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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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President Trump, with his ambivalent relationship with the truth, has found himself at odds with his Justice Department many times, on matters large and small, ranging from claims about terrorist attack data in the United States to whether he directed Michael Cohen to break campaign finance law to silence alleged mistresses.

Now we can add another example to the long list of occasions that the Justice Department has had to distance itself from something the President has claimed.

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The Supreme Court on Monday said it would not take up a Texas case on campaign finance limits — a move that is good news for those who would like to see the legality of such limits remain intact. Meanwhile, the high court has not said yet whether it will take up a North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case after punting on the issue in two major cases last year. Now we won’t know until at least January — when the justices return from their holiday break — whether they will take up the issue again.

Democrats have big plans on voting rights when they take over the House next month. They’re preparing a package of election legislation, the first that the new House will likely unveil, that will include the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, expansion of voter registration opportunities, campaign finance reform, and an ethics overhaul. Not surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week he has no intention of bringing such a bill up for a vote in the upper chamber. The question remains whether House Democrats, after passing the omnibus package, will then seek to pass some of the provisions as standalones in the hope of getting broader bipartisan support and perhaps a shot in the Senate.

After casting the vote that sunk Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr — who had crafted and defended a North Carolina voter restriction law that targeted minorities with almost “surgical precision,” according to a federal appeals court — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican in the Senate, wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal defending the decision. “While you are right that his nomination should be seen through a wider lens, the solution isn’t simply to decry ‘racial attacks,” he wrote, responding to a WSJ editorial panning his vote. “Instead, we should stop bringing candidates with questionable track records on race before the full Senate for a vote.”

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has not yet said when it will hold a hearing on the election fraud probe underway in the state’s ninth U.S. congressional district, though a hearing is expected to take place on or before December 21. Meanwhile, the board has begun posted documents relevant to its investigation — including an unprecedented warning that, shortly before the election, the state board sent absentee voters in Bladen County, now ground zero of the probe, about rules regarding who can collect mail-in ballots.

While the Census Bureau waits for a federal judge’s decision as to the legality of a citizenship question on the 2020 survey, the bureau announced last week that it will test the question. The testing — as a top Census official hinted at the trial over the question last month — will be geared towards understanding the logistics of implementing the question. It will not assess whether it should be added in the first place, as the bureau typically does when an administration is deciding whether to add new questions.

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Prosecutors and Maria Butina — a Russian national who’s been accused of being an unregistered foreign agent — requested Monday that a judge schedule a hearing this week so that Butina can change her plea. The filing was a suggestion that Butina and prosecutors may have reached a plea deal in the case.

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The North Carolina state Board of Elections may soon have to decide whether to call a new election in the ninth congressional district, the site of an absentee ballot fraud probe. I’ve been speaking to election law experts in the state to try to figure out what the board will take into consideration when making that decision, and the short answer is: it’s not clear, because there hasn’t been a situation quite like this in recent memory.

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Mark Harris, the GOP House candidate whose campaign is tangled up in an absentee ballot fraud investigation in North Carolina, pledged cooperation with the probe, and said he’d support calling a new election — if the investigators turned up proof that the alleged fraud scheme determined the results of the election.

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