The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.

    Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.

    “Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.

    “The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.

    Anglers are reminded of the following:

    — Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
    — Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
    — The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.

3 weeks ago

U.S. Rep. Rogers: IG report proves Mueller probe needs to be shut down

(M. Rogers/Facebook)

Folks across East Alabama may have recently seen the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Report findings were released.

The IG report details the mishandling of the FBI investigation involving Hillary Clinton and her private email server.

Anyone that denies that the FBI’s Clinton investigation was rigged in her favor is delusional.

The political bias clearly shown during the investigation and the double standard of justice was rampant and deliberate.

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 This is the same crooked group at the FBI that started the investigation of President Trump that led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

So here is what we know:

Mr. Comey was FBI Director at the time the investigation was started. The IG found his actions at the FBI were insubordinate and he may currently by under investigation for leaking classified material.

Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired and is under investigation for lying to investigators.

Special Agent Peter Strzok has clearly demonstrated his hate and contempt for President Trump through his texts.  He most recently was escorted out of the FBI headquarters.

Congressional investigators now believe FBI documents may have been altered to convict Michael Flynn after the two FBI agents that interviewed him found him to be truthful.

We are also now finding out about FBI spies being planted inside the Trump campaign along with FBI abuse of the FISA warrants.

Enough is enough.

If all of this pans out, which I believe it will, there was no original basis for appointing Robert Mueller.

As I discussed during my Fox Business interview this week, the Mueller witch hunt needs to be shut down immediately.

We cannot continue to let it go on and be a distraction for the American people and Trump Administration.

Our economy is booming, unemployment rates are low and the American Dream is back – but with this nonsense continuing on the side – it is hard to focus on our goals.

The American people deserve better.

Mike Rogers is a Republican congressman from Semmes

Please sign up for my e-Newsletter by visiting my website. To stay up to date, you can also like me on Facebook at Congressman Mike D. Rogers, follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram at RepMikeRogersAL, on Tumblr and you can also subscribe to my YouTube page at MikeRogersAL03. 

James Comey echo of J. Edgar Hoover — amassing power, declaring himself moral authority in FBI

(Wikicommons)

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

NEW LIGHT ON COMEY’S FBI ACTIONS DURING ELECTION

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it was a week ago that the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report. On Monday of this week, Michael Horowitz, along with FBI director, Christopher Wray, went before the Senate judiciary committee and, on Tuesday, they both went before the House judiciary committee. What is your take on this report where the key word seems to be “bias”?  

DR. REEDER: I’m trying to look at this from a Christian world and life view. In the current testimony, we have been informed that further reports on the investigation of the previous director of the FBI, James Comey, has yet to be published but what’s already been said is pretty damaging in terms of the FBI, in general, and its director, James Comey, in particular.

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WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF FBI?

However, I think I would look at this in a historical perspective first in order to look at it from a Christian world and life view. We need to remember that the FBI was not instituted at the founding of our country — in fact, it would have been unthinkable. It was really in the context of crisis that the FBI was begun at the early part of the 20th century — I think the actual year was 1908 if I’m not mistaken — and it was initiated because of the rising movement of anarchists. It was also because of the entrenchment of organized crime that had begun.

However, it was a great battle to put that in place, the notion of a national police force, and then the iconic leader stepped forward, J. Edgar Hoover. He reigned for decades — which, by the way, is a little bit of an insight from a Christian world and life view — and, throughout those decades, solidified tactics, solidified strategies, solidified power and solidified a lot of information that was used.

And it became documented and published that he not only wiretapped individuals illegally, amassed information with multiple evidences of blackmail. The backdrop of that was some extraordinary police work that he did through the FBI: the breaking of organized crime in the 1930s and the 1940s, the rooting out of anarchists in the middle of the 20th century.

Some extraordinarily brave, courageous, honorable, effective, insightful agents and leaders just litter the pages of our history. I hope and pray that’s not lost because, also, in our current FBI, there are some very honorable, noble, effectively courageous agents that are serving us to maintain order in our society.

AN EGOTISTICAL MAN IN CHARGE CAN TWIST AGENCY’S PURPOSE

James Comey has almost become an echo of J. Edgar Hoover in terms of amassing power, declaring himself — and this is what J. Edgar Hoover did — he declared himself as the moral authority that determined the strategies and tactics and values of the FBI — not the law, but J. Edgar Hoover. And even in the publication of his memoirs that James Comey has been promoting over these past weeks he recently published, what’s clear is he had set himself up as the moral authority in terms of what was right and what was wrong and would knowingly disregard not simply precedents but laws and regulations in order to do what he thought was morally right at the time. What we’re finding out is that his determination of what was morally right was actually illegal.

THERE IS, AT TIMES, RIGHTFUL CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

We’re going to do a program on if there is a time, from a Christian world and life view, where it is right to disobey and disregard a law. Yes, but how do you do that? Not by setting yourself up as a moral authority but appealing to a higher moral authority and the ethical absolutes that the law has violated and, therefore, that law must be disobeyed.

Now what we have are individuals, following the lead of Director Comey, who decided that they were going to become political players in the 2016 election. The 2016 election was an extraordinary election. It is still divisive in our country to this point and this time. What was also very clear is that it was divisive in the FBI as you had certain FBI agents who said, “Let’s just do our job and do it right,” and there were some who decided, “Our job is to make sure that one presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, is to be elected over the other presidential candidate and we are going to use our information to accomplish that.”

The FBI director, himself, began to become a player in the election and, as a player in the election, it wasn’t so much of his loyalty to one party or one candidate over another, but it was the loyalty to himself and what he felt and what he determined was the moral compass of the nation and what needed to be done in light of the investigations that were given to him and his publication of those investigations’ selective information given to the public.

And he became the arbiter, he became the center of it, he determined that this is what needs to be said, when it needs to be said, when it needs to be said from himself as the moral authority to direct the nation. Therefore, he committed acts that were documented as illegal and transgressions of stated law — not just precedents but stated law.

