Friday News: Provenance


SBOE DELAYS APPROVAL OF NEW VOTING MACHINES UNTIL COMPANY OWNERSHIP IS REVEALED: North Carolina election officials were supposed to certify new voting machines on Thursday for millions of voters to start using in 2020. But they declined to make any decisions, citing uncertainty over who owns the three companies that were seeking approval to sell voting machines here. The state gave them until next week to divulge everyone who owns at least 5 percent of their companies or any parent or subsidiary company. “I believe this follows along with the cyber security concerns we have found in the Mueller report and other documentation that has been furnished to our board,” Robert Cordle, the chairman of the State Board of Elections, said Thursday when the board announced its surprise decision.

MARK WALKER SHIES AWAY FROM US SENATE RUN AGAINST TILLIS: Triad Congressman Mark Walker will not challenge Sen. Thom Tillis in next year's GOP senate primary. He tells WXII12 News he will continue to represent his constituents in North Carolina's 6th Congressional District. "After prayerful reflection and consideration, I am confident that my continued service in the House will best help our efforts to reclaim the majority from Nancy Pelosi and advance our shared conservative goals," Rep. Walker says in a statement. Less than a week ago, he told WXII12 he was til undecided about the primary. His decision means North Carolina Republicans avoid what would have been a bitter primary battle between two incumbents. Sen. Tillis already has two challengers for the GOP Primary election.

SETH MOULTON FAILS TO MAKE THE CUT FOR DNC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that 20 candidates have qualified for the party’s first presidential debates later this month. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts were the only major candidates out of the two dozen Democratic hopefuls who failed to meet the polling or grassroots fundraising measures required to get a debate spot. Two lesser-known candidates, former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam, also missed the cutoff. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who recently had been on the bubble, both made the debate based on polling measures. The campaign’s opening debates, set for June 26-27 in Miami, will offer a prime opportunity for many White House hopefuls to reshape a race defined in recent weeks by former Vice President Joe Biden’s domination of national and many early state polls.

SARAH SANDERS TO LEAVE HER POST AS WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Her resignation came on a typically head-spinning day in the Trump White House that would challenge any press secretary. The president was under fire for saying he would still accept derogatory information about a campaign opponent from Russia without necessarily calling the F.B.I. A government watchdog agency called on Mr. Trump to fire his counselor, Kellyanne Conway, for violating federal law on politics in the government workplace. And amid it all, Kim Kardashian West made an appearance with the president in the East Room. Breaking with decades of tradition, Ms. Sanders effectively killed the daily briefing from the White House lectern that had been one of the most visible symbols of the American presidency. It has been 94 days since she held a formal briefing. Instead, she left the daily feeding of the media to Mr. Trump, who prefers to speak for himself and takes questions from reporters on a far more regular basis than most of his recent predecessors. The move was widely criticized.

U.S. MILITARY SAYS IT HAS PROOF IRAN CAUSED TANKER EXPLOSIONS: “At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine” from the Courageous, said Capt. Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman. Senior U.S. officials showed photographs to reporters of the damaged tanker Kokuka Courageous with what the Navy identified as a suspected magnetic mine attached to its hull. The unexploded weapon was probably applied by hand from an Iranian fast boat, one official said. It is thought to be the same kind of weapon used to blow a hole elsewhere in the same tanker and to do more-serious damage to the other ship that was targeted, the Front Altair, two officials said. The two tankers, which carried petrochemicals from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf of Oman, were targeted early Thursday in what observers said marked a serious escalation in the strategic waterway, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil passes.



About those tankers...

Several of the crewmen on board one of the vessels say it was a flying object that hit their ship, not a mine:

One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship’s Japanese operator said on Friday, disputing at least part of the account of United States officials who had blamed Iran for the attack.

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, the president of the operator, Kokuka Sangyo.

American officials released video on Thursday that they said showed an Iranian boat crew removing a limpet mine attached to the hull of the damaged Kokuka Courageous, a tanker operated by Kokuka Sangyo.

But Mr. Katada, citing accounts from the ship’s crew, said: “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

I also don't think the folks who were attacked would lie about what hit them just to protect Iran.