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Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Politics
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Ferguson Report: Rampant Racism and Other Findings from Probe

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice on Wednesday released its investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, finding a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing.

The report includes seven racist emails sent by Ferguson officers. In its review, the Justice Department also found 161 use of force complaints against Ferguson police from 2010 to 2014. Only one case was founded and no officer was disciplined.

“As detailed in our report, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them. Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action."

Holder added that the report is "only the beginning of a necessarily resource-intensive and inclusive process to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and to bridge gaps and build understanding.”

The conclusions come nearly seven months after a confrontation with officer Darren Wilson left 18-year-old Michael Brown dead.

Separately on Wednesday, the DOJ announced that Wilson will not be charged in Brown's death.

Here is a sampling of some of the 100-page report's most scathing findings:

RACIST E-MAILS

  • A May 2011 email stated -- “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”
  • A November 2008 email read -- “President Barack Obama would not be President for very long" because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
  • An email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare" for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” (June 2011)
  • An April 2011 email depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee.
  • A December 2011 email included jokes based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
  • An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”

POLICING PRACTICES

  • "Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause" -- both violations of the Fourth Amendment, according to the DOJ.
  • Focused on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process.

RACIAL BIAS

  • Harmful municipal court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination as "demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials," according to the DOJ.

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Gabby Giffords to Congress: 'The Nation's Counting on You'

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- A little over four years since surviving an assassination attempt, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords once again returned to Capitol Hill to help reintroduce legislation that aims to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill by expanding background checks to anyone making a commercial purchase of a firearm.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage,” Giffords, a former Democrat from Arizona, said during her brief remarks. “Now is the time to come together. Be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone.”

The bill, formally called the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” stalled in the last Congress, but Republican co-sponsor Rep. Robert Dold predicted it would pass if House Speaker John Boehner allows a vote.

“Are we going to get 100 percent? No way. But I think there is an opportunity to be able to put it on the floor and if it does go to the floor, I’m confident it would pass the House,” Dold, R-Ill., said.

“We need to get a vote on the bill, and when we do, we’ll get it passed,” Rep. Mike Thompson, chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, agreed. “It’s about using the background check system to make sure that folks who buy guns through a commercial sale have their background check to make sure that we aren’t selling guns to someone who’s dangerously mentally ill, someone who is a domestic abuser, or someone who is a criminal.”

Giffords, who delivered her remarks without the use of a script, urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act.

“We must never stop fighting. Fight fight fight,” she said. “Be bold, be courageous. The nation’s counting on you.”

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POLL: Voters Believe President’s Love for America Is Real

Pete Souza / The White House(NEW YORK) — President Obama loves America -- at least according to a poll of American voters.

A new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday morning proves most Americans disagree completely with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani comments about the president in which he said he doesn’t believe President Obama “loves America.”

According to the survey, American voters believe 63 to 28 percent that President Obama loves America. As for the president’s approval ratings, voters give him a negative 41 to 52 percent job approval rating, which is his best score since a negative 42 to 50 percent job approval in an April 2014 poll.

As for Congress, Republicans get a negative 22 to 69 percent approval rating while Democrats get a negative 28 to 62 percent score. And some slight good news for the GOP by a 47 to 42 percent margin American voters trust Republicans in Congress more than the president to make decisions good for the country.

And this may come as no surprise, but 21 percent of voters say it’s the economy that is the most important problem facing the country.

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What You Need to Know About the Challenge to Obamacare in Supreme Court

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 exchanges, HealthCare.gov.

The debate centers on interpretation of a four-word phrase buried in the 2000-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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Could Self-Proclaimed Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders Become President?

ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) -- As the longest-serving Independent in Congress and a self-identified “democratic socialist,” Sen. Bernie Sanders has built his political career outside of traditional party politics.

It's an approach that has served him well in independent-minded Vermont, a state he has called home for decades. Now, Sanders is considering whether that approach would win on the national stage -- the 2016 presidential campaign.

His message: that big money interests have perverted America's political process and that it's time for the voters to stand up to the millionaires and billionaires. Sanders hammers it home in an accent that owes more to Brooklyn than Burlington. He’s a gruff, unflinching advocate for working men and women.

“Are my views different than Republicans? Absolutely they are. Do I disagree with President Obama on some very important issues? Yes, I do,” Sanders told ABC News/Yahoo! News during a recent trip to Iowa. “And I think among Independents in this country, there would be a lot of support for me.”

