MARK WALKER TO RUN FOR BURR'S SENATE SEAT IN 2022: Walker, 51, released a video announcing his campaign for Senate and has created a website. “It’s a little uncomfortable to talk about why you’re the best candidate. Nobody in the House can match our record as a conservative warrior, but also somebody who builds bridges,” Walker said in a telephone interview Tuesday. He is expected to be joined by several other candidates. Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of President Donald Trump, is considering a bid. Lara Trump grew up in Wilmington and attended N.C. State. Walker is finishing his third term in the U.S. House. Walker served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee earlier in his tenure and was a member of Republican leadership in his final term. (Not mentioned in this article: Pat McCrory is also sniffing around this seat)
TED BUDD TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID 19, WILL QUARANTINE AT HOME: Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina said on Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will complete his recovery at home. Budd, who won his third term last month to represent the central 13th Congressional District, said in a video message on social media that he has “very mild symptoms." He said he'll be working remotely from his family farm with his staff in the district and in Washington. “Even though I have to stay here in North Carolina for the time being, I’ll keep fighting for solutions that will help people who are feeling the impact of COVID much worse than I am,” Budd said in a news release. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis tested positive for the virus in early October and recovered at his home north of Charlotte.
REOPENNC NUTTER IN WENDELL TELLS CUSTOMERS NOT TO WEAR MASK IN HER STORE: For months, the Wendell General Store has posted a sign that says masks are optional inside. But a new sign now tells customers that “we request that you not wear a face covering, for the safety of our customers and staff. Regardless, we will respect your choice to wear one in these times.” Reached Tuesday, store owner Regina Harmon told The News & Observer that she wouldn’t comment on the mask policy beyond the text that appears on the sign. “This has been going on long enough and I really don’t care to have a conversation with you,” she told a reporter. “I’m trying to stay open, I’m trying to do my job.” Harmon’s store sells everything from candy and ice cream to gifts and local farm products. Her Facebook page includes a number of false claims about COVID-19, including a link to an article that makes the inaccurate claim that the virus is not spread through airborne transmission.
TRUMP ADMIN BEING SCRUTINIZED FOR "BRIBERY FOR PARDON" SCHEME: The Justice Department in August investigated a potential “bribery-for-pardon” scheme in which a large political contribution would be offered in exchange for a presidential pardon by the White House, according to court records unsealed Tuesday. The documents show that U.S. prosecutors were scrutinizing whether two individuals approached senior White House officials as unregistered lobbyists, and a related scheme in which cash would be funneled through intermediaries for a pardon or reprieve of a sentence for a defendant apparently in Federal Bureau of Prisons custody at some point. The status of the investigation is unclear. The slender record is heavily redacted and does not identify the investigation’s targets or whether anyone has been or will be charged. It also does not indicate what senior White House officials did after allegedly being approached. The records were unsealed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who released an Aug. 28 opinion describing the government’s theory. The opinion granted prosecutors’ request to access search warrant evidence, including confidential emails sent among at least three individuals and their agents that could have been protected by attorney-client privilege. A government review of the evidence identified emails “indicat[ing] additional criminal activity” after scouring more than 50 digital media devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and computer and external hard drives, Howell wrote. The ruling offers glimpses of the underlying investigation, stating at one point, for example, that the government alleged at least one person “requested [redacted]’s assistance, ‘as a personal favor,’ to use his political connections [redacted].”
BARR GOES AGAINST TRUMP, SAYS NO EVIDENCE OF WIDESPREAD VOTER FRAUD: Attorney General William P. Barr acknowledged on Tuesday that the Justice Department has uncovered no voting fraud “on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” a striking repudiation of President Trump’s groundless claims that he was defrauded. The statement from Mr. Barr affirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win served as a particularly harsh blow to Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election. Mr. Barr has advanced Mr. Trump’s political agenda perhaps more than any other cabinet member, bringing the Justice Department as close to the White House as it has been since Watergate. His comments came as other Republicans separated themselves on Tuesday from Mr. Trump’s charged complaints about the election. A Georgia elections official angrily denounced the violent threats and harassment directed at elections workers and urged the president to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.” “Someone’s going to get hurt,” the official, Gabriel Sterling, said at a news conference. “Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.” The president’s allies immediately pushed back on Mr. Barr’s election assessment. Trump campaign lawyers complained that the Justice Department investigations had been anemic. Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for Mr. Trump who has been at the forefront of promoting his election conspiracy theories, said that his team had gathered evidence of illegal voting in six states, backed up by sworn witness statements, and that the Justice Department had failed to investigate what the team had uncovered.