HARDISTER SENT TEXT MESSAGE ALERTING REPUBLICANS TO "BE IN YOUR SEATS AT 8:30": A GOP leader in the N.C. House of Representatives says he sent a text message to some party members before Wednesday morning’s veto override vote, telling them to be in their seats by 8:30 a.m. Rep. Jon Hardister, the GOP’s second-in-command, told The News & Observer Thursday the text message was routine and that he regularly reminds members to be present for sessions where votes will be held. In this case, he said, he sent the note to 10 members who have long commutes to Raleigh, reminding them to be on time. But House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said he thinks the text message is proof that Republicans planned in advance to hold the controversial vote Wednesday morning without telling Democrats. Jackson said Thursday that Rep. Larry Yarborough, a Republican from Person County, showed him a text message he received from someone in Republican leadership. Jackson said the text to Yarborough suggested that Democrats were planning some sort of action related to redistricting.
ACTIVISTS PROTEST AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY OVER DECEITFUL VETO OVERRIDE: Dozens of protesters gathered at the legislature Thursday to call for House Speaker Tim Moore's resignation, accusing him of deceptive tactics after Wednesday's surprise budget veto override vote. When the House convened for a brief no-vote session, protesters made their presence known, shouting "shame, shame, shame" during the morning opening prayer. Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, who delivered the prayer, seemed to tailor his invocation in response. "The need to focus on what can be done, not letting the possibility of doing one good thing be the enemy of the opportunity for many good things. We are one house sometimes divided," Horn said during the prayer. "The North Carolina legislature has become a place that is distrusted. People have no confidence in us, and the citizens have had enough," said Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover, whose tirade on the House floor after the override vote has gone viral on a national scale. Butler said she wasn’t surprised by the angry protests, saying she believes House Republicans intentionally deceived Democrats to push the override vote through because they couldn’t otherwise break the impasse.
FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE I. BEVERLY LAKE PASSES AWAY: The conservative North Carolina chief justice and prosecutor who led the way for the state's unique innocence process was remembered after his death Thursday as a man who had the political strength to improve the criminal justice system when he saw evidence of its failures. Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr, 85, died Thursday at the retirement center where he lived, surrounded by family, said his son-in-law Tom Neal. His health had deteriorated rapidly in the past month or so, Neal said. Lake was chief justice when a string of high-profile wrongful convictions in North Carolina caught his attention. In 2002, he convened a commission of defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and others to review how innocent people are convicted and how to free them. The study by Lake's commission led to the establishment of the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission, modeled after a panel in Britain. Its work has resulted in exonerations of 12 people since it was established in 2006. A judge exonerated three other men based on the commission's work. "He was my hero," said Greg Taylor, fighting back tears. "I owe my life to his courage."
3RD DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE GETS TESTY AT TIMES: Several other candidates were more than willing to take on their fellow Democratic contenders directly, despite beginning the debate saying they wanted to unify the country and highlight the party’s broad unanimity on public policy. “I don’t think it’s a bold idea, I think it’s a bad idea,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) said of Sanders’s health-care bill. “For a socialist, you’ve got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I have,” Biden said to Sanders, scoffing at the idea that companies would pay workers more if they had fewer health-care costs. Sanders later criticized Biden for voting for the Iraq War in 2002. A sharp fault line quickly developed between Biden and former housing secretary Julián Castro, who took several opportunities to directly challenge the former vice president. Castro questioned Biden’s memory and claimed that Biden was not adequately fulfilling Obama’s legacy. For much of the debate, Democrats spent more time talking about the former president than the current one. Still, Trump loomed large on the debate stage as Democrats pilloried his policies and his behavior in office.
TEMPORARY CEASE-FIRE IN TRUMP'S TRADE WAR WITH CHINA: A trade deal between the two sides is not imminent, and deep divisions remain. But after weeks of escalating tariffs that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades, both countries appeared eager this week to try to calm tensions before a new round of talks next month. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods, and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying products including pork and soybeans. The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15. American and Chinese negotiators plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump increases tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.