Just try to pay attention to all the news today. I dare you. First, Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, has been indicted for concealing his ties to the Ukrainian government, cashing in, and evading reporting and taxes on that money. Former business associate Rick Gates has been indicted as well. The indictment does not have any charges that connect directly to Trump's presidential campaign or the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
- BUT! Right after that indictment was released, the FBI revealed that former foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to making false statements about meeting with Russian sources about getting access to hacked Hillary Clinton emails. This piece of intrigue will probably end up being more important than Manafort's indictment, particulary given all sorts of possibilities that Papadopoulos might have been helping the feds as part of the deal.
- NEVERTHELESS! Tony Podesta, Democratic lobbyist, has stepped down as head of the Podesta Group, also caught up in Justice Dept. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. His firm was also involved in lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government and is allegedly one of the unidentified groups mentioned in the Manafort indictment.
- In other news, a D.C. judge is blocking most of President Trump's memo attempting to restore a ban keeping transgender troops from serving in the military. The judge decided that the attempt to keep new transgender troops from joining and potentially booting them out had a good chance of being ruled unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment. The injunction does allow Trump to keep in place an order not to use government funds to pay for gender reassignment surgery.
- The National Security Agency considered trying to get a journalist prosecuted for publishing documents he received from the government in successful Freedom of Information Act requests.
- A couple that survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas died weeks later in a car crash.
- Actor Kevin Spacey has finally officially come out of the closet. This was not an act of courage but rather a result of actor Anthony Rapp disclosing that Spacey had made sexual advances toward him when Rapp was just 14 years old and Spacey was 26. The allegations have prompted Netflix to pull the plug on House of Cards after the next season airs.
- Danish inventor Peter Madsen has admitted to dismembering Swedish journalist Kim Wall, though he insists her death was an accident.
- U.S. forces have captured a militant believed to have played a key role in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
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