Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday that deadly attack at a French satirical newspaper on Wednesday morning was reminiscent of 9/11.

“This event in Paris recalls to mind what we lived through not that long ago when the United States on September 11th, 2001 was attacked by terrorists and more than 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives in New York, in Washington, and in the countryside of Pennsylvania,” Durbin said. “Many of us recall that at that moment, that sad, awful moment that people around the world rallied to stand with the United States in our grief and in our determination for justice.”

Durbin specifically recalled the willingness of the people of France, who, “spoke out in one voice saying that they were going to be by our side in this battle against terrorism. I think it is appropriate today that we follow suit, that we join in that same spirit,” he added.

Twelve people were murdered in the attacks at the hands of Al Qaeda-linked gunmen who were overheard proclaiming the murders were retribution for the paper’s cartoons spoofing Muhammad.

Among the 12 dead were the magazine’s editor, cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, who had been under special police protection since 2012 after the magazine published similar cartoons.

A policeman protecting Charbonnier was also killed, along with cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut.
A French economist, Bernard Marais, a contributor to the magazine, was also among the dead.

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Office of Governor Deval Patrick(BOSTON) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick walked alone out of the State House on Wednesday for the final time as the state’s governor, as his successor will take over on Thursday.

Patrick has held the office for two terms since becoming the state’s first African-American governor in 2006. On Wednesday night he tweeted a photo of his final gubernatorial exit, with a simple message for the state he’s served: “Thank you.”

Thank you. pic.twitter.com/6EdlRvBglw

— Deval Patrick (@DevalPatrick) January 7, 2015

Charlie Baker will take the office on Thursday. On Wednesday night, however, the current governor passed along four traditional gifts to the next governor — a pewter key that was once used to unlock the original governor’s office, a Bible owned by the first governor of Massachusetts, a gavel made from wood from the U.S.S. Constitution and two volumes of the state’s laws, according to the Boston Globe.

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Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The New Jersey Democrat who spearheaded the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal is considering also investigating Gov. Chris Christie’s gift-taking from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, co-chairman of the state joint legislative committee that investigated the scandal known as Bridgegate, said on the ABC/ESPN podcast “Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein” Wednesday he is beginning the “discussion of whether that is something that the committee should undertake or another legislative committee ought to undertake that inquiry.”

“We have to make sure this kind of behavior does not happen again,” Wisniewski said. “We need to make sure there is one standard. I don’t know why the executive branch would not comply chapter and verse with every single restriction that applies to the legislative branch.”

You can listen to the full episode of “Capital Games” HERE.

Wisniewski said he has already begun those discussions with his co-chairwoman, Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. Under New Jersey state ethics codes the governor is allowed to receive gifts from “relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds,” but state legislators cannot receive gifts above $250.

The governor’s office says they tried to make state lawmakers subject to the same disclosures as the executive branch, but state lawmakers never took up the legislation. In a statement Christie’s spokesperson Kevin Roberts said in response to Wisniewski, “Is anyone really surprised pro-Hillary PACs like American Bridge or the former chair of the NJ Democratic Party are using Governor Christie’s love of a football team to score national media attention? Welcome to the silly season.”

Christie’s embrace of Jones Sunday evening after the Cowboys’ playoff victory set off a barrage of online mocking, but scrutiny quickly turned to whether there were any ethical questions with Christie’s acceptance of the gift.

Wisniewski said he’s “sure they are friendly,” referring to Christie and Jones, but “they are friends because he happens to be the governor and therein lies the problem.”

“The governor of the state of New Jersey should be above being influenced by that type of gratuity: airfare for his entire family and self and tickets to a game,” he said. “It certainly looks really bad….I’m not going to argue the fact that the rules he is obliged to follow may in fact create a personal exception, but what I will argue is he should not have availed himself of that because it looks bad. It set a bad precedent.”

