TILLIS CAMPAIGN ACCUSED OF ILLEGAL COORDINATION WITH NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: A national report tying millions of dollars in National Rifle Association political spending to a major campaign vendor for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has opened more questions of illegal coordination in the rough-and-tumble 2014 Senate race. The Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., filed a Federal Election Commission complaint in the matter Monday. This is the second time this year the group has reached back to Tillis' 2014 election and suggested illegal coordination by outside groups. Monday when the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a criminal complaint against a Russian national accused of infiltrating the gun-rights group, the NRA's political spending is under new scrutiny.Tillis and fellow North Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr have been two of the two top three members of Congress to benefit from NRA political spending in recent years. North Carolina's status as a swing state brings massive amounts of money and advertising from a number of outside groups.
CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL APPROVES RNC 2020 CONTRACTS DESPITE VEHEMENT OPPOSITION: The yes votes were Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari, and Democrats Egleston, Julie Eiselt, Greg Phipps and James Mitchell. The no votes were Democrats Justin Harlow, Braxton Winston, Dimple Ajmera, LaWana Mayfield and Matt Newton. “This president is dangerous,” said Harlow. “I’d no sooner bring Donald Trump to Charlotte . . . than I’d welcome a Klan rally to Charlotte.” Las Vegas, the only other location officially still in the running, doesn’t have the backing of the city or tourism officials there for its bid. The chairman of the Nevada GOP, Michael McDonald, has been pushing for Las Vegas to host the convention. “Why aren’t other cities clamoring for this?” asked Charlotte speaker Naomi Brezi, who opposes the convention.
PROTEST IN DURHAM OVER TEENS BEING JAILED WITH ADULT OFFENDERS: Dozens of people gathered outside the Durham Jail on Monday evening to call for change. Protesters believe that 16-year-old and 17-year-old inmates should not be housed with adults. The event was motivated by the apparent suicide of 17-year-old Uniece Fennel, who was found dead in her cell in March 2017. In the crowd Monday night was Rep. Marcia Morey, who was a judge in Durham for 18 years. “Unfortunately, with Niecey, who died of a suicide in the jail at the age of 17, that tragic event I think has motivated people to open up their hearts and speak out on what’s wrong, and our local leaders and our state leaders can do this,” Morey said. According to the sheriff's office, when Fennell's attorney complained that his client had been verbally abused authorities started looking into it and found that the officer had resigned two weeks prior to the complaint.
GOP SENATORS ENRAGED OVER TRIUMP'S PANDERING TO VLADIMIR PUTIN: Swift and sweeping condemnation from Republicans as well as Democrats met President Donald Trump's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin and continued doubt over Russian election meddling. Lawmakers and former intelligence officials appeared shocked, dismayed and uneasy with Trump's suggestion Monday that he believes Putin's denial over the assessment of U.S. intelligence officials and the Justice Department. One of the sharpest reactions came from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who called Trump's remarks in Helsinki "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory." Other Republicans have been scathing, too. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called it "bizarre," Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona called it "shameful," and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted that it was a "bad day for the US."
RUSSIAN GUN RIGHTS "ADVOCATE" TRIED TO SET UP BACK-CHANNEL WITH TRUMP ADMIN: Court papers filed in support of Butina’s arrest accuse her of participating in a conspiracy that began in 2015 in which an unnamed senior Russian official “tasked” her with working to infiltrate American political organizations with the goal of “reporting back to Moscow” what she had learned. Authorities did not name the Kremlin official, who is described as a member of the Russian legislature who later became a top official in the country’s central bank. The official has since been sanctioned by the U.S. Prosecutors say Butina, at the official’s direction, met with U.S. politicians and candidates, attended events sponsored by special interest groups — including two National Prayer Breakfast events — and organized Russian-American “friendship and dialogue” dinners in Washington as part of her work. Court papers also show that after the 2016 election, Butina worked to set up a Russian delegation’s visit to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in what she described in an email as an effort to “establish a back channel of communication.” After the visit, Butina emailed the organizer of the breakfast thanking him for a gift and “for the very private meeting” that followed the breakfast.