TRUMP HEADED TO NC TO CAMPAIGN FOR DAN BISHOP: “Looking forward to soon being in North Carolina to hold a big rally for wonderful Dan Bishop, who is running for Congress,” Trump tweeted. “His opponent wants Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities, and Socialism. He likes the “Squad” more than North Carolina.” Bishop is running against Democrat Dan McCready and two third-party candidates in the Sept. 10 special election. Early voting started this week. McCready responded in a tweet of his own. “I didn’t come back from Iraq to see my country torn apart by petty lies and insults,” wrote McCready, a former Marine. “Let’s show them what real leadership looks like. . .”
KAMALA HARRIS ALSO HEADED TO NC, LATER TODAY: Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris is visiting central North Carolina this weekend with an eye toward building support in the presidential battleground state about six months before the primary elections. The U.S. senator and former California attorney general scheduled events in Durham and Greensboro, beginning with a Saturday evening speech at a banquet by the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People group. On Sunday, she'll attend morning church services in Durham before an afternoon organizing rally at Smith High School in Greensboro. Democratic presidential candidates have been slowly making their way to North Carolina — which holds a March 3 primary — with previous public events by Bernie Sanders and Beto O'Rourke. The Charlotte Observer reports Joe Biden is attending a campaign fundraiser in Charlotte next week.
NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS APPROVES 3 VOTING MACHINE VENDORS: North Carolina elections officials voted down a proposal Friday to require stricter anti-hacking provisions in the 2020 elections and beyond, upsetting advocates for election security. The State Board of Elections approved in a 3-2 vote three new types of voting machines that counties will have the option to buy. The main difference among them, and the source of much controversy, is whether voters will be using machines that create paper records they can review after they vote to ensure accuracy, or if they will only see a bar code. Circosta said he has heard from numerous county election officials around the state who are fed up with the board’s lengthy debates about which machines to approve. Time is running out to get new machines in place before the 2020 elections, and Friday’s votes came after years of discussion.
TRUMP ESCALATES TRADE WAR WITH CHINA ON EVE OF G-7 CONFERENCE: President Donald Trump demanded U.S. companies stop doing business with China and announced he would raise the rate of tariffs on Beijing Friday, capping one of the most extraordinary days in the long-running U.S.-China trade war. By the end of the trading day, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen 600 points, or nearly 2.4 percent; the business community had ratcheted up criticisms of the president; and world leaders descending on the Group of Seven summit in France were confronted with the prospect of a global slowdown, triggered by a trade war with no end in sight. The combination of events nearly eclipsed a Twitter tirade in which Trump questioned whether the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome H. Powell was an “enemy” of the U.S. The dizzying series of events Friday pushed the trade war between the world’s economic superpowers into a dangerous new phase. Several developed nations appear to be slipping into recession, and many governments and companies had hoped that recent signs of economic weakness in China and the United States would push the parties to the bargaining table.
DAVID KOCH LEAVES A LEGACY OF CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM IN HIS WAKE: David Koch, who died Friday at the age of 79, is best known as a major funder of right-wing political causes, from tax cuts to deregulation, an enthusiastic patron of the arts and a man-about-town. But to his critics, his most lasting political legacy might very well be the rapidly warming world that he has left behind. Koch Industries realized early on that it would be a financial disaster for the firm if the American government regulated carbon emissions or made companies pay a price for releasing carbon into the atmosphere. David Koch worked tirelessly, over decades, to jettison from office any moderate Republicans who proposed to regulate greenhouse gases. In 2009, for example, a South Carolina Republican, Representative Bob Inglis, proposed a carbon tax bill. Koch Industries stopped funding his campaign, donated heavily to a primary opponent named Trey Gowdy and helped organize teams of Tea Party activists who traveled to town hall meetings to protest against Mr. Inglis. Since the 2016 election, and in the face of more urgent scientific warnings about climate change and a growing popular movement for action, the Koch network has tried to build a Republican Party in its image: one that not only refuses to consider action on climate change but continues to deny that the problem is real.