7 Things: Brooks and Byrne join those angry over secrecy of impeachment hearing, permanent cease-fire in Syria, Trump interested in Alabama’s Senate race and more …
7. NYC Bar demands Barr recuse, seems unlikely
- U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been assisting with the Department of Justice’s probe into the phone call President Donald Trump had with the president of Ukraine, but now the New York City Bar Association is demanding that Barr recuse himself.
- The statement put out by the Bar Association claims because Trump said that Barr “would be in touch” with the Ukraine president, it puts Barr in a position where he must recuse himself, and the Barr Association believes that Barr “appears to have participated in the DOJ review of the whistleblower’s complaint and its decision not to forward that complaint to Congress.”
6. Anti-Poarch Creek Indian (PCI) group won’t reveal its donors
- You may be hearing radio and online ads from an organization called “Poarch Creek Accountability Now” that calls for taxation on Alabama’s Indian gaming facilities, but no one knows who is actually funding the group.
- Former State Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), the executive director of the organization, says it doesn’t matter who is funding them. He adds the group is trying to point out how the PCI are opposed a lottery (a dubious fact) and that they don’t pay taxes, which is because as a federally recognized tribe, they are not required to pay state taxes on gambling funds.
5. Poarch Band of Creek Indians would support a clean lottery bill
- The governmental relations advisor for PCI, Robbie McGhee, says that the PCI supports “a clean lottery bill … if it’s part of a larger casino package or whatever, that’s fine.”
- McGhee also insisted that they “believe a standalone lottery could pass on its own.” He pointed to how people in Alabama will drive across state lines to buy lottery tickets. This past legislative session, Alabama had the opportunity to have the lottery, but the bill couldn’t pass the House after passing the Senate.
4. Brooks and Trump have discussed the 2020 U.S. Senate race
- While visiting President Donald Trump with 22 other House Freedom Caucus members, U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) discussed the current impeachment proceedings, but they also discussed Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.
- For several minutes, Brooks and Trump discussed the race and Brooks said that he “explained to him what the polling data reflected – and that is that Tommy Tuberville has a double-digit lead.” Brooks explained that he believes the lead is due to name recognition and that he isn’t a politician, but he also explained to Trump that while Byrne is in second, he has the largest war chest. He also assured the president that no matter who the nominee is, they “will easily win the general election against Doug Jones.”
3. Permanent cease-fire agreement reached
- Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have reached a “permanent ceasefire,” President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, and he hopes that this will lead to long-lasting peace between Turkey and the Kurds.
- Trump said, “This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else … we’ve done something very, very special.” While Trump has removed the sanctions on Turkey, he did say that if the cease-fire agreement is broken by Turkey, sanctions could be imposed again.
2. Ambassador Sondland’s attorney disputes “bombshell testimony”
- For days, the media and their Democrats have unquestionably declared that the secret testimony of “top diplomat” Bill Taylor undoubtedly showed there was a quid pro quo, but a central figure in that accusation, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, disputes a number of “facts” being reported.
- Highlighting the need for transcripts and transparency, Sondland’s attorney told the Washington Post that Sondland does not recall the key assertion that the Trump administration wanted Ukraine’s president to “go to a microphone” and commit to “opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.”
1. Two Alabamians among Republicans who “storm” secret hearing
- About 20 Republican congressmen, including U.S. Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), went to the secure room in the Capitol where another closed-door impeachment hearing was going to be held, this time with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, but Republicans stood outside chanting “Let us in!” When a staffer momentarily opened the door to tell the congressman they weren’t allowed in, the GOP members filed into the room and demanded the impeachment proceedings be made public.
- Instead of making proceedings public, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) postponed the secret hearing, and now Byrne has said on Twitter that Schiff is “threatening” him with an ethics complaint. At the press conference held before storming the hearing, Brooks said, “Show your face so we can see all the travesty that you are trying to foist on America and the degradation of our republic that you are engaged in.”