Daily News Digest – June 25, 2018

Daily News Digest – June 25, 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 25, 2018. 

1. No words. Attorney General Steve Marshall’s wife, Bridgette, dies. 

I don’t know what to say.

Yesterday, Bridgette Marshall, wife of Attorney General Steve Marshall, died.

Here’s the statement from the AG’s office:

We are saddened to report that Bridgette Marshall, wife of Attorney General Steve Marshall, passed away this morning after a long struggle with mental illness.  Bridgette was a devoted and much beloved daughter, wife and mother.  We ask that the people of Alabama keep the Marshall family in their prayers during this most difficult time.

I can’t imagine what the family is going through. Marshall has a daughter, Faith, who is in college.

The family doesn’t need our speculation, curiosity or political analysis right now. They need our prayers, plain and simple.

Read more HERE.

2. What’s going on with Cliff Sims?

On Friday, Inside Alabama Politics ran a story about Cliff Sims, the YellowHammer founder-turned-Trump White House adviser.

The story quoted sources saying Cliff was fired from his White House job, and did not resign to take a job at the State Department, as was reported last month.

I hate getting scooped on stuff like this, so I checked into it myself. I found out a few things…

1. Sims wasn’t fired. When I asked around to my own sources in and around the White House, I was shown documentation from the White House Office of Personnel Management that dispels that notion. Then, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told me it wasn’t true. Here is her quote on the record:

“Cliff Sims was a valuable member of President Trump’s team on the campaign and for 15 months in the White House. I worked with him on both and he is talented, smart, and worked hard for the President. We hated to see him resign from the White House, but know he will continue to be a loyal supporter for the President and impactful for him in the future.”

2. Sims has made some powerful enemies during his time in Washington, one among them being White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. I’m told Kelly has bristled at Sims and others from the campaign having close relationships with the Trump family and the president himself. The Alabama football incident reported by Politico kind of illustrates this point (though Cliff told me at the time that he actually did follow protocol). But, just reading some of the quotes in the IAP article make it clear some in that world are really out to get him.

3. Sims has also kept some powerful friends.  Last week he was “spotted” with Donald Trump, Jr., Andrew Giuliani and U.S. Ambassadors Richard Grenell (Germany), Ed McMullen (Switzerland), and Duke Buchan (Spain).

When I spoke to Cliff, he told me he couldn’t talk on the record about what’s next. He has not started at State and seems to be in a holding pattern there. But that’s a lot different than getting fired and completely blackballed from the Administration.

Look, we’re only as good as our sources. Read this whole thing online HERE.

3. Bright responds to Roby’s Trump endorsement.

  • Last week, President Trump surprised the political world in Alabama and Washington when he endorsed U.S. Rep. Martha Roby for reelection.
  • Trump also had some not so nice things to say about Roby’s challenger, former Congressman Bobby Bright.
  • Yeesh. How do you respond to that? Especially if you’re Bright, who has been wearing a retrofitted red hat around the campaign trail and touting a Trumpian message?
  • Here’s what he went with:

“It appears the D.C. powerbrokers have gotten to the President on this issue. It’s truly a swamp of insiders controlled by big money special interests, the same crowd who’s bankrolling Martha Roby’s campaign to the tune of over $1 million just this year. It’s a place where loyalty doesn’t exist…” (full statement HERE.)

  • Granted, this was a tough one. It’s the 7-10 split of political responses. But calling Trump swampy is probably a gutter ball.
  • The more important question is how will voters respond to Trump’s endorsement of Roby?
  • I would look to people like Linda Lane-Overton, who publicly berated Roby at a Houston County Republican Women meeting back in 2016.
  • The New York Times’ Alan Blinder caught up with her recently (pre-endorsement), and captured this interesting sentiment at the very end of his story:

Voters like Mrs. Lane-Overton, who attended Mr. Trump’s inauguration after Ms. Roby came up with tickets for her, are watching.

“If he gives the endorsement to her, I think Republicans would be crazy not to back her,” Mrs. Lane-Overton said. “If he says that he endorses her, there’s no doubt that he means it. He could just as easily slam her.”

4. Immigration not going away. 

At the border

In Congress

  • Last week, Congress went round and round trying to see if it could pass a meaningful immigration bill. It didn’t happen.
  • This week, the House is looking to go smaller and pass a narrow bill aimed specifically at the child separation issue.
  • The Senate has already basically agreed to do the same, so this thing could move in a hurry.
  • Read more from Axios’ Jonathan Swan HERE.

