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DOJ seeks to throw out indicted congressman’s law firm for allegedly representing both sides

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On Monday, the Justice Department filed a motion to disqualify the law firm Fletcher & Mack from representing Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) in his upcoming federal trial for misuse of campaign funds.

The law firm, contended DOJ prosecutors, is also representing witnesses who are set to testify against Hunter, and thus has a serious conflict of interest.

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Hunter was charged last year, along with his wife Margaret, with spending over $250,000 in campaign funds on personal trips, dental work, and to settle bar tabs, among other things — and falsifying FEC spending reports to make their theft look legitimate. Damning transcripts revealed Hunter’s wife told him to charge a purchase of clothes as “[golf] balls for the wounded warriors, and that he demanded the Navy “go f**k themselves” after personnel refused to allow him to tour a base to make it look as though there was a campaign purpose to his trip to Europe.

Initially, Hunter tried to blame the whole thing on his wife — but this got a lot harder after evidence emerged that Hunter also spent campaign cash on a series of sexual liaisons with mistresses, including three lobbyists and a member of his staff. His wife is now reportedly cooperating with prosecutors.

Despite at least some of this going public before the 2018 midterm elections, Hunter managed to narrowly win re-election to his heavily conservative district, which covers inland portions of San Diego and Riverside County.


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In impeachment spotlight, dueling views of professionalism appear

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Impeachment hearings have thrust a handful of public servants into the spotlight, where competing ideas about government professionals – variously called the establishment, the “deep state,” technocrats, bureaucrats, experts and elites – shape public reaction to their testimony.

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The heroes of Bastogne: 75 years on

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The Battle of the Bulge was the last German offensive of World War II, and the Siege of Bastogne the scene of a heroic defence by American paratroopers.

Seventy-five years on, the Belgian town is hosting a weekend of colourful re-enactments followed by solemn ceremonies of remembrance.

Veterans, historians and military enthusiasts will join international officials to mark the now legendary close quarters battle on a snowbound wooded plateau.

Bastogne's relief in late December 1944 by General George "Old Blood and Guts" Patton helped seal his reputation as one of America's military giants.

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Italy’s ‘Sardines’ to pack Rome for anti far-right rally

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Tens of thousands of members of Italy's youth-driven Sardine Movement are due to rally in Rome on Saturday, in their bid to further shake up the country's politics and battle xenophobia.

The "Sardines" have become a symbol of protest against the far-right firebrand leader Matteo Salvini, who served as interior minister and deputy prime minister in Italy's previous coalition government and cracked down on immigration.

The movement is only a month old and started in Bologna when a rally organized by four unknown activists to denounce Salvini's discourses of "hatred and division" drew a crowd of 15,000, surprising everybody.

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