Thursday News: The company you keep


BURR CAMPAIGN ILLEGALLY COORDINATED WITH NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION IN 2016: The complaint comes from American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal super PAC that opposes Republican candidates. American Bridge filed its complaint Wednesday against three Republicans who ran for office in 2016 and 2018. It alleges that the Burr campaign and the NRA’s Political Victory Fund worked together to “create, produce and distribute coordinated public communications in the form of television advertisements.” The complaint is based on a Mother Jones story published earlier this month. The group says that Burr and the NRA’s fund had similar television ads that aired on the same network (NBC affiliate WECT in Wilmington), during the same weeks, in the same time slots, using the same media vendor and the same person to authorize the media buys (Jon Ferrell). The NRA spent $6.2 million on Burr’s 2016 campaign, its largest-ever expenditure on a non-presidential race at that time, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

TSA WORKERS DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE RDU TERMINAL: Facing a second missed paycheck, despite working through the government shutdown, a handful of Transportation Security Administration employees vented their frustrations in front of Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s main terminal on Wednesday. RDU limited the number of demonstrators to 10, and corralled them inside a metal barricade at the far end of the Terminal 2 drop-off area, where few passengers were likely to encounter their signs and chants. Still, their message got out through the scrum of TV cameras and other media their rally attracted. “We as TSA employees would like for this shutdown to end immediately and for the federal government to pay these employees for the work they’ve performed over the last 33 days,” said Mac Johnson, a TSA worker at RDU who heads Local 449 of the American Federation of Government Employees. “These employees are struggling financially,” Johnson said. “TSA employees are some of the lowest paid federal employees in the country, so it’s not like these guys make a lot of money. Most live paycheck to paycheck.”

ALAMANCE COUNTY SHERIFF GOES AFTER IMMIGRANTS AGAIN WITH ALL-REPUBLICAN COUNTY COMMISSION: The Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved $2.8 million Tuesday, Jan. 22, to let the Sheriff’s Office go forward with contracts to house federal detainees in the county jail after the sheriff said immigrant criminals were raping Americans, both figuratively and literally. “The people that we’re trying to hold here are criminal illegal immigrants that is actually raping our citizens in many, many ways,” Sheriff Terry Johnson said. “The jails are full all over this nation of immigrants, criminal immigrants, not just the ones that came across the border, but the people that are coming here for a reason to victimize our children, our citizens, with drugs, murders, rapes, robberies, you name it. And some of the people, including sheriffs in this state and nation, is saying, ‘Well, that’s not my problem.’ It is their problem. They swore to uphold the law. Whether we like the law or not, we took an oath to uphold that law.” The commissioners voted 5-0 to add $2.8 million to the sheriff’s current budget pending the negotiation of contracts that would cover those costs with ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service to hold detainees in the Alamance County jail.

PELOSI WINS POWER PLAY WITH TRUMP OVER STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS: President Donald Trump said he is postponing his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Following a high-stakes game of dare and double-dare, Trump conceded Wednesday night that "no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber." He said he was not looking for an alternate option after Pelosi served notice earlier in the day that he wouldn't be allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week. Pelosi had taken the step after Trump said he planned to show up in spite of Democratic objections to the speech taking place with large swaths of the government shut down. The drama surrounding the State of the Union address began last week when Pelosi asked Trump to make other plans but stopped short of denying him the chamber for his address. Trump called her bluff Wednesday in a letter, saying he intended to come anyway.

TRUMP WEIGHS IN ON VENEZUELAN POWER STRUGGLE, MADURO TRIES TO EXPEL U.S. DIPLOMATS: Mr. Maduro immediately dismissed Mr. Guaidó’s claim to the presidency, calling it part of an American-led conspiracy to topple him. Demonstrating his continued grip on power, he signed an order expelling American diplomats on the balcony of the presidential palace. “I am the only president of Venezuela,” Mr. Maduro said. “We do not want to return to the 20th century of gringo interventions and coups d’état.” Mr. Maduro’s reaction came a few hours after Mr. Trump, in a White House statement, formally announced his recognition of Mr. Guaidó as the interim leader of Venezuela. “The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” Mr. Trump said. A senior American official briefing reporters in Washington warned that if Mr. Maduro used force against opponents, the United States could impose new sanctions, and did not rule out the use of military force to stop him.