by Kenneth Fine
President Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director roiled Washington on Wednesday and deepened the sense of crisis swirling around the White House. Republican leaders came to the president’s defense, and Mr. Trump lashed out at Democrats and other critics, calling them hypocrites.One of those Republicans who kinda-sorta broke ranks was North Carolina's own Richard Burr. From the INDY's Jeffrey C. Billman:
On Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen Republicans broke with their leadership to express concern or dismay about the firing of James B. Comey, who was four years into a decade-long appointment as the bureau’s director. Still, they stopped well short of joining Democrats’ call for a special prosecutor to lead the continuing investigation of Russian contacts with Mr. Trump’s aides.
At the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off accusations of presidential interference in a counterintelligence investigation. He hosted a surreal and awkwardly timed meeting in the Oval Office with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. Mr. Kislyak’s private meetings with Mr. Trump’s aides are a key part of the sprawling investigation.
History is watching Richard Burr. As the head of the intelligence committee and one of Trump’s political allies, Burr is something of a fulcrum, or maybe the snowball rolling downhill. If he lends his voice to the cause of integrity, to the calls for an independent commission or a special counsel, if he declares that Trump’s Department of Justice and his handpicked FBI director cannot be entrusted to handle this matter of this gravity, other “troubled” Republicans will follow his lead.Here is Burr’s answer.
We need—we deserve—a thorough, independent investigation worthy of our nation, whether it leads to impeachment or nowhere at all. Trump has shown that his administration is inherently incapable of providing that. And so the matter needs to be taken out of Trump’s hands. Anything less is a dereliction of duty and an affront to the Constitution.
As Archibald Cox said in 1973, “Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.”
Congress answered that call four decades ago. Will this Congress do so in 2017?
Senate Intel Committee Subpoenas Former National Security Advisor Flynn for Documents Regarding Russia Probe https://t.co/VCDb1NxtU4— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) May 10, 2017
Cooper sought $166.6 million for housing repairs; $434 million to buy, elevate, and reconstruct nearly four thousand properties that are prone to flooding; $92.6 million for agriculture; $43 million to repair public facilities; $39 million to help small businesses; and $37 million for health and mental health services for people affected by the storm.3) The N.C. House sides with Big Pork, votes to override Coopers HB 467 veto.
Almost none of that will get funded.
Governor Cooper's veto of House Bill 467, a bill that would limit liability in agricultural nuisance cases, is halfway to being overridden. The N.C. House voted 74–40 in favor of the override; the vote was mostly along party lines, with Republicans voting for it.4) The Reverend Barber is stepping down from the state NAACP.
The timing is interesting, given that less than a week ago, lawyers representing hundreds of plaintiffs involved in twenty-six federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC, the hog division of Smithfield Foods, submitted evidence they say proves fecal matter from hog farms is ending up on and likely inside the homes of people who live near them.
The Rev. William Barber, who led the state NAACP in blocking North Carolina's attempts to limit voting rights and fiercely supported gay rights, said he's stepping down as state chapter president and will focus on a poor people's campaign like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was building when he was slain.What's next for Barber?
Barber gained prominence in launching "Moral Monday" protests in North Carolina this decade and trained others in more than 20 states in such peaceful civil disobedience. But he said Wednesday that after 12 years as an NAACP state leader, he wants to focus on the new campaign and "a national call for a moral revival."
Barber said more details would be forthcoming at a news conference Monday.He’ll be missed.
Though Barber's term officially ends in October, he said he would step down in June. He will remain on the NAACP's national board of directors, whose chair, Leon Russell, said he'll "continue to be a voice for North Carolina, for the South and for issues he holds dear."