DANGER OF CENTRAL AGENCIES

There are some things in here, Tom, that we cannot miss. The centralization of power is a very dangerous thing. Its argument is always around the principle of efficiency. “You need a centralized authority for efficiency.” And, when you decentralize authority, you get the power to the people and more accountable, but it becomes less effective and more difficult in its implementation.

The FBI exists as a centralized and very powerful authority. Probably the two most powerful instruments we have other than our military is the IRS and the FBI. Both of them, in the recent years, have become politicized and used their centralized power and their extraordinary reach to intimidate and to influence and to direct the affairs of this nation instead of their particular position which is an equitable collection of taxes and also the enforcement.

What’s become abundantly clear is that the FBI had no authority, no right, no precedent and no law to appeal to in terms of its decisions on prosecutions. That is not the job of the FBI that James Comey took upon himself to make those determinations. That is the job of the arm of prosecution in the Department of Justice, whether it’s local, state or federal. That is not his job but he, by his own moral decisions, he felt it was needed in the country and made those decisions himself, and appropriated that power, and overstepped his boundary and moved the FBI out from under the Department of Justice as an investigative agent to taking the place of the Department of Justice in the area of prosecution and publication of information.

THIS IS NOT JUST A GOVERNMENT ISSUE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it is interesting, whether it’s Satan’s rebellion, whether it’s an individual wanting to commit a personal sin or whether it’s an FBI director, it’s, “I want to be in charge and I’m going to throw off any accountability.”

DR. REEDER: And that’s why this accountability and self-investigation must always be a part of governing authority structures from a Christian world and life view — accountability — and I would remind all of us that there is an ultimate accountability. We will give an account of every action and every word.

“It is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgment.” And we either stand at that judgment naked under all of the weight of our sins in word and deed and thought or we stand in that judgment clothed with the righteousness of Christ having confessed that we are sinners and put our trust in the one who took our place under judgment on the cross for our judgment so that we could have not only forgiveness in eternal life, but the presence of the Spirit of God for a changed life.

And a life that has been changed by the grace of God is a life that is always seeking the investigation of the Spirit of God and self-examination and other examination. “Examine yourself,” Paul said, “to see if you be of the faith.” Investigation is certainly a part of the Christian world and life view and fleeing to Christ because of our inadequacies as we find ourselves guilty of sinners is the call of God’s grace and the provision of His grace for everlasting life.

COMING UP FRIDAY: IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT CREATING TURMOIL IN NATION

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, immigration is back on the front page and there’s something of a controversy concerning the separation of children from their families.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, this is a very difficult subject. I’m almost hesitant to take it on with you, but I know so many people are asking the questions. I think there are some answers but some of the challenges of this really need to be thought through so let’s do that tomorrow, Tom.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

2 months ago

The real story: Destroying Trump and protecting Clinton

(G. Skidmore/Flickr)

You don’t need to believe that the special counsel investigating President Donald Trump is a terrible person to conclude that the Obama administration and Clinton machine (and later their holdovers during the Trump administration) politicized and weaponized federal agencies to protect Hillary Clinton and damage Trump.

So if you just can’t shake your instinct that Robert Mueller is the epitome of virtue and professionalism, hold fast to it, but consider the litany of facts that prove serious and abundant malfeasance on the part of the Obama-Clinton “deep state” actors.

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The Department of Justice, especially the FBI, bent over backward to protect Clinton and bent over forward to harm Trump. Despite those efforts, the stubborn facts have emerged, thanks to patriots relentlessly pursuing the truth. More will be revealed as the Obama-Clinton glass house continues to shatter, but there’s already enough to make an objective person gasp. If Clinton had won the election, this evidence would have remained buried, and the power-abusing left would have been emboldened to continue to thwart the rule of law and target its opponents. Before you say it’s preposterous that Obama or Clinton would have politicized and weaponized government agencies, remember the actions of Obama’s IRS and EPA.

As for protecting Clinton, consider this partial list:

–Then-FBI Director James Comey wrote a letter exonerating her in advance of interviewing her and other key witnesses.

–Comey presented a strong case against her yet shielded her from prosecution.

–Comey claimed that Christopher Steele’s dossier was not an indispensable part of the FISA warrant application, when everyone has admitted it was. He said he didn’t know that the Clintons had paid for the dossier.

–Comey earlier said there was no spying against Trump and later said there was but the “informants” were carefully regulated.

–The FBI gave immunity like candy in the Clinton case and allowed two fact witnesses to sit in on the belated Clinton interview as her lawyers.

–The FBI claimed to have lost five months’ worth of texts between adulterous FBI honchos Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which the inspector general found in less than a week.

–Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton while Hillary was under investigation. Lynch instructed Comey to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter” instead of an investigation.

–Strzok texted Page after Trump and Clinton became the nominees, “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE” — meaning “midyear exam,” the FBI’s code word for the Clinton email probe. Page responded, “It sure does.” They were desperate to wrap up the Clinton investigation to prevent Trump’s election. Page was legal counsel to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The lovebirds noted that Obama wanted “to know everything.” As Newt Gingrich said, with all that was going on under his watch, it’s inconceivable that Obama and his adviser Valerie Jarrett didn’t know about it.

As for stopping, removing or disabling Trump, consider this partial list:

–The FBI planted a spy or spies in the Trump campaign with no real evidence (beyond wishful thinking, anecdotal minutiae and hearsay rumors) that there was any nefarious connection between the campaign and Russia. It appears these spies were there not just to eavesdrop but to lure the Trump campaign into the very conduct they were pretending to investigate — trying to “honey-trap” them.

–The government opened a counterintelligence investigation against Trump without any evidence of a crime.

–Based on a disgraceful leak from Comey, the DOJ appointed a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign without any evidence of a crime and without specifying any crime in the appointment memo — and such specificity is required by law. Recognizing this, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein surreptitiously amended his appointment memo, but he still won’t reveal its content to congressional investigators.

–The FBI deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court four times by presenting the Steele dossier, paid for by the Clinton machine and based on unsubstantiated opposition research, as legitimate evidence and disclosing none of its origins to the court. It also fraudulently presented a news article sourced to the same Christopher Steele as corroborating the dossier. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires substantiated evidence; it’s a strict standard because of the extraordinary encroachments on privacy it entails. The FBI also concealed from the court that Steele had been fired by the FBI.

