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North Carolina GOP lied to a federal court — so they could cancel an election that threatened their majority: report

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Documents contained on a series of flash drives left behind by deceased Republican elections expert Thomas Hofeller, who helped the North Carolina GOP craft one of the most aggressive gerrymandered maps in the entire country, suggest that Republican state lawmakers lied to a federal court and to the public in order to prevent a special election that could threaten the GOP’s supermajority in the General Assembly, writes Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern.

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Common Cause, a voting rights group that has been fighting gerrymandering in the state and that recently obtained Hofeller’s files, say that the data contained within them contradict what lawmakers told a federal district court in 2016 in Covington v. North Carolina, which found the legislative maps illegally discriminated against voters by race.

The court was trying to decide whether to call special elections ahead of the regularly scheduled elections. Republicans claimed that this would be disruptive, because there was no time to draw the new maps to replace the old, illegal ones — and explicitly said that Hofeller had not drawn anything up yet, prompting the court not to order special elections. But Hofeller’s files suggest that he had already drawn up 97 percent of the new House map and 90 percent of the new Senate map by the time the court was deciding.

Even more damningly, Republicans may also have lied that their new map did not incorporate racial data. Common Cause says that the files show Hofeller explicitly included data on the black voting age population in each of the districts he was drawing up, suggesting that the new maps — the maps currently in force today — are still a racial gerrymander as well as a political one.

While the Supreme Court is busy considering the constitutionality of North Carolina’s congressional districts, Common Cause is filing a lawsuit in state court to throw out the new legislative districts. The evidence in Hofeller’s files is likely to strengthen their case.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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