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The worst hour of Donald Trump’s presidency just happened – The Point

(CNN)Two massive clouds that have been hanging over Donald Trump’s presidency for months broke open almost simultaneously on Tuesday afternoon — and poured rain all over the President.

Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time, two narratives — both disastrously bad for Trump — emerged:

1. Paul Manafort, the man who spent five critical months leading Trump’s campaign in 2016, was found guilty of eight financial crimes. On the 10 other charges brought against Manafort, the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous conclusion and the presiding judge declared a mistrial on those counts.

2. Longtime Trump personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen agreed to a plea deal with the Southern District of New York in which he admitted guilt on eight charges and acknowledged that he had discussed or made hush payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump in order to keep damaging information from becoming public, at the direction of and in coordination with a candidate for federal office. That candidate, although Cohen didn’t name him, is obviously Donald Trump. (Read more)

San Diego County Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife are indicted on campaign finance violations – Los Angeles Times

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife, Margaret, were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges they used $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use and filed false campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission to mask the spending.

The 48-page indictment details lavish spending from 2009 to 2016, including family vacations to Italy and Hawaii, home utilities, school tuition for their children, video games and even dental work. The San Diego Union-Tribune first identified the improper spending.

To conceal the spending, family dental bills were listed as a charitable contribution to “Smiles for Life,” the government alleges. Tickets for the family to see Riverdance at the San Diego Civic Theater became “San Diego Civic Center for Republican Women Federated/Fundraising,” according to the indictment. Clothing purchases at a golf course were falsely reported as golf “balls for the wounded warriors.” (Read more)

Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Guilty of 8 Charges in Fraud Trial – New York Times

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted on Tuesday in his financial fraud trial, bringing a dramatic end to a politically charged case that riveted the capital.

The verdict was a victory for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose prosecutors introduced extensive evidence that Mr. Manafort hid millions of dollars in foreign accounts to evade taxes and lied to banks repeatedly to obtain $20 million in loans.

Mr. Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges. (Read more)

‘Silent Sam’ is down: Protesters topple Confederate statue on UNC campus

imageCHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Protesters toppled the controversial “Silent Sam” statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More than 300 protesters first gathered at the Peace and Justice Plaza at about 7:30 p.m., before marching to the base of the statue, calling for its removal. By 9:30 p.m., the statue was on the ground.

Protesters had sectioned off the area around the controversial statue with large banners and could be heard chanting, “stand up, fight back,” and “hey, hey, ho, ho, this racist statue has got to go.” Many also held signs.

The banners blocked the view of the statue, but people could be seen walking behind them. No one at the protest would speculate what was going on.

At one point, there were tense moments between protesters and police officers. Protesters deployed smoke canisters.

One person was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and for concealing one’s face during a public rally. (Read more)

A Close Look at the Six Constitutional Amendments on Your Ballot – Jeff Jackson North Carolina State Senator

In North Carolina, the general public doesn’t get to put amendments on the ballot through ballot initiatives but the public does get to vote on proposed amendments.

Your ballot this November will include six proposed constitutional amendments.

1. Right to Hunt and Fish

You can read the full amendment here.

Here’s what the language on your ballot will be:

[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

No one ever got a straight answer on why this is necessary. When I asked in committee whether this was going to impact any existing state laws, regulations, or municipal ordinances, I was told, “Not that we know of.”

This amendment may, however, end up causing plenty of litigation from hunters and fishermen who feel that existing regulations impinge on their (new) constitutional right. The courts would be left to establish standards for what level of regulatory intrusion would constitute a constitutional violation.

2. Legislative Selection of Judicial Vacancies (i.e., majority party in the state legislature fills the judicial vacancies)

You can read the full amendment here.

Here’s what the language on your ballot will be:

[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to implement a nonpartisan merit-based system that relies on professional qualifications instead of political influence when nominating Justices and judges to be selected to fill vacancies that occur between judicial elections.

This one is tricky — by design. It includes phrases that sound great like “merit-based” and “nonpartisan.” (Read more)

Convicted murderer Mark Bowling dies in prison – Rocky Mount Telegram

Mark Bowling, who was convicted of his wife’s murder in one of Rocky Mount’s most infamous cases, will not be serving out his 15-year sentence. He died in prison on Friday.

Bowling, who was serving his sentence at the Sampson Correctional Institute, died of natural causes, Jerry Higgins, a communications officer for the state Department of Public Safety, told the Telegram on Monday.

Bowling and his lover, Rose Vincent, were both convicted of the murder of Bowling’s wife in 2008. In the early hours of Dec. 8, 2006, Julie Bowling, 45, was shot to death in the garage of her home on River Glenn. Julie Bowling was a radiation therapist for Nash Health Care at the time of her death. (Read more)