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.
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.
Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them
In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.
"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."
Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.
In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.
“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”
Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial
Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.
The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.
"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"