WINSTON-SALEM PROUD BOY ARRESTED FOR ATTACK ON CONGRESS: Charles Donohoe of Winston-Salem has been charged with conspiring to interfere with law enforcement officers at the Capitol and to obstruct the certification of President Biden’s election victory in Congress that day, according to The Times. The Times reported that FBI agents arrested Donohoe and another Proud Boys member from Philadelphia as part of a widening investigation that now includes 13 people identified in court papers as members of the Proud Boys. The right-wing group has been associated with protests organized by white supremacists and is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Donohoe is at least the eighth North Carolina resident who has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, The Charlotte Observer reported.
JULIA HOWARD STANDS IN THE WAY OF INCREASING NC UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The GOP majority in the state Senate backed an increase in state unemployment benefits last year, but it would have been a temporary response to the pandemic. The House declined to go along. Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, a key negotiator on these issues, didn't immediately respond to messages Wednesday asking whether increases stand a chance in this year's General Assembly. “For too long, North Carolina has paid too little for too short a time to too few people," said MaryBe McMillan, president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, a labor group. Sen. Wiley Nickel, D-Wake, one of several Democratic lawmakers pressing for change, said increases are "about throwing jobless workers a lifeline.” Nickel distributed information about North Carolina's current benefit rankings to unemployment oversight committee members Wednesday morning. But as the meeting got underway, Howard, a committee co-chair, asked that it be recollected, saying Nickel didn't ask permission to distribute it.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS, I'M IN AGREEMENT WITH KEITH KIDWELL: The call for a convention had support from House Speaker Tim Moore, a resolution sponsor. Moore said limiting the time a U.S. representative or senator can serve in Washington would increase their effectiveness. Having the same people in Washington for decades “leads to a lot of paralysis, regardless of which party is in charge,” said Moore, a Cleveland County Republican who has served in the state House since 2003. There are no term limits for North Carolina state legislators. Moore said serving in Raleigh is different from Washington because it's part-time work. The resolution doesn't propose specific limits on serving. The resolution was approved on a largely party-line 61-52 vote, but some Republicans opposed the measure. They argued no limits can be placed upon the scope of a constitutional convention, raising worries about a wholesale edit of the U.S. Constitution. And there's no telling who would be convention delegates, said GOP Rep. Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County. “We're going to end up with the same partisan problems,” Kidwell said.
DISGRACED WOULD-BE DICTATOR DONALD TRUMP IS IN A HEAP OF TROUBLE: The district attorney is sifting through millions of pages of his tax records. The state attorney general has subpoenaed his lawyers, his bankers, his chief financial officer — even one of his sons. And that’s just in New York. Former president Donald Trump is also facing criminal investigations in Georgia and the District of Columbia related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Trump must defend himself against a growing raft of lawsuits: 29 are pending at last count, including some seeking damages from Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, when he encouraged a march to the Capitol that ended in a mob storming the building. He has lost the formal immunities of the presidency and the legal firepower of the Justice Department, but he is also without some of the informal shields that protected him even before he was president: his reputation for endless wealth and his clout as a political donor in New York. Now, prosecutors roam free in his financial records. New lawsuits keep arriving. Some of his key lawyers have quit. A man who once used the law to swamp his enemies, overwhelming them with claims and legal bills, is finding himself on the other side of the wave, unable to control what comes next. In addition to the two New York investigations, Trump faces three probes related to his efforts to overturn his loss to President Biden. Two are in Georgia, where Trump, in a phone call, pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” enough votes to let him win. In Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) announced plans in early February to investigate the Trump call and other “attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia general election.”
RUSSIANS BREAK OUT THE SMELLING SALTS AFTER BIDEN SAYS PUTIN IS A KILLER: Russia recalled its ambassador to the United States and unleashed a storm of derision aimed at President Biden after he said in a television interview that he thought President Vladimir V. Putin was a killer. Ms. Zakharova did not specify whether a specific event had prompted the decision to recall Mr. Antonov, but the rare move came as Russian officials reacted with fury to an interview with Mr. Biden aired by ABC News. In the interview, when asked whether he thought Mr. Putin was a “killer,” Mr. Biden responded: “Mmm hmm, I do.” “This is a watershed moment,” Konstantin I. Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s upper house of Parliament, wrote in a post on Facebook on Thursday in reference to Mr. Biden’s interview. “Any expectations for the new U.S. administration’s new policy toward Russia have been written off by this boorish statement.” Mr. Kosachev warned that Russia would respond further, without specifying how, to Mr. Biden’s comments “if explanations and apologies do not follow from the American side.” Some Western officials accuse Mr. Putin, among other things, of ordering the assassination attempt of his most vocal domestic critic, Aleksei A. Navalny, by a military-grade nerve agent in Siberia last year. Mr. Putin has denied playing any role in that near-deadly poisoning, quipping in December that if Russian agents had wanted to kill the opposition leader, “They would have probably finished the job.” The Russian government has also been linked to attacks on foreign soil, including the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England, in 2018 and the shooting death of a former commander of Chechen separatists in Berlin the following year.