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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller probe to conspiracy, lying

  • Trump goes off-script about gun control in freewheeling CPAC address

  • Trump administration hits North Korea with new set of sanctions

  • U.S. to move embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May

  • Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on invasion of privacy charge

Rick Gates, a former adviser to President Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and lying, charges brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sentencing guidelines put Gates in the range of a prison term of 57 to 71 months, Reuters reports, although those numbers could be brought down based on cooperation in the investigation. Mueller's office had filed 32 additional charges against Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Gates on Thursday, after the pair was indicted on 12 counts of financial crimes last October. Gates had reportedly been working to finalize a plea deal with Mueller last week, making him potentially the third person known to be cooperating with the special counsel's investigation, after Trump's former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Source: The New York Times, ABC News

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump reiterated his "love" of the Second Amendment and doubled down on his divisive proposal to arm schoolteachers. Addressing reports that the armed guard at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School didn't engage the shooter as last week's attack was unfolding, Trump claimed that an armed teacher "would have shot the hell out of [the gunman] before he knew it." The president explained: "I'd rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students than somebody standing outside that … doesn't know the students." While he did call for stricter background checks on gun purchases, Trump warned the audience: "If [Democrats] get in, they'll take away your Second Amendment."

Source: American Conservative Union

The United States announced a new set of sanctions on North Korea on Friday. The sanctions are specifically aimed at 27 entities, 28 vessels, and one lone individual accused of shipping goods illegally to North Korea and helping further leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons program. In a statement, the Treasury Department called the actions "the largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche to date." Those sanctioned will be prohibited from doing business with people in the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin added: "This will significantly hinder the Kim regime's capacity to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and erode its abilities to ship goods through international waters."

Source: Politico, Reuters

The State Department confirmed Friday that the U.S. will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence told Israeli lawmakers that the move would occur by the end of 2019, but Israel's Channel 10 News reported that the date has been moved up to May 14, which marks the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence. The relocated embassy will reportedly first operate as an "interim embassy" at the U.S.'s consular annex in Jerusalem until the State Department decides on a new permanent location. The U.S. announced in December that it would move the embassy to Jerusalem, sparking immediate pushback from Arab states who also lay claim to the contested city.

Source: Axios, The Times of Israel

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was indicted by a grand jury in St. Louis on Thursday for conduct stemming from a 2015 extramarital affair. The charge — a single count of felony invasion of privacy — stems from reports that Greitens, in an effort to cover up his marital transgression, threatened his affair partner that he would release a naked photo of her if she spoke about their relationship. The blackmail allegation led to a criminal investigation by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whose office handed down the indictment Thursday. Greitens has denied blackmailing the woman, though he admitted to having the affair.

Source: CBS News, The Hill
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