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Friday, Feb 22nd

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Worker details alleged ballot fraud in North Carolina election board hearing

Mark HarrisA North Carolina woman testified Monday that she illegally picked up and falsified absentee ballots in a 2018 congressional election under the direction of a political operative who was working on behalf of the race's Republican candidate.

In the first day of the North Carolina State Board of Elections hearing into election irregularities in the 9th District race, Lisa Britt detailed how the operation worked. The race is the last undecided contest from the 2018 midterm election and the North Carolina seat remains open amid allegations of fraud.
The state board of elections voted not to certify the results in which Republican Mark Harris, a Baptist minister, led Democrat Dan McCready, a businessman and retired Marine, by 905 votes. The decision to not certify stemmed from the board's investigation into bizarre results involving absentee ballots.

Biden repudiates Trump policies in Munich speech

Joe BidenFormer Vice President Joe Biden isn't in the 2020 presidential race yet, but he made it clear at an international gathering that he thinks President Donald Trump has undermined America's ability to claim moral leadership.

The former vice president said the U.S. doesn't want to turn its back on its closest allies and cherishes democracy, the rule of law and a free press. Biden spoke after current Vice President Mike Pence, who used his speech to tout the Trump administration's accomplishments.

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EPA plans to scale back federal protection of waterways

EPA to scale back protection of waterwaysThe Environmental Protection Agency plans to scale back the number of U.S waterways that receive federal protection, pleasing farmers but upsetting ecology-focused groups.

The changes would come from proposed revisions to the EPA's Water of the United States rule, released late last week. That rule identifies the types of waterways over which the federal government has regulatory control.

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are seeking public comment on the revamped rule before it can be adopted. But the battle lines already are well-drawn, with farm and industry groups celebrating the new plan and environmentalists condemning it.

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CNN To Air Anti-Nazi Ad Fox News Rejected

A Night at the Garden

An ad for an Oscar-nominated documentary on Nazis warns that history can repeat itself, but it’s unclear whether Fox News viewers will get to see it.

The film, “A Night at the Garden,” walks through a 1939 Nazi rally that took place at Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. At the end of the black-and-white ad, a line of text flashes on the screen, cautioning, “It can happen here.”

Director Marshall Curry told HuffPost that CNN will air the ad, but that Fox News has rejected it.

According to The Washington Post, MSNBC has decided to run a tweaked version of the 30-second ad, which is set to air during “The Rachel Maddow Show.” The revised spot now includes a title card noting the film’s Oscar nomination.

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Mueller subpoenas former Cambridge Analytica employee

Cambridge AnalyticaSpecial counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a former employee of data firm Cambridge Analytica, a spokesperson for the employee told The Guardian.

The ex-employee, Brittany Kaiser, is cooperating fully with Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the spokesperson added. Kaiser is also cooperating with congressional and other legal investigations into the actions of Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica shut down last year after becoming embroiled in controversy for improperly obtaining data on tens of millions of Facebook users.

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US asked Japanese leader to nominate Trump for Nobel Prize: report

Trump asked Japanese leader to nominate him for Nobel Peace Prize

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly nominated President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize on the request of the U.S. government.

Reuters, citing a report from the Japanese newspaper Asahi, noted that the U.S. government reached out to Abe months after the president's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

An unidentified Japanese government official told the newspaper about the request, according to Reuters.

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Trump threatens to release ISIS fighters if EU doesn’t take them

Trump threatens to free ISIS fightersU.S. President Donald Trump threatened to release 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria unless European allies agree to accept them and put them on trial.

"The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial," Trump wrote.

"The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them."

Trump’s threat, characteristically in a tweet, drew confusion and some outrage from European officials and security experts gathered Sunday at the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.

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Jussie Smollett Allegedly Paid ‘Empire’ Extras To Stage Attack, Cops Say

Cops: Smollett staged attack

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to stage an assault against him, going so far as to rehearse the attack with them, police sources told CBS Chicago.

Smollett has claimed that two men looped a rope around his neck and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him on Jan. 29. “They called me a f-----t, they called me a n----r,” Smollett said a "Good Morning America" interview on Feb. 14. “There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae.”

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Trump's UN ambassador pick, Heather Nauert, withdraws nomination

Heather Nauert turns down US role

The state department says Donald Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to the United Nation, Heather Nauert, has withdrawn.

The department released a statement on Saturday evening Washington time saying Nauert had withdrawn and another nominee would be announced “soon”.

Nauert said she was grateful to Trump and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for “the trust they have placed in me for considering me for the position of US ambassador”.

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