Jan 3, 2019

GOP candidate to request election be certified amid fraud scandal

North Carolina Republican candidate Mark Harris. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Republican candidate Mark Harris plans to ask a North Carolina court on Thursday to certify him as the winner of the state’s disputed 9th congressional district race, WSOC-TV's Joe Bruno reports.

The backdrop: Harris' decision to take legal action comes hours after election staffers said they would postpone a scheduled Jan. 11 hearing on the ongoing fraud investigation. The official State Board of Elections was forced to dissolve last week in response to an unrelated state court decision, leaving the investigation and House seat in limbo.

  • The election board had refused to certify unofficial results that show Harris holding an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent Dan McCready. At the center of the probe is a contractor for Harris’ campaign accused of collecting absentee ballots in violation of state law.
  • As the seat remains vacant, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has vowed that Democrats will object to any attempt by Harris to be seated on Thursday when the new Congress convenes.

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Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump administration to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to Iran deal

Pompeo testifies on Iran in February. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. is ending waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work at Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: This will eliminate most elements of U.S. sanctions relief still in place two years after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said "continued nuclear escalation" made the move necessary, but critics warn it will encourage further Iranian enrichment.

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.