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Former CIA Head David Petraeus to Plead Guilty

ISAF via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Decorated war veteran and former CIA director David Petraeus has entered into an agreement with federal prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information.

The charge, unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, stems, in part, from documents the former director allegedly provided to his mistress.

In November 2012, Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA after little more than a year on the job. For 37 years before that, he served in the U.S. Army, including as commander of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That long and successful career in public service came to an end when a long affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, became public.

Petraeus provided Broadwell access to his “Black Books,” which contained Petraeus' notes, including highly classified material from his command in Afghanistan, according to charging documents in the case.

“A total of eight such books ... contained classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussion, quotes and deliberative discussion from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant David Howell Petraeus’s discussions with the president of the United States of America," the documents said.

Following the agreement with Petraeus, the Justice Department issued a statement: “Three documents -- a criminal information, a plea agreement and a statement of facts -- were filed today in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina’s Charlotte Division in the case of United States v. David Howell Petraeus. The criminal information charges the defendant with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. ... The plea agreement and corresponding statement of facts, both signed by the defendant, indicate that he will plead guilty to the one-count criminal information."

Petraeus’ attorney, David Kendall told ABC News he had “no comment” on the guilty plea.

Petraeus and Broadwell met while Broadwell was a graduate student at Harvard University working on a dissertation about Petraeus. She ultimately gained tremendous access to the decorated war hero and former four-star general, publishing his biography, “All In,” in January 2012 -- just 10 months before his resignation from the CIA.

Their affair became public by chance. The FBI was trying figure out who had been sending allegedly harassing emails to a Florida woman with ties to senior U.S. military officials.

The FBI traced the emails to Broadwell, and a review of her communications ultimately led the FBI to discover her affair with Petraeus, who was married.

Though Broadwell had a security clearance of her own, the affair raised some national security concerns. Federal authorities wondered whether Petraeus had given her access to information she wasn’t authorized to see, and they wanted to know if she had stored classified material at her home.

Within days of the affair becoming public, FBI agents searched Broadwell’s home in North Carolina.

In recent months, some federal investigators have been pushing more senior officials within the Justice Department to file charges against Petraeus. Eric Holder, however, had yet to sign off on such a move.

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in January, Holder insisted the Petraeus probe was still “ongoing” and was being “done in a fair and an appropriate way.”

Broadwell was not charged in the case.

Since their affair became public, Petraeus and Broadwell have separately apologized for any pain caused to family, friends and supporters.

In addition, in a private letter to a friend two weeks after his resignation, Petraeus wrote: “I screwed up royally. ... I paid the price, appropriately.”

In 2013, Petraeus joined the global investment firm KKR. He also serves as a visiting professor of public policy at the City University of New York's Macaulay Honors College and serves on several veterans organizations' advisory boards, according to KKR's website

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House Sends Clean DHS Bill to President Obama

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Homeland Security will be funded through the end of September, with the House voting on final passage of a clean bill on Tuesday.

The final vote was 257 to 167, with just 75 Republicans supporting the bill alongside 182 Democrats.

All opposition to the measure was cast by Republicans.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama to sign into law.

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White House Won't Say if Hillary Clinton Broke Law by Using Personal Email at State Dept.

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Tuesday repeatedly declined to say whether it was appropriate for Hillary Clinton to use solely her personal email account while serving as secretary of state.

“Very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees in the Obama administration should use their official e-mail accounts when they're conducting official government business,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a livelier-than-usual press briefing.

In an exchange with ABC News, Earnest would not say whether or not Clinton violated that policy or broke the law by using only her personal account.

“I was not in a position to review Secretary Clinton’s personal email. That was the responsibility of Secretary Clinton and her team,” Earnest said. “They say that they turned over thousands of pages and thousands of emails...and that is entirely consistent with the requirements of the Federal Records Act.”

Earnest added that he could not say whether the White House was aware that Clinton was not conducting her business on an official email account.

“When there are situations in which personal email is used to conduct official U.S. business, those emails are official government records and should be turned over to the State Department, which is what I understand Secretary Clinton’s team has done,” he said.

Earnest did not know if any other Cabinet secretaries are using only their personal email accounts and referred reporters to the individual agencies.

