Monday News: The struggle continues


VOTING RIGHTS A MAJOR THEME AT MLK JR CELEBRATION: Former Tallahassee Mayor and 2018 Democratic Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum spoke about “the power of the people” and carrying on King’s legacy, particularly through voting. “Our strongest tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he fought so hard for... may be the ballot itself,” Gillum said. He said the ballot should be valued as much as the stone monuments, the memorial street names in cities all over America, the holidays and the fire that burns for King in Atlanta, Georgia. “Every day we are fighting in Florida and in Texas and in North Carolina to make the Voting Rights Act mean something,” Gillum said. And the fight will continue as “the other side” tries to strip and suppress that right to vote from groups of people through gerrymandering, rigging elections and targeted voter ID laws.

A SMALL GROUP OF PRO-CHOICE ADVOCATES FACE ANTI-ABORTION CROWD AT RALLY: Hundreds of people gathered on Bicentennial Plaza outside the North Carolina General Assembly Saturday for the annual Rally & March for Life. Some held signs that said “Stop abortion now,” “I was an unplanned pregnancy,” and “Life if the first inalienable right.” As the March for Life participants marched around the legislative building, pro-choice supporters held signs supporting the protection of abortion and chanted at the marchers as they walked by. Kelsea McLain, a leader in the Triangle Abortion Access Coalition, organized the protest to push back against the pro-life movement. “It’s important for us to be out here to remind folks that there is support for you no matter how you personally feel about this,” McLain said. “If you ever end up needing abortion access, there are groups out here that will support you and that will do it without stigma and shame.” The group offers escorts to abortion clinics for women locally and is working to expand its services and support of women’s rights as a non-profit organization.

GREG LINDBERG FUNNELED MILLIONS OUT OF INSURANCE COMPANIES: Greg Lindberg, a wealthy Durham investor, owns hundreds of businesses, including insurance companies that North Carolina regulators took charge of last year over liquidity concerns, and with questions swirling over how Lindberg moved money from these companies into dozens of others that he owns. Now those insurance companies, with a state-appointed rehabilitator calling the shots, have sued Lindberg, accusing him of funneling money to himself instead of making good on promises to re-invest cash in the struggling insurers. These four companies face a potential shortfall of more than $1 billion, threatening policy holders with "severe losses" and creditors with "total losses," according to a complaint filed in Wake County Superior Court last October and unsealed by a judge this week. Special Deputy Rehabilitator Mike Dinius, appointed by state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey last year to oversee the insurance companies, got a subpoena from a federal grand jury out the Western District of North Carolina "regarding the investigation into potential financial fraud," the filings state. Dinius and his team "understand that the United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation are conducting a separate criminal investigation into potential financial fraud within the Lindberg-related entities," the filings state.

GUN-NUTS DESCEND ON RICHMOND AS TENSE DAY BEGINS: Gun-rights activists — some making deliberate displays of their military-style rifles — began to descend on Virginia's capital city Monday to protest plans by the state's Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. Several thousand activists — mostly white and male, many clothed in camouflage and waving flags with messages of support for President Donald Trump — appeared hours before the 11 a.m. rally was set to begin. The Virginia State Police, the Virginia Capitol Police and the Richmond Police planned a huge police presence with both uniformed and plainclothes officers. Police limited access to Capitol Square to only one entrance and have warned rally-goers they may have to wait hours to get past security screening. Authorities started letting people in at the sole public entrance just before 7:30 a.m.

SENATE DEMS PUSHING HARD FOR WITNESS TESTIMONY AND MISSING DOCUMENTS: Democrats in the Senate want to call Mr. Bolton to the stand, compel the testimony of three other top Trump aides, including the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and obtain the records that the administration has withheld. But they would need the support of at least four Republican senators to do so. “A fair trial, everyone understands, involves evidence,” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Evidence would be documents and witnesses. We know the president has refused to provide documentation beyond the July 25 telephone memo. And he’s refused to provide basic witnesses who actually heard what happened on that conversation and saw what happened afterwards.” “The N.S.A. in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial,” Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the National Security Agency.