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Thursday, Feb 11th

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Report: Powell, Rice staff received classified emails on private servers

Colin PowellIn a letter obtained by NBC, Inspector General Steve Linick said that a total of 12 classified emails, now classified as "secret" or "confidential," were found to have been sent to the personal email accounts. Ten of them were sent to Rice's aides and two sent to Powell.

Linick added that none of the emails were marked classified at the time, and none were sent from the intelligence community.

In an interview with NBC, Powell downplayed the significance of the emails, saying that the information in the messages, which were sent by ambassadors, should not be classified.

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Martin Shkreli pleads the Fifth, then tweets about 'imbeciles' in Congress

Martin Shkreli pleads fifthEmbattled drug entrepreneur Martin Shkreli — who vigorously defended his decision to hike the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 — suddenly went silent Thursday at a Congressional committee, smirking and grinning instead of answering questions.

Now facing an unrelated federal criminal indictment, the typically loquacious Shkreli refused to testify, repeatedly citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Members of Congress launched into fiery lectures directed at Shkreli, whose previous company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under scrutiny when it raised the price of Daraprim more than 5,000%.

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Congress Seeks Answers On Flint Water Crisis, Doesn't Get Them

Congress gets no answers about Flint waterMembers of Congress wanted to get to the bottom of the Flint water crisis, but several key players were missing from an oversight hearing on Wednesday.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) opted not to call Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to testify, to the consternation of committee Democrats. And Darnell Earley, one of the emergency managers Snyder had appointed to run Flint, refused to testify even after Chaffetz issued a subpoena Tuesday.

"We're calling on the U.S. Marshals to hunt him down and give him that subpoena," Chaffetz said.

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The $43 million Afghani gas station that wasn't

Chuck GrassleyLast October, a top U.S. watchdog produced a doozy of a report, alleging the Pentagon had spent $43 million just to build a compressed natural gas station in Afghanistan.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it made her “jaw drop.” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called it a “colossal waste of tax dollars.”

It was one of the biggest headline-generating moves yet by John Sopko, who took over the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in 2012 and quickly turned it from a relatively quiet outfit to one that frequently and loudly points to fraud, waste and incompetence.

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King Abdullah will reject GOP invitation to speak to Congress

King Abdullah of JordanKing Abdullah of Jordan will spurn the GOP’s invitation to address House and Senate Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore on Wednesday night, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Though Abdullah was never confirmed, the optics of meeting with Republicans and not having a face-to-face with President Barack Obama may have proven to be too much. Abdullah met with Vice President Biden today but in the words of a senior administration official, Obama had “scheduling conflicts, including the State of the Union address” that made a meeting between the two leaders impossible this week.

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Conservatives: No more Obama nominees

Senate Consdervatives: No more Obama appointeesOn Monday evening, something exceptional happened in the Senate: Lawmakers confirmed a Circuit Court judge nominated by President Barack Obama. Luis Felipe Restrepo of Pennsylvania became only the second Circuit Court judge approved in the past year, and the 12th federal judge overall, an approval rate slower than any time since 1969.

Now, conservatives are demanding that Restrepo — who had a critical booster in GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — be the last Obama nominee confirmed before the president leaves office.

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How Elizabeth Warren Beat A Student Loan Giant

Elizabeth WarrenTwo years ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded to know why a government-sponsored bank meant to expand homeownership was instead lending money on the cheap to student loan company Sallie Mae, boosting its profits at the public's expense.

Last week, the Massachusetts Democrat achieved a quiet victory after the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines restricted Sallie Mae offshoot and student loan giant Navient Corp.'s access to ultra-cheap funds -- causing stock in the company to plummet and demonstrating the unique ability of one of the Senate’s most liberal lawmakers to influence the bottom line of one of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies.

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