“The judges who struck down North Carolina’s congressional map for excessive partisanship that favored Republicans refused Tuesday to delay their order telling GOP state lawmakers to draw new lines by next week. The denial by the three-judge federal panel was expected. … Barring a delay by the U.S. Supreme Court—which Republican legislators also have sought and their request is pending—the legislature will be required to redraw its map for North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts by Jan. 24.” (AP)
TEXAS. “On Tuesday the Supreme Court rejected the Texas Democrats attempt to get the Court to review it claims alleging Republicans used partisan gerrymandering in 2013 to hurt Democrats at the ballot box. That decision comes after Friday’s decision in which the court agreed to take up an appeal from organizations representing African-Americans and Latinos that accuse Texas Republicans of using racial gerrymandering to dilute minority representation. The oral arguments related to the racial gerrymandering claims is set for April.” (Houston Chronicle)
OHIO. “State lawmakers have a proposed constitutional amendment to work with as they continue to discuss changing Ohio’s process for drawing congressional districts. State Sen. Matt Huffman (R) introduced the resolution. “The plan, outlined in the proposed constitutional amendment, would give lawmakers the first crack at drawing a congressional map before passing it on to a seven-member redistricting commission that will draw the Statehouse legislative districts. A map would need to pass with three-fifths of the vote in each chamber, including one-third of the legislators in the minority party.” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."