(CNN) - During their meeting at the White House last month, President Barack Obama asked Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, to send a message to Cuban President Raul Castro to free imprisoned U.S. government contractor Alan Gross.
"Cuba's continued incarceration of Alan Gross represents a significant impediment to a more constructive bilateral relationship and securing his immediate release remains a top priority of the United States," National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 20, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
RARE FRIDAY HEARINGS TURN DRAMATIC ON CAPITOL HILL ...
1. IRS BLASTED OVER LOST HARD DRIVE: ’NOBODY BELIEVES YOU’ ... Congressional outrage over IRS targeting of conservative groups turned into a partisan back-and-forth in the House. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen defended the agency, but he sparked an uproar from Republicans by admitting it destroyed a hard drive that contained emails wanted in the targeting probe. And he did not apologize. "I don't think an apology is owed,” Koskinen told the Ways and Means Committee. One prominent Republican questioned whether Koskinen was being truthful under oath. “Nobody believes you,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said. – Lisa Desjardins
Washington (CNN) - The victim of a rape case, whose attacker Hillary Clinton defended in 1975, is speaking out publicly Friday for the first time since 2008, accusing Clinton of ruining her life.
"Hillary Clinton took me through Hell,” the victim, now 52, told Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast, who agreed not to publish the woman’s name.
(CNN) – Longtime Rep. Don Young misused campaign funds and accepted improper gifts relating to hunting trips he took with his family and staff over the years, the House Ethics Committee concluded on Friday.
The panel found that the 21-term Alaska Republican broke its rules when he used campaign funds for personal purposes and improperly accepted gifts for 15 trips between 2001-13.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama agreed their two daughters should have an understanding of what it's like to earn a paycheck at a minimum wage job.
In an interview with Parade magazine released Friday, the first couple was asked if they think their teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia, should experience the kind of minimum wage jobs they did growing up.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul intertwined his message against foreign aid on Friday with a message that appeals to the GOP's social conservative base.
"There's a war on Christianity going on, and sometimes you're being asked to pay for it," the Kentucky Republican said. "I say not one penny to any country that persecutes Christians."
updated at 1:00pm ET Friday
Washington (CNN) - It's an important day for Chris Christie.
Of the nine potential Republican presidential candidates speaking at the fifth annual Road to the Majority conference, which is organized by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, one may be in the glare of the spotlight more than the others. And that's Christie, the pragmatic conservative governor of New Jersey who's anything but a crowd favorite among some on the right.