By Jonathan Allen and John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton deflected harsh Republican criticism of her handling of the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, at a testy hearing in Congress on Thursday that seemed unlikely to put a dent in the front-runner's campaign. At a sometimes bitter day-long hearing, the former secretary of state shrugged off Republican accusations that she ignored requests for security upgrades in Libya and misinformed the public about the cause of the attack by suspected Islamist militants that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi. Clinton, 67, avoided the fray during several heated exchanges between Republicans and her Democratic allies, and stayed composed under aggressive questioning from Republican lawmakers.
U.S. Republican congressman Paul Ryan formally announced his candidacy for speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday after he nailed down crucial endorsements from Republican factions. Ryan earlier this week said he was open to replacing retiring House Speaker John Boehner, but only if he could win the unified backing of his divided party colleagues in the House.
By Patricia Zengerle and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama vetoed a sweeping $612 billion defense policy bill on Thursday, returning the measure to the Republican-controlled Congress because of the way it uses money meant for war spending to avoid automatic budget cuts to military programs. "I'm going to be sending it back to Congress and my message to them is very simple: 'Let's do this right,'" Obama told reporters. Let's have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security," he said.
The United Auto Workers union said on Thursday that 77 percent of voting members have ratified a four-year labor contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The new contract will be used as a basic pattern for contracts at U.S. automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. The UAW is expected to soon name the company with which it negotiates next. Last month, 65 percent of Fiat Chrysler UAW members rejected a previous proposed agreement, which led to a threat by the union to strike Fiat Chrysler's U.S. operations.
A Florida musician who was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer after his car broke down on a highway exit ramp never fired the handgun he was carrying and was running away at one point, lawyers for the dead man's family said on Thursday. Corey Jones, a 31-year-old black drummer, was waiting for a tow truck around 3 a.m. on Sunday when he was approached by Nouman Raja, an officer of Asian heritage who was driving an unmarked van, the lawyers told a news conference on the steps of the Palm Beach County courthouse accompanied by the dead man's family. Police say there was a confrontation with Jones, who was carrying a recently purchased handgun, which ended with Jones being shot and killed by Raja, who was on duty investigating a burglary.
Five members of a fraternity at New York City's Baruch College will appear before a Pennsylvania judge for arraignment on Thursday on charges of third-degree murder in the 2013 hazing death of a pledge. The five, all from the New York borough of Queens, are the last of 37 defendants from the Pi Delta Psi fraternity to be charged in connection with the death of Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, of Oakland Park, N.Y., at a rented house in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania.
By Jonathan Allen and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Whether it's a fact-finding mission as Republicans insist or the political witch hunt that Democrats anticipate, the congressional committee investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday will hear from Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state and now the top candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton and many of her fellow Democrats have seized on the comments in recent weeks by Republican lawmakers as evidence that the goal of the Benghazi committee in the U.S. House of Representatives was to hurt her front-runner status in the campaign for the November 2016 election. Clinton's appearance follows months of unflattering reports about her use of a private home email server for her State Department work.