–The government has been stonewalling and scapegoating Rep. Devin Nunes and other congressional investigators for jeopardizing national security in demanding that documents be unredacted. Invariably, when the redactions are removed, we see that no security interests were involved but that the government was seeking to conceal embarrassing actions of government officials. The government slandered Nunes for outing the FBI mole, whose existence it had previously deceitfully denied, when it leaked facts facilitating his outing.

–The Obama administration engaged in unprecedented and egregious unmaskings.

–Five or six DOJ/FBI officials have been fired, demoted or reassigned.

–The FBI agents didn’t believe that Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, lied to them, yet the special counsel pressured him into a guilty plea.

–Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress but later denied he had lied, claiming he was thinking about something other than what he was being questioned about. That would be lame from any witness, but from a man of Clapper’s caliber, it is stunning. Clapper also said, disingenuously, that the government’s intent was not to spy on the Trump camp but to find out what Russia was doing. Then why did the government try to entrap campaign members, and why did Clapper earlier deny there were spies in the campaign? If the government’s goal was to protect the campaigns from Russian influence, why didn’t it plant spies in the Clinton campaign, as well? Why didn’t it warn the Trump campaign of the possible interference — unless its goal was to damage Trump and protect Clinton, as opposed to safeguarding national security?

–The Obama administration opened up a Logan Act case against the campaign opponent (Trump) of its would-be successor (Clinton). This is unprecedented and astonishing.

–The Obama holdouts in the DOJ and FBI are still stonewalling and misrepresenting the facts — especially as to the origin of the Trump investigation.

That Hillary Clinton wasn’t disciplined or prosecuted for her security breaches and deliberately destroying relevant evidence, among other things, is beyond disturbing. That Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidency at this point seems fantastical.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Ceremony marks opening of Alabama computer forensics lab

(Team Redstone/Facebook)

A new lab specializing in digital forensics is operating in Huntsville, Alabama.

The FBI and local leaders held a ceremony Wednesday to mark the opening of the Tennessee Valley Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory.

The center is one of 17 such facilities in nationwide specializing in training and the analysis of digital evidence.

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The FBI will provide the facility, equipment and training for the lab. Local agencies will provide staffing for the center including the city of Huntsville police; sheriff’s departments in Etowah and Madison counties; and the Alabama National Guard Counterdrug program.

The U.S. attorney’s office for north Alabama will help as a prosecuting agency. The lab is located at Redstone Arsenal.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Prosecutor: Predator sent packages to Alabama girls at their school

(FBI/Facebook)

Prosecutors say unsolicited packages have been sent to two Alabama girls that were addressed to them in care of their elementary school.

The Covington County District Attorney’s Office tells news outlets the Phenix City girls received the packages over the week. The office also said in a Facebook post on Sunday that authorities including the FBI report the packages contained food and a letter signed “Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, NM,” as well as visitor’s packages from New Jersey.

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“Bhuck” wrote he was 14-years-old, mentally disabled and a target of bullying. He asked the girls to reply at two email addresses.

The FBI says one email account appeared to originate from Houston, and that more than 50 similar packages were ordered for minor-age girls in Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

The fall of James Comey

(ABC/YHN)

I originally assumed that former FBI Director James Comey is an honorable and truthful man who was striving to be objective and avoid undue political influence. He has earned my change of mind.

Our law enforcement and judicial institutions should operate, to the extent possible, above politics to ensure equal justice under the law.

The term “justice is blind” is more than a cliche. Justice, by definition, must be administered impartially, without regard to wealth, power, gender, race, religion or any other special status. The law must guide the judicial system, from start to finish — from the decision to indict to the verdict of guilt or acquittal.

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Comey presents himself as a consummate professional, a moral paragon, dedicated to the law and consciously above rank political concerns. He has systematically undermined this carefully crafted image with his unseemly forays into the public arena, his professional decisions, his public statements, his book and his interviews.

FBI officials and agents I’ve met have always been highly professional, discreet and circumspect — so close to the vest that they won’t even share with friends information pertaining to ongoing investigations. They want to make clear that they operate with no favoritism and that their allegiance is to justice and the law.

I assumed Comey would be no different. He initially projected a patina of professionalism, as we witnessed during parts of his news conference in which he announced he wouldn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton and during his congressional testimony. He came off as consciously committed to operating above the political fray and following the law.

As his news conference unfolded, it became obvious that he was trying to be all things to all people, but instead of pleasing everyone, he alienated most. He meticulously documented the litany of damning facts against Clinton as if he were presenting a closing argument to a jury. But then he essentially told us that none of that mattered because she hadn’t intended to break the law. My BS antenna started sending me strong signals, which were later confirmed when consulting the relevant statutes. He couldn’t have laid out a better case for gross negligence and even willful criminal behavior, yet he chose to characterize her actions as noncriminal. If this weren’t bad enough, we later learned that he drafted a statement clearing Clinton of charges two months before the FBI interviewed her in its probe. His twisting the law into a pretzel to avoid prosecuting Clinton screams that political considerations were paramount and superseded any legal analysis.

Moreover, Comey admitted in his interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he factored the likelihood of Clinton’s winning the election into his decision to publicly announce reopening her email investigation, fearing that she would immediately become an illegitimate president. He might as well have just worn a sign into his interview reading “political animal.”

Comey’s decision to write a tell-all book about an ongoing investigation on which he was the senior investigator and for which he could be a witness was abominable. It has gravely diminished him and the FBI, and it has contradicted his claim that he is concerned with protecting the image and integrity of the bureau. I doubt that Comey would have ever been appointed to such a position in the FBI had people known he was the type to air dirty laundry and share inside information on matters that demand discretion. Indeed, many current and former colleagues are recoiling with disdain.

Some of Comey’s statements in the book and interviews were particularly inappropriate. His duty of professionalism didn’t end when he left office. His comments on Donald Trump’s appearance were especially petty, more fitting for a teenage Twitter thread than from a former high-ranking law enforcement official.

