Among the charges facing former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his right-hand man Richard Gates is failing to register as agents of a foreign government, and making false and misleading statements about that. The grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses the men of working on behalf of Ukraine and telling the Justice Department their activities "did not include meetings or outreach within the U.S."
Those charges are controversial, in part because violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act are rarely enforced. Kevin Downing, a lawyer for Manafort, told reporters outside the courthouse that prosecutors have used that "very novel" charge only six times since 1966, winning just one conviction.
On Capitol Hill, however, Senate Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa offered praise for that approach: "It's good to see the Justice Department taking seriously its responsibility to enforce" the law, Grassley said in a written statement.
On this day 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshiped, worked and created art, but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther's native Germany: beer.
The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant: hops.
Every hip craft brewery today peddling expensive hoppy beers owes a debt of gratitude to Luther and his followers for promoting the use of hops as an act of rebellion against the Catholic Church. But why did Protestants decide to embrace this pretty flower, and what did it have to do with religious rebellion?
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