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Senators Want Investigation Into Federal Agency Overseeing Guardrail Safety

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Half a dozen U.S. senators are requesting a government investigation into the federal agency charged with keeping America’s highways safe, amid concerns over a popular guardrail system linked to multiple deaths and dismemberments across the country.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Mark Warner, D-Virginia, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, sent a joint letter Tuesday to the Government Accountability Office, which audits and investigates federal agencies, following what they called in a press release “troubling developments regarding the FHWA’s evaluation of defective ET-Plus guardrail and end terminals.”

“In recent months, we have witnessed a host of troubling developments that call into question the safety of certain roadside devices known as highway guardrail end terminals,” the letter reads. “We are committed to looking closely at this issue.”

“FHWA, as the guardian of federal taxpayer dollars, has a unique and vital role and responsibility in ensuring that roadside hardware has been properly vetted for safety purposes and is eligible for reimbursement with federal funds,” it says.

The ET-Plus guardrail system, which is made by Trinity Industries in Texas and used in states throughout the U.S., was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation last year. ABC News obtained an internal Trinity email from 2005 in which a Trinity official estimated that making a modification to its widely-used guardrail system -- reducing a piece of metal in the end terminal from five inches to four -- would save the company $2 per end terminal, or $50,000 a year.

The company made the change that year, but didn’t notify the FHWA. The modification went unnoticed by the federal agency until 2012, when questions were raised by a competitor of Trinity’s. The FHWA then approved that modified design for continued installation.

But critics claimed the modification made the guardrail more dangerous in certain types of crashes, and late last year Trinity was found to have committed fraud by failing to notify government officials about the guardrail modification earlier. Now 42 states have ceased installing the ET-Plus, pending the final report on new government crash tests conducted in December and January.

Last month, Sen. Blumenthal told ABC News the FHWA “cannot be considered blameless” in the ongoing controversy.

“The Federal Highway Administration has in effect disregarded the claims about lack of safety here, it has condoned sham testing and paid lip service to testing. It bears a major part of the responsibility for the crashes, injuries and some deaths that have occurred,” Blumenthal told ABC News.

In their letter, the senators are asking the GAO to address a number of issues, including how transparent FHWA has been in the testing of highway devices for safety.

While the letter notes serious safety concerns with the controversial guardrail as prompting the senators’ action, it questions more generally the structure of the agency itself and its ability to properly implement one of its primary purposes.

“The developments over the past several months raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the current framework for evaluating the reliability and integrity of roadside hardware products, including guardrail end terminals,” it reads.

At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Blumenthal highlighted the letter to Department of Transportation chief Anthony Foxx. The FHWA is an agency within the DOT.

FHWA officials did not immediately respond to ABC News for comment. The letter does not mention Trinity Industries by name.

In defense of its product, Trinity has continually noted that it has an “unbroken chain of eligibility” with FHWA, meaning the device has met safety criteria in order to be eligible for federal aid reimbursement when sold to states for use on highways.

Of the new ET-Plus crash tests, the government said it passed its first four crash tests, but the analysts have not released the results of the last four. It’s the very last one, the eighth, that has proved controversial already after critics said the crash appeared to severely damage the driver’s side of the car.

The senators’ press release Tuesday linked to an ABC News report about questions surrounding the eighth and final crash test, video of which “has raised considerable concern by members of Congress and their constituents,” the release reads.

Blumenthal previously told ABC News he found the video “hideously shocking.”

“Long term, we're going to insist on an overhaul of the Federal Highway Administration's standards, methods and approach to testing because this experience, particularly the latest test showing shocking damage to the passenger's side of the vehicle, indicates that there is a need for a review of this agency's performance and its approach to safety,” Blumenthal said.

Trinity disputes what it calls conclusions made far too early surrounding the eighth test, and a spokesman told ABC News any comments other than what is released by FHWA after its evaluation is “pure speculation.” Results of the final four tests are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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Obama: Netanyahu's Speech 'Nothing New'

Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama thought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress Tuesday morning was “nothing new.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House, the president said Netanyahu offered no “viable alternatives” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“The alternative that the prime minister offers is ‘no deal,’ in which case Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program…without us having any insight into what they’re doing and without constraint,” Obama said.