Even worse was his reckless opinion to Stephanopoulos that it’s “possible” that Trump obstructed justice, even though he admitted there is no evidence. Then there were his gratuitous statements that the Russians may have something on Trump and that it’s possible the alleged incident involving prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room happened. How could anyone watch that interview and still respect Comey’s intellectual honesty?

Free speech guarantees certainly apply to this publicity hound, but they don’t insulate him from our reasoned opinion that he has no business saying Trump behaved like a mob boss or that he is morally unfit to serve.

Comey’s conduct in this affair has been disgraceful. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that he made “serious mistakes,” that he won’t admit his mistakes and that both Democrats and Republicans called for his termination. Former attorneys general, judges and lead prosecutors believe that Comey violated his duty to preserve, protect and defend the FBI. He violated Justice Department policies and tradition. And he leaked four memos, at least one of which was classified, to a friend for publication instead of turning them over to investigators.

I suspect that Comey began writing this book expecting financial profit and professional and personal vindication. I’m afraid he’ll have to settle for the big bucks alone. I would feel sorry for him if he weren’t so sanctimonious.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

The death of the DOJ and the FBI

(W.Miller/YHN)

This week, the FBI raided the office, hotel room and home of President Trump’s personal attorney and self-described “fixer,” Michael Cohen. According to various media reports, the Department of Justice signed off on a warrant for the search; presumably, the law enforcement agency is searching for evidence regarding Cohen’s $130,000 payment to pornography actress Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006. Cohen has openly stated that he paid Daniels to shut up about her peccadillo with Trump — and he has said that Trump had no knowledge of the payment.

That presents a problem. If Cohen paid off Daniels without Trump’s knowledge, that raises the question as to whether their agreement was binding. If not, then Trump may have been party to a violation of campaign finance law, since a $130,000 in-kind donation is well above any legal limit. And if Cohen and Trump coordinated that arrangement, none of their communications on the matter are subject to attorney-client privilege.

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So, it’s quite possible that the FBI and DOJ may have just ensnared Cohen and, by extension, Trump, in a serious scandal.

But this raises another question: Where the hell were the FBI and DOJ when it came to Hillary Clinton? Trump himself has been enraged by the disparity between law enforcement’s treatment of Clinton and its treatment of him. He rightly points out that the FBI and DOJ worked to exonerate Clinton, with former FBI Director James Comey going so far as to change the definition of existing law to avoid recommending her indictment for mishandling classified material. And not only did then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch meet with former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac in the middle of the election cycle and the investigation of his wife; Lynch’s Department of Justice allowed Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s top aide, to claim attorney-client privilege. As Andrew McCarthy of National Review pointed out at the time, Mills was involved in the scrubbing of over 30,000 emails, yet the DOJ “indulged her attorney-client privilege claim, which frustrated the FBI’s ability to question her on a key aspect of the investigation.” Furthermore, Mills was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s interview with the FBI as Clinton’s lawyer.

And herein lies the problem for the DOJ and the FBI. Let’s assume, for a moment, that everything they’re doing now is totally honest and aboveboard — that there’s no attempt to “get” President Trump and they’re just following where the evidence leads. Many conservatives will rightly point to the DOJ and FBI treatment of Hillary Clinton, and state that the agencies ought to be consistent in their application of the law and leave Trump alone. Or they’ll suggest that Trump ought to turn those agencies into personal defense organizations, as former President Obama did.

Once supposedly neutral organizations are made partisan, a return to neutrality looks partisan. That means that the FBI and DOJ damn well better have gold-plated evidence against Cohen; they better not leak ancillary information damaging Trump to the press; and they better have dotted all their i’s and crossed all their t’s. If not, there will be hell to pay, not merely for those agencies but for a country that can no longer trust its own law enforcement agencies.

Ben Shapiro, 34, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

4 months ago

Another fatal FBI fumble in Florida

(Palm Beach Gardens P.D.)

A sickening act of youth violence in Florida glinted across the news headlines last week, and then disappeared from view.

There will be no CNN town halls or student walkouts over the lost life and preventable tragedy, because there are no guns to blame. Only dropped balls.

As the exploiters of crisis know full well, bureaucratic screw-ups don’t make good fodder for partisan fundraisers and hipster T-shirts.

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According to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Palm Beach County police, 17-year-old Corey Johnson bought a knife last Sunday and brought it with him to a sleepover at longtime friend Kyle Bancroft’s house. At 4 a.m., he decided to kill Kyle’s mother, Elaine, his brother, Dane, and Dane’s friend, Jovanni Sierra Brand.

Johnson repeatedly stabbed Jovanni in his bed and slit his throat. Then he attempted to murder Elaine as she approached the boys’ bedrooms in response to Jio’s last gasps. Dane rescued his mom and sustained 32 stab wounds. Both were hospitalized and survived. Jio was buried last Friday — less than a week after celebrating his 13th birthday at a pizza party attended by Johnson.

The accused killer told police he “stabbed the victims because of his Muslim faith,” watched videos of “Muslim jihadists” on his cellphone, and “was reading the Quran from his phone just prior to the attack to give him courage to carry out his intentions.”

Perhaps he read the Sword Verses for inspiration? Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan quoted from them in his presentation to classmates and superiors at Walter Reed Medical Center: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.”

Or maybe it was Surah 9:5: “Fight and slay the idolaters wherever ye find them and seize them, confine them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush.”

Johnson’s brutal attack was no bolt out of the blue, no unexpected incidence of sudden jihad syndrome. Local school officials and police in Palm Beach County, along with federal and international law enforcement authorities, had encountered more red flags in their years of dealing with Johnson than at a Communist May Day parade in Havana.

In middle school, Johnson had reportedly stalked a student and sexually harassed her. She told school police. Nothing happened. He dabbled in white supremacy, anti-Semitism and gay-bashing, and then immersed himself in radical Islam — rising at 5 a.m. daily to pray and revere the Syrian flag. Johnson’s online jihad agitation, physical abuse and addiction to ISIS beheading videos prompted his sister in 2016 to confide in a school therapist, who contacted the local sheriff’s office.

