The Department of Veterans Affairs officials are refusing to hand over documentation that could detail the undue influence of a troika of private businessmen over the department's dealings to Congress, Military Times reports, leading the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to rebuke the move as “an attempt to stonewall not only a member of Congress but the American public."
In August, a bombshell report from ProPublica detailed the influence of three acquaintances of President Donald Trump in shaping VA policy.
Known as the “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd," the troika consists of Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz, and lawyer Marc Sherman.
The ProPublica investigation suggested that emails from the Mar-A-Lago Crowd were effectively treated as de facto policy directives.
In the aftermath, HVAC ranking member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) demanded the VA turn over any records of contact between the three businessmen and the and VA officials, followed by a lawsuit by left-leaning veterans group VoteVets.
In a September hearing, newly-minted VA Secretary Robert Wilkie assured lawmakers in a September hearing that none of the three businessmen had any untoward contact with VA officials but declined to release those communications, citing “ongoing litigation alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act" that make any documents “not appropriate for release at this time.”
For his part, Military Times reports that Walz is demanding that the VA release those communications by the end of the month. “We have received nothing from VA except excuses,” he said in a statement. The reports of corruption and cronyism are serious and we cannot allow VA to sweep this under the rug. This issue will remain a top concern of the committee until all our questions have been answered.”
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.