Hunter Biden’s partner gets prison sentence

Biden’s Burisma board colleague sentenced to prison for securities fraud

Devon Archer, a close friend and former business partner of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, was sentenced on Monday for defrauding a Native American tribe. A federal judge in New York said Archer may go to prison for a year and a day, as well as serve one year of probation and forfeit $14 million in property.

Archer gained notoriety when it emerged he introduced Hunter Biden – his partner at Rosemont Seneca – to the Ukrainian gas company Burisma back in 2014.

Both Archer and Biden sat on Burisma’s board of directors for years, reportedly being paid over $83,000 a month.

Monday’s sentence is not related to the Ukrainian gas deals, however, but the June 2018 conviction for conspiracy and securities fraud, over Archer’s role in a bond scheme to defraud an Oglala Sioux tribe to the tune of tens of millions. 

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NYT digging into Hunter Biden’s business links – media

Archer and two other defendants conspired to have the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation issue a series of tribal bonds and defrauded both the tribe and the buyers of the bonds while pocketing the profits, the court said in 2018. Archer and another defendant had used the bonds to meet capital requirements in broker deals, and used the profits to buy companies “as part of a strategy to build a financial services conglomerate,” according to the Department of Justice.

On Monday, Judge Ronnie Abrams said the crime was too serious to avoid prison time, but cut the sentence down from the 30 months requested by prosecutors, reportedly citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason. He also ordered a one-year probation rather than the requested three years. The US government may also seize up to $14 million in assets owned by Archer as restitution to the tribe.

Abrams also gave Archer 60 days to report to prison, but then said he would set a new surrender date pending appeal.

Archer has appealed the sentence all the way to the US Supreme Court, without success. In November 2021, it emerged that Archer had requested – and Judge Abrams had granted – permission to go on over 40 international trips since his indictment and even conviction.

Live: Kyiv residents take shelter amidst reports of Russian air strike

Russian artillery bombarded residential districts of Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv on Monday, with Moscow facing increasing international isolation as talks to resolve the conflict failed to make a breakthrough. Ukrainian officials said the Kharkiv attacks had killed civilians, including children. Follow our liveblog for updates.

Pentagon blames ‘fat finger mistake’ for reposting Tucker Carlson’s Ukraine take

The US defense chief’s account retweeted a screenshot of the Fox News host’s comment on the Russian military deployments

No, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hasn’t come over to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s side on Ukraine policy. The Pentagon has deleted a Twitter post in which the defense chief’s account mistakenly shared a Fox News screenshot that appeared to defend Moscow’s motives in massing troops near Ukraine in December.

“It was a fat finger mistake by one of our social media guys,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told media outlet Politico on Monday. “He undid it immediately.”

However, the post lives on as a screenshot of the apparently inadvertent retweet from Austin’s account. The photo in question was from December, when Fox host Tucker Carlson defended Putin’s controversial deployment of military forces near Ukraine’s borders. A caption at the bottom said, “Putin just wants to keep his western border secure.”

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— Alex Ward (@alexbward) February 28, 2022

Like other US officials, the secretary of defense warned for weeks of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. For instance, Austin earlier this month likened Russia’s military to a snake that was uncoiling and preparing to strike Ukraine. He told ABC News that Russia’s deployments near Ukraine were “not a bluff,” and an invasion could happen “any day.”

READ MORE: Ukraine won’t get any US combat troops, Pentagon says


US sends delegation to Taiwan amid ‘invasion’ fears

The trip by former Pentagon and national security figures is a show of support for the island claimed by Beijing

US President Joe Biden on Monday sent a group of former military and national security figures to Taiwan, where they will meet with officials, including President Tsai Ing-wen. The trip comes amid concerns in the US that Beijing may be enticed to invade the island having observed the US’ unwillingness to commit troops to Ukraine.

The visit was initially reported by Reuters and confirmed shortly afterwards by Taiwanese diplomats. Taiwan’s embassy in the US said the trip is “a sign that relations between Taipei and Washington remain ‘rock-solid’!”

Led by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, the delegation includes Meghan O’Sullivan, a former deputy national security advisor in George W. Bush’s administration, and Michele Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense under Barack Obama. Former National Security Council officials Mike Green and Evan Medeiros also traveled with the group.

The team is expected to arrive in Taipei on Tuesday, and meet with President Tsai on Wednesday.

A similar trip took place under Biden’s direction last April, when a group of former lawmakers and diplomats traveled to Taiwan to assure Taipei that Washington would support the island nation’s defense. While the government in Beijing insists that Taiwan belongs to China, the US has unofficially supported Taiwanese independence, supplying weapons to Taipei even while recognizing China’s claim to the island.

The US is not party to any binding security treaties with Taiwan, and has never pledged to defend the island with force. This non-committal position, coupled with the US’ refusal to commit troops to Ukraine in response to Russia’s military offensive there last week, has led to speculation in the US media that Beijing may be considering “an invasion.”

In an interview last week, former President Donald Trump claimed that China would “absolutely” move on Taiwan during Biden’s presidency.

While there are no signs that such a move is in the works, Taiwan has accused the Chinese military of probing its air defense zone with jets last week. 

Speaking to Reuters, an unnamed US official declined to link the delegation’s trip with any increased threat, saying that it instead represented Biden’s “broader commitment to Taiwan.”

Biden tells Americans not to worry about nuclear war

US president says Americans shouldn’t worry about a potentially catastrophic conflict with Russia amid Ukraine tensions

President Joe Biden has shrugged off fears that tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis will escalate into nuclear war, denying that Americans have any reason to be concerned about risks of such a conflict.

Asked by a reporter whether Americans should be worried about nuclear war, Biden curtly replied, “No.” The question came at a spontaneous moment while Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were walking by a group of journalists on Monday during a Black History Month event at the White House.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday put his country’s deterrence forces – including nuclear weapons – on highest alert. Moscow said the move was made at least partly in response to comments by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who told Sky News that unless Putin was stopped in Ukraine, other countries in Eastern Europe would come under threat, leading to a conflict with NATO.

BREAKING: President Biden answers “no” when asked if Americans should be worried about nuclear war.

— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 28, 2022

“Statements were made by various representatives at various levels on possible altercations, or even collisions and clashes, between NATO and Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. “We believe that such statements are absolutely unacceptable.”

READ MORE: Russia blames UK FM for elevated nuclear alert