Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says, if President Donald Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it could lead to the end of his presidency. “As I said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” Graham said on CNN’s State of the Union. Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election a “witch hunt” and has accused Mueller’s investigative squad of political bias. “The only reason Mr. Mueller could ever be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller,” Graham said. “I pledge to the American people as a Republican, to ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference.” — Chris Trainor

Beyoncé, Jay-Z to Play Columbia Aug. 21

With recent albums still resonating — Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade and Jay-Z’s 2017 4:44 — what might well be the most powerful couple in the history of popular music announced a tour stop in the Capital City. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s joint OTR II tour will touch down at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia on Aug. 21. Ticket presales start March 21 at noon, with tickets available to the general public starting Monday, March 26. — Jordan Lawrence

Bright Is Back

Conservative firebrand Lee Bright, a former state senator who lost a GOP primary last time around, plans to run for Trey Gowdy’s soon-to-be-open U.S. House seat. Bright’s tenure at the State House and his one-time run against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham were characterized by a bathroom bill, anti-LGBT rhetoric, defense of the Confederate flag, a fondness for alternative currency, calls to dismantle the IRS, and lots of other conservative causes, not to mention loads of personal debt. — Eva Moore

First County Council Forum of Primary Season Set

The Vista Guild will host a public forum for two Richland County Council District 5 candidates on Wednesday, March 21, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Pearlz Upstairs (936 Gervais St.) Democratic candidates Will Brennan and Allison Terracio are running for the seat currently held by Seth Rose, who is running for State House. Filing for the primaries does not close until the end of March, though, so other candidates could still get in the race. — Eva Moore

Some S.C. Students Punished for Protests

While Midlands schools largely seemed to tolerate last week’s student protests, some students at Bluffton High School will be serving day-long in-school suspensions for having participated in a 17-minute walkout, the students told The Island Packet. “Up to 67 of the 76 Bluffton High students who walked out in solidarity with the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., face punishment for their participation, though Beaufort County School District officials refused to release information on what punishments, if any, the students have been given,” the paper reports. Also, Greenville County School District, the state’s largest, has said it plans to formally reprimand students who walked out. Several universities in the state, including the University of South Carolina, have made clear that any disciplinary action taken against students for peaceful protests will not affect their college applications. Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster called the National Walkout Day demonstrations “shameful,” telling ETV, “It appears that these school children, innocent school children, are being used as a tool by left-wing group to further their own agenda.” — Eva Moore

Dylann Roof’s Sister Arrested

Morgan Roof, a student at A.C. Flora High School and the sister of Emanuel AME Church mass murderer Dylann Roof, has been arrested and accused of bringing weapons to school March 14, a day when students across the nation staged walkouts in support of gun control. Morgan Roof reportedly had a knife and pepper spray at school, and also was charged with marijuana possession. She also reportedly posted the following on social media: “Your walking out for the allowed time of 17min, They are letting you do this, nothing is going to change what tf you think it’s gonna do? I hope it’s a trap and y’all get shot we know it’s fixing to be nothing but black people walkin out anyway.” — Chris Trainor

One Charged in Five Points Shooting

In the early hours Sunday following St. Pat’s in Five Points, as bars closed for the night at 2 a.m., 22-year-old Arthur Jones Jr. of Hopkins is accused of shooting “multiple times into a large crowd” near Greene and Harden streets. Three people were injured, two of whom remain in critical condition. Jones is charged by Columbia police with three counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. While police initially sought three other men caught on surveillance camera, after those men and Jones turned themselves in, the police say they determined Jones was the primary shooter. “It is not believed that the three men were directly involved in the shooting, therefore, no charges will be filed against them at this time,” a police spokeswoman said in a statement. Police are asking anyone with footage of the incident to contact CPD. — Eva Moore

More Questionable Spending by Johnson

A new batch of expense records for Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson’s office have been released by PAPR, this time showing that thousands of dollars were spent on gym memberships, charities and with the Columbia Fireflies baseball team. There were also checks made out to simply “cash.” As noted by The Post and Courier, Johnson “doled out more than $18,000 to Gold’s Gym between 2012 and 2014, with annual payments ranging from $5,900 to $6,400.” Checks from the solicitor’s office went out to groups including Columbia City Ballet, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Blaney Elementary archery team, the Furman Orchestra Camp and many others. The solicitor’s office credit card also was used for a $2,750 charge with the Columbia Fireflies. The Post and Courier notes, “the records don’t detail the purpose of the expense, but the charge is the same amount as the cost for season tickets to a spot in the Fireflies bullpen box along the third-base line. It’s the costliest option among the team’s season ticket plans.​“Meanwhile, Johnson says he plans to run for re-election this year. — Chris Trainor

USC Women Headed to Sweet 16

The University of South Carolina beat the University of Virginia in an NCAA tournament game in Columbia, vaulting themselves into the Sweet 16. It was star A’ja Wilson’s final home game. The Gamecocks will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 24, against the University at Buffalo in Albany, New York. Buffalo is an 11-seed in the tournament and is making a surprising run. It upset Florida State on March 19 to earn its Sweet 16 date with South Carolina, the defending national champions. If South Carolina wins, it would likely have to face UConn in the Elite 8. — Eva Moore and Chris Trainor

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation on our Free Times Facebook page.