On Wednesday, Dec. 7, former Republican state representative Mike Kelly of Fairbanks died in a plane crash in Fort Wainright. Kelly was flying a single-engine craft when it crashed on military property 17 miles from Fairbanks. Governor Bill Walker offered his condolences to Kelly’s family in a Twitter message posted Wednesday evening. Kelly, 74, was elected to the house of representatives as a Republican in 2004 and served until 2010. His colleagues remember him as a diligent worker and outdoorsman.
Friday, Dec. 9, President Barack Obama ordered the intelligence community to run a full review on Russian hacking activity related to the 2016 presidential election. Mere hours later, the CIA released a public statement concluding that Russia had acted covertly during the 2016 election to aid the campaign of Donald Trump. According to their assessment, Russian hackers broke into the servers of both the RNC and the DNC, but only shared files with Wikileaks from the latter. Shortly after that, WikiLeaks started posting emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager containing excerpts from paid speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street Executives, among other things. The slow drip of emails haunted Clinton’s campaign in the closing months of the election, providing a constant stream of negative press. Following the announcement, Trump’s transition team issued a statement expressing a lack of faith in the intelligence agencies’ findings. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the statement said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”
Friday, lawmakers in South Korea voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye, the country’s first female leader. The vote was overwhelming, at 234-56, with six abstentions. The country’s constitutional court will now deliberate the motion, which could take up to six months. Until that time, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will act as president. The vote possibly marks the end of the political turmoil that has engulfed the peninsular state since prosecutors detained the president’s close friend Choi Soon-sil was detained on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud. The scandal began when a South Korean television station revealed that they had found an abandoned computer belonging to Choi containing evidence that she had received secret government documents and intervened in state affairs. Local media have accused her of using her relationship with the president to force companies to donate millions of dollars to foundations she runs. Park apologized on TV following the vote for causing national chaos.