Republicans have been highly critical of the way that the impeachment inquiry is being handled by the Democratic-controlled House leadership. They have been especially critical of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California.
Last week, Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, signed to support a resolution to censure Schiff.
Byrne is an attorney with decades of courtroom experience prior to his service in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Alabama Political Reporter asked Byrne if Schiff’s conduct and alleged recruitment of the “Whistleblower” has hopelessly tainted anything coming out of these hearings?
“I think so,” Byrne told APR. “Adam Schiff trying to mischaracterize what was in that transcript and he or his staff meeting with the whistleblower before that complaint was followed, and the depositions last week has totally tainted the investigation and he was supposed to be an improvement over Jerry Nadler (House Judiciary Committee Chairman from New York).”
APR caught up with Byrne at a breakfast campaign stop at the Woodcraft Café in Wetumpka on Tuesday.
Byrne was asked by his Elmore County supporters on whether or not President Donald J. Trump (R) will be impeached by the House of Representatives or not.
“I cannot tell you what is going to happen,” Byrne said. “What I can tell you is that President Trump is not going to be removed from off office.”
Byrne said that the impeachment was a “distraction” that is keeping Congress from getting anything done.
“I think the President is right to focus on a national infrastructure plan,” Byrne said. “I support what the President is doing on infrastructure. We got off to a good start and then got off on this impeachment thing.”
“DNC Playbook: Impeach President Trump because they’re losing,” Byrne said on social media. “It’s as simple as that, the Dems no longer care about working on behalf of the American people – only pushing their Socialist agenda. This impeachment scandal will mark a disappointing chapter in America’s history.”
Byrne is running for the U.S, Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D).
Tuesday House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) called the impeachment process a “sham” in a statement to the press.
“House Democrats have wanted to undo the results of the 2016 election for three years, and now they’re rushing a sham impeachment process,” Minority Leader McCarthy wrote. “President Trump is right to call out this rushed process because Democrats refuse to protect the transparency and basic fairness that have been integral to previous impeachment proceedings.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) did not bring the resolution to begin an impeachment inquiry to the floor of the House. Instead Pelosi spoke the impeachment inquiry into existence on her authority, a break from how the House has historically handled impeachments.
“I recently wrote to Speaker Pelosi, imploring that if Democrats are truly going to impeach a duly-elected President, he should be able to defend himself,” McCarthy added. “The minority deserves the same rights as afforded to them in the Nixon and Clinton proceedings, and that the American people deserve to see their representative’s vote on impeachment.”
“Sadly, it’s the American people who are hurt the most by this erratic, unfair impeachment because Democrats are more interested in tearing down this president than they are in building up this nation,” McCarthy concluded.
Byrne is one of six Republicans who are running for Senate next year.
State Representative Arnold Mooney, businessman Stanley Adair, and Secretary of State John H. Merrill all qualified on Tuesday. Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville will qualify on Wednesday. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore is also an announced candidate for Senate.
The Republican primary will be on March 3.
SEC moving forward with football even as PAC 12, Big 10 postpone season
The Big 10 and PAC 12 conference presidents both voted to postpone all fall sports including football to the spring. The decision follows similar decisions by the Ivey League, SWAC (which includes Alabama State and Alabama A&M), University of Connecticut, MAC, and Mountain West. Four of the ten Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences will not be playing this fall including two of the Power Five conferences.
Despite this, the Southeastern Conference, which includes both the University of Alabama and Auburn University, announced that they are moving forward with the football season.
“I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement Tuesday evening. “I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes.”
“We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day,” Sankey said.
The PAC 12 and Big 10 conferences made the decision based on advice from the conferences’ medical advisory boards. The fatality rate of COVID-19 among college-age people is minuscule, but college students can and do get COVID-19. One side effect of surviving COVID-19 is myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Myocarditis is a weakening of the tissue between the chambers of the heart. It is treatable but irreversible. Once those tissues are weakened, they will remain weakened causing a number of health challenges for victims over the course of the remainder of their lives. It can lead to premature death.
Reports suggest that at least five Big 10 athletes have been diagnosed with myocarditis after surviving a bout with COVID-19.
Sankey told Dan Patrick that the conference has “been given the green light” from their medical advisory board. The ACC and Big 12 are also moving forward with plans to play football this fall.
SEC teams will open their fall camps on Aug. 17. The SEC has already reduced the season to ten conference-only games and moved back the start of the season from Sept. 5 to Sept. 26. The move gives the conference more time to make a decision.
The conference is under political pressure from fans, players, coaches and even President Donald Trump to play football this season.
“We Must Do Everything Possible to Have Football this Year,” said former Montgomery Quarterback Club President and the father of three former college football players Perry O. Hooper Jr. “We need College football this fall, period. It would be a terrible disservice to these young student/athletes who have worked so hard for so many years to throw in the towel without trying. This is not the American way.”
Trump said, “Canceling the college football season would be a tragic mistake.”
“The SEC has it right. Start the schedule in late September with a conference only schedule with a set of protocols in place to be monitored by the SEC office,” Hooper said. “The College football hierarchy must listen to the players, the vast majority want to play.”
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence stated, “We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football. Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all the right precautions to try to avoid contracting COVID because the season/teammates’ safety is on the line. Without the season, as we have seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions.”
The Big 10 presidents voted to postpone fall sports to the spring, but the PAC 12 presidents went even further and voted to suspend all sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021. This move impacts winter sports including basketball. College basketball players already lost the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision by the PAC 12 and Big 10 conferences leave the college football postseason in shambles. There can be no playoffs without two of the Big Five conferences and with at least four of the ten major college conferences not playing, it will be impossible to find enough teams with winning records to fill half the bowl spots. It is not at all certain that any of the bowls will actually be played.
