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April 3, 2014
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The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to declassify and release portions of its enormous report on the CIA's harsh rendition and interrogation practices under former President George W. Bush. The White House has to review the documents first, but they're expected to be publicly released within the month.

"The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation," the panel's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "This is not what Americans do."

The report found that the CIA for years dramatically overstated the effectiveness of its controversial interrogation practices and lied about the exact extent of the program, according to details leaked to the press. And it became a major point of contention between the Senate and CIA, with lawmakers alleging the agency spied on congressional staffers as they compiled the report.

Though the public will get a peek into the controversial program with the report's release, they'll hardly see the whole picture: The committee voted to declassify only about 480 of the report's 6,300 pages. Jon Terbush

3:23 a.m. ET

The USO turned 75 on Thursday, and its birthday party at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland was attended by President and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, and hosted by Jon Stewart. Stewart, sporting a beard, he kicked off the evening off by welcoming the various branches of the military, making a joke about the "joint" part of Joint Base Andrews, and introducing Biden.

"He's always a guy, you know, we had a lot of fun with... he's a guy that's unpredictable," Stewart said, after noting Biden's long history with the military and military families. "He'll say whatever he kind of thinks of, whatever comes to his mind, sort of impulsive. Sometimes, you might think to yourself, 'That sounds crazy,' or 'Man, that is crazy.' And who would have thought that now, that gets you the Republican nomination." That got a loud reaction. "Don't worry," Stewart said, "Trump's gonna keep you busy. You're going to have to repaint all the planes with TRUMP in big gold letters." "I was going to say something nice about Jon, but to hell with him," Biden joked when he walked up to the podium.

When David Letterman walked out to cut the cake, his beard made Stewart's look like 5 o'clock stubble. He joked about someone backstage mistaking him for Walt Whitman, ribbed Obama and Biden for talking like they were running for office again, and said it was easy to get him to agree to the gig: "I'm pretty much ready to go and happy to be out of the house."

After Letterman ushered out the cake, the rest of the show — featuring comedians like Judd Apatow, Hasan Minhaj, Kristen Schaal, and Jeff Ross — was closed to the media. "You are in store tonight for what will be... the best show in the United States tonight," Letterman said. "Except maybe Hamilton." Peter Weber

2:16 a.m. ET

After the U.S. Treasury announced it is kicking President Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 bill to make room for Harriet Tubman, former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) penned an op-ed in The Washington Post defending Jackson. The "Confederate Flag fanboy urged Americans to shut up with our 'political correctness' and 'deliberate divisiveness' and celebrate the total awesomeness of Andrew Jackson," Samantha Bee summarized in a Full Frontal video posted Thursday. "We're glad to oblige."

For the next 2 minutes, Bee narrates a pretty NSFW recap of Jackson's career, from his owing slaves to the Native American trail of tears, with a financial crisis thrown in for good measure. At the end, she brought Jackson's legacy back to the present day, linking him with a certain man running for president. "Already wealthy by the time he took office, Jackson nonetheless courted poor, uneducated voters by stoking resentment toward the elite class," she said. "Angry, xenophobic, knee-jerk populism: Old Hickory's giant middle finger still flipping us off, nearly 200 years later." Still, while Bee called Jackson "America's worst president," Old Hickory's takedown was also billed as "Part 1 of a 44-part series." So stay tuned? Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET
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An insurance company alleges that late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 about sexual abuse committed by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, according to a court order made public Thursday.

In 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys he met through his youth charity, and the court order is part of a dispute over whether Penn State or its insurance company should pay $60 million in settlements to 26 men who say Sandusky sexually abused them as children, NBC News reports.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance company claims that a child allegedly told Paterno that he was "sexually molested by Sandusky," and in 1987 and 1988 other assistant coaches witnessed "inappropriate" or "sexual" conduct between Sandusky and children. The abuse was previously thought to have taken place between 1994 and 2008. In a statement, Paterno's family said his "reputation has once again been smeared with an unsubstantiated, 40-year-old allegation." Catherine Garcia

1:35 a.m. ET

"Turning 18 in the United States brings several important milestones, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to get a tattoo you will later regret," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night. "Now, if you're a guy, turning 18 also means it's time to register for the draft — of course, there's no active draft right now, but all men between age 18 and 25 have to register for selective service in case we start using one again." Soon, women could have to register, too, thanks to a bill introduced as a joke by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.): the paternalistic-sounding Draft America's Daughters Act.

"Now, Duncan is opposed to letting women serve in combat roles, and he thought that by sarcastically introducing a bill to require them to register for the draft, he would make his point," Meyers said. "But his O. Henry–style strategy backfired," and it turns out a majority of people on his House Armed Services Committee thought it was a great idea to expand the draft to women — much to Hunter's chagrin. "That is the look of a guy who suggested an open marriage to his wife, but now she's the only one getting laid," Meyers said, pointing to a photo of the congressman. "Women have been serving in essential roles in the military all along, but the ban on women serving in combat created the illusion that they were less valuable to the military than men," Meyers concluded. "Including women in the draft is controversial, but it's an important step in dismantling that narrative." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:30 a.m. ET

The 142nd Kentucky Derby is this weekend, and some of the most adorable puppies ever went on The Tonight Show to predict which contender will win the race. This segment is really just about watching these sweet puppies as they make their way to a trough of kibble, but if you're the betting type, put some money down on the predicted winner — if you're right, you can keep the fact that you took gambling advice from a dog to yourself. Catherine Garcia

12:54 a.m. ET

A Russian orchestra held a surprise concert Thursday in the Syrian city of Palmyra, just weeks after the Islamic State's retreat.

The Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra performed in an ancient Roman amphitheater, conducted by Valery Gergiev, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin; another Putin associate, cellist Sergei Roldugin, played in the orchestra. Gergiev told the audience the concert was a protest against ISIS militants who destroyed swaths of the city and used the amphitheater for executions, Reuters reports, and Putin appeared via video. "Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing," he said. "That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much."

Word spread about the concert just a few hours before it began, and the crowd was made up of area residents and Russian and Syrian military members. After Russian airstrikes bombarded the city in March, the Syrian government was able to regain control of Palmyra. When it was secured, Russian engineers visited the city to assess the damage done by ISIS, and the Russian government has already pledged to send experts to help with the restoration process. Catherine Garcia

12:45 a.m. ET
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The FBI has quietly interviewed some of Hillary Clinton's top aides over the past few weeks as they pursue their investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, U.S. officials told CNN and several other news outlets on Thursday. Those interviewed reportedly include Huma Abedin, Clinton's longtime adviser, and investigators from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia hope to interview Clinton herself in coming weeks. The inquiry is focused on the security of Clinton's server and her handling of classified information, and such interviews are reportedly routine in such an investigation.

Federal investigators "have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules," The Washington Post reports, and "the involvement of the U.S. Attorney's Office is not indicative that charges are imminent or even likely. One official said prosecutors are wrestling with the question of whether Clinton intended to violate the rules, and so far, the evidence seemed to indicate she did not." The investigation is not over, however, and there is no deadline for its completion.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed the leaks. "From the start, Hillary Clinton has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review, and we hope and expect that anyone else who is asked would do the same," he said in a statement. "We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place." Peter Weber

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