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Politics Now Political, campaign and national news
Obama cites 'solemn' 100th anniversary of Armenian massacre, avoids 'genocide'

President Obama marked the "solemn" anniversary of the 1915 massacre of more than 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks, but stopped short Thursday of using the term genocide despite a 2008 pledge to do so as president.

Obama ‎called the massacre the "first mass atrocity of the 20th century." But as the White House had indicated earlier this week, he did not use the term genocide despite increasing pressure to do so on the 100th anniversary, which is Friday.

Still, the ‎statement released late Thursday was more expansive than similar ones in previous years.

"I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed," Obama said. "A full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts is in all our interests. Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past."

Obama also said he welcomed the "recent expression of views" by Pope Francis, who did call...

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In Las Vegas, GOP candidates court Jewish donors by supporting Israel

The mission on Saturday was simple: Appeal to some of the wealthiest Republican Jewish donors in the country. The method was direct: Heap lavish praise on Israel, with an ample serving of disparagement for President Obama.

And so they did -- two GOP presidential hopefuls, a third possible White House contender and an Ohio senator facing a potentially tough reelection fight back home.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: "Sadly, the American friendship and alliance with Israel has never been more imperiled than it is right now today under this administration."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "Ignoring the lessons of history, our president aims to sign an agreement with a nation that is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: "I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican and I support the Jewish state of Israel."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman: "I see a world that is more dangerous than anytime since 9/11 .… I also see a president unwilling to lead."

...

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Labor Department won't investigate alleged Edison H-1B visa abuses

The U.S. Labor Department will not investigate allegations that Southern California Edison Co. abused a popular visa program for skilled foreign workers, according to senators who requested the probe.

A top Labor official said an investigation could not be opened because there was no complaint from someone adversely affected by the use of the H-1B visas and no reasonable cause to believe the company violated the rules governing the visas.

The Labor Department "has not received a complaint from an aggrieved party or a credible source, and other avenues for investigation are not appropriate at this time," M. Patricia Smith, the department's solicitor, said in a letter dated Tuesday.

The letter was sent to Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who had joined with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and a bipartisan group of eight other senators this month in asking the Obama administration to look into allegations that Edison was using the visas to hire foreigners to replace American workers.

"We will...

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Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff will decide on Senate run by end of next month

Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff said Tuesday he would decide by the end of May whether to jump into the 2016 race for the open Senate seat from California, setting up a possible challenge to the front-runner, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.

To run, the Burbank congressman would need to give up his House seat, including his new position as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, where he has honed a specialty on national security issues.

"Bringing a national security background to the Senate race would be a way to distinguish myself in the field, and it would be a great asset in the Senate," Schiff said in an interview with Los Angeles Times reporters and editors at the paper's Washington bureau.

"I've given myself to the end of next month, and I'm continuing to do my due diligence with people in California and to figure out if there's a pathway and if the timing makes sense."

So far, Harris has emerged as the only Democrat to formally announce a run for the seat, which...

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Aide to Tony Cardenas, congressman from L.A., is subpoenaed by grand jury

A top aide to Democratic U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas of Los Angeles was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Los Angeles, she reported to the House.

Gabriela Marquez, district director for Cardenas, reported the subpoena last week as required by House rules. Her letter was read aloud on the House floor Thursday.

The FBI asked Marquez weeks ago during an interview in her home whether Cardenas’ congressional employees were performing campaign work on government time, according to unnamed sources cited in Roll Call, which first reported the subpoena Tuesday. If his staffers were doing campaign tasks during congressional work hours, that would violate the law and House rules.

An FBI spokeswoman, citing agency policy, would not comment. Cardenas’ spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cardenas, a former member of the Los Angeles City Council, is serving his second term in the House.

noah.bierman@latimes.com

@noahbierman

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Senate breaks impasse, clearing way for vote on Loretta Lynch nomination

For more than five months, Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been waiting for Senate confirmation to start work as the first African American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

On Tuesday, after senators broke a logjam in an unrelated dispute over abortion that had stalled her nomination, it appeared Lynch would soon be able to move to Washington and take over as the next attorney general.

At least 51 out of 100 senators have pledged to support her in a vote that Senate aides now say is likely by Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced a bipartisan agreement Tuesday that ended a political struggle over a bill to fight sex trafficking. He had previously insisted that the issue be resolved before Lynch could get a vote.

“As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we’ll move to the president’s nominee for attorney general — hopefully in the next day or so,” McConnell said in announcing...

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