At the polls

  • The conventional wisdom has been that Republicans would take a beating in the polls after so much negative publicity surrounding the border crisis.
  • That’s not playing out, as a new CBS poll shows that the Democratic generic ballot lead actually shrank by four points at the height of the crisis. Stuff like this from Maxine Watersprobably won’t help the Dem cause.
  • The parties could not be more divided over this issue. But, one important data point is this: Americans oppose the separation of children at the border 72-27.
  • Numbers like that are a reason why Trump acted and why Congressional Republicans are trying to act now.

5. Better than House of Cards (or worse?)

  • Did you watch House of Cards on Netflix?
  • I made it through almost three seasons.
  • So did my parents, whom I would always remind that it was just a show, complete fiction, and these kinds of horrible things don’t really happen.
  • It turns out some of them do.
  • You may remember hearing about the story of Ali Watkins and James Wolfe.
  • One was a up-and-coming reporter. The other a high-ranking Senate official with access to sensitive information.
  • Their affair is now the subject of a federal investigation into how classified information was leaked.
  • In case the life imitating art vs. art imitating life lines weren’t blurry enough, Watkins even tweeted about being Zoe Barnes in a very meta way.
  • Anyway, take some time to read this story in its entirety: The New York Times: How an Affair between a Reporter and a Security Aide has rattled Washington Media

Headlines. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What’s going on with Cliff Sims? 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bridgette Marshall, wife of Alabama attorney general, dies.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump wants ‘invaders’ sent back. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pentagon says two bases will house immigrants.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Amazon to locate $325 million distribution center near Birmingham. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former Birmingham News building sells for $1.5 million. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama airman killed in WWII to be buried in Florida. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn putting $5 million into research. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Bridgette Marshall, wife of AG Steve Marshall, dies. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery courts overflow with evictions. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery Pride: We are here to stay. 

LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Robert Holbert:  Show us a plan to get off the bottom.

LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Ashley Trice:  The unintended casualties of ‘war’.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Columnist Tommy Stevenson’s At Large:  Coltrane’s ‘Alabama’ is poignant, powerful.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Tax-free online shopping may be over — and that’s good for local economy.

ANNISTON STAR – Calhoun County men start nonprofit to give back to community.

DECATUR DAILY – Ten Commandments, rights of unborn on November ballot.

DECATUR DAILY – Reporter Mary Sell’s Capital Notebook:  U.S. Sen. Jones wants VA nursing home data made public.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Korean War vets express mixed feelings on Trump-Kim summit.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Poverty rates still high in Shoals.

ANNISTON STAR – Alabama farmers, industries, consumers could feel fallout if trade war escalates.

ANNISTON STAR – Just call him Congressman ‘Buck’ Rogers.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – AU offers new degree to provide students with wildlife expertise.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Democrat McGee to face winner of next month’s GOP runoff.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Wood continues pursuit of House District 38 seat.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – Corporate America increasingly avoids gun-industry business.

CULLMAN TIMES – The Cullman Times:  Mental health funding.

AL.COM – Federal Judge William Acker Jr. remembered as ‘one of a kind’.

AL.COM – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s wife Bridgette has died.

AL.COM – Deadline to register to vote in Alabama runoffs is July 2.

AL.COM – Why Alabama Republicans are ‘all in’ on pro-President Trump campaigning ahead of runoffs.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Hey Nikki Haley: Come to Alabama to see ‘patently ridiculous’.

AL.COM – Donald Trump endorsement helps Martha Roby dispel disloyalty claim.

AL.COM – School police officer group won’t cancel Sessions speech, despite complaints.

AL.COM – The week Down in Alabama: Can you bear the politics?

AL.COM – Contributor Frances Coleman:  We put a man on the moon, but we can’t figure out immigration?

AL.COM – Contributor Ben Baxter:  How ‘opportunity zones’ can curb gentrification problem.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Time to decide: Who do you want to be, America?

WASHINGTON POST – Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due-process rights.

WASHINGTON POST – Jeff Flake hints at slowing down Senate work to extract concessions from Trump.

NEW YORK TIMES – Medicare Allows More Benefits for Chronically Ill, Aiming to Improve Care for Millions

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