Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) “and his wife, Margaret, routinely -- and illegally -- used campaign funds to pay personal bills big and small, from luxury vacations to kids' school lunches and delinquent family dentistry bills, according to a stinging 47-page indictment unsealed Tuesday. The charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy were the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that has stretched for more than a year, during which” Hunter “has maintained his innocence. … The detailed indictment portrays the Hunters as living well beyond their means and said they ‘knowingly conspired with each other’ to convert campaign funds to personal use.”
“The Justice Department said the Hunters are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in federal court in San Diego. A spokesperson for Duncan Hunter said the congressman believes the indictment against him and his wife is ‘purely politically motivated.’ … At this late juncture, there is no possibility of a write-in campaign. Only Hunter and” activist Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) “will appear on the November ballot.”
NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers "said in a statement, 'These are troubling charges leveled against Congressman Hunter. I trust our judicial system and eagerly await more facts surrounding the case.'" (CNN) The San Diego-area district leans Republican and backed President Trump by 15 points.
Speaker Paul Ryan “announced Tuesday night that he has removed … Hunter from the three House committees he serves on. … Hunter will be at least temporarily stripped of his assignments to the House Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Education and the Workforce Committees.” (Roll Call)
Campa-Najjar: "Today’s indictment confirms just how deep this corruption can reach when someone like Duncan Hunter Jr. is in it for himself instead of representing the people. Now is the time to put country over party and rise against this corruption and rise above the divisive politics. Together, we can bring real change and fresh thinking to represent the people of CA-50." (release)
DCCC Spokeswoman Meredith Kelly: “From flying his pet rabbit across the country to a six figure bar tab it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Duncan Hunter’s time living large off his campaign donors has ended in an indictment. Hunter’s misuse of $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses and the filing of false campaign finance records is emblematic of the corruption and twisted priorities of today's Republican Party." (release)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Once again, one of President Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress has broken the public trust and abused his position to enrich himself and his family. Speaker Ryan must immediately call on Congressman Hunter to resign, and affirm that no one is above the law." (release)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."