In contrast, the president adamantly defended the U.S.-led nuclear negotiations.

“If we are successful in negotiating then, in fact, this will be the best deal possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Nothing else comes close. Sanctions won’t do it, even military action would not be as successful,” he said.

“That’s demonstrable and Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative that would achieve the same verifiable mechanism to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” he continued.

Obama noted that the case Netanyahu outlined on Tuesday was the same argument he made before the current interim deal and “even officials in his own government have had to acknowledge that Iran has in fact maintained their end of the bargain.”

Asked if the speech was appropriate, Obama said “what I’m focused on right now is solving this problem. I’m not focused on the politics of it and I’m not focused on the theater of it.”

The president spoke to reporters as he met with Defense Secretary Ash Carter in the Oval Office.

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What White House Said in 2011 that May Not Look Good for Hillary Clinton

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton is under fire for using a private email account during her four-year tenure at the State Department, though the White House press secretary said in 2011 that all the administration’s work was being conducted on official government email accounts.

Amid questions over whether Clinton's email practices potentially violated federal archival requirements, Clinton's spokesman, Nick Merrill, said, "both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-governmental email."

But in June 2011, when Clinton was still secretary of state, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, point blank, "all of our work is conducted on work email accounts; that’s part of the Presidential Records Act."

Here's the full exchange:

REPORTER: What is the U.S. government’s policy towards personnel having private Gmail accounts?

CARNEY: Well, the U.S. government policy -- certainly, the administration policy that is effective here is that we -- all of our work is conducted on work email accounts; that’s part of the Presidential Records Act. So the issue in terms of, as I mentioned, our work accounts, we have no evidence to suggest that any of those accounts were accessed or compromised.

REPORTER: But is it the policy that you’re not allowed to have a Gmail account for private use --


REPORTER: -- or another nongovernmental --

CARNEY: No, that’s not the policy.

REPORTER: So there’s no policy in place that would say certain members of the government, senior officials, are not allowed to use Gmail accounts at all for private use?

CARNEY: Well, again, if you’re talking about private use that’s just different from work use. We are definitely instructed that we need to conduct all of our work on our government accounts as part of the Presidential Records Act. I’m not aware of any law or rule that suggests that government workers cannot have separate private email accounts.

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House Speaker John Boehner: DHS Shutdown Is Not 'An Option'

DHS(WASHINGTON) -- After all the bluster about using Homeland Security funding to force President Obama to undo his immigration execution action, GOP sources tell ABC News that House Speaker John Boehner plans to go forward with a vote on exactly what the White House requested -- full funding for Homeland Security with no strings attached.

There will likely be a vote later Tuesday on a clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security until the end of the fiscal year, sources say.

At a closed-door meeting with House Republicans Tuesday morning, Boehner said a shutdown is simply not an option.

“With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don’t believe that’s an option," Boehner said, according to a source at the meeting. "Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States.”

The vote on the full funding bill will likely happen Tuesday afternoon.

Boehner told his Republican colleagues the fight will continue in the courts:

“I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president. ...I believe this decision -- considering where we are -- is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country. The good news is that the president’s executive action has been stopped, for now. This matter will continue to be litigated in the courts, where we have our best chance of winning this fight."

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Netanyahu: United States Can’t Let Iran Get Nuclear Bomb

ABC News(WASHINGTON) --  “In this deadly 'Game of Thrones,' there is no place for America or for Israel. No place for Christians, Jews or Muslims...So when it comes to Iran or ISIS the enemy of your enemy is your enemy."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a jam-packed joint meeting of Congress Tuesday, telling lawmakers that the United States cannot afford to allow Iran to construct a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu thanked lawmakers for decades of support and said Israelis were protected last summer from Hamas rocket attacks "because this Capitol Dome helped build our Iron Dome." He then turned to Iran, warning that "Iran's regime poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world."

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"Iran's regime is as radical as ever," Netanyahu said. "This regime will always be an enemy of America."

Netanyahu warned that if the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal is accepted, "that deal will not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," but "it will guarantee" Iran gets the bomb.

The Israeli prime minister heavily criticized a nuclear deal under negotiations between the United States and Iran.

