“A trial beginning today in San Antonio to determine the constitutionality of Texas’ 2013 redistricting maps is expected to set the stage for changes to state and congressional districts ahead of the 2018 election.” The judges “will not hear opening arguments but will go straight into hearing evidence from a number of plaintiffs, according to court records.” Evidence about the state House maps is expected first, followed by evidence about the congressional maps.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE FIELD. Former Housing and Urban Development official Judith Canales (D) is considering a run against Rep. Will Hurd (R) and said possible redistricting won’t affect her decision. She served as a “administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs in the Department of Agriculture” and is “based in Eagle Pass, where she once served as assistant city manager. … Speculation also has focused on Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hulings, who attended Harvard Law School and served nearly two years as the deputy chief counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE STAKES. “It’s unclear when the panel will rule after this week’s hearing wraps up. But local election administrators have said they need clarity on district boundaries by October so they have enough time to prepare for the March primaries, send out voter registration cards and meet other electoral deadlines. If the court rules that the 2013 maps must be fixed ahead of the elections, it could set off a scramble to finalize a version of the state maps that are acceptable to the court without delaying the upcoming elections.” (Texas Tribune)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.