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GOP Congressman Tests Positive for COVID-19 Three Days After Attending ‘MAGA Meet Up’ Event

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A Georgia Republican congressman announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, just days after taking part in a campaign event where few attendees wore masks.

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) announced Friday that he experienced cold-like symptoms the night before and woke up with a fever, and he received a positive diagnosis after going for a COVID-19 test.

“While the vast majority of my recent schedule has been virtual, we are beginning the process of reaching out to anyone I have seen in recent days,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson did take part Tuesday in a “MAGA Meet Up” host by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other state GOP leaders ahead of a campaign visit by Joe Biden.

Video from the event shows few attendees wearing masks or practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

On average, symptoms of COVID-19 show up about five to six days after infection, although symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days, if at all.

At the event Ferguson praised Kemp for listening to medical experts, and said the governor had “not buckled to the liberal mob” as he led the state through the pandemic.

Ferguson then shakes hands with mask-wearing Kemp and leans in for a quick hug before taking the podium.

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‘I’m Not Releasing the Video – This Is Done’: NC DA Gets Defensive After Announcing No Charges in Police Shooting

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The Pasquotank County, North Carolina District Attorney announced Tuesday he will not be filing charges against police officers who shot Andrew Brown, Jr., an unarmed 42-year old Black man, in the head, killing him while serving an arrest warrant on April 21. After holding a lengthy press conference Andrew Womble became defensive when asked about releasing the video, and later when asked how he could make a decision to not charge officers when all the facts are not in.

“I’m not releasing the video, this is done,” Womble told reporters. “Anything in my office is not public record by statute.”

The Associated Press adds: “Womble, who showed portions of the video at the news conference, said Tuesday that he would not release the video.”

Womble reportedly has a total of about two hours of video from police body cams, but only allowed the family of Andrew Brown, Jr. to see less than 20 minutes worth. He showed a very small portion of video on Tuesday to support his decision to not file charges against any of the officers.

Womble went on to say that any release of the video would have to be done through the court, but when asked if he had requested the video be released he said he had not.

“You can not swing a skunk in front of a group of people then ask them not to smell it,” Womble said last month.

On Tuesday Womble told reporters, “Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.”

After urging the public to not “jump to conclusions until all the facts are out,” one reporter reminded Womble he had just admitted he did not have all the facts.

“Do you think all the facts are out?” the reporter said. “You told us that you don’t know how fast the car was going, whether the car was decelerating or accelerating. And the still images you showed us told a different story, before the first shot was fired. Once you put the video in motion, it looked like Brown was turning away from the officer.”

“I’m sorry, your question is?” Womble, defensively replied.

“How do you respond to that?” the reporter posited.

“What was the question?” Womble again replied.

“Are you sure all the facts are in?” the reporter continued. “You said you don’t know if the car was decelerating or accelerating.”

“I know that all of the facts that I needed to make this decision are in,” Womble replied.

“Isn’t that important?” the reporter pressed. “That’s important. If you look at the video. If you look at the video in motion, it looks like he’s turning away before the first shot is fired, that’s important.”

“Sir, there are several cases,” Womble said defensively, “there’s a litany of cases in our American jurisprudence where shots are fired into still cars, cars that aren’t moving. So, the speed at which Mr. Brown is moving at the officers…notv relevant in my determination.”

The reporter said if Brown had hit the brakes, “isn’t that important?”

Womble refused to answer and went to another reporter.

The full video of Womble’s press conference is here:

 

Al Sharpton weighed in:

 

 

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‘Ineptitude’: Maricopa County Destroys Top AZ GOP Senator’s Recount Company as ‘Grifters and Con-Artists’

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Arizona’s Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in a letter sent Monday slammed both the State Senate Republican President and the company she chose to perform a highly-controversial recount of the 2020 presidential election ballots.

That recount, which has been going on for nearly four weeks, has been plagued by regular reports of irregular and suspicious actions and, as the Board of Supervisors said today, “ineptitude.”

Already the U.S. Dept. of Justice has notified the company performing the recount, Cyber Ninjas, that it is watching their actions and warning them their actions may violate the law.