Though Sanders acknowledges that he would enter the race as a “significant underdog,” he cautioned against underestimating him.

“If I ran, I would run to win,” Sanders said of a possible presidential campaign.

“People who know my history, as the longest-serving Independent in the United States, as someone who has defeated Democrats, defeated Republicans, who has won elections that nobody thought he could win, maybe don't underestimate me completely,” he added.

As he works to reach a decision, Sanders is spending a lot of time traveling to key battleground states so that he can, in his words, “develop a sense in my own gut as to whether or not there is the grassroots support.”

“My gut is telling me very clearly that there is a lot of responsiveness to the fact that there is something wrong in this country when the middle class is disappearing and the rich are becoming phenomenally richer,” Sanders said. “Whether or not people are prepared to jump into a campaign, make small campaign contributions and work hard, I don't know.”

One issue that Sanders said he is “wrestling with” is whether he would run within one of the two major political parties or forego party politics altogether to run as an Independent.

“If you go out there and you ask people what they think about the Democratic or the Republican Party, you know what they'll say? ‘We don't have a lot of faith in either party,’” Sanders said, pointing his thumbs down. “And that speaks to running as an Independent.”

But he also acknowledges that there are significant hurdles to operating outside the walls of the Democratic and Republican parties.

“The nature of election laws and rules all over the country makes it very difficult and hard to get on the ballot as an Independent,” Sanders said. “In fact, there may be some states you just can't do it. It's rigged to the two-party system. Second of all, if you run as an Independent, the media will pay less attention to you. Thirdly, you will not be able to get into the kind of debates that you can in the Democratic caucus.”

But whatever he chooses, Sanders said, he is resolved not to be a “spoiler” candidate. He keeps in his pocket a small brass keychain, a vintage campaign pin touting Eugene V. Debs for president. Debs ran for the White House five times on the Socialist ticket a century ago. Sanders suggested he may well run as a Democrat but hasn't yet made up his mind.

“I haven't made up my final decision and I've got to say a lot of my strongest supporters say, ‘Bernie, you've gotta stay out of the damn Democratic Party, run as an Independent,’” Sanders said. “Others say, ‘You know, in the real world you've gotta run in the Democratic caucus, get into the debates rally the American people in that way.’”

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz's Business Card Lists His Gmail Address

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton isn’t the only official who uses a non-government email address.

A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.

After it was revealed on Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted all of her government business from personal email accounts, personal email has been the topic du jour, and Chaffetz is at the forefront.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Tuesday that his panel would join in an investigation of Clinton’s email use.

“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously,” Chaffetz said Tuesday in a statement. “The House Oversight Committee will work with [Rep. Trey] Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”

Chaffetz told ABC News that his business card was not paid for with government funds and that Congress is not subject to the Federal Records Act. He said that he uses both a Gmail account and a government email account.

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Hillary Clinton Ignores Email Controversy at Emily's List Gala

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking to one of the friendliest possible audiences -- at an event Tuesday night sponsored by the pro-Democrat, pro-women PAC Emily’s List -- the likely 2016 presidential candidate vowed to “beat this drum as long and as loud as it takes” to pass policies like paid family leave and equal pay for women.  

“We’ve heard Republicans try to sing out of the same hymnal, talking about income inequality – it’s like watching the end of Casablanca,” Clinton lamented.

The former first lady, who admitted she was “still kind of in the grandmother glow” following the birth of her granddaughter, Charlotte, addressed 2016 speculation only indirectly.

“Along life’s way, you get the chance to make millions of decisions. Some of them are big, like, do you run for office?” she said, to tumultuous applause.

“Others are even bigger,” she continued, “like the ones that Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark, confronted, like, what do you do when a murderer attacks you and you survive?”

But, “don’t you someday want to see a woman president?” she asked the audience.

Clinton did weigh in on one important issue: the infamous white and gold/blue and black dress that recently created a firestorm on social media.

“Now, I want to answer one question right at the start before it stirs up Twitter. People have read a lot of different things into my pantsuits,” Clinton quipped. “Despite what you might think, this outfit is not actually white and gold.”

Some had speculated that the Clinton email controversy would cast a pall over the night’s festivities, but the other politicians who spoke at the event struck a positive, even defiant tone.

New mother and Iraq war veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., recalled when her opponent slammed her for worrying too much about fashion.

“Yes, I do sometimes look at the clothes I wear…for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color -- it’s called camouflage," she said.

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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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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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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 --

CARNEY: No.

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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