Daily News Digest – April 10, 2018

 Good morning! Man, that was quite a Monday. Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, April 10.

1. One year since Bentley’s resignation.

  • Today marks one year since former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned from office in scandal.
  • 2017 will always be remembered as the year Alabama consistently made national headlines for all the wrong reasons.
  • Many might have thought at the time that Bentley’s historic resignation would be the high water mark of that flood of negative national attention. Heh, think again.
  • A ton of embarrassment was cast our way, and that’s not fun. But, looking back, we are better off in many ways a year after Dr. Bentley, ever the dermatologist, cut his own unsightly growth off the face of our state.
  • At least we did not have to endure long and drawn out impeachment proceedings. I mean, if you want to talk about embarrassment for the state…
  • I think it’s fair to say Bentley did the right thing in stepping down and ending a very sad chapter in our state’s history.
  • The saga isn’t completely over, though. He’ll face no more criminal charges from the state, but the civil action from former ALEA Director Spencer Collier is proceeding.

2. FBI raids office, apartment of Trump attorney Michael Cohen. 

This is not just another ginned up Trump story. This is a very big deal and there’s a lot to unpack, so here goes…

What happened

  • FBI agents executed a search warrant for the office and apartment of President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
  • They were searching for documents, business records and communications, including regarding Cohen’s payment to an adult film actress, allegedly on Trump’s behalf.
  • President Trump is furious, and he’s again lashing out against his own Department of Justice calling it a “witch hunt.”

How it happened

  • The search was apparently conducted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, acting on information forwarded to them by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
  • Because of  attorney-client privilege, prosecutors would have had to present obtain higher levels of approvals for such a raid, including from top DOJ officials and a federal magistrate judge.

Why it matters

  • It’s illegal for corporations or outside organizations to facilitate campaign contributions for political campaigns or make payments on their behalf.
  • Cohen may have violated this law when he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to not discuss the alleged affair during the campaign. Cohen said the payment came from him personally, but records show he at least used his Trump Organization emailto communicate about it.
  • Anyway, that kind of “facilitating” is one of several things prosecutors are apparently looking for.

What’s next

  • Lordy, who knows.
  • You have to think the president is back to thinking about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and/or Mueller.
  • The thing is, aside from the tall task of appointing and confirming a new AG, would he also want to fire regional U.S. Attorneys?
  • President Trump got some VERY good news last week that he was not a target of Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  • The best news he could hope for now is that he’s not a target here either, and that Cohen was acting irresponsibly and independently. But, if there are communications that prove otherwise, that’s trouble.
  • Not for nothing, but it was relatively minor campaign finance violations that ultimately brought down Bentley a year ago…

Read/Watch more from:

3. A familiar situation in Syria.

  • It seems like we are in a very familiar predicament with Syria.
  • At the very time when the United States is considering pulling back its commitment from the area, Assad has again used chemical weapons on his own people.
  • Six years ago, President Barack Obama declared chemical weapons a “red line” Assad best not cross. Well, he crossed it, and there were few consequences. Many consider the Syria blunder one of the biggest missteps of the Obama Presidency.
  • Fast forward to today and two of the fiercest critics of Obama’s actions are now in charge: Donald Trump and John Botlon, whose first day as National Security Adviser was yesterday.
  • And again, Assad has attacked his own people.
  • It’s a mess. When and how to intervene in another country’s brutal conflict isn’t easy.
  • President Trump met yesterday with his top national security and military advisers. He says he’s considering our country’s options.
  • Read more on the situation HERE.

4. Google lands in North Alabama.

  • Google has officially launched construction of a $600 million data center in Jackson County.
  • The project is expected to create as many as 100 full time “highly technical” jobs.
  • Google has 14 such data centers around the globe and eight in the United States. These facilities serve as hubs for internet traffic so that all those Google services you rely on are fast and effective.
  • This is Alabama’s first data center of this kind.
  • Read more HERE.