The Maricopa Board of Supervisors – which is made up of four Republicans and just one Democrat – Monday did not hold back, blasting Senate President Karen Fann, accusing her of lying, among other disturbing actions.

Fann, in a false accusation picked up and repeated by Donald Trump over the weekend, claimed Maricopa County deleted an entire database. The accusation was made either out of ignorance or political vengeance, or both, but the damage has been done.

The County responded today, calling the accusations “false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate.”

“We demand that you immediately rescind your false and malicious tweet,” the county tells Senate President Fann in a 13-page letter, “asserting that Maricopa County ‘spoiled evidence’ in the days before we provided the server to the Senate. Your tweet, which relies on the ‘modified date’ shown in the screenshot as evidence of wrongdoing, is demonstrably false; the only thing it does demonstrate is your auditors’ incompetence. Their stunning lack of a basic understanding for how their software works is egregious and only made worse by the false tweet sent defaming the hardworking employees of Maricopa County.”

The Senate, Maricopa County adds, “is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings.”

You have rented out the once good name of the Arizona State Senate to grifters and con-artists, who are fundraising hard-earned money from our fellow citizens even as your contractors parade around the Coliseum, hunting for bamboo and something they call “kinematic artifacts” while shining purple lights for effect. None of these things are done in a serious audit. The result is that the Arizona Senate is held up to ridicule in every corner of the globe and our democracy is imperiled.

A few more excerpts:

“Your various questions about our election procedures reveal a serious lack of understanding of election law.”

“a spectacular lack of understanding on your part”

“we cannot give you a password that we do not possess any more than we can give you the formula for Coca Cola. We do not have it; we have no legal right to acquire it; and so, we cannot give it to you.”

“We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your “auditors”. Their failure to understand basic election processes is an indication you didn’t get the best people to perform in your political theatre. We have wasted enough County resources. People’s tax dollars are real, your ‘auditors’ are not.”

“Your ‘audit’ is harming all of us, and we ask you to end it.”

But perhaps among the most disturbing accusations Maricopa County makes, is, as The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports, Cyber Ninjas is “just straight miscounting ballots.” Read this short tweet:

Jack Sellers, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, concluded a meeting Monday afternoon by announcing to the Arizona Senate, “Finish your report and be ready to defend it in a court of law.”
Image: Screenshot from Maricopa County May 17 press conference via YouTube

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Manchin Wants Bipartisan Deal on Less-Expansive Voting Rights Bill After Striking Deadly Blow to For the People Act

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he wants to pass bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, eight years after the Supreme Court effectively killed the 1965 law responsible for protecting the right to vote and responsible for a tremendous increase in the number of Americans voting.

Senator Manchin now says he’s interested in working with Republicans on this legislation, after announcing he will not support HR1/S1, the For the People Act that would protect and expand voting rights, strike down legislation that has passed or has been filed in 48 states to suppress the right to vote, and address partisan gerrymandering and dark  money in politics.

The Democrat from West Virginia, who is rated more conservative than Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is teaming up with the Alaska Republican to support the John Lewis Act, a precursor of HR1/S1, that does not go as far or wide as the For the People Act.

This is the first time Sen. Manchin has addressed the Voting Rights Act in  his entire time in the U.S. Senate, based on a search of his government website.

“As you know,” Manchin and Murkowski write in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holder that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which determines which states and localities must get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice or the court before they make changes to their voting laws, was unconstitutional because it was based on an outdated formula.”

“This decision effectively gutted one of the federal government’s most effective tools to preserve confidence in our nation’s elections, and we are seeing the results manifest themselves in state legislatures across the country.”

“Inaction is not an option. Congress must come together – just as we have done time and again – to reaffirm our longstanding bipartisan commitment to free, accessible, and secure elections for all. We urge you to join us in calling for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act through regular order. We can do this. We must do this.”

Manchin has also made clear he opposes filibuster reform, so unless he can find another nine Republicans to join him and Sen. Murkowski – or get rid if the filibuster –this isn’t going anywhere.

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