WOODHOUSE WAILS ABOUT SUBPOENA, DOESN'T MENTION SUBPOENA OF WAYNE GOODWIN: The North Carolina Democratic Party wants to question the state Republican Party's executive director under oath to find out what he knew and any communications he had with Republican legislative leaders about a law canceling judicial primaries this year. Dallas Woodhouse, the GOP executive director, called a news conference on Thursday to decry the subpoena ordering him to answer questions from attorneys representing the Democratic Party. "This is an unprecedented overreach that could have very dangerous consequences to our political system and our ability to deliver political debate to the people of North Carolina," Woodhouse said with two Republican candidates for office sitting beside him at the party headquarters. At his news conference, Woodhouse failed to mention that Republican lawmakers had subpoenaed the North Carolina Democratic Party executive director as part of the case, too.
ROBERT DENIRO PENS EXCUSE LETTER FOR NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT DAY: Friday is the day of the National School Walkout, an event organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. At 10 a.m. in each time zone, participants are going to walk out of their classes and observe a moment of silence for school shooting victims. It's always a touchy subject when schools and protests mix, but the students and staff participating have the support of one of America's biggest stars. Actor Robert DeNiro penned an "excuse letter," like the one a parents would sign for a teacher, for anyone who may need that extra boost of encouragement to participate. "I know we share the same interest for our children - a safe nurturing environment for their education and growth. I have four children and four grandchildren in school now," the letter begins. "I would never make a frivolous request for them to miss classes."
RED-STATE REPUBLICANS ARE CAMPAIGNING ON CRIMINALIZING ABORTION: Anti-abortion rhetoric is intensifying ahead of midterm elections as officials in Republican-dominant states push legislation that would punish both doctors and patients, even though such laws are likely unconstitutional. In Idaho, Republicans competing in a crowded field for governor have made it a major campaign issue ahead of the May 15 primary. One candidate promised to back a long-shot effort that would allow women to be prosecuted for getting abortions, and another offered tepid support but doubted it would survive a legal challenge. Politicians in states from Ohio to Oklahoma are pushing similar measures or promising to criminalize abortion as they seek office. It comes despite courts temporarily blocking stringent laws passed recently in Mississippi and Kentucky. Targeting patients for punishment is a stance that traditionally has raised eyebrows even from staunch anti-abortion groups that tend to treat women as victims, not criminals, for choosing to end a pregnancy.
COMEY MEMOS REVEAL TRUMP ASKED HIM ABOUT THROWING JOURNALISTS IN JAIL: In a series of startlingly candid conversations, President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment of a top adviser, asked about the possibility of jailing journalists and described a boast from Vladimir Putin about Russian prostitutes, according to Comey's notes of the talks obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday night. The 15 pages of documents contain new details about a series of interactions with Trump that Comey found so unnerving that he chose to document them in writing. The documents had been eagerly anticipated since their existence was first revealed last year, especially since Comey's interactions with Trump are a critical part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice.
CRAZY TRAIN ROLLS ON: RUDY GIULIANI TO JOIN TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. It’s a precarious time for Trump. His legal team has been told by Mueller that the president is not a target of the investigation, suggesting he’s not in imminent criminal jeopardy. But he is currently a subject of the probe — a designation that could change at any time. Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow told The Associated Press that Giuliani will be focusing on the Mueller investigation — not the legal matters raised by the ongoing investigation into Trump attorney Michael Cohen. That probe is being led by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, an office that Giuliani headed in the mid- to late 1980s.