The state Democratic Party called on Detroit Health Director Abdul El-Sayed (D “to clear up confusion over his eligibility to run for the state’s top job.” State party spokesman Brandon Dillon “said it’s more a concern that if it’s not cleared up and El-Sayed wins the primary election in August, Republicans could challenge his eligibility and the Democrats could end up with no one on the ballot for the November general election.”
“Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said it will not independently start an investigation of El-Sayed’s eligibility to run for office. Rather, it would wait until an official complaint is filed.”
“The issue won’t officially come to a head until El-Sayed turns in his paperwork — at least 15,000 petition signatures from registered voters and an affidavit of identity — to run for governor by the state’s April 24 deadline.”
“El-Sayed said earlier this week that his legal team feels he’s 100% eligible because he never lost his voter registration and he owned a residence in Ann Arbor while he was living in New York. The campaign has framed the issue as a racist attempt by party insiders to end his progressive candidacy.” (Detroit Free Press)
NASSAR. “Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) is expected Friday to call on the Michigan Legislature to create a new class of independent special prosecutor in state law, citing potential conflicts of interest in cases like [state] Attorney General Bill Schuette’s (R) investigation of Michigan State University. … Calley … said Thursday that special prosecutors appointed by the attorney general … are ‘not at all independent, and that is problematic.’” (Detroit News)
SPEAKING OF CALLEY. “Gov. Rick Snyder (R) won’t be on the ballot this fall, but with another election fast approaching, he’ll use his third Super Bowl commercial since 2010 to tout economic gains under his watch while pushing to ‘accelerate and protect Michigan’s comeback.’” (Detroit News)
BUDGET BUSTING. “Public records indicate that” former state House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D), Schuette, El-Sayed, Calley and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) intend to seek public financing. “Should all five primary candidates get the maximum $990,000 payout, the addition of two nominees publicly funded to the tune of $1.1 million each would use up most of the fund’s $7.2 million.” (National Journal) A source with Whitmer’s campaign said she has qualified for “about” $750,000 in public funds “so far.” (Hotline reporting)
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Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty to a raft of new tax and fraud charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Gates is expected to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.
Robert Mueller announced new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort advisor Rick Gates. "The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges." The pair had been indicted on 12 charges in October. Since then, Gates's attorneys have asked to be excused from the case.
The FBI has reported that it failed to respond to a warning from "a person close to" Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused of killing 17 people at Parkland High School on Thursday. "It was the second time the FBI apparently failed to follow up on Cruz." On the first occasion, it failed to properly investigate Cruz after it was reported to them that he left the following comment on a Youtube video: "Im going to be a school shooter."
Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign following revelations that the FBI had failed to adequately investigate multiple warnings about Parkland High School gunman Nikolas Cruz. “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,'" said Scott. '...We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.'" According to an FBI statement, the FBI failed to inform local offices of information regarding "Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting."