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North Carolina bathroom bill: state GOP and governor announce plan for repeal

Democrat Roy Cooper says plan ‘not perfect’ but helps repair state’s reputation – but gay rights groups oppose proposal, which still limits LGBT protections

Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina and the Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, say they have an agreement to end the state’s so-called “bathroom bill” that they hope will drive away negative national attention and remove obstacles to expanding businesses and attracting sporting events.

But they’ll have to get enough votes in the House and Senate for a proposal set for debate Thursday so the replacement measure for the March 2016 law known as House Bill 2 (HB2) can reach Cooper’s desk.

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Morning Digest: Trump-loving Sheriff David Clarke may draw a challenger who could end his career

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Milwaukee County, WI Sheriff: This would be awesome: Former Milwaukee Police Captain Earnell Lucas will challenge notorious Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke in next year's Democratic primary, according to a consultant working for Lucas. Clarke, a vociferous Trump supporter and incendiary critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, is the living embodiment of the term "Democrat-in-name-only"; those who know him from the headlines he makes are often shocked to learn he isn't a Republican.

But that makes his re-election prospects worse than dicey: A PPP poll conducted earlier this year found that just 13 percent of Democratic voters in Milwaukee County said they'd support Clarke, while 82 preferred "someone else." And now it looks like those folks will indeed have a someone else to vote for. Lucas is a 25-year police veteran and has worked for the last 15 years in Major League Baseball, currently serving as the league's vice president for security—a formidable-sounding resume.

In fact, Lucas could prove to be such a tough opponent that Clarke, who hasn't actually confirmed whether he'll seek a fifth term, might choose not to run altogether. Clarke has refused to rule out a bid against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, which would require him to switch parties (not exactly a tough mental leap), though he probably wouldn't be the favorite of DC Republicans. And it's not like he could rely on the man in the White House for much help: As others have noted, Trump is always much more interested in pushing his enemies than helping his allies. So it really could be the end of the line for Clarke—and good riddance.

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China’s Xi to meet Trump in Florida next week

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to the United States to meet President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida on April 6-7, China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, its first official confirmation of the highly anticipated summit.
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Man beaten with flagpoles outside AIPAC

A group of men wearing shirts that read "Jewish Defense League" beat another man with flag poles outside the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C. on March 26. ""

Senate Russia hearing could offer clues to investigation

The Senate intelligence committee has run a steady and low-key investigation into Russia's interference in the US elections and communications with the campaign of President Donald Trump, but Thursday marks the panel's first public hearing, which could offer some insights into where senators are thinking in private.
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Senate heads for ‘nuclear option’ if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch nomination

One of Senate’s most serious jobs – confirming the president’s choice for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court – has devolved into a game of political chicken.

Senators are heading toward an institution-defining showdown next week as Democrats promise to try to block President Trump’s nominee,...

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