Johnson’s mom, the sister told school officials, was in denial. The sister so feared for her life she slept with a knife under her bed.

Law enforcement officers at the Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office convened at Johnson’s high school last January to investigate the self-radicalized teen’s contact with ISIS as he sought to join the terror group. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force became involved after European intelligence counterparts told them Johnson had used Instagram to issue security threats to a Catholic high school in England. The threats “were so severe in nature,” local officials discovered, “that up to 100 students were removed from the school fearing some kind of attack.”

One of the messages threatened: “By Allah, we will kill every single Infidel student at this school.” Johnson told FBI agents he “was supportive of known terrorist Anwar al Awlaki” — the spiritual patron of lone-wolf jihadists.

The FBI’s plan of action? Inaction. The agency watched and waited and wanly admonished Johnson to knock it off because authorities “believed a redirection approach would be the most beneficial regarding his conduct.”

“Redirection” is akin to the alternative social justice strategies school officials and police used in Parkland, Florida, before 17 innocent students and teachers died at the hands of teen shooter who was a walking neon sign for a mental health catastrophe.

No referrals, no charges, no records, no problems.

Except for the fact that Johnson ignored the FBI and continued his Islamic instigation online. After nearly a year of foot-dragging, the FBI gathered enough evidence to bring federal charges against Johnson for his social media terror threats. According to records released by the Jupiter Police Department, local officials were told the charges would be brought in the summer of 2017. But on the early morning of the jihad stabbings at Palm Beach Gardens last week, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office had yet to take action on a known radicalized threat who had menaced his family, his schoolmates and innocents abroad.

It’s a familiar narrative for the FBI — from the Boston Marathon bombers to the Orlando nightclub shooter to the Fort Lauderdale airport jihadist to the San Bernardino terrorists. Family members, teachers, neighbors and co-workers saw something and said something. Investigators investigated. But nobody did nuttin’ till it was too bloody late.

Nothing to see here; move along.

Michelle Malkin is host of “Michelle Malkin Investigates” on CRTV.com.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

4 months ago

Prosecutors: Alabama man made plan to kidnap woman, daughter

Prosecutors say an Alabama man who planned to hire someone to kidnap a woman and her 14-year-old daughter has pleaded guilty to child sex-trafficking charges.

A U.S. Department of Justice statement says 48-year-old Brian David “Blaze” Boersma was arrested in October by undercover FBI agents. The Decatur man believed they would kidnap the mother and child and had given them more than $3,000. Boersma entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor on Monday.

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The statement says Boersma boasted to his co-worker that he would sell the girl to a pimp he knew in Memphis, Tennessee, who offered $8,000.

A sentencing date has not been set. U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town says Boersma will spend most, if not all, of the remainder of his life in prison.

(Image: Decatur Police Department)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

7 months ago

Did the FBI conspire to stop Trump?

Former FBI Director James Comey and President Donald J. Trump (Wikicommons)
Former FBI Director James Comey and President Donald J. Trump (Wikicommons)

 

 

The original question the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign was to answer was a simple one: Did he do it?

Did Trump, or officials with his knowledge, collude with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to hack the emails of John Podesta and the DNC, and leak the contents to damage Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump?

A year and a half into the investigation, and, still, no “collusion” has been found. Yet the investigation goes on, at the demand of the never-Trump media and Beltway establishment.

Hence, and understandably, suspicions have arisen.

Are the investigators after the truth, or are they after Trump?

Set aside the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory momentarily, and consider a rival explanation for what is going down here:

That, from the outset, Director James Comey and an FBI camarilla were determined to stop Trump and elect Hillary Clinton. Having failed, they conspired to break Trump’s presidency, overturn his mandate and bring him down.

Essential to any such project was first to block any indictment of Hillary for transmitting national security secrets over her private email server. That first objective was achieved 18 months ago.

On July 5, 2016, Comey stepped before a stunned press corps to declare that, given the evidence gathered by the FBI, “no reasonable prosecutor” would indict Clinton. Therefore, that was the course he, Comey, was recommending.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, compromised by her infamous 35-minute tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton — to discuss golf and grandkids — seconded Comey’s decision.

And so Hillary walked. Why is this suspicious?

First, whether or not to indict was a decision that belonged to the Department of Justice, not Jim Comey or the FBI. His preemption of Justice Department authority was astonishing.

Second, while Comey said in his statement that Hillary had been “extremely careless” with security secrets, in his first draft, Clinton was declared guilty of “gross negligence” — the precise language in the statute to justify indictment.

Who talked Comey into softening the language to look less than criminal? One man was FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, Jill, a Virginia state senate candidate, received a munificent PAC contribution of $474,000 from Clinton family friend and big bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Also urging Comey to soften the fatal phrase “gross negligence” was key FBI agent Peter Strzok. In text messages to his FBI lover Lisa Page, Strzok repeatedly vented his detestation of the “idiot” Trump.

After one meeting with “Andy” (McCabe), Strzok told Page an “insurance policy” was needed to keep Trump out of the White House.

Also, it appears Comey began drafting his exoneration statement of Hillary before the FBI had even interviewed her. And when the FBI did, Hillary was permitted to have her lawyers present.

One need not be a conspiracy nut to conclude the fix was in, and a pass for Hillary wired from the get-go. Comey, McCabe, Strzok were not going to recommend an indictment that would blow Hillary out of the water and let the Trump Tower crowd waltz into the White House.

Yet, if Special Counsel Robert Mueller cannot find any Trump collusion with the Kremlin to tilt the outcome of the 2016 election, his investigators might have another look at the Clinton campaign.

For there a Russian connection has been established.

Kremlin agents fabricated, faked, forged, or found the dirt on Trump that was passed to ex-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, and wound up in his “dirty dossier” that was distributed to the mainstream media and the FBI to torpedo Trump.

And who hired Steele to tie Trump to Russia?

