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“We’re going to really help a lot of Republican candidates get a chance to win,” he said.

JUSTICE

Holder says Russians posed threat to U.S.

While they passed along no U.S. secrets, the 10 Russian sleeper agents involved in the spy swap posed a potential threat to the U.S. and received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Russia, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.

“Russia considered these people as very important to their intelligence-gathering activities,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday.

He defended the decision to allow the 10 to return to Russia in exchange for the release of four Russian prisoners accused of spying for the West because the swap presented “an opportunity to get back … four people in whom we have a great deal of interest.”

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, sidestepping the question of whether Russia’s espionage poses a threat to the U.S., said the swap came amid improved relations between the two countries.

“The economic discussions that President [Dmitry] Medvedev and President Obama had just recently and the progress that we’ve made in reducing nuclear weapons - and hopefully we’ll get a treaty through Senate this summer that will further reduce nuclear weapons - means our security is stronger and safer and our relationship is stronger,” Mr. Gibbs said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Obama: More stress help for vets

The government is taking what President Obama calls “a long overdue step” to aid veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, making it easier for them receive federal benefits.

The changes that Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will announce Monday fulfill “a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they’ve earned when they come home,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio and online address Saturday.

The new rules will apply not only to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but also to those who served in previous conflicts.

No longer will veterans have to prove what caused their illness. Instead, they will have to show that the conditions surrounding the time and place of their service could have contributed to their illness.

“I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application,” the president said. “And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.”

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