U.S. SUPREME COURT WILL DECIDE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE FATE: The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it would hear the appeal of Atlantic Coast Pipeline owners and the Trump administration over the rejection of a permit that would allow the natural gas line to cross the Appalachian Trail. A ruling for the pipeline will allow construction to resume by late summer next year and finish by late 2021, the email said. The Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented environmental groups in the case, said in a statement they will defend the Appeals Court decision. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a dangerous, costly and unnecessary project, and we won’t stand by while Duke and Dominion Energy try to force it on our public lands, threatening people’s health, endangered species, iconic landscapes and clean water along the way,” their statement said.
TRUMP CHEERLEADERS COME OFF PROBATION AT STANLY COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL: The Stanly County cheerleaders who posed for a picture while holding a Trump 2020 sign are no longer on probation. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association lifted their probation Thursday, so they'll be on the sidelines when Chatham Central comes calling. The cheerleaders' punishment made national headlines and prompted rallies across the street from their school that canceled one football game. The Stanly County sheriff and school leaders, wary of a planned protest, agreed with Jesse Carson High School, which was to have been North Stanly's rival, to cancel the game on Sept. 22. While no protest materialized, a flag-waving rally drew about 100 people to a field near the school. Rally organizers framed it as a defense of the First Amendment, and many American flags were in evidence, as were Trump 2020 banners.
NC GOP ATTORNEY E-MAILED POLITICAL DATA TO LAWMAKERS REDRAWING MAPS: At least two North Carolina lawmakers had access to political data during the recent redistricting process, despite a court order banning its use, according to a new legal filing in Wake County Superior Court. But the brief casts doubt on whether they used the information, and the lawmakers tell The News & Observer they never looked at it. The News & Observer reported last month that an outside attorney for Republican lawmakers emailed prohibited political data to numerous N.C. House lawmakers and staffers on the first day of court-ordered redistricting. The lawmakers were redrawing many of the North Carolina General Assembly’s House and Senate districts, after a three-judge panel ruled Republicans had drawn previous maps to give themselves an unconstitutionally skewed advantage. As judges decide whether to accept newly revised maps, or throw them out and enlist an outside expert to redraw them again, the email containing the political data is a major sticking point for Republicans and those challenging the maps.
TRUMP WILL REQUIRE IMMIGRANTS TO ALREADY HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE BEFORE ENTRY INTO U.S.? The White House late Friday issued a proclamation saying it would deny visas to immigrants who “will financially burden” the U.S. health-care system starting Nov. 3, demanding that foreign nationals prove that they have insurance or are affluent enough to cover their own health-care costs before entering the United States. The new rule - issued at 7 p.m. on a Friday night less than 13 months before Election Day - comes as President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry and intensifying his efforts to fulfill his campaign promises to curb immigration. Like many of Trump’s immigration policies, it is likely to face swift legal challenges in federal courts. Trump said he is taking the action to “protect the availability of health care benefits for Americans,” and said “taxpayers bear substantial cost” in paying for medical expenses of people who lack health insurance. Analysts said the proclamation appears to target family-based migration, the type of so-called “chain migration” that the Trump administration and White House aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hawk, have been unable to persuade Congress to reduce. The White House has pushed for policies that would favor wealthier immigrants with special skills over immigrants from poorer countries, including in Latin America.
TRUMP'S PHONE CALLS AND TWEETS HAVE DRIVEN HIS AIDES CRAZY: Starting long before revelations about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president rocked Washington, Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders were an anxiety-ridden set of events for his aides and members of the administration, according to former and current officials. They worried that Trump would make promises he shouldn’t keep, endorse policies the United States long opposed, commit a diplomatic blunder that jeopardized a critical alliance, or simply pressure a counterpart for a personal favor. “There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of [senior staff] who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these calls,” said one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations. “Phone calls that were embarrassing, huge mistakes he made, months and months of work that were upended by one impulsive tweet.” Aides bristled at the dismissive way he sometimes addressed longtime U.S. allies, especially women. In a summer 2018 call with Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump harangued the British leader about her country’s contribution to NATO. He then disputed her intelligence community’s conclusion that Putin’s government had orchestrated the attempted murder and poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. “Trump was totally bought into the idea there was credible doubt about the poisoning,” said one person briefed on the call. “A solid 10 minutes of the conversation is spent with May saying it’s highly likely and him saying he’s not sure.”