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Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 10:48 AM
Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 10:00 AM
— Updated on Nov. 3, 2017
Michael Flynn resigned his position of national security adviser on Feb. 13 in the wake of reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with Russia.
After days of denying the reports, then eventually saying that he was not sure if he discussed sanctions against Russia with Russian officials, Flynn finally said that discussions of sanctions "may have come up" during several calls with the Russian ambassador. The calls were made before Donald Trump was sworn in as president.
In April, the inspector general of the Department of Defense opened an investigation into whether Flynn reported money he received for a speaking appearance in Russia in 2015.
Flynn is alleged to have taken $45,000 for speaking at an engagement in Russia in 2015.
When the investigation was opened, Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Maryland), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, released letters from the Defense Intelligence Agency – an agency Flynn once headed -- stating that they found no record that Flynn had sought permission to speak in Russia, nor had he reported income from that speech.
A U.S. official, which Flynn as a retired military officer would be considered, must both seek permission and report income derived from any activity with a foreign government.
In 2014, Flynn reportedly received a warning from the DIA about receiving payments from foreign governments without congressional approval.
On Monday (Oct. 30) special counsel Robert Mueller announced indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates on charges of conspiracy against the United States, being an unregistered foreign agent, money laundering, and failing to file reports of foreign bank and accounts.
Earlier in the month, Campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the FBI as part of a cooperation agreement with Mueller. Papadopoulos was arrested in July.
Here’s a timeline of events of Flynn’s tenure as national security adviser and beyond:
Nov. 18, 2016 – Trump announces that Flynn has been offered the post of national security adviser. Flynn accepts the job.
Dec. 28, 2016 – Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, exchange Christmas text messages by cellphone.
Dec. 29, 2016 – President Barack Obama announces sanctions against Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. He orders 35 Russian diplomats out of the country.
Dec. 29, 2016 – On the same day, Flynn calls the Russian ambassador. The New York Times reports that Flynn, according to officials who saw a transcript of the wiretapped conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, discussed the sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russia.
Jan. 13, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports, for the first time, Flynn's talks with the Russian ambassador.
Jan. 14, 2017 – According to Pence, Flynn tells him that he and Kislyak did not talk about Russian sanctions.
Jan. 15, 2017 – Pence appears on “Fox News Sunday” and says that Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador “were not in any way related to the new U.S. sanctions against Russia or the expulsion of diplomats.”
Jan. 20, 2017 – Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Jan. 22, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Flynn is under investigation by U.S. counterintelligence for the phone calls to the Russian ambassador.
Late January: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informs the White House counsel of Flynn's misleading statements.
Feb. 8, 2017 – Flynn, in an interview with the Washington Post, denies discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Feb. 9, 2017 -- Flynn's spokesman tells the Washington Post that Flynn "indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up."
Feb. 10, 2017 – Trump, on the way to Mar-a-Lago, tells reporters aboard Air Force One he had not seen the reports about Flynn. "I don't know about that," he says. "I haven't seen it.”
Feb. 11/12, 2017 – Flynn stays the weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
Feb. 12, 2017 – Pence says on CBS that he spoke to Flynn about the phone call and the conversation had "nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.”
Feb. 13, 2017 – White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says around 5 p.m. that the administration has “full confidence” in Flynn. Minutes later, Sean Spicer, press spokesman for the White House, issues a statement that reads: “The president is evaluating the situation. He's speaking to the vice president relative to the conversation the vice president had with Gen. Flynn, and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security.” The Washington Post reports at 8 p.m. that the Justice Department told White House officials that Flynn “mischaracterized his communications."
Feb. 13, 2017 – Flynn resigns his position of national security adviser just before 11 p.m.
“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.
“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way."
Feb. 13, 2017 – Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. is named acting national security adviser just after 11 p.m.
Feb. 20, 2017 – Gen. H.R. McMaster is sworn in as national security adviser.
Oct. 5, 2017 – Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to the FBI as part of a cooperation agreement with Mueller.
Oct. 30, 2017 – Mueller’s office indicts Manafort and associate Gates on charges of conspiracy against the United States, being an unregistered foreign agent, money laundering, and seven counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Dec. 1, 2017 – Flynn is indicted on charges he lied to the FBI. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
BREAKING: Michael Flynn releases statement following guilty plea to special counsel's charges pic.twitter.com/gLy3JKpMbm— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 1, 2017
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 11:53 PM
WASHINGTON — Under relentless attacks from Republicans for blocking a vote on a bill that would have kept the federal government open, Sen. Sherrod Brown said he would donate his paycheck during the shutdown to an Ohio diaper bank which helps low-income families.
Brown, D-Ohio, announced the move in a statement Saturday on the first full day of a partial shutdown of the federal government. Senate Democrats have insisted that any spending measure provide legal protections for the children of undocumented immigrants, a program known as the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA.
Senate Republicans Friday night could not muster 60 votes to force a floor on a bill that would have kept the government open for the next four years and extend a children’s health program which provides coverage to nearly 220,000 low-income Ohio children.
Even though Brown is a supporter of the program – the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP – he sided with 43 other Senate Democrats to block passage of the temporary spending bill.
Senate Republican candidates Jim Renacci and Mike Gibbons assailed Brown’s move. Blaine Kelly, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party quipped “that’s the least he can do after flip flopping on CHIP and putting the health insurance of a quarter million Ohio children at risk.”
Earlier in the week in a conference call with Ohio reporters, Brown indicated he would support a separate vote on DACA instead of tying it to the spending bill.
If the Senate does not agree to a spending bill Sunday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers – including as many as 13,000 civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton – would face a furlough.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, however, would continue to be paid. In addition to Brown, Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, asked that his pay be withheld during the shutdown. Latta voted for the bill that passed the House Thursday to keep the government open and extend CHIP.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 6:54 AM
BOSTON — As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.
There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.
Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday.
Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue.
Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.
"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.
For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.
"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.
With no one to run it, AFN is off the air.
The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.
Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.
Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.
However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats.
Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.
"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 3:53 AM
— A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.
“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”
“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.
On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.
President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”
“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.
Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
(H/t: The Hill)
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:58 PM
— David and Louise Turpin, the California couple who were charged with torture and child abuse after authorities accused them of holding their 13 children captive in dire conditions, previously lived in Texas, several news outlets have reported.
ABC News reported Thursday that it had acquired pictures from inside the family’s former Texas home, near Fort Worth. The pictures were submitted by the home’s current owner, who took the pictures after he bought the foreclosed property about 18 years ago.
The pictures, which can be seen here, show stained carpets and walls. The current owner told ABC it required an “extensive cleanup” and that he and his wife “believed that the previous occupants destroyed the house because it was being foreclosed on.”
The anonymous owner also told ABC that feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home.