"It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb. It paves Iran's path to the bomb," he said.

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Netanyahu called on Congress not to lift restrictions on Iran until Iran stops its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stops supporting terrorism around the world, and stops threatening to annihilate Israel.

"For over a year we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal," he said. "Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal. We're better off without it."

Netanyahu said Israel can defend itself and promised to act unilaterally against Iran if necessary, though he believes the U.S. would stand with Israel.

"As prime minister of Israel, I can promise you more than one thing: even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand," he said. "I know that Israel does not stand alone! I know that America stands with Israel!" he said. "My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope."

During his speech Tuesday, Netanyahu acknowledged his speech has been "subject of great controversy," but he said it was "never my intention" in accepting the invitation.

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House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House or Congressional Democrats shortly after the president delivered his State of the Union address. Some Democrats complained that the invitation was inappropriate given the Israeli elections just two weeks away, and a deadline to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that looms at the end of the month.

Republicans however, contend that the invitation comes at a critical juncture in foreign policy.

“The prime minister’s address coincides with an increasingly aggressive Iranian campaign to expand its sphere of influence across the Middle East,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Tuesday. “It represents a threat to both our countries. It represents a threat to moderate Sunni allies, and it represents a threat to the international community at large. That’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu is here today.”

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Who Should Get Obamacare Subsidies: Supreme Court Hears Major Challenge

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, dodged a bullet in 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate. Wednesday, it faces a second major legal challenge; this one to the taxpayer-funded premium subsidies that underpin the entire law.

The nine justices will hear arguments over whether it’s legal to give out the subsidies in 34 states where the federal government established and runs the insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov.

The debate centers on interpretation of a four-word phrase buried in the 2,000-page law that says financial aid is available through “exchanges established by the state.”

The stakes are high: About 7.5 million Americans have received subsidies to purchase health insurance coverage in those 34 states.

If the court strikes them down, the “vast majority” will be forced out of coverage almost immediately because their premiums will become prohibitively expensive, experts say.

"There could be chaos," said Abbe Gluck, a Yale Law School professor who specializes in health law.

An average American receiving Obamacare subsidies pays just $105 a month out of pocket for insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Take away the aid and the cost spikes to $373 a month – for many, a price out of reach.

“The horror stories will be real,” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned in the Wall Street Journal. “Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000.”

Experts are also sounding alarm bells about a broader impact: the upending of individual insurance markets and a likely “death spiral.” Premiums would skyrocket for everyone in those 34 states, not just those who purchased Obamacare, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found.

And if you think the states, Congress or the Department of Health and Human Services could enact a quick, even temporary, fix, then think again. There has been little-to-no preparation for a court decision striking the subsidies down.

There will be just 25 days to look at those options after the court releases its opinion, which is expected in June, leaving precious little time for lawmakers and those relying on subsidized Obamacare insurance to act to come up with an alternative plan.

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Hillary Clinton's State Department Email: What We Know About Her Use of a Private Account

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- What happened?

Hillary Clinton used a private email account to communicate while serving as secretary of state, The New York Times revealed.

Clinton's team has confirmed that she used a personal email account for government business but maintained that it works within "both the letter and the spirit" of State Department rules, though the State Department, itself, has not commented on the matter.

Did she have a government email account that she just didn't use?

The Times reported that she did not have an email account, which would have ended with a federal government domain -- in this case, state.gov.

Such emails are automatically stored on government servers and kept as federal records.

What email account did she use instead?

While some guessed that she might be using a personalized email account at AOL or Hotmail, that was not the case.

Instead, The Washington Post reported, the domain "clintonemail.com" was registered the week before she was sworn in as secretary of state in 2009. Clinton's team has not confirmed that she used an email at that address.

Is that legal?

There hasn't been enough information released yet to determine exactly what rules were broken, if any, but there are clear disclosure and security concerns.

Government email accounts have their messages automatically stored as part of the Federal Records Act, and while it's clear that Clinton's personal account would not have fallen under that umbrella, her team noted that much of her correspondence still was covered, as a result.

"For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained," Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.

However, as The Times noted, emails to accounts outside the U.S. government would not be covered by the same rules.

Could that account have been hacked?

