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Florida man gets 120 days in jail for flying gyrocopter onto US Capitol

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A former Florida mail carrier who flew a gyrocopter onto the U.S. Capitol grounds to publicize the need for campaign finance reform was sentenced to 120 days in jail on Thursday, a spokesman for prosecutors said.

Douglas Hughes, 62, of Ruskin, Florida, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to a year of supervised release after he gets out of prison, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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Hughes pleaded guilty in November to a felony charge of flying an aircraft without a license in the April 2015 stunt.

Hughes had called his flight an act of civil disobedience to publicized the need for campaign finance reform. He was arrested after piloting the gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and landing it on the west lawn of the Capitol.

He was carrying a letter for each of the 535 members of Congress. Hughes was fired from the U.S. Postal Service after the flight, which had been among the most high-profile in a series of security lapses in the U.S. capital.

Hughes also forfeited his gyrocopter, which resembles a stripped-down helicopter with an unpowered rotor and separate propeller.

Hughes has said he started his campaign against money in politics as he was seeking a purpose in life following the suicide of his 24-year-old son.

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In an August report, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Hughes’ flight exposed security lapses and showed the need for improved information-sharing and air security technology.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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CNN panel pounds Rick Santorum for claiming Democrats went ‘too far’ in calling Trump an existential threat

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) tried to argue Democrats were overreaching in the impeachment hearings — only to be smacked down by his co-panelists.

"The thing that bothered me from the hearing was this whole thing that the president is an existential threat to the republic," said Santorum. "You know, I've always said this about my friends on the left. They always go one step too far that just — that makes people sort of scratch their head and say, well, I may not like what he did, but to call this an existential threat to the republic is just a little bit too far ... I understand why they're doing it. They're trying to stoke it up. I get why they're doing it. I just don't think it's very effective. It's too much."

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Ivanka revelations about Christopher Steele don’t matter to Trump because it doesn’t fit his lie: FBI lawyer Jim Baker

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In an interview with CNN Monday, former FBI general counsel Jim Baker said that it doesn't fit in President Donald Trump's narrative that Ivanka knew and met with Christopher Steele at Trump Tower years ago, so he simply ignored it.

It was revealed Monday that Steele was favorably disposed to Trump and his family due to his relationship with Ivanka. But the facts didn't follow the story that Trump had crafted to attack the notorious dossier. The FBI's inspector general report found that Steele was not biased against Trump when he began working on an opposition research document based on his contacts in Russia, where he served as MI6’s top intelligence officer.

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GOP strategist reveals 4 key reasons Trump’s impeachment defense is ‘absurd’

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Longtime Republican strategist Steve Schmidt blasted the defense of President Donald Trump offered by GOP members of Congress.

Schmidt mentioned Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) during a Monday evening interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes.

The conservative commentator identified four areas of Trump's history that undermined his defense.

"When we look at the foundation of the defense that we saw here -- which is outside of the facts that I'll get to in a minute -- so the foundation is that the president was mightily concerned about corruption Ukraine," Schmidt noted. "Forgetting that this is a person who ran a fake university, ran a fraudulent charity, bilked all of his contractors out of the wages they had earned and has a record of fraud that lights the night sky."

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