David Welna | KCUR

David Welna

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Saying that "modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral," Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican in Congress who has accused President Trump of impeachable conduct, is quitting the GOP.

Amash, a fifth-term congressman representing Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, chose Independence Day to disclose his decision.

In 2004, on the day he turned 29, then-Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia charged into a darkened house in Fallujah, Iraq and fired his weapon at lurking insurgents as the squad he led scrambled outside.

"Staff Sgt. Bellavia single-handedly saved an entire squad, risking his own life to allow his fellow soldiers to break contact and reorganize when trapped by overwhelming insurgent fire."

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WikiLeaks was already established as an online outlet for posting secret documents from anonymous leakers well before its massive disclosure of U.S. government and military information in 2010. That was the year WikiLeaks' Australian founder, Julian Assange, faced allegations that led to his seeking asylum in Ecuador's London embassy.

Here is a timeline of WikiLeaks' key disclosures and related developments.

History's most enduring multination military alliance turned 70 Thursday, but it was a milestone more notable for festering disputes than celebrations of harmony.

Formed to protect a World War II-ravaged Europe in the throes of a Cold War with the Soviet Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is now grappling with ongoing uncertainty about the United States' commitment to its leading membership in NATO, questions about burden-sharing fairness, and criticism of the growing ties of some members with longtime adversaries.

The U.S. has suspended the delivery of parts and program materials to Turkey that it needs for standing up a key $12 billion jet fighter program there. The U.S. Defense Department says deliveries will not resume unless Ankara abandons its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system.

It's the latest slap in an escalating showdown between two longtime NATO allies whose ties have become increasingly strained in recent years.

There has not been a military draft in the United States since conscription was ended in 1973. Still, all men, whether citizens or residents of the United States, are required to register with the selective service once they turn 18.

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Eighteen years into fighting the nation's longest war, the U.S. is trying to find an exit ramp for the 14,000 troops still in Afghanistan. Here's President Trump earlier this week in his State of the Union address.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Largely missing from the flood of remembrances of the late President George H.W. Bush is the role he played as Ronald Reagan's vice president in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

It's an episode that clouded an otherwise remarkable career in public service.

Perhaps Bush's most well-known involvement in the affair was his absolution of some of those in the know about it.

In Tijuana, Mexico, patience is wearing thin.

It is wearing thin for the thousands of Central American migrants camped out in Tijuana next to the U.S. border, and for the city's residents, some of whom are demanding those migrants be sent home. And indeed a growing number are returning, discouraged by the bleak prospects for meeting their goal of entering the United States and asking for asylum.

President Trump responded to criticism on Friday that he seemed to endorse U.S. troops shooting at rock-throwing immigrants on the Southwest border.

"If our soldiers or border patrol or ICE are going to be hit in the face with rocks, we're going to arrest those people – that doesn't mean shoot them," he told reporters outside the White House. "But we're going to arrest those people quickly and for a long period of time."

It may seem counter-intuitive and head-scratchingly odd, but Congress nearly always approves defense spending bills before the armed services committees — which actually oversee the Pentagon — vote on how the money will be spent.

Not this year.

Back from his third trip to North Korea in as many months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded buoyant.

"President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects for North Korean denuclearization. Progress is happening," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25. "We need Chairman Kim Jong Un to follow through on his commitments that he made in Singapore."

Over the past week-and-a-half, President Trump has had quite a lot to say on defense matters.

For all the bad blood between the U.S. and Russia over the years, they still inspect each other's vast nuclear arsenals and both have sharply curtailed the number of nuclear weapons poised to launch. That is thanks to two arms control treaties, which are now at risk.

But at their Helskini summit, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have embraced restarting stalled arms control talks.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to North Korea on Thursday to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials.

His mission: to flesh out the details of a vaguely worded joint declaration that Kim signed with President Trump in Singapore last month.

In that document, the U.S. pledges security guarantees for North Korea, while North Korea commits to "work toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

A drone! Miami Beach! A water slide! Sly Stallone! Machu Picchu! (Macchu Picchu?)

Those are only a few of the many, many images that flit by as you watch a four-minute video created by the Trump administration (specifically, the National Security Council), which the White House posted to its Facebook page Wednesday morning.

The day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the oath of office in early May, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declared that four letters — CVID — would be the Trump administration's dogma for dealing with North Korea and its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Should President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet after all next month in Singapore, their discussions will center on one seven-syllable word: denuclearization.

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Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

A U.S. military helicopter crashed after hitting a power line in Iraq's western Anbar province, killing all seven personnel aboard, the Pentagon said Friday.

Officials said the crash of the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter occurred Thursday afternoon near the town of Qaim.

"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement.

The admiral in charge of both the nation's top electronic spying agency and the Pentagon's cybersecurity operations would seem a logical point man for countering Russia's digital intrusions in U.S. election campaigns.

But National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday there is only so much he can do. That is because, according to Rogers, President Trump has not ordered him to go after the Russian attacks at their origin.

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