Happy Wednesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Ellen Mitchell, and here’s her evening guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.
THE EARTH: President TrumpDonald John Trump, Minnesota justifies the Biden victory on Wednesday, pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to an indictment in connection with the investigation into a Russian special adviser to Robert Mueller.
Trump announced the decision in a tweet, saying it was an honor to give Flynn “full grace”. He congratulated his national security adviser and wished him a happy thanksgiving.
Expected step: Trump’s decision to grant pardon to Flynn, who has become chief deputy for his 2016 campaign, follows widespread speculation by the president and comes in the declining days of his White House cycle. Trump refused to give in to the election even though Joe Biden was projected as the winner almost three weeks ago.
The move is likely to mark Trump’s closing side to the Russian investigation, which took office for its first two years and shut down six of his associates, including his campaign chairman and former personal lawyer.
Background to the case: This move puts an end to Flynn’s dramatic case, three years after he initially pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators over his links with the U.S. top Russian diplomat and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Flynn pleaded guilty to voluntarily and knowingly making false statements to the FBI under a cooperation agreement announced in December 2017.
Flynn withdrew his guilty charge in January 2020 after changing lawyers. The Department of Justice (DOJ) later took the extraordinary step of trying to dismiss the allegations against the former national security adviser, saying his false allegations were not “relevant” to the investigation.
The case stalled as Flynn awaited a verdict for lying to the FBI. Following an unsuccessful emergency appeal by Flynn’s legal team, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan considered whether to give the Department of Justice a sudden motion to dismiss the indictment.
The DOJ reversed the prosecution process in May, arguing that it no longer trusts the FBI investigation that led to Flynn’s interrogation in early 2017. The decision heightened issues of political interference in prosecutorial cases, just months after the DOJ overturned career prosecutors who proposed a long prison sentence for Trump’s other ally, Roger Stone, a longtime member of the GOP who had just been convicted of Congress. for lying and witnessing manipulation.
Legislators are screwing up: Democrats angrily reacted to Trump’s decision to pardon Flynn. Adam Schiff (D-California), the president of house intelligence, accused Trump of abusing his power of grace by pardoning Flynn and others associated with him.
“There is no doubt that the president has broad powers to grant pardons, but when they are used to isolate himself, his family and comrades from criminal investigation, it is a corruption of Framer’s intent,” Schiff said in a statement.
Jerrold Nadler (DN.Y.), chairman of the domestic judiciary, “marks the grace as undeserved, unprincipled, and one more spot on President Trump’s rapidly declining legacy”.
Restaurants at the Pentagon Nixes for the teams’ annual Thanksgiving: The Pentagon sent nearly 51,000 pounds of roast turkeys to U.S. troops stationed overseas, though it served them in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
At Thanksgiving, large group gatherings at canteens will be replaced by a “drag and go” type of meal to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Defense (DOD) said in a statement.
“The holidays this year will look quite different for everyone,” the Defense Logistics Agency team said to support the Army Brigade. General Gavin Lawrence said in a statement. “I am proud that our workforce is doing everything we can to ensure that our fighters are properly fed, especially because many of us will not be able to be with our family and friends. We want to make sure they get this taste of home, wherever they are in the world. “
How many turkeys?: The agency, which coordinates the festive meal each year, has delivered more than £ 250,000 in traditional Thanksgiving food to members of the service in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar and Honduras.
The breakdown includes 9,000 whole turkeys, 51,000 pounds of roast turkeys, 74,000 pounds of beef, 21,000 pounds of ham, 67,000 pounds of shrimp, 16,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, 19,000 pounds of pies and cakes, and 7,000 gallons of egg chicken.
Take precautions: The move from restaurant gatherings follows the Pentagon’s announcement that it will move to a higher level of health protection on Nov. 26, reducing maximum occupancy of the building and increasing the number of temperature controls for workers entering the facility.
This also occurs when the military is struggling with an increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus.
The virus recently infected interim chief Anthony Tata Pentagon, and nearly 75,000 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed among members of the military. Tens of thousands of cases have been registered among DOD family members, business and civilian staff.
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