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From crying ‘witch hunt’ to a guilty plea, calls for Trump ally Duncan Hunter to resign immediately

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The California Republican spent months claiming he was the victim of a “witch hunt” before saying Monday he would plead guilty

Government watchdogs on Monday called for Rep. Duncan Hunter’s immediate resignation after it was reported that the California Republican would change his “not guilty” plea to “guilty” in the case of his alleged campaign finance violations.

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Hunter told KUSI Newsin San Diego in an exclusive interview which aired Monday that he plans to plead guilty on Tuesday to using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and falsifying Federal Election Commission (FEC) records to conceal the purchases.

The six-term congressman said he planned to plead guilty to avoid a public trial.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said on social media, “We’re glad he’ll finally face consequences for his actions,” and called on Hunter to resign.

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Hunter was accused of misusing the funds over a year ago. Like President Donald Trump, who Hunter endorsed early in the 2016 presidential election, the congressman spent months deriding the charges against him as a “witch hunt.” He won re-election three months after the allegations came to light.

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Hunter’s expected guilty plea will make him the second loyal Trump supporter to admit to committing a felony in two months. In October, former Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) pleaded guilty to insider trading soon after announcing his resignation.

Collins and Hunter were the first and second members of Congress to endorse Trump, and the president vehemently defended both against their charges.

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Robert Maguire, research director for CREW, noted that Hunter and Collins are just two Trump allies and associates now facing criminal charges.

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Among Hunter’s alleged misuses of his campaign funds were purchases made in connection with several affairs he had with lobbyists and congressional aides—violating the congressional code of conduct. His expected guilty plea comes weeks after the resignation of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, a fellow Californian who stepped down in October, days after admitting to a romantic relationship with a campaign aide. Misuse of campaign funds was not included in the accusations against Hill, who was also the victim of having sexually explicit images of her released without consent.

Several political observers pointed out the sharp contrast between Hunter’s decision to continue serving in Congress and run for re-election with the full support of the president, and Hill’s immediate resignation.

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Hunter indicated Monday that he will leave Congress before the 2020 election, telling KUSI that he “wants his seat to remain in Republican hands and he will try to ensure a smooth transition.”

Image: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)aa

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Tempers erupt at latest impeachment hearing as Democrats make the case against Trump

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Democrats laid out the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump Monday as they prepared to issue formal charges against the US leader.

Four months after an anonymous whistleblower sparked the investigation of Trump for seeking illicit political favors from Ukraine, Democrats said there was clear evidence that he had committed bribery, abused his power, and obstructed the investigation.

"President Trump put himself before country. These facts are not in dispute," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said.

Facing an almost certain vote in the coming weeks to make Trump the third president impeached and placed on trial, Doug Collins, the senior Republican on the committee, countered that the effort was a simply "a good PR move" for Democrats ahead of next year's national elections.

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Watch: It takes less than 5 minutes for Democrats’ counsel to make the case for impeaching Trump

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In his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee this Monday, Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman summarized the Democrats' 300-page report making their case for impeaching President Trump.

As Axios noted, Goldman's summary took just under five minutes.

"President Trump directed a months-long scheme to solicit foreign help in his 2020 reelection campaign, withholding official acts from the government of Ukraine in order to coerce and secure political interference in our domestic affairs. As part of the scheme, President Trump applied increasing pressure on the president of Ukraine to publicly announce two investigations helpful to his personal reelection efforts," Goldman said.

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Devin Nunes’ explanations for Lev Parnas calls are getting increasingly far-fetched

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been making increasingly wild claims to explain away his role in the Ukraine scandal.

The California Republican has offered far-fetched explanation for his calls to Rudy Giuliani's indicted associate Lev Parnas, and he's threatened to sue CNN and The Daily Beast for reporting claims made about him by Parnas' lawyer, reported Vox.

Nunes spoke to the Ukrainian-born Parnas multiple times, according to phone records obtained by the House Intelligence Committee that Nunes sits on, but he has claimed he doesn't recall Parnas' name and also that one call may have come from Parnas' wife.

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