WASHINGTON — Ohio state treasurer and Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel retweeted the right-wing conspiracy theorist behind the “Pizzagate” theory.

Mandel, who is running for a rematch against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018, retweeted a post on Medium by Mike Cernovich, who is a host on fellow conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

In the post, Cernovich accuses the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate group, of “inciting terrorism.”

In the end of the post, Cernovich writes “The mainstream media in America is ISIS.”

Mandel tweeted that it was “sad” to see the ADL “become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs” before saying he stood with Cernovich and his colleague Jack Posobiec.

Cernovich notably promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that posited that Comet Ping Pong Pizza, a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., was the location of a child sex ring that was tied to Hillary Clinton.

The assertion was debunked a number of times, but in December, Edgar Madison Welch entered the restaurant and fired three times. Welch pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.

—CQ-Roll Call


NC GOP calls Charlotte City Council member ‘unhinged’ after comments about Trump supporters

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fallout continued Thursday over comments critical of President Donald Trump by a Charlotte City Council member, with the North Carolina Republican Party calling Dimple Ajmera “unhinged.”

Appearing on WCNC’s “Flashpoint” Sunday, Ajmera said, “Republicans that are supporting Trump … should have no place on city council whatsoever or in the mayor’s race.”

Ajmera, appointed to a district council seat last year, is running at-large.

A state GOP news release was headlined: “Charlotte Democrat Goes Unhinged with Dangerous and Unacceptable Trump Rhetoric.”

“It is highly offensive that a member of the Charlotte City Council, not yet even elected to the position, would state that anybody who voted for the Republican nominee for President should be disqualified and should not even seek a role in public service in Charlotte,” state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement.

“Nearly 100,000 Charlotte residents, Republican, Democrat, and unaffiliated voted for President Trump. Are Councilwoman Ajmera’s positions so radical she thinks NONE of these people have something to contribute to make the Queen city better?”

Ajmera could not be immediately reached. But in a statement Wednesday night she said she stands by her comments.

“Donald Trump is a divisive and negative figurehead,” she said. “It is not about being a Republican or a Democrat. It is about standing up to Trump’s disrespect for women, minorities and immigrants. It is about standing up to Trump’s disregard for the sick, the disabled and the poor.”

—The Charlotte Observer


Crab boat missing since February found on Bering Sea bottom

SEATTLE — Federal research vessels have located the Destination, the Seattle-based crab boat that went missing Feb. 11 along with six crew, on the bottom of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska.

The crew was heading out to fish for snow crab when their boat went down on a cold day off St. George Island in the Pribilofs.

The sunken vessel was found northwest of St. George resting on its port side. It was identified through underwater sonar surveys conducted by two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research ships, according to a joint Thursday release from the Coast Guard and NOAA.

The confirmation is based on the characteristics of the vessel — the length, the beam, the shape of the pilot house and the fact that there were crab pots on board,” Jonathan Shannon, a NOAA spokesman, said Thursday.

Later this month, the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy will head to the site and use a remotely operated vehicle with a camera to investigate the wreck.

The Destination had a veteran crew aboard, and carried gear on deck when it disappeared early on a Saturday morning.

No May Day radio calls were picked up from the crew.

—The Seattle Times


Poles hit streets in tens of thousands to protest court revamp

WARSAW, Poland — Tens of thousands of Poles poured into the streets of the eastern European nation’s biggest cities after the passage of a controversial revamp of the judiciary that’s been criticized by the European Union for backsliding on democracy.

Over 50,000 people gathered in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, a city spokesman said, while parallel protests were held in about 100 cities including Gdansk and Krakow, according to organizers. They urged President Andrzej Duda to veto legislation passed Thursday in the lower house that would bolster government sway over the courts. Grzegorz Schetyna, head of the opposition Civic Platform, said the bill risks triggering unrest akin to the protests that ousted Ukraine’s leader in 2014.

The battle over the court reform is becoming one of the biggest political standoffs in Poland since communism fell in 1989. The EU has already raised the threat of sanctions over the plans. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the Law & Justice party, says he won’t back down, though the government backtracked on a 2016 bill to ban abortion when 100,000 protesters, mainly women, flooded the streets. Frustrated that their voice isn’t being heard in the legislative process, opposition forces are turning to public protest.

Law & Justice has been rushing to push through the legislation, which would force into immediate retirement all Supreme Court judges, with little or no debate and without consulting the judiciary. Ruling party lawmakers and cabinet members gave a standing ovation after the passage of the bill on Thursday. The upper house, in which Law & Justice has the majority, may review the legislation as early as Friday.

—Bloomberg News

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