Fusion GPS, the oppo research outfit into which the DNC and Clinton campaign pumped millions through law firm Perkins Coie.

Let’s review the bidding.

The “dirty dossier,” a mixture of fabrications, falsehoods and half-truths, created to destroy Trump and make Hillary president, was the product of a British spy’s collusion with Kremlin agents.

In Dec. 26’s Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough writes that the FBI relied on this Kremlin-Steele dossier of allegations and lies to base their decision “to open a counterintelligence investigation (of Trump).” And press reports “cite the document’s disinformation in requests for court-approved wiretaps.”

If this is true, a critical question arises:

Has the Mueller probe been so contaminated by anti-Trump bias and reliance on Kremlin fabrications that any indictment it brings will be suspect in the eyes of the American people?

Director Comey has been fired. FBI No. 2 McCabe is now being retired under a cloud. Mueller’s top FBI investigator, Peter Strzok, and lover Lisa, have been discharged. And Mueller is left to rely upon a passel of prosecutors whose common denominator appears to be that they loathe Trump and made contributions to Hillary.

Attorney General Bobby Kennedy had his “Get Hoffa Squad” to take down Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. J. Edgar Hoover had his vendetta against Dr. Martin Luther King.

Is history repeating itself — with the designated target of an elite FBI cabal being the President of the United States?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

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11 months ago

Alleged Drug Supplier Of Conecuh County Commissioner Arrested

The sight no one wants to see: police lights in the rearview mirror.

Yesterday Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office announced that Jack Lamar Jordan had been arrested as part of an ongoing joint federal-state investigation revolving around the distribution of marijuana.

What makes this arrest of particular consequence is Jordan’s alleged connection with the earlier arrest of Conecuh County Commissioner John William Andrews Jr.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Andrews was arrested and charged with six counts of distribution of marijuana. Prosecutors are now saying that Andrews might have been getting his supply of drugs from Jordan.

Jordan’s arrest was based on a collective effort between the Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Mobile Field Division.

Should Jordan or Andrew’s be convicted, they will face a maximum penalty of 2-10 years of imprisonment for each of the counts, which are class B Felonies. And subject to §36-9-3 of the Alabama Code, a felony conviction for Andrew’s would mean an immediate vacancy in his office.

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1 year ago

FBI Agent Posed as Lecturer at Alabama Military Base to Capture Alleged ISIS Supporter

An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)
An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — An undercover operation at Alabama’s Fort Rucker that began back in 2016 led to the Saturday arrest of a man believed to support ISIS. The 34-year-old soldier, Ikaika Erik Kang, was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawai but spent six weeks at Fort Rucker where authorities believe he engaged in radicalizing activity.

Kang has been formally charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

The FBI obtained warrants to search Kang’s quarters and technology at Fort Rucker last year. They found more than 2,000 ISIS-related videos, documents, and graphics, most of which were violent in nature.

After the search, the FBI planted an undercover agent in the base to interact with Kang. The two discussed traveling to Turkey to go to the ISIS consulate.

“Kang discussed the possibility of joining ISIS and fighting for ISIS. He told [the undercover agent at Fort Rucker] ‘people still say it’s illegal to join them but the way I look at it they are just fighting the people who are committing genocide there. I’m just going to go there…and fight these guys who are committing genocide,'” the FBI documents state.

The undercover agent noted that Kang knew that authorities could be on his trail, so he tried to stay off the grid. “Kang further indicated he had not purchased an airline ticket because he believed he would be arrested,” FBI reports state. “Kang said that he didn’t want to do anything on the internet because he was afraid the FBI ‘will show up at my door.'”

According to FBI reports, Kang wanted to help provide combat training to members of ISIS. Prosecutors even assert that he took an oath of loyalty to ISIS because he wanted to “kill a bunch of people.”

Additional searches of his technology and property have revealed more ISIS material as well as classified U.S. military information. His preliminary hearing is set for July 24.

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1 year ago

Alabama Doctor Arrested Today for Medicaid Fraud and Long List of Other Crimes

Photo: Dr. Rassan M. Tarabein's Facebook account
Photo: Dr. Rassan M. Tarabein’s Facebook account

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced today that a Daphne, Alabama doctor has been arrested and charged with “Medicaid fraud and first-degree theft of property” under Alabama law as well as a long list of federal charges.

Dr. Rassan M. Tarabein is a 58-year old neurologist who operates Eastern Shore Neurology and Pain Center (ESNPC) in Daphne. The services listed on his website include:

  • Pain management (invasive and conservative) for all types of pain, (chronic neck and lower back pain, failed back/neck surgery, chronic intractable headaches…etc).
  • Spinal minor surgical interventions, Spinal Stimulator Implants.
  • Narcotics addiction/detox treatments
  • Stroke service (prevention & treatment).
  • Sleep disorders, snoring, Apnea, Narcolepsey [sic], drowsiness & day time sleepiness.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Auto / Work injuries and Worker’s comp.
  • BOTOX intervention for face and neck spasms, as well as for the treatment of myofacial painfull [sic] spasms, with or without headaches

The Eastern Shore Neurology and Pain Center (ESNPC) website says “We are grateful for the opportunity to be of service to you. Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality of medical care in a compassionate and understanding environment. We will uphold the confidence and trust that you have placed in us.”

The AG’s press release said Tarabein is in federal custody because, in addition to the state charges cited above, he’s also charged in a federal indictment with “numerous related crimes,” according to Acting U.S. Attorney Steve Butler.  This 27-count federal indictment includes charges of illegally distributing schedule II controlled substances, money laundering, and making unlawful transactions.

