list as well. Also, her husband’s first name, Bill, came up 56 times by voters.

The poll, released on Thursday, shows Clinton is still leading among Democratic voters, but is down from 55 percent in late July to 45 percent, with Bernie Sanders gaining on her. Thirty-four percent of voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

Donald Trump -- ‘Arrogant’

“Arrogant” was said 58 times for Trump -- who’s still leading the GOP pack with 28 percent support. Other words were “blowhard,” “idiot,” and “clown.” Other words pointed to Trump’s successful career when he’s not out on the campaign trail: “businessman,” “rich,” and “money.”

Jeb Bush -- ‘Bush’

Bush can’t escape his family name.

As much as Bush insists he is his own man and tries distancing himself from the two former presidents in his family, voters think otherwise. Ironically, “Bush” is the top word that 136 people related to the former Florida governor. Voters also frequently answered “family,” “brother,” “George” and “dynasty” when asked to say immediately what comes to mind when they think of Jeb Bush.

“War” -- mostly likely referring to the Iraq War -- was brought up 10 times. “Weak” was also mentioned 45 times. In Quinnipiac's national poll, Bush is tied with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for 7 percent of support.

Other Notable Answers

A few profanities were mentioned for Clinton and Trump. “Hair” was also mentioned eight times for Trump. Bush was associated with the word “boring” 10 times.

It wasn’t all bad; voters did connect some positive words with these three candidates.

Clinton was hailed as “qualified,” “strong,” and “intelligent.” Trump was thought of as “bold,” “interesting,” and “successful.” Most likely given that Trump has never held office before, voters also associated the word “change” with Trump. For Bush, “honest” was mentioned 73 times, along with “nice” and “trustworthy.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The 2016 field of presidential candidates highlighted their various positions on gun control on Thursday while offering prayers and support in the wake of a shooting in Virginia that took the lives of two television journalists.

Other prominent shootings have prompted strong reactions from both sides -- calls for stronger gun control from the left and calls to respect the Second Amendment from the right.

Vester Flanagan, described by authorities as a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ, shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward while they were on the air Wednesday morning.

When Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was asked this morning on CNN whether he would do something different with gun policy, he said he would not.

“I don’t think I would because this is really a sick person. This isn’t a gun problem. This is a mental problem,” he said. “That’s what they should be focusing on instead of guns -- they should be talking about mental health because there’s so many things that can be done.”

He went on to call himself a “Second Amendment person,” adding that the shooting in Virginia was “horrible” and “a very sad commentary on life.”

But the real estate mogul has changed his tune since writing his book in 2000. “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in “The America We Deserve.”

On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton vowed to continue her support for gun control after the tragic shooting.

"Heartbroken and angry. We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer. Praying for the victims' families in Virginia," tweeted Clinton.

“But I will also reiterate we have got to do something about gun violence, and I will take it on,” she told reporters in Ankeny, Iowa, on Wednesday. “If we had universal background checks, if we could just put some time out between the person who’s upset because he got fired or domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this, maybe we could prevent this kind carnage."

While Joe Biden considers whether to jump into the 2016 race, Clinton's strongest competition right now, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, referred reporters to his previous statements on gun control, which have been criticized by the left for being too moderate.

"I am saddened by the senseless deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward," tweeted Sanders. "Jane and I have their families and friends in our thoughts."

“We can't have people demagoguing against folks just because they go out and hunt and they own guns,” he said on ABC News' This Week in late June. “On the other hand, rural America has got to understand that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has not gotten traction in the polls and is struggling to regain the spotlight, pointed to President Obama as a source of the problem.

“Well, first off, the deaths are an awful tragedy but let's focus on what the real problem is,” he said on Fox and Friends Thursday morning. “We're not enforcing law in this country. ... This president and this administration hasn’t enforced them.”

Other Republican candidates, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, expressed their support on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday.

“What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them, whether it was with a gun or a knife or a bomb,” Rubio said in New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe. “What has happened to us as a society that we now devalue life to such a level? What has happened in our society that people have become so violent? That’s the fundamental question we need to confront.”

Neurosurgeon and GOP candidate Ben Carson expressed a similar sentiment on CNN Wednesday night. "People are the problem, not so much guns," he said. "People use knives, people use bats, people us hammers to bludgeon people to death. I don’t hear anybody talking about taking those things away."

Other candidates, including Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Huckabee, continued to offer their support on social media.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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