SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATES NC HIGH SCHOOL IMPROV JOKE ABOUT TRUMP? A complaint about a North Carolina student’s joke went all the way to the Secret Service, officials say. A high school improv club was performing when a student made “inappropriate comments,” Surry County Schools said. “The improvisation was not rehearsed, pre-planned, or meant to be taken seriously, however, the joke was in poor taste,” the school district said in a statement. The comment was forwarded to the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, which teamed up with the Secret Service to review the case, according to the post. Capt. Scott Hudson said his department had received “several complaints” about the performance, the Winston-Salem Journal reported last week. “We will take any appropriate disciplinary action once we have all of the facts,” the district said earlier this week.
TRUMP-LOVING KANNAPOLIS PASTOR SAYS WE'RE TRYING TO IMPEACH JESUS, TOO: Pastor Tim B. Jones set off a debate with a sign outside Resurrection Baptist Church in Kannapolis — less than 30 miles outside Charlotte — that reads “Trying to impeach Jesus, too! Won’t happen either!” Jones told McClatchy news group Thursday he “unequivocally without apology supports the president of the United States, Donald Trump.” But he said the sign isn’t political — it’s about putting God back into society. ”The message is about Jesus, not about Trump,” he said. Someone asked if he was “delusional.” In 2016, Fox46 reported Resurrection Baptist Church boasted a sign that read “We are voting. And not for Hillary!” Jones told the media outlet at the time the church was “independent” and willing to “stand up for this country and our beliefs.” He’ll be doing that again Sunday when he goes to Washington, D.C., to support Trump during the impeachment hearings, Jones said.
CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRING TRUMP PROVIDE TAX RETURNS OVERTURNED BY STATE SUPREME COURT: President Donald Trump does not have to disclose his tax returns to appear as a candidate on California’s primary ballot next spring, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday. The law, the first of its kind in the nation and aimed squarely at Trump, violates a specification of the state constitution calling for an “inclusive open presidential primary ballot,” the court said. “Ultimately, it is the voters who must decide whether the refusal of a ‘recognized candidate throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States’ to make such information available to the public will have consequences at the ballot box,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the 7-0 decision. Trump has broken with tradition among presidential candidates by refusing to disclose his financial information.
KEY PLAYERS WILL NOT BE FORCED TO TESTIFY IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDING: Rudolph W. Giuliani was hardly the only offstage character during two weeks of impeachment hearings that ended on Thursday. Lawmakers also heard that Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo were in the loop, that Mick Mulvaney organized the political equivalent of a “drug deal” and that John R. Bolton was adamantly against it. But among those missing from the House Intelligence Committee’s witness list, besides Mr. Giuliani, were Mr. Pence, Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Mulvaney and Mr. Bolton. Not that the panel’s Democratic majority was necessarily uninterested in talking with the vice president, secretary of state, acting White House chief of staff or former national security adviser. Democratic leaders have decided not to wage a drawn-out fight to force them to testify over White House objections. Instead, as the committee wrapped up its public hearings on Thursday, House Democrats have opted for expeditious over comprehensive, electing to complete their investigation even without filling in major gaps in the story. It is a calculated gamble that they have enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump on a party-line vote in the House and would risk losing momentum if they took the time to wage a court fight to compel reluctant witnesses to come forward.
TRUMP AND SENATE REPUBLICANS SCHEME TO LIMIT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL TO TWO WEEKS: A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including rapid proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks, according to multiple officials familiar with the talks. The prospect of an abbreviated trial is viewed by several Senate Republicans as a favorable middle ground — substantial enough to give the proceedings credence without risking greater damage to Trump by dragging on too long. Under this scenario, described by officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to recount a private meeting, the Senate trial could begin as early as January if the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump next month as appears increasingly likely. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier this month that Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-seat majority, if the trial were held today. Even a two-week trial could run counter to what Trump has expressed privately. The president is “miserable” about the impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away, according to people familiar with his sentiments, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Trump’s views.