Several senators from both sides of the aisle Tuesday expressed emotions ranging from disgust to utter frustration as they grilled current and former employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. over the company’s dealings leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. Some senators accused them of resembling Las Vegas gamblers playing risky games using U.S. taxpayers’ money.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is probing the causes of the market meltdown, summoned the seven finance executives to Washington to answer questions about Goldman’s role in the crisis. But what senators heard was a group of people claiming they may have made some bad judgments, but had done nothing illegal or unethical.

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