GOVERNOR COOPER CALLS SPECIAL SESSION TO REDRAW RACIALLY GERRYMANDERED MAPS: The session Cooper plans to call would run simultaneously with the ongoing regular session, which is due to end some time this summer. He said such a concurrent session is rare but not unprecedented. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that found 28 legislative districts to be illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall influence of black voters. “That means Republican politicians have been picking their voters instead of voters picking their politicians,” Cooper said Wednesday. “They’ve rigged the system and it’s just wrong.”
MISTRIAL DECLARED IN WORD OF FAITH CASE OVER JUROR MISCONDUCT: A juror who was arrested during the trial of a North Carolina minister charged with beating a gay congregant made a mistake by taking unauthorized documents to court and was not trying to influence the outcome of the trial, his son said Wednesday. The jury was in its second day of deliberations Tuesday in the trial of Brooke Covington, 58, a longtime minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, when juror Perry Shade Jr., 71, was charged with contempt. A retrial has been scheduled for the two-week court term beginning July 17. The case was part of an ongoing, two-year investigation into abuse of Word of Faith Fellowship congregants by church leaders by The Associated Press.
CRAZY NEW GUN LAW PASSES 2ND READING IN HOUSE, BUT RIPE FOR A VETO: The change would eliminate the need for concealed-carry permits for adults who are at least 18 and are not otherwise prohibited from owning firearms, except where open-carry is barred. That would change current law that requires concealed-carry applicants be at least 21 and complete firearm safety training to obtain a permit. The debate on House Bill 746 was preceded by days of intense pressure from national and statewide gun-control and gun-rights advocates. It resulted in an 11-vote margin; eight Republicans broke from the majority and voted with all Democrats against the bill. The vote was 65-54. Grass Roots N.C. President Paul Valone emailed members the home addresses, photographs and other contact information for lobbyists working for gun-control groups.
COMEY'S TESTIMONY ON TRUMP SHOWS "INTERFERENCE AND OBSTRUCTION" SAYS ADAM SCHIFF: The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says former FBI Director James Comey's testimony on President Donald Trump's conduct "is certainly evidence of interference or obstruction." Comey is testifying Thursday that Trump urged him to back off from his investigation into Michael Flynn's contacts with Russians. Comey's written statement released ahead of his testimony said Trump had described the Russia investigation as a "cloud" that was interfering with his job. Comey is testifying that he gave Trump no such assurance. Trump fired him last month. The testimony, Comey's first public statements since his May 9 dismissal, is likely to bring hours of uncomfortable attention to an administration shadowed for months by an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
WHITE HOUSE AND TRUMP SUPPORTERS ATTACK COMEY'S CREDIBILITY, WILL RUN NEGATIVE TV ADS: Trump’s White House and its allies are crafting a strategy aimed at undermining Comey’s credibility. Both White House officials and an outside group that backs Trump plan to hammer Comey in the coming days for misstatements he made about Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails during his last appearance on Capitol Hill. An ad created by the pro-Trump Great America Alliance — a nonprofit “issues” group that isn’t required to disclose its donors — casts Comey as a “showboat” who was “consumed with election meddling” instead of focusing on combating terrorism. The 30-second spot is slated to run digitally on Wednesday and appear the next day on CNN and Fox News.