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Justice Department Urges Prison For Flynn

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn deserves up to six months in prison, the Justice Department said Tuesday, reversing its earlier stance.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, including about his request that Russia not escalate tensions with the U.S. in response to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for election interference.

At the time, he was the closest Trump associate to agree to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He met repeatedly with prosecutors over the following months as they investigated whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election.

He was to have been sentenced in December 2018. But the hearing was upended when a sharp rebuke from a judge raised the prospect that he might send Flynn to prison even though prosecutors hadn’t sought that punishment. Flynn asked for the hearing to be postponed so he could continue cooperating with the government in hopes of avoiding prison and proving his value as a witness.

The case has taken a tumultuous turn since then.

The Justice Department opted not to have Flynn testify in the Virginia trial of a former business associate, denying him a chance to be credited for that cooperation.

He also fired his lawyers and replaced them with new ones who have taken a strikingly contentious stance toward Mueller’s investigation and accused prosecutors of withholding documents and other information that they said was favorable to Flynn. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected each of the defense arguments in a lengthy opinion earlier this month.

Flynn is one of a half dozen Trump associates charged in the Mueller investigation. All six have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty in a jury trial.

Flynn’s lawyers have until Jan. 13 to respond. Sentencing is set for Jan. 28.

Trump Hosts Convicted War Criminal At Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump hosted former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher at a party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida over the weekend.

Gallagher was accused of war crimes previously and was convicted in July this year for posing with the corpse of an enemy combatant while serving.

The former SEAL and his wife posted an Instagram photo of themselves speaking to Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the event over the weekend.

“Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” they wrote.

Trump pardoned Gallagher in November, ignoring recommendations from military leaders, including then-Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer. Gallagher was convicted of posing for a photo with a dead teenager’s body in Iraq. He was acquitted of several other charges, including allegedly shooting civilians and threatening to kill SEALs who reported him for his conduct.

Trump’s decision came after several hosts on Fox News repeatedly pushed on-air for Gallagher’s crime to go unpunished.

Trump has often turned to Fox News for advice on key issues, and several of the network’s hosts, including conservatives Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, are some of his key unofficial advisers.

Gallagher had been slated for demotion after his conviction and the Navy planned to remove his Trident pin, which denotes his status as a SEAL. Instead, Trump vetoed the demotion and allowed Gallagher to keep his pin.

Trump forced Spencer to resign from his position after he objected to Trump’s actions in defense of the disgraced former serviceman.

“I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Spencer wrote in his resignation letter.

Spencer also noted that “good order” is necessary to protect the lives of sailors, marines, and civilians involved in military operations and that the pardon ran contrary to that need.

“The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries,” Spencer wrote.

Trump also appeared on stage earlier in the month at a Republican fundraiser alongside two other service members who have been accused of war crimes and were pardoned by him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Rep. Duncan Hunter Will Plead Guilty To Misuse Of Campaign Funds

Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will plead guilty on Tuesday to at least one charge in the campaign finance case he faces, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

Hunter was indicted for illegally using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses, such as a family vacation to Italy, his children’s private school tuition, and home repairs, among other things. Hunter was also accused of using campaign cash on mistresses, some of whom were members of his staff.

Hunter — one of the first sitting members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 election — had professed his innocence, claiming he was being prosecuted as part of a political witch hunt. He threw his wife, Margaret, under the bus, saying she was at fault for the misuse of campaign funds.

However, his wife had already pleaded guilty to the scheme back in June.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that Hunter claims he is pleading guilty because of his children.

“It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter told a local news station, according to the newspaper.

It is unclear whether Hunter plans to resign from Congress after his guilty plea.

Hunter is now the second Republican member of Congress to plead guilty to a federal crime this year.

Former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) pleaded guilty to insider trading, and subsequently resigned from Congress.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Federal Task Force To Address Crime Epidemic Against Native Women And Girls

Reprinted with permission from The American Independent.

Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday creating a White House task force on missing and slain American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The task force will be overseen by Attorney General William Barr and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. It will develop protocols to apply to new and unsolved case and create a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases.

Trump called the scourge facing American Indian women and girls “sobering and heartbreaking.”

“We will leverage every resource we have to bring safety to our tribal communities, and we will not waver in this mission,” Trump said. “We’re taking this very seriously.”

Trump’s announcement comes days after Barr said the Justice Department would invest $1.5 million to hire specialized coordinators in 11 U.S. attorney’s offices with significant caseloads from Indian Country to come up with ways to better respond to missing persons cases and committed FBI resources. Barr said the agency also would do an in-depth analysis of federal databases and its own data collection process.

The National Institute of Justice estimates that 1.5 million American Indian women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including many who are victims of sexual violence. On some reservations, federal studies have shown women are killed at a rate over 10 times the national average.

The executive order also directs the Justice Department to make grant funding available to improve public safety in tribal communities.

Trump was joined by representatives of the Navajo Nation, which extends into New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah; the Crow Nation in Montana; and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota.

Fond du Lac Chairman Kevin DuPuis highlighted women as caretakers of children and tribal villages and said it’s imperative that they be protected and not treated as second-class citizens.

“It’s very, very important that we, as a people, have a true identity,” he said. “And when we lose our women and we lose our children, that goes with them.”

The Seattle Indian Health Board urged the Trump administration to keep in mind that a majority of American Indians live off reservations.

“This action is a step in the right direction, but we look forward to seeing additional steps that are inclusive of urban Indian people,” the board’s chief research officer, Abigail Echo-Hawk, said in a statement.

The task force expires after two years. It is expected to report on its work in a year.