A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of the Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing an arsenal of illegal firearms and plotting the assassination of journalists and Democratic politicians, the Associated Press reports.
Lt. Christopher Hasson was arrested on Feb. 15 for illegal firearms and drug possession and described a "domestic terrorist" in a February indictment by federal prosecutors, which alleged Hasson "intend[ed] to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.
But in a mid-April court filing, defense attorney Liz Oyer requested U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day to release Hasson from custody unless federal prosecutors decided to formally charge her client with domestic terrorism — which, as Day acknowledged Thursday, they had failed to do.
In granting his pre-trial release, Day expressed "grave concerns" about the Hasson based on the evidence presented by federal prosecutors and stated that the accused is "going to have to have a whole lot of supervision," per Time, including electronic monitoring and house arrest.
That evidence included a cache of 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammo uncovered in a post-arrest search of Hasson's home, along with a hit list of targets that included including prominent Democratic politicians like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as several high-profile media personalities.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors argued that Hasson's hit list included Supreme Court Justices, and that he was "planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage," according to Bloomberg News.
Hasson is currently awaiting trial on four gun and drug charges, including illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Associated Press. He plead not guilty in March; if convicted, he faces a maximum of 31 years in prison.
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."