A Christie spokesman confirmed to ABC News Wednesday that Jones and Christie have been friends since the “summer of 2013” and Wisniewski said he doesn’t want to “investigate his friendships,” but he is concerned about the possible conflict of interest revealed on Tuesday, which showed a business relationship between Jones and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Cowboys, as well as the New York Yankees and Checketts Partners Investment Fund, own Legends Hospitality, which is the operator of the observatory of One World Trade Center. One World Trade Center is operated by the Port Authority and Christie jointly controls the Port Authority with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Wisniewski said what he “need(s) to understand (are) the details of how the Port Authority saw fit to give this company a contract they could have given to anybody else.”

“We ought to know exactly how that contract was awarded, what were the considerations, what were the other contracts like, why weren’t they chosen?” Wisniewski explained.

While politicians are routinely given tickets to sporting events, Wisniewski said the charter flight “certainly elevates” the scrutiny and said the possible 2016 presidential contender should have paid his own way.

“Chris Christie could afford to pay for his own airfare. He should have. This whole controversy could have been avoided,” he said.

As for 2016, Wisniewski doesn’t think this will have an impact on a possible presidential campaign — nor, he said, will Christie’s rooting for an out-of-state team -— but Wisniewski said other “controversies” will affect a bid, including financial problems in the state, like property taxes and the pension system.

“I think that the games he went to will fall very far down a list of issues he will address and I’m not sure it’s going to be number one on the list of discussion because there are so many other weighty issues this governor has to answer for in a national campaign,” he said.

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Christie Photo: ABC/ LOU ROCCO / Walker Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was slammed on social media for his three-way bear hug with the team’s owner Jerry Jones during its win on Sunday.

On Wednesday, a fellow governor — and potential 2016 presidential rival — tweaked Christie for it.

In a tweet posted Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Green Bay Packers fan, poked fun at Christie.

This is the type of owner I’ll be looking to hug after a #Packers win on Sunday: pic.twitter.com/W20LRO5oMM

— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) January 7, 2015

And then it got weird. And Photoshopped.

.@GovWalker don’t worry… there are enough awkward hugs to go around. pic.twitter.com/gFTItWqPVO

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) January 7, 2015

Christie and Walker did in fact share a real embrace of their own last year when Christie was campaigning for Walker’s re-election.

The Green Bay Packers face the Cowboys this Sunday in an NFL playoff game.

Regarding the New Jersey governor’s relationship with Jerry Jones, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that they two began their friendship during the summer of 2013.

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AlbertoOscarelliPhotography/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of congressmen joined with 9/11 family members on Wednesday to renew efforts to declassify 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry into the worst terrorist attack against the United States.

The information, redacted by President George W. Bush, is believed to point to allegations that Saudi Arabia may have assisted in financing the 9/11 terrorists.

“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” said former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who co-chaired the inquiry and helped to write the report.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement.

The report in question is the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorists Attacks of September 2001. It was an investigation by House and Senate committees, released in December 2002.

“The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia,” Graham contended.

“At virtually every step of the judicial process, when the United States government was called upon to take a position, it has been a position adverse to the interests of United States citizens seeking justice and protective of the government which, in my judgment, was the most responsible for that network of support,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Graham joined Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced legislation calling on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages.

Terry Strada, of 9/11 Families United for Justice, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center attack, wants the pages made public.

“Where is the outrage, I want to know that Saudi Arabia, a country, our supposed ally, not only bankrolled al Qaeda and the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, but was also instrumental in implementing an intricate web of operatives in numerous places around the world,” Strada told the group gathered at the Capitol.

The reasoning for classifying the pages was that if the information was made public it would hamper U.S. efforts to conduct foreign policy and fight the war on terror. Twelve years later, growing voices say the public has a right to know.

“I do not understand how you can have a strong foreign policy when you are trying to hide the truth from the American people,” said Rep. Jones, a co-sponsor of the bill to declassify the report.

If the information becomes public, it could give 9/11 victims cause to sue Saudi Arabia in the U.S. courts.

“Where is the indignation that 9/11 victims’ families and survivors have been denied the right to hold accountable any United States courtroom the people responsible for the incineration of nearly 3,000 people?” asked Strada.

Obama reportedly has told 9/11 family members that he wants to make the information public, but he has not yet done so in his six years in office.