At least 167,671 Americans have already died from the COVID-19 global pandemic, and 2,756,157 have recovered from their bought with the novel coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2. Now we are learning that some of those COVID survivors are facing debilitating conditions moving forward including heart conditions and loss of lung function.
Alabama GOP chair says Harris “drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left”
Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan released a statement critical of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s choice of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, as his running mate in the Nov. 3 general election. Biden announced the pick to supporters via text message.
“Joe Biden’s VP pick drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left,” Lathan charged. “Kamala Harris was the first proud co-sponsor Bernie’s Medicare for All government healthcare takeover. She’s applauded efforts to defund the police and even led the charge to block meaningful police reform in the Senate. She even wants to use the federal government to ban plastic straws and to control what we eat – a move that would devastate the U.S. dairy and beef industries – all in the name of ‘climate change.’”
“We look forward to the clear contrast in policies in the Vice Presidential debate with Mike Pence and Senator Harris,” Lathan concluded. “It will be a true mirror of the obtuse plans the Democrats want for our nation. This ticket does not represent the values of the American people. They will see through all bogus attempts by the Democrats who will pretend to move to the center. They will fail, as their policies have, and America will vote to re-elect President Trump on November 3rd.”
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel similarly blasted the decision.
“A hiding, diminished, & incoherent Biden didn’t just select a VP candidate, he chose the person who will actually be in charge if he were somehow able to win,” McDaniel said. “Harris’ radical policies may be popular among liberals, but they are well outside the mainstream for most Americans.”
“Kamala Harris’ extreme positions, from raising taxes to abolishing private health insurance to comparing law enforcement officials to the KKK, show that the left-wing mob is controlling Joe Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” McDaniel concluded.
Harris is a U.S. senator, a former prosecutor, former 2020 presidential candidate and former California attorney general. Her father is an immigrant from Jamaica and her mother is an immigrant from India. She identifies as Black and is the first non-White woman to be on a major party presidential ticket.
Harris is the fourth woman to appear on a major party presidential ticket. The previous nominees — 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — all lost in the general election.
Current Vice President Mike Pence is expected to return as Trump’s running mate.
Biden is expected to make a joint appearance with Harris on Wednesday in Delaware.
Polls taken prior to the Harris pick show Biden with a significant lead in polling, both nationally and in several key swing states. Alabama is expected to support Trump by a large margin.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against statewide face mask order
A Montgomery judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask order was illegally adopted.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin dismissed the lawsuit, filed by Debbie Mathis, a real estate agent, retired sheriff’s Deputies Larry Lewis and Barry Munza, which alleged that the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955 does not give the governor the ability to order Alabamians to wear face masks.
Ivey’s order, which went into effect July 16, requires the wearing of face masks when within 6 feet of those outside of their own household when indoors or outside when in gatherings of 10 or more people, with exceptions. The lawsuit was filed against Ivey, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and the Alabama State Board of Health.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in the defendants’ motion to dismiss wrote, that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the lawsuit and the defendants are immune to such lawsuits as accorded by the Alabama Constitution of 1901.
In a court filing supporting the motion to dismiss, Marshall wrote that “COVID-19 has threatened to overwhelm the State’s healthcare system with a large number of patients in need of Intensive Care Unit (“ICU”) capacity.”
“On July 15, 2020, with the State’s ICU bed capacity at 87 percent, Governor Ivey issued an emergency proclamation to implement State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris’s recommendation that masks or facial coverings be worn under certain circumstances,” Marshall wrote.
Despite the plaintiff’s allegations that the order was illegal, Marshall wrote in the filing that Ivey and Dr. Harris had the authority to issue such an order.
The judge agreed and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs’ attorney said after the ruling that he planned to appeal the judge’s decision, according to Al.com.
Alabama Democratic Party: Mitch McConnell, Senate GOP are playing politics at the expense of families
The Alabama Democratic Party this week released a statement blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Republicans for the inability of the two parties to come together to pass a bipartisan coronavirus aid bill before adjourning for the August recess.
“We are furious. You should be too. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are once again playing politics at the expense of Alabama families,” the Alabama Democratic Party wrote in an email to its donors and supporters. “Mitch McConnell waited over two months after the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to begin negotiations on a new relief package. He knew full well that many of the programs that Americans have relied on during this crisis would expire at the end of July. Now, many Alabama families are in dire straits and facing evictions. As Senator Doug Jones said, ‘this is completely inexcusable.'”
Negotiations on a deal failed Thursday night, and Trump responded to the impasse by passing a series of executive orders to extend benefits for the unemployed and provide a break from payroll taxes.
“The President’s executive order is a thinly veiled attempt to fulfill his promise of cutting Medicaid and privatizing Social Security,” the Alabama Democrats responded to the President’s actions. “His payroll tax collection moratorium also leaves open the possibility that the taxes may need to be paid in a lump sum next year. We need a bipartisan solution from the Senate, not political stunts, and hollow executive orders.”
House Democrats wanted a $3.4 trillion stimulus while the Republicans want to limit it to just $1 trillion.
“Tell Senate Republicans to extend unemployment benefits to 600 dollars weekly by signing our petition,” the Alabama Democratic Party wrote. “Alabama workers, displaced by the pandemic, should be able to provide for their families and pay their bills. Tell Mitch McConnell to quit playing games and act now.”