If proven guilty of the alleged crimes and convicted, Tarabein could face jail time up to 10 years on the Medicaid fraud charges and up to 20 years on the theft charges, which are only the state crimes. The arrest was the result of a collaborative investigation between Attorney General Marshall’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the FBI, DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Attorney General Marshall said, “I am pleased to partner with our federal law enforcement colleagues to protect precious state Medicaid resources. I hope that this case will serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to steal taxpayer money allocated to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

According to the Attorney General’s press release:

The federal indictment alleges that from around 2004 to late June 2017, Tarabein ran a money mill at the clinic, where he induced patients to continue to return to ESNPC so that he could bill health care benefit programs for medically unnecessary tests and procedures. According to the federal indictment, the purpose of Tarabein’s scheme was to maximize personal financial gain by fraudulently seeking payments from health care benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and other private insurers.  As part of his scheme, Tarabein violated the traditional standards of care in his medical practice by, for example, failing to provide informed consent to patients about procedures, discriminating against Alabama Medicaid patients in services rendered, fraudulently documenting patient records and submitting false claims to insurance companies.

Acting United States Attorney Butler stated, “As alleged, this defendant was a neurologist who ran a medical practice that for years stole millions of dollars from public health care programs and private insurance companies.  Federal and state investigators have worked diligently to expose the fraud, and now this physician must face the consequences of his actions.”

 Medicaid serves medically indigent citizens who were apparently Tarabein’s patients in these alleged crimes. 

1
1 year ago

Update: No Threat Remains of Active Shooter at Redstone in Huntsville (Updated 1:05 pm CT)

 

Update 1:05 pm: David Kumbroch with WHNT is reporting that Redstone Arsenal officials say they the threat is over after reports of a “possible active shooter” and that the gates are now back open, but the situation remains under investigation. A statement on Redstone’s official Facebook page says this:

This morning, a potential active shooter incident occurred at Redstone Arsenal, in the Sparkman Center. The installation was in lock-down mode with all gates closed, and employees sheltered in place at their respective buildings.

As of 12:30 p.m., employees can move about the post in an orderly fashion,
but are asked to keep movements limited, as needed.

Movement remains
restricted in the area near the intersections and roads around the Sparkman Center.

The gates to the Arsenal are open and operational.

This incident is under investigation. The safety and security of our
workforce remains our top priority.

 

UPDATE: 12:45 pm: A private citizen, Amy Jay, tweeted at 13:32 that her husband (who presumably works at Redstone) received the “all clear” although some places may still be on lock down. Moments later she tweeted “All Gates Are Now Open.” Again, this is an unconfirmed source from a personal Twitter account, but it does appear to be a very promising update to the story below. As reported earlier, Redstone is scheduled to update the media at the top of the hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Report 11:04 am: Redstone Arsenal tweeted this morning that there’s a “possible active shooter” and the installation is on lockdown. At this point, that’s all we know.

David Kumbroch with WHNT tweeted Huntsville Hospital was on heightened alert because of this report, but they’ve not received any patients. Only seconds ago, he tweeted “CONFIRMED: FBI on scene of possible active shooter at Redstone Arsenal. More headed this way from Birmingham” only to follow that a few seconds later with another Tweet that reads “Worth nothing FBI has large, permanent presence on Redstone Arsenal.”

Redstone is telling employees this is not an exercise and at the City of Madison tweeted “ACTIVE SHOOTER on Redstone Arsenal near the Sparkman Center. Please watch the news to stay updated.”

Governor Ivey tweeted, “My office is being updated about the situation…and I will continue to closely monitor and pray for a peaceful and quick resolution.”

Once again, nothing has been confirmed at this moment, but Redstone Arsenal is on lockdown in a locked, safe location, and we are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they’re available.

Twitter is active under the hashtag #RedstoneArsenal and Redstone is scheduled to update the media at 1:00 p.m.

 

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1 year ago

Feds Relent on Extending Alabama’s Red Snapper Season

(Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr)
Photo by Flickr user Florida Fish and Wildlife

After intensive appeals from the state of Alabama over its hyper-brief red snapper season, the U.S. Department of Commerce relented last week, announcing an extension to the season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced earlier that Alabama would only have a three-day red snapper season this year, understandably frustrating those who look forward to and rely on a longer season.

Under this new extension, the season for recreational fishermen has been reopened on weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) up until Labor Day, adding a whopping 39 days of fishing for Alabama anglers.

Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne was among those advocating for the longer season—calls that got the attention of President Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross. In his press release, Congressman Byrne expressed his appreciation for Alabama officials who provided.

Many people helped make this extension possible, and they deserve to be acknowledged.  I appreciate President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for paying attention to our concerns and working to address this issue.  The staff at the Department of Commerce was easy to work with as we put this extension together. I also cannot say enough about the help from Chris Blankenship, the acting commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Chris has always been a joy to work with on Red Snapper issues, and he played a critical role in helping get the other Gulf states on board with this agreement. I also want to thank the local and state officials, as well as the grassroots supporters and fishermen, who helped bring attention to this issue. I firmly believe your efforts made a difference. Ultimately, it was a total team effort to make this emergency extension a reality. This is a real victory for all our recreational fishermen as well as our coastal communities.

Senator Richard Shelby agreed:

I am pleased the Department of Commerce is listening to states and local anglers to provide immediate relief to this problem. Adding 39 days to the recreational fishing season for red snapper is great news. Ultimately, a long-term solution is needed that benefits all Gulf fishermen.  I will continue to work with Secretary Ross and my Gulf State colleagues to allow further access to this abundant resource.

It’s important to note that this extension is not permanent; it only applies to the 2017 season.  As Congressman Byrne noted, “We must continue our efforts to find a permanent legislative solution that gives more authority over setting Red Snapper seasons to the five Gulf states,” adding that he’s currently pursuing such measures.

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1 year ago

FBI Statistics Show Handgun Murders Fell in States that Removed Carry Requirements

After Alabama’s legislature failed to pass a bill that would have removed permit requirements for concealed carry handguns, new evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that handgun murders dropped in states that did pass such laws.

The states of Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming have all seen a significant decrease in handgun murders over the past several years. FBI data reveals that Alaska’s handgun murder rate declined since its law lifted concealed carry restrictions passed in 2003. Similarly, Arizona’s murder rate has dropped since its law lifted restrictions in 2010, and Wyoming’s has fallen since it did the same in 2011.

On top of those three, nine other states have removed the permit requirement on American’s wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right. Those states are Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. In addition, Arkansas and Montana recognize permitless carry from other states.

