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By Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Republican candidate in North Carolina’s unresolved congressional race has acknowledged owing $34,310 to a political consultant subpoenaed in a ballot fraud probe, according to a federal campaign filing that refers to work at the heart of the investigation.

The Mark Harris campaign listed its debt to the Red Dome Group in a late Thursday filing with the Federal Election Commission. The form said the nature of the debt included “Reimbursement Payment for Bladen Absentee” and “Reimbursement Door to Door.”

Bladen County’s absentee ballots are at the center of a fraud probe that has prompted the North Carolina Elections Board to refuse to certify Harris as the winner over Democrat Dan McCready. The board cited allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots, and subpoenaed both the Harris campaign and Red Dome for documents.

The board could order a new election after meeting later this month to consider the evidence. For now, the vote count remains unofficial, with Harris leading McCready by 905 votes.

Some Bladen County voters have said strangers came to their homes to collect their absentee ballots, whether or not they had been fully completed or sealed in an envelope to keep them from being altered, according to affidavits offered by the state Democratic Party. State law allows only a family member or legal guardian to drop off absentee ballots for a voter.

Red Dome hired Bladen County contractor McCrae Dowless, whose criminal record includes prison time in 1995 for felony fraud and a conviction for felony perjury in 1992.

According to documents released by the elections board, Dowless seems to have collected the most absentee ballot request forms in Bladen County this fall. A copy of the Bladen election board’s log book shows Dowless turned in well over 500 applications.

McCrae Dowless.WECT

The FEC report also lists two other debts totaling nearly $20,000 to Red Dome for digital advertising, robocalls and mailings for Harris. The filing says those mailings were in Robeson County, another area where the state board has sought information as part of its probe. The details were part of a wide-ranging post-election report on the campaign’s finances.

McCready, expressing outrage over what he called a shameful attack on democracy, withdrew his concession in a video released late Thursday. He’s demanding that Harris explain what he knows about the absentee ballot allegations.

“He hired a criminal who was under investigation for ballot fraud to do his absentee ballot work, and it looks like he got what he paid for,” McCready told CNN on Friday.

Harris didn’t respond to a message seeking comment late Thursday. He issued a statement last week saying he supports a voter fraud investigation, but that the race should be certified in the meantime because there didn’t appear to be enough questioned votes to erase his lead. His campaign lawyer said this week the organization wasn’t aware of any illegal conduct during the race.

Dowless declined comment when visited by an Associated Press reporter this week at his home, and didn’t immediately respond to a phone message Friday. The head of the Red Dome Group, Andy Yates, also didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday.

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Government demands to know if taxpayer cash was used to fund anti-Brexit rally

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COUNCIL chiefs were last night asked whether taxpayers’ money funded an anti-Brexit rally.

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SPAIN ELECTIONS: Madrid faces political CHAOS as far-right Vox party surges

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SPAIN is on the brink of political chaos after opinion polls in the run-up to the nation’s elections revealed the surging popularity of far-right Vox party.

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Trump endorses claim that McCabe was part of ‘coup attempt’

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By Jane C. Timm

President Donald Trump seconded the allegation that there had been a coup attempt against him on Monday, before heading out to play golf at his Florida club on Presidents Day.

The president tweeted a quote from Fox News guest Dan Bongino alleging “an illegal coup attempt” against him, adding “true!”

The message capped off a series of angry tweets Trump wrote on Monday about former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who gave an explosive interview on 60 Minutes alleging that FBI Deputy Director Andrew Rosenstein repeatedly discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. The 25th Amendment is the part of the Constitution that details succession if a president dies or becomes otherwise incapacitated.

The conversations came in the chaotic days after FBI Director James Comey was fired, McCabe told CBS, as the FBI became increasingly convinced that the president was obstructing into the agency’s investigation in Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Rosenstein went as far to offer to wear a wire to the White House to gather information, McCabe said. (Officials have previously told NBC News Rosenstein made the remark sarcastically.)

McCabe was later fired for lying to FBI investigators who were investigating a media leak, something McCabe said was well within the rights of his role to give. His latest media swing comes shortly before the release of a book about his time at the FBI.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that they saw McCabe’s telling of “events as inaccurate and factually incorrect” saying that the department’s “Inspector General found that Mr. McCabe did not tell the truth to federal authorities on multiple occasions, leading to his termination from the FBI.”

In a string of five tweets Monday, Trump wrote that there were “so many lies” in McCabe’s interview, calling it “deranged.”

“This was the illegal and treasonous ‘insurance policy’ in full action!” Trump wrote in another tweet.

In his Sunday interview, McCabe said that the president repeatedly worried the FBI by showing an affinity for Russia. In one meeting, McCabe said the president told an FBI agent that he did not believe U.S. intelligence on North Korea because President Vladimir Putin had disputed it.

“Essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles,” McCabe said in the interview on Sunday night.

“Intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses to which the president replied, ‘I don’t care. I believe Putin,'” McCabe added, calling Trump’s reaction “astounding” and “shocking.”

McCabe was fired just hours before he became eligible to collect his pension, after a career within the FBI. He said on CBS he is considering suing to try and collect that pension.



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