Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for July 20, 2018.
1. What’s going on with Russia?
- It has been a weird week in American-Russian relations.
- The post-Helinski damage control has been difficult for the White House, mostly because President Trump doesn’t seem to be on the same page as his advisers and spokesmen.
- “I mean’t wouldn’t!” “He meant no more questions!” “He doesn’t really think Russia interrogating our former ambassador is an ‘incredible’ idea like he said it was.”
- Next they’ll go full Clinton and say it depends what the definition of is is.
- Meanwhile, in Moscow, Vladamir Putin returned triumphant to relay how well the summit went to a group of diplomats (that link is a very good read if you want to see Putin’s perspective, btw).
- Now, the White House is inviting Putin to Washington for an official visit.
- That was news to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was made aware of the news on stage during the Aspen Security Forum.
- “Say that again?” “Did I hear you correctly?” “Okay. That’s going to be special.” That video is worth a watch.
- Coats might not be around very much longer given that he clearly doesn’t see eye to eye with the president on Russia/Putin.
- Maybe I got way too into “The Americans” on FX or watched “Hunt for Red October” too many times. Maybe Trump has a plan here. Let’s hope so.
2. What’s going on in House District 38?
- In the GOP runoff for House District 38, just SIX VOTES separate candidates Debbie Wood (2,165) and Todd Rauch (2,159).
- The results are unofficial until the votes from the two counties are certified this coming Tuesday.
- BUT, before that certification happens, officials will review 48 provisional ballots – 42 votes from Lee County, where Rauch is from, and 6 votes from Chambers County, where Wood is from.
- What are provisional ballots? If you show up to vote and you don’t have photo ID or your name isn’t on the voting rolls for some reason, they’ll let you cast a provisional ballot.
- That gives officials the opportunity to review whether or not the vote was valid (make sure you didn’t already vote absentee or in another precinct).
- Anyway, this thing is going to be close. And, as John Bennett told the OA News, there is no automatic recount in a runoff. A candidate would have to request it and pay for it.
- Just a reminder that every vote counts!
A message from Troy University
- Each week TROY students meet in the kitchen to do their part to eliminate hunger in Pike County.
- Learn more about their amazing work and how it helps make the TROY family so special HERE.
3. Hyundai takes tariff argument to Capitol Hill.
- The American auto manufacturing industry is united in its opposition to tariffs.
- Taxing auto imports, including components, will make cars more expensive to build and sell. That could cost Americans jobs, they argue.
- Industry leaders made their case in Washington this week as the Commerce Department seeks feedback on the proposed tariffs.
- Standing out amid all the lawyers and lobbyists was John Hall, a maintenance worker at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Montgomery.
- He refuted the idea that auto imports pose a threat to national security.
- “In fact, it’s just the opposite.”
- “New tariffs on automotive imports would have a devastating effect,” Hall said.
- “I am one of thousands of American workers whose livelihoods would be put at risk by a substantial tariff on automotive goods. It would not be possible to change our supply chain overnight, and a 25 percent tariff on parts would raise production costs at our Alabama factory by about 10 percent annually.”
- Smart tactic on Hyundai’s part to show who really gets affected by these global economic decisions.
4. Trial coming to a close.
- The federal bribery trial is coming to an end in Birmingham.
- The jury now has the case and could issue a verdict as soon as today.
- Charges have been dismissed for Balch & Bingham attorney Steve McKinney, who was one of the three defendants. That happened after an FBI agent revealed that she overstated McKinney’s involvement in her grand jury testimony.
- Two other defendants remain – Balch partner Joel Gilbert and Drummond VP David Roberson.
- It all comes down to whether or not prosecutors can prove the arrangement made with former Rep. Oliver Robinson to oppose an EPA superfund cleanup amounted to a bribe. And, if so, which defendants are responsible.
- There was some speculation on Twitter yesterday that the prosecutor George Martin misstepped a bit when he told the jury, “The bribe is the contract. I wish it had been a bag of cash. It would have been easier to prove.”
- Lauren Walsh of ABC33/40 has been covering the trial and you can read/watch her last report from the courtroom HERE.
5. News Briefs
Boeing-Airbus competition goes stealth
- Every year at the international air show – whether in Paris or London – the world’s aerospace companies announce major contracts to show how well they are doing.
- Boeing and Airbus, ever the competitors, have always found interesting ways to one-up the other with big announcement of aircraft sales to airlines or governments.
- But, this year, both companies are announcing sales from unnamed buyers, according to Reuters.
- It has to do with the turbulent trade situation. Read more from AL.com’s Lawrence Speckler.
Russians hacking Isner
- Tabitha Isner, the Democratic nominee running against Rep. Martha Roby in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, says the Russians are trying to hack her campaign website.
- Brian Lyman reports that Isner’s campaign is increasing security for its website after they saw increased traffic and attempts to log into the system from Russian ISP addresses.
- Read Brian’s story HERE.
Let’s talk about Rose Sanders
- You may have read that Faya Torre, AKA Rose Sanders, was arrested in Selma on Election Day for stealing campaign signs and being combative with police.
- Rose is the wife of longtime State Sen. Hank Sanders. The couple have been the driving force in Selma politics for decades. Their daughter, Malika Sanders Fortier, is set to succeed her dad in the State Senate next year.
- Yesterday, Sen. Sanders held a press conference saying the arrest wasn’t warranted and that Rose was making things right because white candidates’ signs were being given preference over black candidates’ signs on the right of way.
- Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier showed reporters video of the whole event to show what really happened. Alvin Benn also has a story.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Money: Roy Moore mailer paid for by Las Vegas slot company.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US political spending getting more secretive with IRS change.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auto industry urges US to hit brakes on proposed car tariffs.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House invites Putin to Washington for fall meeting.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House, State at odds over Putin’s interview proposal.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McConnell withdraws Trump judicial pick minutes before vote.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US eases Obama-era coal ash pollution rules for utilities.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alvin Holmes has ‘joy in my heart’ following election defeat.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Secretary of State: Human error responsible for John Knight voting snafu.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Selma Police chief shows videos of police arresting civil rights activist.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Coke Ellington: Book explains how ‘slavery’ lingered 80 years after Civil War.
DOTHAN EAGLE – 5 Questions with Martha Roby.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama summer sales tax holiday underway.
GADSDEN TIMES – JSU needs help housing students as fall classes near.
ANNISTON STAR – Secretary of State: Alabama working with Homeland Security to prevent election tampering.
AL.COM – 21 GOP Congress members demand Sessions return seized funds.
AL.COM – Alabama Hyundai worker: Auto tariffs ‘would have a devastating effect’.
AL.COM – Family home of Rosa Parks going up for auction.
AL.COM – As trial winds down, EPA cleanup continues at north Birmingham Superfund site.
AL.COM – Report cautions states against reliance on sin taxes.
AL.COM – Lawyers ask judge to ban herself from overriding jury’s sentence in death penalty case.
AL.COM – Airbus and Boeing: Business is good, but who’s buying?
AL.COM – Contributor Christophe Brown: Federal research boost could fund UAB breakthroughs.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘That’s going to be special’: Tensions rise as Trump invites Putin to Washington.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump promised to remake the courts. He’s installing conservative judges at a record pace.
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Consumer Watchdog Slashes Fine in Payday Lender Settlement
NEW YORK TIMES – Interior Department Proposes a Vast Reworking of the Endangered Species Act
NEW YORK TIMES – On Trump’s Car Tariffs, Companies Are United in Dissent
NEW YORK TIMES – Contributor Sarah Smarsh: Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’