5. News briefs.

  • The University of Alabama football team is visiting the White House today. Granted, there aren’t a lot of slow news days at the White House (Toby Ziegler had that one), but boy, what a day to be visiting. I know many others from Alabama are on their way up, too, so safe travels to all. Read more HERE.
  • Jacksonville State University students returned to class yesterday. Their campus and much of the surrounding area is still recovering from the devastating tornadoes that ripped through last month. Read more HERE.
  • Finally some GOOD tariff news: China’s president has promised to cut his country’s auto import tariff. That would be a big win for President Trump and, really, all of us. Read more HERE.
  • Matthew Stokes, a new contributing writer for the Alabama Daily News, say if Sen. Doug Jones wants to pursue commonsense policies to reduce guns violence, there are two good places to start. Read his piece HERE.
  • Tuscaloosa Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Walt Maddox says he wants to improve Mental Health services in Alabama through better funding. Most of that happens through Medicaid expansion. But he also wants to dedicate $24 million from his lottery proposal to “Community Innovation Grants that can be used by local school systems to improve social services to students, including providing mental health resources.” Read more HERE.
  • Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin jumped out of an airplane with some Navy guys and posted it on Twitter. It’s part of Birmingham’s role as one of 15 cities selected to participate in “Navy Week,” which I don’t really understand considering the town’s geography.

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Alabama’s Shelby to lead powerful Appropriations Committee.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Funeral set for F.D. Reese.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Husband pleads not guilty in death of exhibitionist wife.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Opinion: If Doug Jones wants commonsense solutions on guns, some do exist.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: State appeals abortion ruling for minors.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Stacy Column: Never a dull moment in Alabama politics.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mayor: City will throw a second Maxwell Centennial Bash.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery sues opioid manufacturers.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Former Alabama Rep. Eric Cates dies at 99.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Rep. Donnie Chesteen highlights state employee raises, pre-K programs, rural broadband funding as key 2018 legislative accomplishments.

AL.COM – Google as iconic as ‘Sweet Home Alabama … almost,’ Gov. Kay Ivey says.

AL.COM – Roy Moore still fighting to get lawsuit moved to Etowah County.

AL.COM – UAB building new medical facility in Hoover.

AL.COM – Three charged in gang rape of University of Alabama student after leaving Tuscaloosa bar.

AL.COM – Four men arrested in human trafficking sting in Tuscaloosa.

AL.COM – New vehicular homicide law highlighted during Alabama work zone awareness event.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey signs bill to boost online sales tax collections.

AL.COM – The number of union workers in Alabama and how that compares to other states.

AL.COM – ALDOT issues $500,000 per day fine for I-20/59 South Malfunction Junction delays.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Witt’s foresight has had immense impact on area.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Editor Troy Turner:  Crossing the Macon County line.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Scott Dawson criticizes Ivey on decision to sign HB317.

CNN – This new lynching memorial rewrites American history.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump attorney Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations.

WASHINGTON POST – The winners in Trump’s trade war? This Indiana family. The losers? The same family.

WASHINGTON POST – Columnist George Will:  Firing missiles into Syria may be cathartic — but catharsis isn’t foreign policy.

WASHINGTON POST – Key Senate Republicans warn White House against pursuing spending cuts.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump administration rewrites ACA insurance rules to give more power to states.

WASHINGTON POST – Court: Employers can’t pay women less because of their salary history.

WASHINGTON POST – Payday-lending industry sues to block Obama-era rule.

WASHINGTON POST – Ala. Sen. Shelby to lead powerful Appropriations Committee.

NEW YORK TIMES – Federal Budget Deficit Projected to Soar to Over $1 Trillion in 2020

NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Denounces F.B.I. Raid on His Lawyer’s Office as ‘Attack on Our Country’

NEW YORK TIMES – Sessions Endures Repeated Attacks by Bending to the President’s Whims.

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