Long arc of history guides John Lewis in his call for impeachment inquiry

OPINION — No one can accuse Rep. John Lewis of lacking patience. The Georgia Democrat showed plenty, as well as steely resolve, as he changed millions of minds — and history — over a life spent working for equal rights for all. So when he speaks, especially about justice, a cause from which he has never wavered, all would do well to listen.

Lewis was not the only voice raised this week, as all sides raced to place a political frame on the narrative of the undisputed fact that a U.S. president asked a foreign leader to work with him and for him to smear a political opponent, perhaps with military aid in the balance. “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” President Donald Trump said, according to a transcript of the conversation based on notes. He also wanted to rope in his personal lawyer and the attorney general, who, by the way, works for the American people, not Trump.

No direct quid pro quo but plenty of bread crumbs leading to the conclusion that a country dependent on funds to deal with, among other things, an extremely aggressive Russian neighbor, better pay attention.

Pelosi Announces Impeachment Inquiry into Trump

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the middle of a political firestorm involving a telephone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, there came a moment of bipartisan agreement this week. Members of the Senate voted unanimously favoring a resolution calling for a whistleblower complaint involving Trump to be turned over to congressional intelligence committees. This comes as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, after holding off for many months, has announced her support to move toward a formal impeachment inquiry into the president because of the whistleblower complaint. The president has promised the release of a transcript of his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

Whatever happens, the race has offered a national blueprint for what voters will see in 2020, with the majority of Republicans clinging close to Donald Trump and trying to brand Democrats as far to the left as imagination allows. Meanwhile, Democrats proclaim their independence and ability to stand up to the president and his bending of constitutional norms while doing the other business of Congress and helping constituents.

A Deadly Shooting at UNCC, and a City in Shock

CHARLOTTE, NC — A shooting at UNCC leaves two dead and four wounded. A city that has seen a sharp rise in homicides this year is now grappling with a horrific shooting that adds Charlotte to the list of cities where a school is the setting for gun violence. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers to the questions of why it happened and what can be done

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: CMPD Releases Full Body Camera Video; 9th District Early Voting

Earlier this week, a Mecklenburg County judge ordered the full release of the body camera video in the police shooting of Danquirs Franklin. The video was released on Wednesday. The ruling came after Monday night’s debate in city council about CMPD’s handling of the initial release of a shorter version of the video.

On the same day as the video’s release, CMPD announced a series of changes in policy to release all relevant video footage of incidents, like officer-involved shootings, to a judge to seek redactions.

Early voting for the special 9th District primary began this week and on Tuesday night, some of the candidates participated in a forum that covered topics from House Bill 2 to the Mueller report and more.

Movement on the incentives from the South Carolina legislature to relocate the Panthers’ headquarters may be on the horizon, as details come out about the plans David Tepper has for the new facility there. The team hopes to begin construction as early as later this year.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

It’s called accountability, but only for some

OPINION — When I was a little girl growing up in West Baltimore, my parents (especially my mom) gave me some truth along with the love. “You will have to work twice as hard to get half as far,” they told their working-class African American child, schooled as they had been in life’s challenges. They also warned about what everyone on my side of town knew: There was little to no room for error because folks like us seldom got the benefit of the doubt.

This was not to discourage me — far from it. It was to prepare me. Better to know what the deal was upfront.

They did not live to observe the spectacle of the president of the United States and members of his family get away — for now, at least — with all sorts of dishonest doings, things an African American president and his family would have been marched across the White House lawn in cuffs and shackles for. Things anyone in my neighborhood would have been tossed under the jail for even thinking about doing.

When a hate crimes hearing goes very wrong, something’s not right in America

OPINION — When people are being threatened, intimidated and murdered, you would think that partisan bickering would take a back seat. But this is the U.S. Congress we’re talking about. Instead, what was supposed to be an examination of white nationalism and the rise of hate crimes on Tuesday devolved into what Americans have wearily begun to expect from their elected representatives. The House Judiciary Committee members inhabited different parties and different planets.

When what’s at stake is this serious, that’s pretty frightening.

When does partisan gerrymandering cross the line?

OPINION — “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina general assembly’s redistricting committee. “So, I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

He added: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

If that is not quite a smoking gun, it’s definitely toasty to the touch.

Will quotes like that — transparently revealing the politics behind a policy that favors one party — be enough for the Supreme Court to meddle in the political maneuvering of partisan gerrymandering? This week’s hearings take on a North Carolina case and its mirror in Maryland, where Democrats are accused of skewing a district.

Judge Denies Mark Harris’ Request to Be Certified

CHARLOTTE, NC — On Tuesday, a Wake County Superior Court judge turned down the request of Republican Mark Harris to certify him as the winner in his race against Democrat Dan McCready. “This is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place,” said Judge Paul Ridgeway. He said asking the court to step in and declare the winner, when that is the authority of another branch of government, was inappropriate, especially in the middle of an ongoing investigation. (Mary C. Curtis)

9th District Race – No End in Sight

CHARLOTTE, NC —  Robert Pittenger will not run again in North Carolina’s 8th District U.S. House race.  At least that’s what he says.  And right now, that might be the only thing people know for sure about the contested contest roiled by accusations of election fraud and more plot twists than any movie.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.