ROBIN HAYES WILL SPEND ZERO TIME IN JAIL FOR HIS CRIMES: When recruited in 2018 to help funnel some $2 millions in bribes to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, Robin Hayes said he was “more than happy to help,” a new court document shows. While Hayes, as state Republican Party chairman, raised concerns about the size of an illegal $250,000 campaign donation he had been asked to direct through the GOP to Causey, he nevertheless told his co-conspirators, “I’ll get ‘er done.” On Monday, a filing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte recommended to Hayes’ judge on how much prison time the former 11-term congressman should serve. That number would be zero. In explaining its recommendation of probation, prosecutors cited Hayes’ plea agreement and his lack of a previous criminal record. Hayes was also prepared to testify against his partners in the scheme, the filing indicates. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Hayes, who turns 75 this week, faced up to six months in prison. Both sides, however, recommended probation.
FAYETTEVILLE GROUP WANTS TO "SAVE" THE CITY'S (SLAVE) MARKET HOUSE: A group called Save the Historic Fayetteville Market House gathered around City Hall to show their support for the building, which they call a staple of the community. “[The] Market House has always been a symbol of Fayetteville. I would go so far to say that the Market House is the heart of Fayetteville," said group member Michael Pinkston. The group said that it’s part of history and has a lot to teach the younger generations. "[The] Market House is history. A lot of things happen in the Market House that shouldn’t of happened. A lot of things happen in the Market House that should’ve happened. I think it’s a good educational tool for our kids so we don’t repeat history," said group member Ron Ross. The group chanted "All lives matter" and attended the City Council meeting virtually to make their voices heard.
JOSH STEIN IS GOING AFTER "FOREVER CHEMICALS" POLLUTERS: North Carolina's Attorney General will have his office investigate the sources behind so-called “forever chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in the southeastern part of the state. The Fayetteville Observer reports that AG Josh Stein made the announcement on Monday. The chemicals his office will focus on include substances like PFAS and GenX. The state investigation will look into manufacturers and other possible sources of the pollution. PFAS are used in industrial processes to make things like nonstick coatings and fire suppression foams. Stein says the chemicals do not break down once they are released into the environment. They also build up in human blood and organs, causing harm to people's health. GenX is a type of PFAS. It became well-known after the StarNews newspaper in Wilmington reported research by N.C. State University in 2017 that found significant amounts of the pollutants in the Cape Fear River. The river supplies drinking water in that area.
MARK MEADOWS IS STILL THE SAME ASSHOLE HE ALWAYS WAS: Irritated by multiple leaks during the coronavirus relief negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instituted a rule forbidding participants from bringing in their phones, so that talks couldn’t be recorded. But on Wednesday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to surrender his device upon entering Pelosi’s office, insisting he had an important call to take, according to two people familiar with the episode who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it. Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Meadows that the phone had to go, or he did. Still Meadows refused. Pelosi suggested that Meadows’s aide exit the room with Meadows’s phone and alert him when the call arrived. Meadows said the assistant had to stay to take notes. Meadows had held a pessimistic view from the outset about the prospect for an agreement with Congress, based on his public statements. He argued in public and in private that Democrats were not serious about making a deal, but Democrats say it was Meadows more than anyone else who was responsible for the failure to deliver on this round of talks. They had successfully negotiated four bipartisan bills in March and April, mostly before Meadows had officially joined the White House as chief of staff. “His positions are quite hardened and non-compromising, more so than Mnuchin,” Schumer told reporters Friday. Schumer contended that in the case of Meadows and others associated with the tea party, “ideology sort of blinds them.”
RUSSIA SKIPS CRITICAL TESTING STEPS AND APPROVES CORONAVIRUS VACCINE: A Russian health care regulator has become the first in the world to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus, President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Tuesday, though the vaccine has yet to complete clinical trials. The Russian dash for a vaccine has already raised international concerns that Moscow is cutting corners on testing to score political and propaganda points. Mr. Putin’s announcement came despite a caution last week from the World Health Organization that Russia should not stray from the usual methods of testing a vaccine for safety and effectiveness. Mr. Putin’s announcement became essentially a claim of victory in the global race for a vaccine, something Russian officials have been telegraphing for several weeks now despite the absence of published information about any late-phase testing. “It works effectively enough, forms a stable immunity and, I repeat, it has gone through all necessary tests,” Mr. Putin told a cabinet meeting Tuesday morning. He thanked the scientists who developed the vaccine for “this first, very important step for our country, and generally for the whole world.” Mr. Putin also said that one of his daughters had taken the vaccine. But the Russian scientific body that developed the vaccine, the Gamaleya Institute, has yet to conduct Phase III tests on tens of thousands of volunteers in highly controlled trials, a process seen as the only method of ensuring a vaccine is actually safe and effective. Around the world, more than 30 vaccines out of a total of more than 165 under development are now in various stages of human trials.