Saturday News: Everybody's a farmer, apparently...

COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST BRENT JACKSON OVER MISIDENTIFYING DONORS: Hall contends that Jackson’s records show he received improper contributions and that he reported contributors whose identities were obscured or had misleading identifying information. Some of the donors benefited from favorable treatment in the General Assembly, Hall says. “By misidentifying donors with major interests in state contracts and the state budget, Sen. Jackson and his campaign deceive the public, falsely inflate his financial support from farmers, and violate campaign disclosure laws,” Hall’s complaint reads. The complaint says more than 80 contributors list their occupations as “farmer,” when in fact their occupations have nothing to do with agriculture, including executives from a wide range of fields. Jackson, in a phone interview Friday, said the complaint has prompted him to look for any corrections that need to be made in his campaign finance records.

ELECTIONS BOARD WILL CONTINUE INVESTIGATION OF CONGRESSIONAL RACE: After nearly three hours of closed-door discussion Friday, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement voted to continue an investigation into 9th Congressional District election irregularities, leaving the race's outcome unsure more than three weeks past Election Day. The vote was 7-2, signaling bipartisan agreement on the board but not full support from the body's four Republicans. Mark Harris, who was the apparent congressman-elect before board first declined to certify the race Tuesday, issued his first statement on the fiasco late Friday afternoon, criticizing the board for releasing little information about the investigation. The North Carolina Republican Party promised Thursday to bring swift legal action if the board didn't finalize the race Friday. It provided no more details after the board's vote but called on Chairman Andy Penry to resign, saying the lack of information coming from a "shameless Democrat partisan ... makes this entire debacle difficult to grasp."

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE HW BUSH PASSES AWAY: Serving for a single term, Bush occupied the Oval Office from 1989 to 1993. During that time, Bush led the U.S. to victory in a 1991 effort to drive Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. Bush lost his bid for reelection to President Bill Clinton, but saw his son, George W. Bush, elected president just eight years later. That established his family as a political dynasty alongside the Adams and Kennedy families. Before becoming president, Bush was elected to Congress and served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and vice president under Ronald Reagan. Bush has suffered from respiratory problems in recent years, and about a year ago he was hospitalized for two weeks to treat pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. Earlier in 2017 Bush spent 16 days in the hospital — and was put on a ventilator — for a separate case of pneumonia.

PUTIN GETS COLD SHOULDER AT G20 OVER UKRAINE PROBLEMS: Russia is putting on a brave face after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly junked a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It's all about internal U.S. politics and "anti-Russian hysteria," Russian officials shrug. But Trump's snub was a clear kick to Putin just as he arrived at a Group of 20 summit where Western leaders banded together to denounce Russia's actions in Ukraine. As the summit opened, European leaders lined up to criticize what one called Russia's "aggression" on Ukraine — the weekend seizure of Ukrainian ships and crew members near Crimea. The Group of 7 foreign ministers issued a statement demanding the seamen's release. The standoff was the official reason that Trump cancelled his meeting with Putin, calling what's happening in Ukraine "very bad." The Russian interpretation of the cancellation, however, echoed that of some of Trump's critics at home, who noted the move came amid new challenges for Trump in the probe into Russia's alleged role in his 2016 election campaign.

TRUMP'S CHINA ADVISOR IS FANNING THE FLAMES OF A NEW COLD WAR: Mr. Trump has received conflicting advice from his trade team about how to approach China but it is Mr. Pillsbury’s counsel that the president is most likely to keep in mind. “We could not have shifted the entire apparatus to this confrontational mode with China if it wasn’t for the intellectual architecture of ‘A Hundred-Year Marathon,’” said Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist who recruited Mr. Pillsbury as an adviser during the transition and used to hand out copies of his book around the White House. In his book, he describes China’s approach as one of deception, in which its leaders use America’s belief that it can democratize China to “mislead and manipulate American policymakers to obtain intelligence and military, technological and economic assistance.” As Mr. Trump increasingly blurs economic security and national security — viewing China’s economic rise as a national security threat to America — Mr. Pillsbury’s knowledge of China has become even more in demand.