Saturday News: From the pages of Pravda


TRUMP SAYS "PEOPLE WILL DIE" BECAUSE OF RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN MEDDLING INVESTIGATION: "Having a good relationship with Russia's a great, great thing. And this artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way," Trump told reporters, once again casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia did try to interfere in the election. "People will die because of it." Trump's suggestion that he may believe Putin over his own nation's intelligence community is certain to re-ignite the firestorm over the election meddling. Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has resulted in two indictments for financial and other crimes unrelated to the campaign, as well as a guilty plea. Trump said the probe into the election hacking was a "fake barrier" placed by Democrats that was hurting the United States' ability to have a relationship with Russia, a distraction that was putting lives at stake.

PUTIN THREATENS RETALIATION OVER U.S. CRACKDOWN ON RUSSIAN MEDIA OUTLET RT: President Vladimir Putin is promising that Russia will retaliate for what he calls attacks on Russian media in the United States. Putin's comments at a news conference Saturday in Vietnam follow complaints by the Kremlin-funded RT satellite TV channel that the U.S. Justice Department has ordered it to register as a foreign agent by Monday. Putin says "attacking our media in the United States is an attack on freedom of speech, without any doubt," and promised to retaliate. RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the station would register, since otherwise its American director could be arrested and its accounts frozen. She says "we categorically disagree with this requirement" and vowed to sue. She says "this requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech."

JUDGES REJECT GOP ATTEMPT TO HIDE COMMUNICATIONS IN PA GERRYMANDERING CASE: The Pennsylvania Legislature's two highest-ranking Republican leaders were ordered Thursday to turn over documents related to development of the state's latest congressional districts map, which a lawsuit claims has given the GOP an unconstitutional edge in elections. A federal judge in Philadelphia gave the leaders a week to produce communications they or aides had with the Redistricting Majority Project, or REDMAP, the party's national redistricting effort after the 2010 census, as well as information used to develop the map. House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati had fought disclosure, citing legislative privilege and other claims. Neither they nor their lawyers responded to requests for comment. The order concerns one of two pending legal challenges to the congressional maps, a federal case that argues Republicans improperly used their role in administering elections to achieve partisan objectives. It is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 4.

AFTER ANONYMOUS COMPLAINT, STATE BAR WARNS UNC CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER TO NOT PRACTICE LAW: “The University is not a corporation authorized to practice law under those statutes,” wrote Alan Hicks, chair of the bar committee. “The Center, as a constituent component of the University and not a separate entity, is likewise not a corporation authorized to provide legal services. Therefore; the Committee voted to issue this Letter of Caution.” Hicks said the committee’s letter does not represent a legal determination, and only a court can determine that the center has violated any law or impose a sanction for any such violation. The law school’s dean, Martin Brinkley, said in a statement that “we are surprised by and do not understand the State Bar committee’s decision in this matter.” The letter of caution, issued Thursday, came after an anonymous complaint to the State Bar’s Authorized Practice Committee, which met Oct. 25 to consider the matter.

OPERATION CLEAN SLATE TO HELP EASTERN NC VETERANS IN TROUBLE WITH THE COURT: On Nov. 17, veterans and their spouses in New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen and Pender counties could have warrants for failure to appear on non-violent misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses waived. “If you have an order for arrest outstanding, if you have a traffic ticket that might have been called and failed and might be revoking your license and you’re subject to fines and penalties, come in without fear … have that (case) set on that day,” Ben David said. “We want to have those calls-and-fails and orders for arrest set aside.” Public defenders will also be on hand to assist veterans who don’t have attorneys. Three years ago a similar initiative took place and 60 cases were handled, Ben David said. “Frequently someone who misses court for even a minor traffic offense can have this incident quickly snowball … such that they might be arrested or have their license suspended,” Jon David said. “And so the goal of this initiative is to wipe the slate clean and provide a pathway for veterans to come into court and deal with minor offenses on their merits on that day.”