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AlbertoOscarelliPhotography/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of congressmen joined with 9/11 family members on Wednesday to renew efforts to declassify 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry into the worst terrorist attack against the United States.

The information, redacted by President George W. Bush, is believed to point to allegations that Saudi Arabia may have assisted in financing the 9/11 terrorists.

“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” said former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who co-chaired the inquiry and helped to write the report.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement.

The report in question is the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorists Attacks of September 2001. It was an investigation by House and Senate committees, released in December 2002.

“The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia,” Graham contended.

“At virtually every step of the judicial process, when the United States government was called upon to take a position, it has been a position adverse to the interests of United States citizens seeking justice and protective of the government which, in my judgment, was the most responsible for that network of support,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Graham joined Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced legislation calling on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages.

Terry Strada, of 9/11 Families United for Justice, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center attack, wants the pages made public.

“Where is the outrage, I want to know that Saudi Arabia, a country, our supposed ally, not only bankrolled al Qaeda and the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, but was also instrumental in implementing an intricate web of operatives in numerous places around the world,” Strada told the group gathered at the Capitol.

The reasoning for classifying the pages was that if the information was made public it would hamper U.S. efforts to conduct foreign policy and fight the war on terror. Twelve years later, growing voices say the public has a right to know.

“I do not understand how you can have a strong foreign policy when you are trying to hide the truth from the American people,” said Rep. Jones, a co-sponsor of the bill to declassify the report.

If the information becomes public, it could give 9/11 victims cause to sue Saudi Arabia in the U.S. courts.

“Where is the indignation that 9/11 victims’ families and survivors have been denied the right to hold accountable any United States courtroom the people responsible for the incineration of nearly 3,000 people?” asked Strada.

Obama reportedly has told 9/11 family members that he wants to make the information public, but he has not yet done so in his six years in office.

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AlbertoOscarelliPhotography/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of congressmen joined with 9/11 family members on Wednesday to renew efforts to declassify 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry into the worst terrorist attack against the United States.

The information, redacted by President George W. Bush, is believed to point to allegations that Saudi Arabia may have assisted in financing the 9/11 terrorists.

“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” said former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who co-chaired the inquiry and helped to write the report.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement.

The report in question is the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorists Attacks of September 2001. It was an investigation by House and Senate committees, released in December 2002.

“The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia,” Graham contended.

“At virtually every step of the judicial process, when the United States government was called upon to take a position, it has been a position adverse to the interests of United States citizens seeking justice and protective of the government which, in my judgment, was the most responsible for that network of support,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Graham joined Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced legislation calling on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages.

Terry Strada, of 9/11 Families United for Justice, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center attack, wants the pages made public.

“Where is the outrage, I want to know that Saudi Arabia, a country, our supposed ally, not only bankrolled al Qaeda and the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, but was also instrumental in implementing an intricate web of operatives in numerous places around the world,” Strada told the group gathered at the Capitol.

The reasoning for classifying the pages was that if the information was made public it would hamper U.S. efforts to conduct foreign policy and fight the war on terror. Twelve years later, growing voices say the public has a right to know.

“I do not understand how you can have a strong foreign policy when you are trying to hide the truth from the American people,” said Rep. Jones, a co-sponsor of the bill to declassify the report.

If the information becomes public, it could give 9/11 victims cause to sue Saudi Arabia in the U.S. courts.

“Where is the indignation that 9/11 victims’ families and survivors have been denied the right to hold accountable any United States courtroom the people responsible for the incineration of nearly 3,000 people?” asked Strada.

Obama reportedly has told 9/11 family members that he wants to make the information public, but he has not yet done so in his six years in office.

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AlbertoOscarelliPhotography/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of congressmen joined with 9/11 family members on Wednesday to renew efforts to declassify 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry into the worst terrorist attack against the United States.

The information, redacted by President George W. Bush, is believed to point to allegations that Saudi Arabia may have assisted in financing the 9/11 terrorists.

“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” said former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who co-chaired the inquiry and helped to write the report.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement.

