Saturday News: Carrion birds of a feather


TRUMP TO HEADLINE CHARLOTTE RALLY FOR MARK HARRIS: President Donald Trump will campaign in Charlotte next week for Republican 9th Congressional District candidate Mark Harris, a senior state GOP official said Friday. Trump will be in the Queen City next Friday for a 7 p.m. rally at Bojangles' Coliseum. Harris, who knocked off Congressman Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary in May, faces Democrat Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeff Scott in the upcoming election. Democrats view the seat as a potential flip for them as they seek to erode some of the GOP dominance in the U.S. House. A recent poll commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute showed McCready with a 4-point lead, but the results were within the margin of error, meaning it remains a toss-up.

BRIEF BIOS OF BARBARA JACKSON AND ANITA EARLS: Jackson, 56, has been on the N.C. Supreme Court since 2010 and was on the N.C. Court of Appeals for six years prior to that. From 2015-2017 she led a technology committee focused on increasing access to the court system. Earlier in her career she was a state government lawyer. She worked in the administration of former Republican Gov. Jim Martin and later was the top lawyer in the N.C. Department of Labor under Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. She got her law degree from UNC. Earls, 58, has mostly focused on civil rights and voting rights in her career. She is most well-known for leading successful lawsuits against North Carolina’s gerrymandering and voter ID laws as part of her work for the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which she founded in 2007. Previously she worked in the U.S. Department of Justice under former Democratic President Bill Clinton and at the Charlotte law firm founded by civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers. She got her law degree from Yale.

CERTIFIABLY INSANE VERNON ROBINSON BEHIND "LYNCHING" RADIO ADS AGAINST DEMOCRATS: Vernon Robinson, a former Winston-Salem city council member and candidate for numerous offices, is the co-founder of Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, a political action committee. The group has taken out radio ads in Missouri and Arkansas that’s meant to be taken as two African-American women discussing the treatment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kanvaugh. The Arkansas ad ends: “We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to the bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.” A separate Missouri ad talks about abortion and says McCaskill, who is pro-choice, doesn’t care about black babies being aborted.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION READY TO RESTART NUCLEAR ARMS RACE: President Donald Trump has been moving toward scrapping the 3-decade-old treaty, which grew out of President Ronald Reagan’s historic meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986. While the treaty was seen as effective for years, Russia has been violating it at least since 2014 in an effort to menace other nations. But the pact has also constrained the United States from deploying new weapons to respond to China’s efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and to keep U.S. naval forces at bay. Because China was not a signatory to the treaty, it has faced no limits on developing intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which can travel thousands of miles. The White House said no official decision had been made to leave the treaty, known as INF, which at the time of its signing was considered a critical step in defusing Cold War tensions. But in the coming weeks, Trump is expected to sign off on the decision, which would mark the first time he has scrapped an arms control treaty, the U.S. officials said.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CHARGES RUSSIAN WOMAN WITH MEDDLING IN 2018 ELECTION: The separate Justice Department prosecution targets Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, a St. Petersburg woman who prosecutors say helped manage the finances of a hidden but powerful Russian social media effort aimed at spreading distrust for American political candidates and causing divisions on hot-button social issues like immigration and gun control. Prosecutors say Khusyaynova worked for the same social media troll farm that was indicted earlier this year by Mueller. The social media effort outlined by prosecutors Friday largely mirrors Mueller’s criminal case against three Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, and 13 Russians, including one is a close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors say the conduct singled out on Friday runs afoul of criminal laws that bar foreign nationals from attempting to influence American elections, or from engaging in political activities without first registering with the attorney general. Asked about the new accusation against the Russians at an appearance in Arizona, President Trump responded that it had “nothing to do with me.”