Monday News: Holding on to dirty money

MARK WALKER WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF BRIBERY CASE: A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mark Walker says the North Carolina congressman didn't control, and therefore couldn't give away, most of the over $238,000 that Lindberg gave his campaign and affiliated committees. Lindberg's $150,000 contribution in early 2018 plays a prominent role in the federal indictment. The indictment says it went to "Public Official A," whom public records indicate is Walker. The congressman "was not named in the indictment because he is not and never has been a target of the investigation and has committed no wrongdoing." Minor wrote in an email Friday. Lindberg sent the money to Walker's Victory Committee, which raises money for Walker's campaign and the RNC, the same day he learned Walker might help sway Causey, according to the criminal indictment. Walker twice spoke to Causey on Lindberg's behalf, and told the regulator "that Lindberg was doing good things for North Carolina business," prosecutors said.

LICENSE PLATE BILL WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TO GIVE 3M A MONOPOLY: "It was specific to a 3M proprietary product," said Scott Chapman, a spokesman for Avery Dennison. 3M's media team in Minnesota didn't answer WRAL News questions for this article. Their chief lobbyist in North Carolina, Chris Hollis, said he wasn't empowered to speak for the company. Asked whether he or someone else on 3M's behalf asked for the specifications to be added to the bill, Hollis declined to say. Torbett, who was involved in final negotiations on the bill, said he's not sure who wrote the language. He also said didn't "recall anything about 3M slipping anything in" the bill. The specifications cleared House Rules and easily survived votes on the House floor, where the bill passed unanimously. The language was dropped after the bill crossed over to the Senate. Other legislators and state agencies involved in the bill failed to add much light. Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow, the bill's primary sponsor, said in a brief telephone interview that he heard only one company made some of the material involved, but he wasn't sure of the company's name without looking at his files.

DUKE ENERGY KILLS HUNDREDS OF TROUT AFTER BOTCHING DAM RELEASE PROTOCOLS: Every day from July 24-28, Duke Energy opened the spillway gates to the dam itself, allowing warm water from the lake's surface to flow into the river "to provide whitewater recreation flow releases," according to the utility. In a typical year, those gates are open and gushing warm water for a total of 38 hours to provide a higher-difficulty rafting experience. During that five-day period alone, the gates were open for 62 hours. That’s bad news if you’re a trout. On July 29, Duke Energy scientists estimated a few dozen trout had died; on July 31, they bumped that figure up to 200-250 fish affected after discovering a total of 18 dead trout. According to the protocols, to protect trout and other cold-water wildlife, Duke shouldn't open the spillway gates for more than two consecutive days. But in July, Duke opened the gates for five consecutive days after its hydro station failed. Duke Energy scientists trained to monitor the water's temperature and the behavior of the trout weren't on site until the third day of warm water flow, a company spokeswoman said.

UN SECRETARY GENERAL WILL NOT ALLOW NONSENSE AT CLIMATE SUMMIT: Saying humanity is waging war with the planet, the head of the United Nations isn't planning to let just any world leader speak about climate change at Monday's special "action summit." Only those with new, specific and bold plans can command the podium and the ever-warming world's attention, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. So sit down, Brazil. Sit down, Saudi Arabia. Sit down, Poland. "People can only speak if they come with positive steps. That is kind of a ticket," Guterres said. "For bad news don't come." As if to underscore the seriousness of the problem, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization released a science report Sunday showing that in the last several years, warming, sea level rise and carbon pollution have all accelerated. Brazil's, Poland's and Saudi Arabia's proposals for dealing with climate change fell short, so they're not on Monday's summit schedule. The United States didn't even bother, according to a U.N. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

TRUMP ADMITS HE PUSHED UKRAINE FOR DIRT ON BIDEN; IMPEACHMENT INCHES CLOSER: President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he raised corruption accusations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a phone call with Ukraine’s leader, a stunning admission as pressure mounted on Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump over allegations he leaned on a foreign government to help damage a political rival. In public and in private, many Democrats said the evidence that has emerged in recent days indicating that Mr. Trump pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr. Biden, and his administration’s stonewalling of attempts by Congress to learn more, were changing their calculations about whether to charge him with articles of impeachment. “I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment,” Mr. Schiff said on CNN. “But if the president is essentially withholding military aid at the same time he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit, providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is coequal to the evil that that conduct represents.”



If this doesn't do it,

you have to wonder what it would take to generate an Impeachment process.

I have also been hesitant to push for Impeachment, because we've really only got one shot at it. And whatever it is will have to be bad enough to garner 2/3 of the votes in the Senate to actually "finish" Trump. But I thought we (finally) met that criteria when it was proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Trump had obstructed justice several times in the Mueller investigation.

This Ukraine phone call thing is bad, but does it rise to the level of criminality of the above? I don't know. I don't think it does, because he hasn't misled law enforcement. Yet. But the action itself (coercing foreign government for domestic political purposes) is definitely grounds to declare him unfit for the office. We'll have to wait and see.