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Obama nominates first openly gay service secretary to lead Army

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U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to become the next secretary of the Army, the White House said on Friday, paving the way for the first openly gay leader of a military service branch in U.S. history.

Fanning is currently serving as acting Army undersecretary, and previously worked as Air Force undersecretary and chief of staff to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. His nomination to the post must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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“Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will help lead America’s soldiers with distinction.”

Carter called Fanning’s nomination “an excellent choice” by Obama and said he hoped for a quick Senate confirmation.

“Eric served as my first chief of staff at the Pentagon, and it has been a privilege over the course of my career to work alongside him and watch him develop into one of our country’s most knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced public servants,” Carter said in a statement.

Advocacy groups said the nomination of an openly gay man to lead a U.S. service branch was a significant sign of progress in protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals serving in the world’s most powerful military.

The Pentagon updated its equal opportunity policy in June 2015 to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, a change in policy which Carter announced at a gay and lesbian pride celebration.

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That change brought the Pentagon’s rules into conformity with the 2011 decision to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military only if they did not openly acknowledge their sexual orientation.

“The Department of Defense has been in a lot of ways a leader in LGBT rights, both in the Obama administration and in government in general,” said Matt Thorn, interim executive director of OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel.

But LGBT individuals face lingering inequalities within the military, Thorn said. Same-sex spouses cannot accompany servicemembers for deployments to many overseas bases, such as those in Gulf countries, Thorn said.

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The LGBT community is also awaiting the results of a study on the implications of lifting a ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the military, the results of which are expected towards the end of this year, Thorn said.


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Judge rules against Devin Nunes in $9.9 million lawsuit over the salacious Steele Dossier

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) suffered a legal setback after losing a major lawsuit he had filed.

"A federal judge has tossed out a racketeering lawsuit House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes filed last year against the private investigation firm at the heart of the Trump-Russia saga," Politico reported Friday evening.

"Alexandria, Virginia-based U.S. District Court Judge Liam O'Grady's two-page order made short work of Nunes' suit, which sought $9.9 million in damages from Fusion GPS, its founder Glenn Simpson and a nonprofit watchdog group, Campaign for Accountability," Politico explained. "The judge also signaled that pressing on with the legal battle could result in sanctions against Nunes and his attorney, Steven Biss."

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2020 Election

Devin Nunes is livid at report he helped Trump’s White House: ‘Who the hell is leaking this?’

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The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is suing Washington, DC's hometown newspaper.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) announced that he was suing The Washington Post during a Friday appearance on Fox News.

“A senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers last week that Russia wants to see President Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments,” The Washington Post reported Thursday. “Trump learned about Pierson’s remarks from Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the committee’s ranking Republican and a staunch Trump ally, said one person familiar with the matter.”

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BUSTED: Trump’s new spy chief worked for foreign politician the US accused of corruption

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by Isaac Arnsdorf

President Donald Trump’s new acting intelligence director, Richard Grenell, used to do consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.

In 2016, Grenell wrote several articles defending the oligarch, a Moldovan politician named Vladimir Plahotniuc, but did not disclose that he was being paid, according to records and interviews. Grenell also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which generally requires people to disclose work in the U.S. on behalf of foreign politicians.

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