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U.S. ‘withheld’ emails on WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning: defense

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FORT MEADE, Maryland — Lawyers for the US soldier on trial for passing a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks on Tuesday accused the government of withholding emails about his pre-trial detention.

The defense team for Private Bradley Manning, who could be jailed for life for “aiding the enemy” over the WikiLeaks incident, said top officers had put their concerns about negative publicity ahead of their client’s fair treatment.

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The emails relate to the conditions that the 24-year-old trooper was held in at a Quantico brig in Virginia, where he was sent after a spell in a US military jail in Kuwait following his arrest when on duty in Iraq in 2010.

Manning’s civilian lawyer David Coombs told a pre-trial hearing that 84 emails were released to the defense team in July last year, before it emerged that 1,290 other messages had not been passed on to him.

The government “chose to let these emails collect dust somewhere,” Coombs said on the first day of the three-day hearing at a military base in Fort Meade, Maryland, 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the US capital.

The emails are “material to the defense” of Manning, Coombs told the hearing, before it emerged in open court that military prosecutors handed around 600 such messages to Manning’s lawyers on Monday, ahead of the hearing.

“It is the defense position that the government has been playing word games,” Coombs said, implying that the messages were held back because the government had contrived a deliberately narrow definition of their relevance to the trial.

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After his detention at Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011, which sparked an uproar from rights activists, Manning was transferred to a prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was placed under less restrictive conditions.

The soldier’s lawyers argue that Manning was mistreated after his arrest, breaching his rights. If the court finds he was abused, the case could potentially be thrown out, or any eventual sentence reduced.

Defense and prosecution lawyers have repeatedly clashed over what documents are pertinent in the case, with Manning’s counsel accusing the government of hiding information that could help their client.

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The court heard Tuesday that the emails went as high up the chain as General George Flynn, the then commanding general of the US Marine Corps, who had insisted that Manning be placed on suicide watch, according to Coombs.

Top officers at Quantico regularly sent emails to Flynn informing him of Manning’s detention conditions, which the defense says were unnecessarily harsh.

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The military “kept Manning in maximum POI (prevention of injury)” custody “because they didn’t want any negative publicity,” Coombs said.


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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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