December 6, 2019

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, but he has shown no rush to quit Congress. He has blown off reporters who've asked when he is resigning, and as of Wednesday, Politico reports, he had not met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to discuss his legal situation. "Our patience is not unlimited," a top Democratic leadership aide told Politico. A GOP lawmaker added that Hunter would be given time to "get his affairs in order .... but not forever."

The House Ethics Committee took the first step in nudging Hunter out the door on Thursday, telling him in a letter to stop voting in the House. If he does vote, the top Democrat and Republican on the committee warned Hunter, "you risk subjecting yourself to action by this committee, and by the House, in addition to any other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your criminal conviction."

"In the past, members who have cut plea deals or been convicted of criminal offenses have come under enormous pressure to leave office quickly or face action by their colleagues, including expulsion," Politico reports. "The late Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), for instance, was expelled by the House following his conviction on bribery and other corruption charges. Traficant was convicted in April 2002, but then he refused to resign. Following a 'trial' by the House Ethics Committee, Traficant was expelled from the chamber three months later by a 420-1 vote."

Hunter took a plea deal to avoid dozens of federal counts of campaign finance violations for improperly diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use, including, allegedly, extramarital affairs with lobbyists and congressional staffers. House GOP leaders asked Hunter to give up his committee assignments when he was indicted last year, and when he didn't, they forced his hand. Peter Weber

2:11 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages.