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Trump declares Major Disaster for four Alabama counties impacted by Hurricane Michael

Brandon Moseley

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In response to Governor Kay Ivey’s request, President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the state of Alabama, as a result of Hurricane Michael.

This declaration means that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program will provide assistance to four affected counties: Geneva, Henry, Houston and Mobile Counties.

“I appreciate President Trump and FEMA for being responsive to our requests for assistance following Hurricane Michael,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabama did not take the brunt of the storm damage, but many people in our state were affected. This public assistance will be very beneficial, especially to the small communities in the Wiregrass that have worked very hard to clear the debris and get power service back up for residents.”

“This morning, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the State of Alabama, ordering federal assistance to supplement state & local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael,” Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said. “Thank you, Mr. President — we will rebuild together.”

Three of the four counties are in Representative Roby’s district.

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U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said on social media, “Excellent news! This morning, President Trump approved Alabama’s major disaster declaration request for the counties of Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Mobile – allowing federal assistance for local recovery efforts following storm damage from Hurricane Michael.”

“Special thanks to President Donald J. Trump for approving Alabama’s disaster declaration from Hurricane Michael,” Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said. “Our friends in the Wiregrass continue to cleanup from the powerful storm, and this step will help those recovering get the assistance they need.”

The Administrator of FEMA, Brock Long named Gerard M. Stolar as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program helps reimburse local governments, state agencies, eligible private non-profit organizations and electric co-operatives for certain expenses they have incurred during Hurricane Michael.

Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs under certain categories such as debris removal and road repair related to the storm. FEMA previously approved reimbursement to state and local governments for costs associated with emergency protective measures taken during Hurricane Nate.

“We are so appreciative of the support we have received from FEMA, our Congressional Delegation and the President for the Governor’s request,” said Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings. “The Major Disaster Declaration is a huge step in the recovery process and represents the continuation of our strong partnership with FEMA and local governments to connect eligible applicants with Federal assistance to continue on their path to a better tomorrow.”

Representatives from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency Recovery Division will explain procedures for requesting assistance at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.

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Jones calls for Trump to approve individual assistance for Alabamians affected by Hurricane Michael

Chip Brownlee

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones urged President Donald Trump last week to push for approval of individual assistance grants for Alabamians impacted by Hurricane Michael.

While a Major Disaster Declaration was approved last week, it only provides public assistance grants. Public assistance grants help local governments and community organizations, but can’t be disbursed to individuals recovering from a disaster.

“The people of Alabama are grateful for the Public Assistance grants approved in the Major Disaster Declaration dated November 5, 2018, but more relief is clearly needed,” Jones wrote in a letter to Trump. “I am aware that a determination as to the availability of Individual Assistance (IA) grants is still under review, and I urge you to approve IA grants as soon as possible. The effects of Hurricane Michael have been devastating to our state, and without individual federal assistance, many areas may never fully recover.”

IA grants are vital in order for impacted Alabamians to fully recover, Jones’ office said. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has requested IA grants. AEMA also provided additional evidence to demonstrate that certain Alabama counties qualify for assistance.

Neighboring counties in Florida and Georgia have already received IA grants.

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“The people and the State of Alabama are resilient, but as in Georgia and Florida, the recovery efforts in this case require resources beyond their reserves,” Jones wrote.

Jones’ office said the senator continues to engage with federal, state and local leaders and residents to ensure that Alabama gets the resources it needs to fully recover from Hurricane Michael, which was one of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall in the continental United States.

Jones visited the Wiregrass region earlier this month to listen to local farmers to better understand the extent of the damage their crops sustained as well as their unique recovery needs, Jones’ office said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has not yet approved the State of Alabama’s application for an agricultural disaster declaration, which Jones supported in a recent letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

 

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Brooks supports Trump’s changes to American amnesty laws

Brandon Moseley

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Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) announced his support for President Donald J. Trump’s (R) Presidential Proclamation addressing mass migration through the southern border of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security’s newly released asylum rule.

“Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens furtively thumb their noses at America’s sovereignty by clandestinely violating our borders and laws,” Congressman Brooks said. “Now, Central American caravans openly and brazenly seek to do the same. This outrageous conduct cannot be, and should not be, tolerated by America. As a sovereign nation, the American people have every right to expect their government to secure our borders.”