The report in question is the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorists Attacks of September 2001. It was an investigation by House and Senate committees, released in December 2002.

“The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia,” Graham contended.

“At virtually every step of the judicial process, when the United States government was called upon to take a position, it has been a position adverse to the interests of United States citizens seeking justice and protective of the government which, in my judgment, was the most responsible for that network of support,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Graham joined Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced legislation calling on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages.

Terry Strada, of 9/11 Families United for Justice, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center attack, wants the pages made public.

“Where is the outrage, I want to know that Saudi Arabia, a country, our supposed ally, not only bankrolled al Qaeda and the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, but was also instrumental in implementing an intricate web of operatives in numerous places around the world,” Strada told the group gathered at the Capitol.

The reasoning for classifying the pages was that if the information was made public it would hamper U.S. efforts to conduct foreign policy and fight the war on terror. Twelve years later, growing voices say the public has a right to know.

“I do not understand how you can have a strong foreign policy when you are trying to hide the truth from the American people,” said Rep. Jones, a co-sponsor of the bill to declassify the report.

If the information becomes public, it could give 9/11 victims cause to sue Saudi Arabia in the U.S. courts.

“Where is the indignation that 9/11 victims’ families and survivors have been denied the right to hold accountable any United States courtroom the people responsible for the incineration of nearly 3,000 people?” asked Strada.

Obama reportedly has told 9/11 family members that he wants to make the information public, but he has not yet done so in his six years in office.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Republican majority on Wednesday introduced what it is calling the New American Congress. But on the second day of the legislative, session leaders were already doing damage control as House Speaker John Boehner defended Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Scalise, the third-highest ranked Republican in the House, is under fire for attending an event organized by alleged white supremacists in 2002. He renewed his denial on Wednesday that he was racist, hoping to end to more than a week of questioning about the episode six years before he came to Congress.

“I reject bigotry of all forms,” Scalise, R-La., told reporters at a news conference at the Capitol when asked if he shared the views of the group’s leader, former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard turned-former Louisiana state representative David Duke. “I think when you see the people that know me best, both here and especially back home, people I’ve served with, including people that I’ve been on opposite ends politically with who know the truth and know what’s in my heart, they’re the ones who can speak the best.”

House Speaker John Boehner defended Scalise, who rose through the ranks after former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor resigned last year.

“Listen, I, like Mr. Scalise, served in the state legislature. I remember my freshman term in the state legislature when I had a half of a staffer,” Boehner said. “You get asked to speak to a lot of groups and I think Mr. Scalise made it clear that he made an error in judgment, spoke to a group not clear who they actually were.”

“Now, I know this man,” Boehner added. “I work with him. I know what’s in his heart. He’s a decent, honest person who made a mistake. We’ve all made mistakes.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that Republican support for the embattled Republican “says a lot about who they are, what their values are and what the priorities of the conference should be.” Earnest would not say whether the president believes it’s appropriate for Republican leaders to stand by Scalise.

“He believes it’s ultimately their decision to make,” Earnest said. “But there is no arguing that who Republicans decide to elevate into a leadership position says a lot about what the conference’s priorities and values are.”

Scalise has stated that he did not realize who the group was when he accepted an invitation to speak at the event.

“One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn,” Scalise said in a written statement on Dec. 30. “It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper revealed in a speech at Fordham Law School in New York Wednesday that he saw The Interview over the weekend, admitting that “it’s obvious to me the North Koreans don’t have a sense of humor.”

Clapper then turned serious and urged American retaliation for the attack against Sony related to the film and blamed on North Korea.

“We have to push back,” Clapper said. “If they get global recognition with no consequence they’ll do it again and again.”

Clapper also spoke of his recent trip to North Korea to free two American hostages. He said he was berated about South Korean and U.S. aggression by the same general who he said would have authorized the attack against Sony. Clapper said the North Korean government believes it is “under siege from all directions” and uses the “cheap propaganda” tool of playing itself the constant victim of an imminent U.S. attack.

“Cyber is a powerful new realm for them,” Clapper said. “They can get recognition for their cyber capabilities” at low cost.

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