We don't know the extent of the security measures taken with her external account and whether they matched the measures taken by her colleagues who used government email accounts. Government accounts have their messages encrypted, for instance.

Is she the first high-ranking government official to have done this?

According to her spokesman, no. He said that "secretaries of state before her" also used their own email accounts while "engaging with department officials." That response, however, does not say whether those secretaries of state used both government and private email accounts or just private email accounts like Clinton did, and it doesn't specify whether those secretaries of state were operating under earlier sets of rules governing government employees' email conduct.

How was this discovered?

The New York Times reported that Clinton's use of a personal account was first discovered during a House committee's investigation into the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. However, the State Department apparently just handed over a selection of about 300 emails to the committee two weeks ago.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi Select Committee, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying that it has been known "for several years that Secretary Clinton used her personal email account, apparently following the pattern of previous secretaries of state."

On top of that, anyone who received an email from her after she took over the State Department in 2009 would have recognized at the time that they were receiving an email from a non-state.gov address.

Will this be an issue in the 2016 race?

To quote another famous female politician, you betcha. Though Clinton has not yet announced her candidacy, her likely opponent, Jeb Bush, has already slammed her secretive move, saying that it lacked transparency.


Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. http://t.co/wZbtwd8O2j

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 3, 2015


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Report: Hillary Clinton's Personal Email Use May Have Violated Federal Requirements

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton used a personal email account exclusively while serving as secretary of state, and may have violated federal requirements, The New York Times reported late Monday. According to the Times, Clinton did not have a government email address during her four years at the State Department, and her aids took no action to preserve her emails – which is required by law under the Federal Records Act.

These new revelations raise questions about transparency, legality, and certainly security. It is not clear whether any encryption protection existed on her private email account, as is required on government emails.

Clinton's personal spokesman, Nick Merrill, issued a statement in response to the Times report.

"Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes," the statement reads.

"Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved. As a result of State¹s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities."

In an effort to comply with federal record-keeping laws, aides to the former secretary of state turned over 55,000 emails to the State Department two months ago, according to the Times report.

“The State Department has long had access to a wide array of Secretary Clinton’s records – including emails between her and Department officials with state.gov accounts. Last year, the Department sent a letter to representatives of former secretaries of state requesting they submit any records in their possession for proper preservation as part of our effort to continually improve our records preservation and management,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told ABC News in a statement early Tuesday. “In response to our request, Secretary Clinton provided the Department with emails spanning her time at the Department. After the State Department reviewed those emails, last month the State Department produced about 300 emails responsive to recent requests from the Select Committee.”

“From the moment that the Select Committee was created, the State Department has been proactively and consistently engaged in responding to the Committee’s many requests in a timely manner, providing more than 40,000 pages of documents, scheduling more than 20 transcribed interviews and participating in several briefings and each of the Committee’s hearings," the statement continued.

The State Department also says they are in the process of updating their records preservation policies to bring them up to speed with 2013 National Archives and Records Administration guidance. “These steps include regularly archiving all of Secretary Kerry’s emails to ensure that we are capturing all federal records,” Harf said.

Kerry is the first secretary of state to rely primarily on a state.gov email account.

The matter is expected to become a campaign issue. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a potential 2016 candidate for the White House, released more than 275,000 emails last month from his time as governor in the name of “transparency.” Bush tweeted late Monday “Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. Jebbushemails.com.”

 Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. http://t.co/wZbtwd8O2j

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 3, 2015

Senior administration officials declined to comment on whether any cabinet member or senior staffer operated without a government email address during the Obama administration. They also would not say whether White House officials corresponded with Clinton on her private email address on official business, or whether there were concerns about emailing a non-governmental account.

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White House Steps Up Pressure on Netanyahu over Speech to Congress

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the lead-up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, White House officials continued to point to what they see as politically divisive and diplomatically damaging theater.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president probably won’t even watch the speech. “I haven’t looked at the president’s schedule for tomorrow,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. “I doubt that he will spend his whole time watching the speech.”

Netanyahu was invited by House Republican leadership to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday, where he will speak out against President Obama’s plan to seek a nuclear weapons deal with Iran. The White House has said the partisanship resulting from the invitation would be “destructive” to the U.S./Israeli relationship.

