AS NC RURAL POPULATIONS DWINDLE, CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING WILL RADICALLY CHANGE: But as the biggest cities boom, 43 counties — mostly in rural areas — actually shrank between 2010 and 2018, according to census data. Many mid-sized cities are also struggling. The Rocky Mount area has been hardest-hit, losing several thousand people. And the home counties of places like Goldsboro, Wilson, Asheboro, Shelby, Wilkesboro and Morganton have experienced below-average population growth. But all of those population changes of the last decade — the urban booms and the rural losses — have been ignored when lawmakers have redrawn the political maps after the lawsuits in recent years. The law required that even the new congressional maps drawn just last month had to use population data from 2010. So the maps drawn in 2021 with new data could represent a sudden political jolt, in places large and small.
TILLIS SAYS HE WILL VOTE "NO" ON IMPEACHMENT, WILL PROTECT THE PRESIDENT: U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis dropped President Donald Trump's name repeatedly as he filed for re-election Monday, making his support redundantly clear as he heads into a monster campaign season. The North Carolina Republican told reporters he's "a definite no" on impeachment and said he wasn't worried about a potential primary challenge. He promised to "defend the president every step of the way" and told the couple dozen supporters who turned up at the State Board of Elections to watch him file about pair of recent phone calls from the president. The experts say Tillis faces one of the toughest roads to re-election in the country this cycle, but for now he has avoided a high-profile primary opponent. Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker decided to forego his challenge after putting more than $1 million of his own money into an initial advertising push, but Triad Republican Congressman Mark Walker may still get into the race.
UNC FACULTY UP IN ARMS ABOUT CONFEDERATE STATUE PAYOFF: Faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill are demanding a stronger response from their leaders about the decision for the university to pay $2.5 million to a group they say contains white supremacists. They’ve called on interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and provost Bob Blouin to say they oppose the payment and to get answers from the UNC System Board of Governors about how and why the decision was made. “I think [Guskiewicz] is in a situation of either having to represent us ... and speak clearly and loudly against this idea or potentially lose the good will of his own faculty and students,” Levine said. Levine and about a dozen other faculty leaders met with Blouin on Monday, following a volatile faculty council meeting Friday where faculty voted to condemn the UNC System’s settlement with the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans. The settlement gives the group the Silent Sam Confederate statue that once stood on the Chapel Hill campus, as well as $2.5 million to preserve and display it.
TWO ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT WILL LIKELY BE UNVEILED TODAY: House Democrats signaled that they would unveil articles of impeachment on Tuesday morning that charge President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for conduct they called a “clear and present danger” to the 2020 election and national security. The House Judiciary Committee was expected to work through the night on Monday readying the charges, according to multiple senior officials and lawmakers. They cautioned that plans were not final, but several officials said they were now focused on two charges: that Mr. Trump violated his oath of office by putting his political concerns over the national interest and that he stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the decision before it was ready. “President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” Daniel S. Goldman, the Intelligence Committee lawyer who led the Ukraine inquiry, testified as he presented the evidence gathered against the president. The hearing, which unfolded over nine hours in the stately House Ways and Means Committee Room near the Capitol, featured bitter rounds of partisan sparring between Democrats and Republicans and testy cross-examinations of lawyers from both parties. Republicans arrived primed to challenge the Democrats’ case and condemn the process they have used to assemble it. They repeatedly interrupted the Democrats’ public presentation, and their own counsel used two separate addresses to try to dismantle it.
WAR IN AFGHANISTAN FRAUGHT WITH MISTAKEN ASSUMPTIONS AND PIECEMEAL PLANNING: In hundreds of confidential interviews that constitute a secret history of the war, U.S. and allied officials admitted they veered off in directions that had little to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11. By expanding the original mission, they said they adopted fatally flawed warfighting strategies based on misguided assumptions about a country they did not understand. The result: an unwinnable conflict with no easy way out. In unusually candid interviews, officials who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama said both leaders failed in their most important task as commanders in chief — to devise a clear strategy with concise, attainable objectives. Diplomats and military commanders acknowledged they struggled to answer simple questions: Who is the enemy? Whom can we count on as allies? How will we know when we have won? In contrast with Bush, Obama imposed strict deadlines and promised to bring home all U.S. troops by the end of his presidency. But Obama’s strategy was also destined to fail. U.S., NATO and Afghan officials told government interviewers that it tried to accomplish too much, too quickly, and depended on an Afghan government that was corrupt and dysfunctional. Worse, they said, Obama tried to set artificial dates for ending the war before it was over. All the Taliban had to do was wait him out.