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Senator: CIA improperly searched computer network

FeinsteinThe head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday the CIA improperly searched a stand-alone computer network established for Congress in its investigation of allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program and the agency's own inspector general has referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she had "grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution," as she publicly aired an increasingly explosive dispute between Congress and the spy agency.

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Darrell Issa apologizes to Elijah Cummings

Darrell Issa apologizesControversial GOP Rep. Darrell Issa has apologized to the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee following an ugly incident during a Wednesday hearing on alleged IRS abuses.

Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had the microphone for Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings cut off during the middle of a statement by the Maryland lawmaker. The move infuriated Cummings and other Democrats, who went to the House floor on Thursday with a motion condemning Issa’s actions.

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SpaceX's Elon Musk chides Senate for paying too much for launches

elon muskElon Musk accused Congress of wasting money that could be better spent on innovation by vastly overpaying for each space launch.

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, said the monopoly held by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin that provides all the space launches for the Air Force, has proven expensive and outmoded, and should be replaced by a competitive structure.

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Senate blocks Gillibrand sexual assault bill

GillibrandMilitary commanders will keep their authority over sexual assault prosecutions, after the Senate blocked a proposal to radically overhaul the way the military justice system deals with serious crimes.

This is a major setback for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, who has spent much of the last year holding hearings, talking to survivors, and collecting support for her proposal, which would have removed decisions about serious crimes like sexual assault from the chain of command and placed it with military prosecutors. The vote on whether to move forward failed to cross the 60 vote threshold, 55-45.

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Senate staffers slipped secret CIA documents from agency’s headquarters

senate staffers took CIA documentsCongressional aides involved in preparing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s unreleased study of the CIA’s secret interrogation and detention program walked out of the spy agency’s fortress-like headquarters with classified documents that the CIA contended they weren’t authorized to have, McClatchy has learned.

After the CIA confronted the panel in January about the removal of the material last fall, panel staff concluded that the agency had monitored computers they’d been given to use in a high-security research room at the CIA campus in Langley, Va., a McClatchy investigation found.

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Senate Blocks Obama's Nominee For Civil Rights Job

Senate blocks Obama  nomineeEight Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined Republicans in a vote to block President Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

"[Adegbile's] nomination was adamantly and vocally opposed by conservatives due to his participation in an appeal filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal— an internationally-known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner."

The Senate vote was 47-52 against Adegbile's nomination.

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GOP lawmaker dependent on Medicaid opposes Medicaid expansion

Josh MillerArkansas Rep. Josh Miller (R), who is paralyzed and completely dependent on Medicaid, has spoken out recently in strong opposition to the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Arkansas lawmakers must re-approve funding for the expansion, with a 75 percent supermajority, to keep the program intact. Approval of the bill is still a few votes short, including Miller's.

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