BALLOT HARVESTER DOWLESS FACES NEW ROUND OF CRIMINAL CHARGES: Leslie McCrae Dowless was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and possession of absentee ballot, the document showed. Dowless was previously indicted on charges related to an absentee ballot harvesting operation he allegedly ran in Bladen County in 2016 and during the 2018 primary. His earlier charges include three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of an absentee ballot. Dowless remains free on a $30,000 bond and is expected to turn himself in for processing on the new charges. Six of Dowless’ associates were also indicted and are expected to turn themselves in.
NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS CHAIRMAN RESIGNS AFTER TELLING SEXIST JOKE: State Board of Elections Chairman Robert Cordle resigned from the board Tuesday after he opened a statewide conference for hundreds of election officials Monday with a joke about cows and sex. His resignation was effective immediately, and Gov. Roy Cooper said in a brief statement late Tuesday that he accepted it. Cordle's resignation means the board will soon have its fourth chair since early December, when another Cooper appointee resigned over political tweets. The resignation comes at an important time: The board is slated to meet Thursday to revisit a vote it took Monday night on certifying new elections equipment, and Cordle being gone would seem to lock the board in a 2-2 tie on the matter until he's replaced.
ASHEVILLE POLICE CAPTAIN FIRED OVER PEDESTRIAN BEATING INCIDENT REINSTATED: A grievance board has overturned the firing of a former North Carolina police captain, saying the officer deserved discipline for some of his actions but shouldn't have lost his job. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the Civil Service Board overturned the firing of former Asheville police Capt. Mark Byrd. His attorney, John C. Hunter, says the five-person board voted 4-1 on Monday after three days of hearings. Hunter says the hearings were closed to the public and the media at the city's request. The newspaper reports that the board found some charges against Byrd may have warranted discipline but not firing. Byrd was fired in July 2018 by then-Police Chief Tammy Hooper. Hooper said Byrd was dishonest about the timeline into the investigation of a police beating of a pedestrian.
MODERATE DEMS ATTACK MEDICARE FOR ALL DURING 2ND DEBATE: In targeting Medicare for All, the more moderate candidates consistently sought to undermine Sanders and Warren. The moderates variously derided Medicare for All as too costly, ineffective and a near-certain way to give Republicans the evidence they needed that Democrats supported socialism. “They’re running on telling half the country that their health care is illegal,” said former Maryland Rep. John Delaney. “We have a choice: We can go down the road that Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything and impossible promises,” he continued. “It will turn off independent voters and get Trump reelected.” Yet Sanders and Warren did not back down. While they are competing for the same set of liberal voters, there seemed to be no daylight between them. “Health care is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that. I will fight for that,” Sanders said.
TRUMP (ONCE AGAIN) UNDERMINES HIS TRADE NEGOTIATORS BY ATTACKING CHINA: Chinese officials welcomed the American delegation with a dinner on Tuesday night at the Fairmont Peace Hotel on Shanghai’s famous Bund promenade. But around the same time in Washington, President Trump accused China of failing to follow through on its promises, adding that a deal was unlikely before the 2020 United States presidential election. He also complained that China had not started to buy American agricultural goods as he said was promised after he met with Mr. Xi in Japan last month. Chinese officials have disputed that they agreed to the purchases. On Wednesday in China, as the official talks got underway at the Xijiao State Guest Hotel, further pessimism clouded the event. An editorial in The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, warned that “the U.S. has to change its bad habit of using tough talk to cheer on its negotiating team, which easily undermines the mutual trust between China and the U.S.”