Flynn Pleads Guilty in Special Investigation into Russia Ties
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I. in the ongoing special investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. On Friday, Flynn announced his plans to cooperate with the special investigation headed by Robert Mueller, a sign that he has informationdamaging to more senior members of the Trump administration. In return, Flynn received a reduced sentence of six months, down from a five-year maximum sentence.
President Trump has maintained that he had no knowledge of any campaign ties to Russia. Yet after Flynn’s guilty plea, the President tweeted Sunday that he “had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” suggesting prior knowledge of Flynn’s crimes that could lead to obstruction of justice charges. Trump’s lawyer claims to have drafted the tweet for the President.
GOP Tax Bill Passes Through the Senate
The Senate tax bill passed through the chamber early Saturday morning on a 51-49 vote. Dubbed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” it would be one of the largest sweeping changes to U.S. tax code ever in an effort to revitalize the economy. The bill is closely intertwined with GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act because the tax plan would cut funding for health care and overturn the individual mandate.
Additionally, the tax code alters deductions made from state and local taxes, which affects local government’s budgets for transportation and education. Corporations would benefit the most from the tax plan due to a permanent reduction in the corporate tax rate to remain competitive on the global market. Separate tax bills have now passed in the House and the Senate, but the differences must be resolved in a conference committee that has not yet been scheduled.
North Korea Missile Likely Broke Up in Atmosphere
US officials now believe that the intercontinental ballistic missile tested this past week by the North Korean military likely broke up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. The new missile, Hwasong-15, was heralded by the North Korean media as its “most powerful ICBM”, with the capacity to reach the US mainland.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Committee on Armed Services, appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday to respond to the launch. He cautioned that “we’re getting close to a conflict” because “preemption is becoming more likely as their technology matures.” Sen. Graham additionally stated, “I think it’s time now to start moving American dependents out of South Korea” due to the possibility of war. While all parties are seeking to avoid further escalation, the South Korean military demonstrated that it ispreparing to defend itself with a series of “precision missile strike” exercises on Tuesday.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announce Engagement
Last Monday, Prince Harry announced his engagement to actress Meghan Markle. Many cheer the engagement as bringing the British monarchy into the new era since Markle is a divorced, bi-racial American. The monarchy has come a long way since 1936, when Prince Edward VIII was forced to abdicate the throne in order to marry American socialite and divorcé, Wallis Simpson.
After their wedding, the couple will most likely be known as the Duke and Duchess of Essex. Markle’s engagement ring was designed by Prince Harry and features diamonds from the Princess Diana collection. The wedding will take place in the Spring of 2018 and will be televised and streamed online.