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North Carolina elections board identifies ‘person of interest’ in fraud probe

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North Carolina’s board of elections identified political consultant Leslie McCrae Dowless as a person of interest on Friday amid a probe of possible absentee ballot fraud in a disputed U.S. congressional election.

The board has refused to certify Republican Mark Harris as the winner of the Nov. 6 election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as it investigates possible fraud involving absentee ballots from two rural counties.

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In a statement, the board said it has assigned four investigators to the probe and issued subpoenas to the Red Dome Group, a consulting firm that Dowless performed work for, along with the Harris campaign committee and the campaign for a local Bladen County sheriff candidate.

Residents in rural Bladen County have provided sworn affidavits that people came to their homes to collect absentee ballots they had not filled in. In North Carolina, it is illegal for a third party to turn in absentee ballots.

Two women have told WSOC-TV in North Carolina that Dowless paid them to collect absentee ballots and deliver them to him. Dowless worked for the Red Dome Group, the station reported. Neither Dowless nor Red Dome has responded to requests for comment.

If fraud is uncovered, the board could order a new election. Harris edged out Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes last month, but McCready on Thursday withdrew his concession.

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Harris, in a video posted on Twitter on Friday, said: “I was absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing.”

The Republican said his campaign was cooperating with the state investigation and he would support a new election if the probe finds proof of illegal activity that could have changed the outcome of the vote.

Reporting by Grant Smith in New York; Writing by John Whitesides in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis

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Democrats’ refusal to impeach Trump is a ‘bigger national scandal’ than him breaking the law: Ocasio-Cortez

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized House Democrats on Saturday for their unwillingness to impeach President Donald Trump despite new revelations that he may have pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his potential Democratic rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior - it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday night.

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Mnuchin admits White House has transcript of Ukraine call and ‘they’re going to be kept confidential’

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed on Sunday that the White House does have a transcript of President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Mnuchin if he had an objection to Congress' request to see a transcript in which Trump allegedly asks Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

While confirming that a transcript of the call exists, Mnuchin said that House Democrats have no right to see it.

"What I have a problem with is Congress asking for a transcript between world leaders," he told Todd. "I think that those are confidential discussions and that’s a difficult precedent."

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‘Should we talk about Ivanka?’: MSNBC guest calls for Trump family investigation if Biden’s son is scrutinized

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During a panel discussion on Donald Trump's call for an investigation of Joe Biden's son Hunter over his Ukraine dealings, an "AM Joy" guest said if Congress is going to investigate politician's kids why not start with Ivanka Trump and her brothers Don Jr. and Eric.

Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan called out President Donald Trump for his "brazenness" going after the former vice president's son.

"There's so much to say about this story, as for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, 'Yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call'? It's absurd." Hasan began.

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