“Illegal immigration hurts American workers and taxpayers,” Brooks continued. “According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal aliens are a net $116 billion annual cost to American taxpayers. That’s $300 in additional taxes each man, woman and child in America is forced to pay for people whose first act on American soil is to violate American law.”

“Fraud and abuse plague America’s asylum system. Let me make this clear: no one has a right to demand asylum from any nation,” Brooks concluded. “Asylum and sanctuary is a discretionary benefit given by nations to those with clear justification. Too often, illegal aliens are coached by attorneys to say ‘magic words’ that help them take advantage of America’s generosity. Their exploitation of America’s already generous immigration laws must stop! As such, I support President Trump’s steps to close asylum loopholes and stop the damage to America caused by illegal aliens’ wrongful conduct.”

Mo Brooks office shared some information about the border:
So far in FY18, 500,000 people apprehended attempting to cross the border, about 100,000 at checkpoints and 400,000 in the interior. According to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[i]n recent weeks, United States officials have each day encountered an average of approximately 2,000 inadmissible aliens at the southern border.”

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According to data provided by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[o]ver the past decade, the overall percentage of aliens subject to expedited removal and referred, as part of the initial screening process, for a credible-fear interview jumped from approximately 5% to above 40%, and the total number of credible-fear referrals for interviews increased from about 5,000 a year in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2008 to about 97,000 in FY 2018.”

Last year, nearly half of the completed cases that involved aliens who claimed credible fear resulted in the alien failing to show up at a hearing or even to file an application for asylum.

“Illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into our country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum,” President Trump said. “Instead, migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry.”

President Trump’s proclamation declared that migrants seeking asylum along the southern border must present themselves lawfully at a port of entry. Those who arrive at a port of entry will remain eligible for asylum. The President also deployed additional resources to support our ports of entry.

Last week, the Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives. This likely effectively kills any serious efforts to construct the President’s border wall and makes it even less likely that a comprehensive immigration reform bill is going to be passed that upgrades border security.

Congressman Brooks has been a strong proponent of limiting immigration and getting cracking down on illegal immigration.

Brooks was re-elected to his fifth term representing the Fifth Congressional District on Tuesday.

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Jay Town appointed to serve on DOJ’s China initiative

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Attorney for North Alabama Jay E. Town has been appointed to the Department of Justice’s China Initiative. The group is led by Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who heads the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join my colleagues in the FBI and Department of Justice to expose any threats to our national security posed by the theft of American innovation, American technology, and American intelligence,” Town said. “I look forward to the leadership of Assistant Attorney General John Demers. The Department of Justice remains on the front lines of these threats to our national security. U.S. companies, many of them with a footprint here in the Northern District of Alabama, spend billions developing intellectual property, trade secrets, and other proprietary information only to see it infringed upon by foreign bad actors. Whether state secrets or trade secrets, the China Initiative will offer profound resolve to those inimical threats posed to our sovereignty, by China.”

Town is one of five U.S. Attorneys, including U.S. Attorneys from Massachusetts, California, New York and Texas, serving on the working group along with other Department of Justice leaders, senior FBI officials, and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Brian Benczkowski.

The Initiative will pursue high priority Chinese economic espionage and trade secret cases. It reflects the Department’s strategic priority of countering Chinese national security threats and reinforces President Trump’s overall national security strategy.

“China wants the fruits of America’s brainpower to harvest the seeds of its planned economic dominance,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “Preventing this from happening will take all of us, here at the Justice Department, across the U.S. government, and within the private sector. We will confront China’s malign behaviors and encourage them to conduct themselves as they aspire to be: one of the world’s leading nations.”

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The stated goals of the initiative are to: 1) Identify priority trade secret theft cases, ensure that investigations are adequately resourced, and work to bring them to fruition in a timely manner and according to the facts and applicable law; 2) Develop an enforcement strategy concerning non-traditional collectors (e.g., researchers in labs, universities, and the defense industrial base) that are being coopted into transferring technology contrary to U.S. interests; 3) Educate colleges and universities about potential threats to academic freedom and open discourse from influence efforts on campus; 4) Apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act to unregistered agents seeking to advance China’s political agenda, bringing enforcement actions when appropriate; 5) Equip the nation’s U.S. Attorneys with intelligence and materials they can use to raise awareness of these threats within their Districts and support their outreach efforts; 6) Implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRMA) for DOJ (including by working with Treasury to develop regulations under the statute and prepare for increased workflow); 7) Identify opportunities to better address supply chain threats, especially ones impacting the telecommunications sector, prior to the transition to 5G networks; 8) Identify Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases involving Chinese companies that compete with American businesses; 9) Increase efforts to improve Chinese responses to requests under the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) with the United States; and 10) Evaluate whether additional legislative and administrative authorities are required to protect our national assets from foreign economic aggression.

