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US appeals court strikes down ‘discriminatory’ North Carolina voter ID law

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A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification when casting their ballots in the November election, ruling that it discriminated against African-American residents.

The ruling is likely to be seen as a boost for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a state that is politically important as it does not lean heavily toward either Democrats or Republicans. Clinton is heavily favored among black Americans over Republican nominee Donald Trump.

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The court also struck down other restrictions that scaled back early voting, prevented residents from registering and voting on the same day, and eliminated the ability for voters to vote outside their assigned precinct.

Critics argue that photo ID laws enacted by North Carolina and several other states are designed to drive down turnout by minorities and poor people who are less likely to possess drivers’ licenses or other forms of state-issued identification.

In its ruling, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit said the state legislature targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

“We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory attempt,” the court wrote.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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