Wednesday News: Deadlocked


REPUBLICAN MEDDLING WITH BOARDS OF ELECTION RESULTS IN SPLIT VOTES: The State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement will have to set early voting plans for Wake and Orange counties after local elections boards deadlocked over details Tuesday. In Wake County, the two Democrats on the board wanted a voting site on the North Carolina State University campus. The two Republican members didn't. Weekend voting hours were the sticking point in Orange County. Wake County's board spent three hours on the issue Tuesday between public comment, board debate and recesses. In the end, Democrats insisted on the N.C. State site at the Talley Student Union, and Republicans were opposed, citing poor parking and the fact that the plan had two other sites inside the Interstate 440 Beltline.

STAFFERS QUIT GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE'S CAMPAIGN AFTER ALLEGATIONS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE: In court, Maria Robey said her ex-husband was verbally abusive to her and that she did not go to child exchanges out of fear for what might happen. Adrian Robey's attorney tried to introduce evidence about a 2010 protective order that Maria Robey sought against Von Loor, alleging he had thrown a bottle of wine at her house, threatened to break her car windows and pushed her so hard that a friend called police. Von Loor said he had no comment to reporters at the courthouse on Friday. On Tuesday, Joel Gillison and Alex Baltzegar posted letters of resignation from the Von Loor campaign to Twitter. "In light of recently-surfaced past events, previously unbeknownst to me, I am resigning my position as campaign manager effective immediately," Gillison wrote.

TEN ROBESON COUNTY VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE COUNTS OF ARSON: Ten volunteer firefighters were arrested Tuesday and accused of being involved in a nearly two-year conspiracy to set numerous fires in woods and abandoned structures, according to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. The firefighters work with the Fairmont Rural Fire Department and the Orrum Fire Department. There are approximately 90 arson-related charges in the investigation, and more charges are expected, authorities said. "Not accidental, set on fire...what it costs taxpayers to answer these numerous calls. We've been doing this for the last six months," Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said. "Several woods fires and abandoned house fires in a week." Carolyn Harriman, who lives around the corner from the Fairmont firehouse, said she is shocked by the allegations. "I don't understand that. I mean, the job might be boring at times, but you don't go creating fires just to have something to put out," she said.

OBLIVIOUS TO THE IRONY, TRUMP SAYS GERMANY "TOTALLY CONTROLLED" BY RUSSIA: In a combative start to his NATO visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday that a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" and blasted allies' defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies. Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia. The criticism was an unusual one coming from Trump, who has appeared eager to cozy up to Putin and who has dismissed the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win. During the campaign, Trump often resorted to the tactic of falsely accusing his opponents of things he had been criticized for doing.

TRUMP RAMPS UP TRADE WAR AGAINST CHINA WITH $200 BILLION IN NEW TARIFFS: The Trump administration is readying tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports, ranging from burglar alarms to mackerel, escalating a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative proposed 10 percent tariffs Tuesday on a list of 6,031 Chinese product lines. The administration said the new levies are a response to China's decision to retaliate against the first round of U.S. tariffs. "Tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products amounts to another multibillion-dollar tax on American businesses and families," said Scott Lincicome, a trade lawyer and senior policy analyst for the group Republicans Fighting Tariffs. "Given China's likelihood of retaliation, it's also billions worth of new tariffs on American exporters."



Mark Meadows defends sex abuse cover-up

The House (so-called) Freedom Caucus has voted to support Jim Jordan, despite the fact that a number of individuals have come forward, calling him out on being aware of sexual abuse under his watch.

NC's Mark Meadows seems to be his strongest supporter:

"Emerging from the weekly meeting late Tuesday night, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, said the group voted unanimously to support Jordan. Meadows could not say how many members were in the meeting but there were "enough for an official position" and that not one person spoke up with any doubts.""

It's getting harder to believe that Jordan is telling the truth here.

"The other story, reported by Politico, is that “a half-dozen ex-wrestlers,” by their account, “were regularly harassed in their training facility” by university staff or other students, and that one former wrestler “saw Jordan yell at male voyeurs to get out of the sauna.” According to the Post, Andy Geiger, OSU’s former athletic director, has confirmed that he worked with OSU’s then-wrestling coach, Russ Hellickson, to move the wrestlers out of their training facility “because of complaints about voyeurism in the showers.” Jordan says he knew nothing about it. “Never saw any type of abuse there,” he told Baier."

No big surprise there,

after Meadows allowed a sexual harasser to stink up his office and then kept paying the guy after he was supposedly let go:

The problems in Meadows' office surfaced in October 2014 when a group of employees reported to the deputy chief of staff "they were uncomfortable with Mr. West's inappropriate behavior towards them," the OCE reported. Meadows asked the chief of staff to Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to interview the female employees, and Meadows eventually "took actions to limit or prohibit Kenny West's presence in the Washington DC and district offices," the report states.

But staff said West remained involved in operations through email and phone calls through late 2014 and early 2015. An April 1, 2015, email from Meadows to his staff announced plans to hire someone to replace West, and a new chief of staff started later that summer. House payroll records show West's title was changed to senior adviser on April 1 — despite comments from Meadows to his staff that West was no longer with the office — and he was considered terminated Aug. 15. During that time, he was paid $58,125.

The witnesses who were interviewed by OCE are not named in the transcripts, but they formerly worked on Meadows' staff. They said women in the office were uncomfortable around West based on his comments, his attempts to talk to them alone and how he touched them.

"It kind of was first brought to my attention when I was brought on board and I was told, 'Hey, by the way, you probably don't want to wear your hair in a ponytail when Kenny's in town, because he really likes to play with girls' hair when it's a ponytail for some reason, and he seems to touch girls' hair a lot, so by the way, don't do that,'" one witness told OCE.

A couple (or several) broken fingers would have stopped that nonsense quickly.