According to a 2017 report by the United States Trade Representative, Chinese theft of American intellectual property currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually.

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Alabama reacts to Sessions firing

Brandon Moseley

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Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly phoned Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked for his resignation. Sessions, who serves at the pleasure of the President, submitted his letter of resignation. It was accepted by President Donald J. Trump (R). Alabama Leaders responded to the shocking news.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said of Sessions, “A man of integrity, Jeff Sessions has led the Department of Justice with dignity and a firm commitment to the rule of law. His reputation as a dedicated public servant precedes his many years of honorable service to our nation.”

“From his time as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Alabama Attorney General, U.S. Senator, to the 84th Attorney General of the United States, Alabamians have strongly supported Jeff Sessions,” Chairman Lathan said. “Whether it’s running into him at a restaurant, football game, or a local church service – many view Jeff Sessions as not just an elected official, but also a dear friend. In our hearts, we hold a deep sense of love and admiration for Jeff Sessions and his family.”

“A true Alabama statesman, Jeff Sessions has been a warrior for President Trump’s conservative agenda,” Lathan continued. “From enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, fighting opioid abuse to strongly supporting members of our law enforcement, Jeff Sessions has consistently made Alabama proud. His service can be most accurately summed up in our state’s motto: ‘We dare defend our rights.’ Unwavering and resolute, our country needs more public servants like Jeff Sessions. We are blessed and are stronger because of his humble sacrifices through his lifetime of service to Alabama and America.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said, “Jeff Sessions honorably and ably served as a United States Attorney, Alabama Attorney General, United States Senator, and U.S. Attorney General. Throughout his long career of public service, Jeff’s deep love of country was evident in his unwavering devotion to upholding America’s foundational principles as enshrined in our Constitution. He served with integrity and dignity. I’m proud to have worked alongside him as both a prosecutor in Alabama and member of Congress.”

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“I have been fortunate to know Jeff Sessions for a quarter of a century,” Brooks said. “As an elected official, Jeff Sessions never wavered in his fierce defense of the Rule of Law and America’s sovereign right to defend and secure its own borders. Jeff Sessions has made Alabama proud. I wish him the best as he embarks on his next journey.”

“Thank you to my good friend, Jeff Sessions, for over 40 years of noble service to Alabama and our country,” U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said. “Jeff was a respected colleague of mine in the Senate for two decades and represented our nation with honor as the U.S. Attorney General. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

““Attorney General Jeff Sessions served our nation and the Department of Justice as he always has done…with honor,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a statement. “His leadership successfully implemented President Trump’s many priorities, to include reducing violent crime, aggressively addressing the opioid epidemic, and bringing rule of law principles to trade, immigration, and national security issues. He leaves the Department of Justice stronger than ever.”

“I’ve known Jeff Sessions for almost four decades, and I applaud his dedicated service to Alabama and our country,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose). “I wish him and Mary nothing but the best. I’m confident President Trump will nominate an Attorney General who will continue to be strong on illegal immigration and work to enforce the rule of law in our country.”

Former U.S. Senator Luther Strange (R-Alabama) was quick on Twitter to say what everybody else was wondering. “Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2020!”

Then Alabama Attorney General Strange was appointed to Sessions’ U.S. Senate seat when Sessions vacated it to accept Trump’s appointment as AG. Alabama Republicans were bitterly divided on who they wanted in the Senate. Strange bested Brooks in the Republican primary; but lost to former Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican primary runoff. Moore then lost to former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D) in the special election last December. Jones is up for reelection in 2020.

Sessions is one of the most popular people in Alabama politics ever; but his popularity may have taken a hit from the incessant pounding he received from Pres. Trump and conservative pundits who are angry with Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the Russian collusion investigation.

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Trump declares Major Disaster for four Alabama counties impacted by Hurricane Michael

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 2 min
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