Wednesday News: Cease and desist

REVEREND BARBER CALLS ON GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO STOP PASSING LAWS UNTIL MAPS ARE FIXED: "Currently, we have an unconstitutionally constituted, illegal body leading our state legislature, and it has become evident that they are more entrenched than they ever were," Barber said at a news conference in front of the Legislative Building. "They’re not in office because they won the election. They’re in office, according to the courts, because they cheated, and they used racial methods to cheat. And then, with illegal power, they have passed bills that have hurt all North Carolinians," Barber said. "They used that power – illegal power – to pass the worst voter suppression law that we saw in the nation, and the courts overturned that, too."

NC REPUBLICANS TELL SUPREME COURT IT'S TOO LATE FOR SPECIAL 2017 ELECTIONS: It's already too late to hold a special election this fall in redrawn North Carolina General Assembly districts and it could be an "enormously misguided" remedy if judges ordered one, Republican legislative leaders told the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. Chief Justice John Roberts, who considers appeals from North Carolina, asked attorneys for the state to respond by Tuesday afternoon to the voters' request to speed up the process. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, says there's no reason to delay what's known as the ruling's mandate. "The state believes that the public interest favors allowing the three-judge court to consider the proper remedy in this case as promptly as possible," Stein wrote Tuesday.

NOTES ON SESSIONS' COMBATIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE TESTIMONY ON TRUMP/RUSSIA: Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. He said he never met with, or had conversations with, Russians about election interference. Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March after it was revealed he twice met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign but failed to say so at his confirmation hearing. Sessions reiterated Tuesday those meetings were in his capacity as a lawmaker and not about the campaign.

NC AG JOSH STEIN MAY JOIN "EMOLUMENTS" LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP: Stein spokeswoman Laura Brewer said that state Department of Justice officials are examining the case to see if North Carolina residents have a stake in the issues that Maryland and the District of Columbia are raising in the new lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md. “As with all issues, our consideration of the issues raised by this case will focus on whether North Carolinians are being harmed by any wrongful activities,” Brewer said in an email Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia sued Trump “in his official capacity” for allegedly trampling constitutional restrictions barring the nation’s commander-in-chief from making money on the side from interactions with foreign countries and individual state governments.

22 YEAR-OLD COLLEGE STUDENT RELEASED BY NORTH KOREA, BUT IN A COMA: North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. The Washington Post, citing Warmbier’s parents, reported that he had been medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma, and was due to arrive home in Cincinnati on Tuesday evening. The report said he had been a coma for more than a year, since shortly after his last public appearance at his trial in Pyongyang in March 2016. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm that information. Warmbier’s family did not respond to calls seeking comment.