Earnest warned Netanyahu not to divulge any top secret information about the negotiations that the U.S. may have shared with Israelis, who have received detailed briefings on the negotiations. “Releasing that information would betray the trust that exists between two allies,” Earnest said. He accused Israel of trying to “cherry pick” negative pieces of information gleaned from those briefings in an attempt to undermine the process.

Speaking Monday at a conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, Netanyahu insisted his speech “is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama” and that the Israeli alliance with the U.S. is stronger than ever. “Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.”

Speaking at that same conference later in the day, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said abandoning the talks in favor of immediate sanctions would not stop Iran from producing weapons. Sanctions have not stopped Iran in the past, she said.

And on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the negotiations with Iran have actually benefited Israel. “Israel is safer today because of the interim agreement that we created,” he said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “The 20 percent enriched uranium has been reduced to zero. We have stopped the centrifuge production. We are inspecting inside of their facilities. We have stopped the Arak plutonium reactor in its tracks.”

Kerry warned that Netanyahu’s speech runs the risk of becoming a “political football.” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- and the administration’s choice to speak directly before Netanyahu at AIPAC -- also warned about playing politics. “This partnership should never be politicized,” Power said. “The bond between the United States and Israel is still a national commitment. It should never be a partisan matter."

Many Republicans and some Democrats support further sanctions on Iran before any potential deal on nuclear weapons is made. More economic sanctions would mostly likely put an end to negotiations, which the State Department is trying to complete before the deadline this summer. Secretary Kerry is in Geneva, Switzerland, this week trying to keep the negotiations alive.

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Most Young Republicans Favor Marijuana Legalization

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Although the Republican Party as a whole has not been at the forefront of supporting marijuana legalization, younger people who identify themselves with the GOP may force traditionalists to change their views.

A Pew Research Center survey says that close to two-thirds of people ages 18-to-34 who claim to be Republican back legalizing the possession and sale of pot while 47 percent of those 35-to-50 feel the same way.

As expected, a higher number of younger Democrats are in favor of doing away with criminal penalties for owning or selling marijuana: 77 percent in the 18-to-34 age group and 61 percent of those 35-to-50.

Nonetheless, Republicans running for president and other state and local offices are cognizant of the shift in attitudes about pot as they vie for the votes of young people, who have generally sided with Democrats in more recent elections.

Interestingly, Pew says that more liberal opinions about marijuana among millennials are in synch with their growing acceptance of same-sex marriage. Just over six in ten Americans in that generation who identify themselves as Republican also back the rights of gays and lesbians to wed legally.

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National Security Adviser Susan Rice Talks Relationship with Israel, Iran Negotiations at AIPAC

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice called the relationship between America and Israel an "alliance...rooted in the unbreakable friendship between our two peoples."

That enduring relationship has been tested somewhat in recent weeks, with Democrats griping about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Tuesday speech before a joint session of Congress. Nonetheless, Rice noted, "the relationship between the United States and the State of Israel is not a partnership between individual leaders or political parties." That relationship, she noted, "has deepened and grown through different presidents and prime ministers for nearly 70 years."

Netanyahu has spoken out in recent weeks against a deal with Iran that would leave them with the capability to one day produce a nuclear weapon.

"I want to be very clear," Rice said Monday about the ongoing negotiations with Iran, "a bad deal is worse than no deal." What makes a good deal? Rice says "a good deal is one that would invariably cut off every pathway for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon."

As far as how those negotiations are proceeding, Rice said that "significant gaps remain between the international community and Iran." She also echoed comments made by President Obama that "we are keeping all options on the table to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

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Director of National Intelligence on Killing of Putin Critic: 'History Has Been We Never Do Find Out'

Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In remarks made to the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seemed to question the investigation launched by the Russian government into the death of Boris Nemtsov, an opponent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, last week.

Asked about the possibility that Putin and his allies had perpetrated the killing, Clapper said that such talk was "an obvious theory." The DNI noted that "there are some Russian Kremlin officials who have suggested we did it, just to create hate and discontent in the political fabric of Russia."

Clapper said U.S. intelligence did not have any insight into who committed the murder. "I would venture the history has been we never do find out," he said, adding, "I'm sure that Putin himself is going to investigate."

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