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Byrne, Rogers, Brooks, and Hooper comment on Mueller’s testimony before Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, Mike Rogers, R-Saks, and Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville,  commented after the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr., R-Montgomery also released a statement critical of the hearing.

“Democrats’ last desperate attempt to change the narrative on the Mueller report and generate support for their delusional impeachment fantasy landed with a thud,” Byrne said. “I’ve read the Mueller report cover to cover, and there was no collusion and no obstruction. Today’s hearings should once and for all clear President Trump and his campaign.”

Brooks appeared on One America News and called Wednesday’s hearing, “A sideshow circus act.”

“I’m an attorney by trade. I’ve been a prosecutor in the Tuscaloosa district attorney’s office. I’ve also been district attorney of Madison County, Alabama,” Brooks said. “I’ve also been on the defense side, and my general reaction to what has transpired with Mueller, and before him, Comey, and President Trump and all of this interaction, is the American people have been subjected to a dog and pony show, a circus act, that has in effect diverted the American public’s attention and Washington’s attention from major issues that face us as a nation. Deficit and debt that is out of control, that is threatening us with a national bankruptcy and insolvency, border security that has cost thirty-thousand Americans their lives each year that we don’t have border security.”

“We should be having a healthy debate over free-enterprise versus socialism, but instead we are mired in this kind of Mueller report nonsense,” Brooks added. “In my judgement, Mueller and Comey, the Mueller Team, President Trump, they all knew early on, that there was zero evidence of collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. As such, the Russia investigation, at least in so far as there is an interaction with President Trump’s campaign, or alleged interaction, it should have been ended long ago, years ago. In fact, in my judgement, the President of the United States should have terminated the Mueller investigation long ago, in as much as there was zero evidence that dealt with collusion with the Russians by President Trump or his campaign. Since he had a right to do that, he also had a duty to do that, and as such he cannot be accused of obstructing from a legal standpoint, he cannot be accused of obstructing what he had a right to do and a legal obligation to do, in order to save taxpayer tens of millions of dollars that was wasted on this sideshow circus act.’

Congressman Mike Rogers said that the Mueller hearing was a waste of money and just an attempt by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to make President Donald J. Trump “look bad.”

“When it comes to the business of the People’s House, it seems Democrats just cannot focus in on what matters to the American people like a booming economy, job creation and securing our porous border,’ Rep. Rogers said. “Over four months have passed since Attorney General William Barr announced there was no collusion nor obstruction in The Mueller Report, but somehow this week Democrats are having Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill to try to waste even more time and taxpayer dollars to try to do whatever they can to make President Trump look bad.”

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Former State Rep. Hooper currently serves on the National Trump/ Victory Campaign Committee.

“The Mueller hearing put on today by Chairman Nadler and the Democrats was a Circus!’ Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “It was a very bad and sad day for Robert Mueller and a huge disaster for the Democrats. Today’s hearing confirms that the witch Hunt is over but begins the Investigation of the Investigators.”

Congressman Byrne also urged that there be an investigation of how this investigation came about.

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“As the curtain closes on today’s carefully orchestrated theater production, now is the time to turn to the important questions regarding the origins and acceleration of this investigation during the Obama administration—and why more disturbing investigations into Secretary Clinton were squashed,” Rep. Byrne said. “I renew my call on Congress to pass my bill to investigate the investigators and make sure this never happens again.”

In May, Byrne introduced the Investigate the Investigators Act of 2019, H.R. 3028, to begin an investigation of the origins of the Russia investigation and ensure no similar partisan investigations happen again.

The bill calls for a formal Department of Justice investigation into all the actions taken during the 2016 presidential election as it relates to federal investigations regarding President Trump and Secretary Clinton and requires an automatic and independent oversight investigation anytime an investigation of a federal political campaign is opened by the DOJ in the future.

Robert Mueller testimony before the House Intelligence Committee did not shed much light on that.

Congressman Rick Crawford, R-Arkansas asked Mueller: “There’s a quote attributed to Peter Strozk. He texted about his concern that there’s ‘no big there, there’ in the Trump campaign investigation. Did he or anyone else who worked on the FBI’s investigation tell you that around 10 months into the investigation, the FBI still had no case for collusion?”

Mueller answered, “No.”

Crawford followed up: “Is the inspector general report correct that the text messages from Peter Strozk and Lisa Page’s phones from your office were not retained after they left the special counsel’s office?”

“I don’t—it depends on what you’re talking about,” Mueller replied. “The investigation into those—Peter Strozk went on for a period of time, and I’m not certain what it encompasses. It may well have encompassed what you’re referring to.”

Crawford: “Let me move on just real quickly. Did you ask the department to authorize your office to investigate the origin of the Trump Russia investigation?”

Mueller: “I’m not going to get into that. It goes to internal deliberations.”

