Opinion writer

* Amy Gardner reports on the dramatic end to the hearings in that disputed North Carolina election:

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Thursday ordered a new election in the 9th Congressional District, ending a dramatic, months-long investigation into allegations of widespread ballot tampering.

“It appears to me the irregularities and improprioties occurred to such an extent that they tainted the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness,” said the board chairman, Bob Cordle, shortly before the five-member panel voted unanimously to throw out the November results between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. “I believe the people of North Carolina deserve a fair election and deserve to have their votes counted properly.”

The board’s vote came moments after Harris admitted that he had misspoken under oath earlier in the day.

Harris said he is recovering from a serious infection that led to sepsis and two strokes, which in turn affected his memory. The episode made him realize, he testified, that he was not prepared for the “rigors” of the evidentiary hearing. He called for a new election, then promptedly excused himself from the proceeding.

He “misspoke” about conversations he had with his son, which became a problem after his son testified that he warned his father against hiring the shady campaign operative whose actions were at the heart of the dispute.

* Asawin Suebsaeng has a colorful story of life in the Trump White House:

When the Trump White House welcomed its newest batch of interns earlier this year, the director of the internship program, Zoe Jackman, did what administration officials normally do when fresh blood arrives: She warned them against being “leakers.”

Soon enough, according to three sources familiar with the process, a representative from the White House counsel’s office materialized to greet the newcomers, and to demand what the Trump White House has required of so many other interns and senior officials.

Upon orientation, the interns signed their very own non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), with the envoy of the counsel’s office warning them that a breach of the NDA—blabbing to the media, for instance—could result in legal, and thus financial, consequences for them. Interns were also told that they would not receive their own copies, these sources said.

This was all a standard facet of the Trump intern orientation process, billed as an “ethics training”—underscored by implicit legal threats from President Donald Trump’s in-house lawyers.

Nothing says “This is a great place to work” like your employer telling you on your first day that if you tell anyone what you see there, they will destroy your life.

* Zack Colman and Alex Guillén report on how coal-burning power companies paid a lobbying firm millions of dollars to fight against regulation of air pollution, and one of the firm's partners is now in charge of regulating air pollution at the EPA.

* Neal Katyal explains why Robert Mueller's report will be a road map for the investigations that will follow.

* Dan Froomkin correctly argues that the public is absolutely entitled to see the full Mueller report, and that the health of our democracy is riding on it.

* Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports that even under current law, within 10 years the government will account for half of all health care spending in the United States.

* Ron Brownstein argues that Bernie Sanders faces some of the same challenges he did four years ago, but they may prove even tougher to overcome this time around.

* Glenn Kessler gives White House ghoul Stephen Miller all the Pinocchios for claiming that thousands of Americans are killed every year by undocumented immigrants.

* Julie K. Brown reports that a federal judge has ruled that prosecutors including Alexander Acosta, now the secretary of labor, violated the law when they negotiated a secret plea deal that gave wealthy sex trafficking pedophile Jeffrey Epstein minimal jail time and hid that fact from Epstein's victims.

* Caleb Melby goes inside the frantic efforts of the Trump inaugural committee to handle the fallout from the mess of his inaugural.

* Paul Starr says it's about time we had a serious debate about universal child care.

* Michael Grunwald reports that California is thriving despite conservative wishes that it was the hellhole they say its policies must inevitably produce.

* Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll have a tool that allows you to build your own Medicare For All plan.