BLOOMBERG SPENDING MILLIONS ON NC CAMPAIGN ADS: After weeks on the sidelines of the Democratic race, the billionaire businessman filed federal campaign paperwork Thursday, and he's already spending millions on TV ads in North Carolina and other states holding March 3 "Super Tuesday" primaries. "To put not too fine a point on it, I think he’s lighting his money on fire," Steve Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said Friday. "I think he has virtually no chance." Greene said Bloomberg isn’t adding anything new to the Democratic slate aside from his almost bottomless pockets. "You just cannot buy yourself an election, especially in primaries," he said. Bloomberg appears to be skipping the early primary states entirely, Greene says, hoping that a money bomb in Super Tuesday states could net him enough Democratic delegates – 40 percent of total delegates are up for grabs in 14 primaries from Maine to California – to make him a serious contender.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM CLAIMS CHICK-FIL-A CEO STILL AS MUCH OF A BIGOT AS HE IS: “Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” Graham posted. “They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values.” Graham inserted his own two cents on the issue: “In my opinion, the gay movement wouldn’t ever be happy with Chick-fil-A unless they were open on Sunday, gave all of their charitable donations to LGBTQ organizations, and flew the rainbow flag over their stores!” His post has drawn 177,000 thumbs up, heart and sad face emojis, 20,000 comments and 61,000 shares. While most supported Graham’s stance, some expressed dismay over his comments.
OCRACOKE WILL FINALLY REOPEN TO TOURISTS IN EARLY DECEMBER: The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that the Outer Banks island will open on Dec. 2. The island was supposed to open to visitors on Friday, but a more recent storm delayed the reopening of the main highway. The Atlantic Ocean had breached dunes and washed over the recently repaired N.C. 12. An evacuation order has been in effect for the island since Sept. 4, when Hurricane Dorian approached. It struck the island two days later. Debris removal and reconstruction will continue, and visitors are warned to be wary of obstacles during their visit. Officials also note that food service, gas availability and lodging are limited on the island.
TRUMP USES CAMP DAVID VISITS AS A BRIBE FOR REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS: Mulvaney and top White House officials have hosted weekend getaways for Republicans at the historic lodge, seeking to butter up Republicans before the big impeachment vote. The casual itinerary includes making s’mores over the campfire, going hiking, shooting clay pigeons and schmoozing with Trump officials, some of whom stay overnight with lawmakers. During dinners, Trump has called in to compliment members personally. “I’ve worked with a number of Republican presidents over various administrations . . . and I’ve never, ever been invited to Camp David,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.). “It was amazing to go for the short weekend. So historic.” The Camp David excursions are one prong of a broad White House charm offensive, meant to hold House and Senate Republicans in line through a House impeachment vote and a trial in the Senate that appears all but inevitable. “The president rightfully believes he has been targeted since the election, before he was even sworn in,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who attended a White House-hosted lunch Nov. 14. “As a human being, he also talks about the toll it takes, it would take on any family.”
REVIEW OF FBI RUSSIA PROBE DEBUNKS SEVERAL CONSPIRACY THEORIES: Mr. Horowitz’s report, to be made public on Dec. 9, portrays the overall effort to seek the wiretap order and its renewals as sloppy and unprofessional, according to the people familiar with it. He will also sharply criticize as careless one of the F.B.I. case agents in New York handling the matter and say that the bureau and the Justice Department displayed poor coordination during the investigation, they said. At the same time, however, the report debunks a series of conspiracy theories and insinuations about the F.B.I. that Mr. Trump and his allies have put forward over the past two years, the people said, though they cautioned that the report is not complete. The New York Times has not reviewed the draft, which could contain other significant findings. In particular, while Mr. Horowitz criticizes F.B.I. leadership for its handling of the highly fraught Russia investigation in some ways, he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey; Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy who temporarily ran the bureau after the president fired Mr. Comey in 2017; and Peter Strzok, a former top counterintelligence agent.