Crawford: “So the circumstances surrounding the origin of the investigation have yet to be fully vetted then. I’m certainly glad that Attorney Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham are looking into this matter.”

Various versions of the ‘Steele dossier’ alleged that there was collusion between the Trump 2016 campaign and the Russian government. The dossier was prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was paid to produce it by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Portions of the dossier were leaked to the media, to Democrat friendly members of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. A copy was even given to now deceased U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Arizona.

Republican critics of the whole investigation argue that the Steele Dossier was used to create damning media reports, which together with the dossier itself were used to get FISA warrants authorizing electronic monitoring of both the Trump campaign and then the Trump transition team. After Trump’s election win the dossier and the existence of an FBI investigation during the Barack H. Obama (D) Administration were used to present the case to the Department of Justice, Congress, and the public through the media that a special counsel was needed and even that the President would be impeached. All of this traces back, apparently solely to the Steele dossier, the sources of which remain a mystery to this day.

Some Republicans argue that the Steele dossier was a complete work of fiction designed in the waning days of the 2016 campaign to create “fake news” swaying the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. When that effort failed it was then used by certain Democratic operatives working with members of the mainstream media and certain allied members of the government itself to create a narrative that could be used to justify the impeachment and removal of the President of the United States and help Democrats take back control of the Congress.

To see the full video of the Mo Brooks interview.

(Original reporting by Fox News, the Washington Post, One America News, the Patriot Channel, and CNS News’ Melanie Arter contributed to this report.)

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National

Lawmaker files bill to ban treatments for transgender kids

Jessa Reid Bolling

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Republican Wes Allen, R-Troy, filed a bill to prevent doctors from providing hormone replacement therapy or puberty suppressing drugs to people younger than 19 who identify as transgender.

HB303, the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,  would make it a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking medications or opposite gender hormones to minors. Allen’s legislation would also ban hysterectomy, mastectomy or castration surgeries from being performed on minors.

“I was shocked when I found out doctors in Alabama were prescribing these types of drugs to children,” Allen said in a news release. “This is something you hear about happening in California or New York but it is happening right here in Alabama and it’s time we put a stop to that practice.”

Allen said that children experiencing gender dysphoria are struggling with a psychological disorder and that they need therapeutic treatment from mental health professionals instead of medical intervention that would leave their bodies “permanently mutilated.” 

“These children are suffering from a psychological disorder, just as someone who is suffering with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia but we treat those patients and try to help them. We should treat these psychological disorders as well.”

In 2018, a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that:

  • “Transgender identities and diverse gender expressions do not constitute a mental disorder; 
  • Variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity, and binary definitions of gender do not always reflect emerging gender identities; 
  • Gender identity evolves as an interplay of biology, development, socialization, and culture; and
  • If a mental health issue exists, it most often stems from stigma and negative experiences rather than being intrinsic to the child”

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in 2018 that it was removing “gender identity disorder” from its global manual of diagnoses and reclassify “gender identity disorder” as “gender incongruence,” which is now listed under the sexual health chapter rather than the mental disorders chapter. 

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In a 2018 interview, Dr. Lale Say, a reproductive health expert at the WHO, said that gender incongruence was removed from the list of mental health disorders because “we had a better understanding that this was not actually a mental health condition and leaving it there was causing stigma. So in order to reduce the stigma, while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter.”

In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association revised the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to remove the term “gender identity disorder” from the manual and add the term “gender dysphoria.”

Allen’s bill will be considered by the Alabama House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

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Elections

Doug Jones raises $2.4 million in first fundraising period of 2020

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, raised $2.4 million in the first fundraising period of 2020, according to his reelection campaign, which was $500,000 more than he raised during the fourth quarter of 2019. 

Jones has $7.4 million cash at hand, according to his campaign, which released the totals on Thursday. Jones’s latest campaign finance reports weren’t yet posted to the Federal Election Commission website on Thursday. 

“Alabamians across the state are showing their commitment to Doug’s message of One Alabama and his proven track record of standing up for all Alabamians,” said Doug Turner, Senior Advisor for Jones’s campaign, in a statement Thursday. Doug’s work to support working families, fund our HBCUs, modernize our military and expand and protect our health care is resonating with folks throughout Alabama. We are well-positioned to continue to grow our grassroots support and win in November.” 

Jones ended 2019 leading all of his Republican contenders in fundraising, ending the year with $5 million in cash.

 

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National

Jones introduces bipartisan bill to protect children from human trafficking

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has introduced a bill that would help prevent exploitation by providing grants for training and resources.

The bipartisan Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act of 2020 would help prevent the trafficking and exploitation of children by providing grants to train students, parents, teachers, and school personnel to recognize and respond to signs of human trafficking.

