Friday News: The company he keeps


DAN FOREST ATTENDS FUNDRAISER WITH SPINDALE CULT LEADERS: A photo provided to The News & Observer shows Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest at a fundraiser with a leader of a western North Carolina church that’s being sued by a former member who says church leaders tried to beat the “homosexual demons” out of him. Forest, who was elected to a second term last year, is a socially conservative Republican who’s expected to run for governor in 2020. The photo shows Forest standing in a living room with Robin Webster, a leader of Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale in Rutherford County, about 70 miles west of Charlotte. Word of Faith has come under scrutiny in recent months after 43 former members told the Associated Press that church members try to expel demons using “blasting” prayers where congregants were smacked, choked, punched and thrown to the floor.

CAPE FEAR RIVERKEEPER ATTRIBUTES GENX CONTAMINATION TO A CHEMICAL GUESSING GAME: Legislative and other reviews of the GenX controversy have widened into a broader discussion on water policy, partly because so little is known about the "emerging contaminants" used in modern manufacturing. Cape Fear River Keeper Kemp Burdette suggested to legislators Thursday that state and federal regulations are backwards, allowing poorly understood compounds to be discharged into public waters. Industry should have to prove compounds are safe first, he said, likening his proposal to one of the first rules of gun safety: Assume it's loaded. "We allow industry to discharge chemicals we don't know very much about, and we hope they are not harmful," Burdette said.

CALIFORNIA BILLIONAIRE LAUNCHES EXPENSIVE AD CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: President Donald Trump is responding to a California billionaire who has vowed to spend at least $10 million in advertising calling for the president's impeachment. Trump is using Twitter to call Tom Steyer "wacky & totally unhinged." He says Steyer "has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from the beginning," adding the billionaire environmentalist "never wins elections!" Steyer recently launched the advertising, which has been running on Fox News and other national outlets, arguing that Trump should be ousted from office. Steyer contends Trump is pushing the U.S. toward a nuclear war, is obstructing justice at the FBI and threatening to shut down news organizations he doesn't like.

TRUE TO FORM, TRUMP MISHANDLES RELEASE OF JFK ASSASSINATION RECORDS: President Donald Trump has blocked the release of hundreds of records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, bending to CIA and FBI appeals, while the National Archives came out Thursday night with a hefty cache of others. Despite having months to prepare for disclosures that have been set on the calendar for 25 years, Trump's decision came down to a last-minute debate with intelligence agencies — a tussle the president then prolonged by calling for still more review. The delay sparked a round of finger-pointing among agencies and complaints that Trump should have released all records. Roger Stone, a sometime Trump adviser who wrote a book about his theories on the assassination, urged Trump to review personally any material that government agencies still want to withhold. Trump should at least "spot check" any extensive redactions to make sure agencies are not "dabbling in acts of criminal insubordination," Stone said in a statement.

NORTH KOREA COMPLAINS TO UN ABOUT MASSIVE US NAVAL BUILDUP OFF ITS SHORES: North Korea’s ambassador called on the U.N. Security Council Wednesday to urgently discuss the recent U.S. joint naval exercise near the Korean peninsula, calling it preparation for a pre-emptive strike and nuclear war against his country. Ja Song Nam said in a letter that the naval exercise was the largest “waged with general mobilization of the nuclear strategic assets” after President Donald Trump last month “made the most ferocious declaration of war in history by claiming to ‘totally destroy’ the DPRK.” Those are the initials of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Ja said the naval exercise, which began Oct. 16 and involved the nuclear aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, three nuclear submarines, Aegis destroyers and more than 40 other battleships and fighter aircraft “of all kinds,” increased tensions on the Korean peninsula.