Jones introduced the bill along with his colleagues: Sens, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minnesota). While trafficking victims come from all walks of life and do not fit a particular profile, young people with certain risk factors may be more vulnerable to trafficking. For example, children in the child welfare or juvenile justice system, are homeless or ran away from home, or are unaccompanied or were forced to leave their home by their caregivers are much more at risk of becoming trafficking victims.

“Every year, thousands of people, mostly women and children, are trafficked across the state of Alabama,” Jones said. “The battle against human trafficking is one that we have to wage on all fronts, but our teachers and school personnel are on the front lines. With additional training and resources, we can continue to raise awareness about the signs of trafficking and hopefully prevent this systemic exploitation of children and other vulnerable people.”

Pat McCay Chairs the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Alabama has been fighting sex trafficking and exploitation since 2009,” McCay said. “We continue to see more and more cases each year affecting school-aged children and even children as young as four years old. The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act of 2020 will enable us to target the appropriate demographic with much-needed prevention training and education in schools and equip our children, along with their teachers, parents, and other school employees, to know the signs and dangers of trafficking and exploitation and how to avoid becoming a victim. Thank you, Senator Jones, for sponsoring this very important prevention bill.”

This legislation would Authorize the Director of the Office of Trafficking in Persons in the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) to establish a demonstration project to issue grants to non-profit organizations and schools to develop and implement age-appropriate, culturally competent, and gender-responsive curriculum for training students, parents, teachers, and school personnel to understand, recognize, prevent, and respond to signs of human trafficking.

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The bill instructs the Director to give priority to eligible entities serving geographic areas with the highest prevalence of human trafficking, and areas with the highest prevalence of at-risk, vulnerable, or underserved populations including homeless youth, foster youth, youth involved in the child welfare system and runaways.

It would also set forth important data collection on the human trafficking / exploitation of children and strict, privacy-protected reporting requirements for the program.

Jones is a former U.S. Attorney. That experience helped Senator Jones have a deeper understanding of the complexity of human trafficking. In the Senate, he has championed legislation that would prevent the targeting of vulnerable people. He is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan ILLICIT Cash Act (S.2563), which helps law enforcement to combat illicit financial activity being carried out by human traffickers. Corporate secrecy can fuel human trafficking, protecting traffickers from law enforcement and prosecution, and this legislation will help increase transparency and expose bad actors. Senator Jones has also supported renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes important anti-trafficking provisions, and has encouraged the Office of Management and Budget to provide robust funding for VAWA grants.

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In 2018, Senator Jones also cosponsored the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which allowed law enforcement and civil litigants to target web platforms harboring and hosting sex trafficking activity. The House of Representatives version of the bill passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law in April 2018.

The internet has made trafficking much more lucrative because buyers can shop online to connect with pimps to arrange delivery.

Senator Doug Jones, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Jones was elected in 2017.

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Aerospace and Defense

Blue Origin opens rocket engine factory in Huntsville

Brandon Moseley

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Blue Origin has opened its sprawling factory in Huntsville, Alabama’s “Rocket City.”

The massive new factory will allow the spaceflight company to accelerate the production of its heavy-lift BE-4 rocket engine. The move creates hundreds of jobs.

The BE-4, which is under development, will power both Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket and the United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket, which is being produced at ULA’s factory in nearby Decatur.

Huntsville was an ideal location for the new factory, not only for its highly skilled workforce; but also for its proximity to ULA’s assembly pant and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center where the new Alabama-built engine will be tested. Marshall’s historic test stand 4670 is where the Saturn V moon rocket’s engines were tested.

Blue Origin is upgrading and refurbishing the test stand.

“This community is absolutely terrific to be a part of,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said. “It has the kind of spirit that you want when developing this kind of technology and actually has the history that you can be feel proud about.”

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“Enjoyed speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Blue Origin’s new rocket engine production facility in Cummings Research Park,” Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville said. “This top-notch facility will be used to conduct production of the BE-4 and BE-3U engines. These engines will undergo testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on the historic Test Stand 4670. I joined Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith, Congressman Robert Aderholt, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and several others this afternoon to discuss the impact Blue Origin is making in the Tennessee Valley!”

Alabama Commerce Sec. Greg Canfield was at the ceremony making the opening of the spaceflight company’s rocket engine factory.

Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “In addition to the economic boost resulting from hundreds of new jobs in north Alabama, the Blue Origin BE-4 rocket engine production facility will allow the United States – the state of Alabama – to take astronauts once again into space without dependence on other nations. Methods of warfare have changed, and maintaining our dominance in the current space race is therefore a critical element in national security.”

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Blue Origin was founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin’s 350,000-square-foot facility is located in Cummings Research Park and will employ more than 300 people. Smith said that around 200 jobs should be created over the next year.

The factory was a $200 million investment in the state and announced on June 2017, with construction beginning in Huntsville a little over a year ago.

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