The Alabama Senate approved a bill to eliminate the permit requirement for concealed carry of a handgun in a straight party-line vote, but the measure failed in the House of Representatives. The failure of the 2017 bill is nothing new, as several previous measures aimed at loosening Alabama’s conceal carry permit rules have failed to become law. Law enforcement associations, primarily county sheriffs’ offices, have lobbied against most of these changes because they are the chief recipient of the fees gun owners must pay to obtain a conceal carry permit.

Currently, to receive a permit, a gun-owner must undergo a background check from the Sheriff’s Office and pay a fee that varies from county to county. In 2015, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor (D) said that local sheriffs “know” things about their constituents that gives them “a pretty good feel for their constituents and their county and who should and should not have a permit.”

“We know things that the computer can’t tell us,” he said. “We know things about our citizens. We know who’s going through a divorce. We know who’s in a bad time, who may be drinking too much, who may be abusive but hasn’t necessarily crossed the line of a crime. But in our opinion, they don’t need a pistol permit.”

1
1 year ago

Story broken by former Alabama player ultimately led James Comey to hold the Hillary Clinton press conference

Christopher Sign (left), a former University of Alabama football player, exposed a secret meeting between former President Bill Clinton (center) and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (right).
Christopher Sign (left), a former University of Alabama football player, exposed a secret meeting between former President Bill Clinton (center) and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (right).

Christopher Sign is a former Alabama football player. He is also an award-winning journalist for ABC 15 in Arizona, and a story he broke last June was a major piece of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s questioning of former FBI director James Comey Thursday morning.

Sign was a backup left guard and center for two Alabama teams that ultimately won the SEC West championship in the 1990s. As Yellowhammer readers may recall, he broke the story about former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an aircraft while in Phoenix, Ariz. This meeting caused a significant backlash because of the ongoing (at the time) investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the handling of classified information.

Last July, Sign explained to Football Matters how the story and his reporting on it materialized. “Sources tipped me off about the meeting taking place and from that moment on, my goal was to report the facts,” he said. “I didn’t mention anything about Republicans or Democrats. I kept things as simple as possible and reported that there was a secret meeting going on that we were able to expose. There was a tremendous amount of stress because of the possible ramifications of the story. I wanted to make sure that I had every ‘I’ dotted and ‘T’ crossed. I visualized going on air for the story like I would before games. I knew once it was on tape, there was no going back. I had to make sure things went exactly as planned. I got hyper focused, just like I used to do on the football field.”

The story did have a significant impact not only on the investigation into Clinton’s email use, but also the 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. A Washington Post editorial said the meeting created a “terrible moment for (Hillary Clinton) and the Democrats, and for President Obama and perceptions of the integrity of his administration.”

In testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday, Comey made it clear that the details of the story broken by Sign were a key factor in his decision to make a public announcement on July 5th of last year regarding the Clinton investigation. He indicated that he felt the meeting between Lynch and Clinton had the potential to damage the credibility of the bureau and the investigation.

“In an ultimately conclusive way, that was the thing that capped it for me that I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the Justice Department,” Comey told Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) during the hearing.

Sign started with ABC 15 in 2005 and now is an anchor on ABC 15 Mornings. He received an Emmy Award for Breaking News in 2014 for his extended live coverage when two Phoenix police officers were shot during a shootout. He also earned an Edward R. Murrow Award for spot news in 2006.

He summed up this experience by saying, “ABC 15 in Phoenix hired me to do a job, and that’s what I’m doing. Just like I did on the football field. I’ve always said that playing team sports sets you up to do well in life, and this is proof.”

1
1 year ago

Alabama Congressmen react to Comey testimony

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a much-anticipated hearing, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday regarding his firing and the investigation of President Donald Trump.

“The administration chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly run,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”

Although Comey strongly criticized his former boss, he did testify to many facts that counter narratives forwarded by the political left. Under oath, he said that Trump did not ask him to stop the Russia investigation and said that he did not find contact between members of Trump’s campaign and Russian officials to be unusual.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Comey refused to answer numerous questions with answers that could upset the efforts of special counsel.

Being the landmark event of the week on Capitol Hill, many members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation weighed on the Comey Spectacle.

Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) has been impressed by the style of the investigation so far, but he does not buy the liberal narrative that Russians or the actions of the FBI put Donald Trump in office

“Since day one, the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with the Justice Department, has been handling the allegations about Director Comey with transparency and professionalism, and today’s hearing shows they’re continuing to do so,” Strange said. “The American people elected Donald Trump as President. Not because of what the FBI director said or did last year, but because he understood their concerns and had a plan to make America great again. I’m working with his administration to do just that.”

On the other hand, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL1) is sick and tired of the media’s absurdity in its coverage of the Russia story. “Today’s testimony by James Comey was more of a media circus than any sort of productive hearing,” Byrne said. As I have said before, we should allow the investigatory process to play out and stop trying to litigate this issue in the national news media. We should follow the facts and the law and nothing but the facts and the law.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL3) agrees with Byrne and even went as far as to call the allegations against the administration false. “In November, the American people rejected the liberal media elite and the politics of personal destruction to elect Donald Trump president. Despite this, the Democrats and liberal media elite are relentless in attacking the president with false allegations in an attempt to stop his agenda,” Rogers said. “To date, there is no evidence of collusion between President Trump and the Russian government during the November election.”

Robert Aderholt (R-AL4) was most struck by what Comey did not say in his testimony. “[Comey] did not reveal how the Russians and/or the Trump campaign convinced Mrs. Clinton’s campaign to completely ignore the mathematically critical states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin during the last months of the 2016 campaign,” Aderholt said. “Simply put, anyone would be concerned about the Russians or any foreign country trying to involve themselves in American elections. But I think it is equally important to note that they did not affect the outcome. That belongs to the candidates.”

This article will be updated as more statements are released.

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1 year ago

The Ultimate Red Herring: Making Sense of the Hysteria Following Comey’s Removal from the FBI (opinion)

Sometimes the substance of a position is so flimsy the only path forward is to divert attention from it—in other words, create a red herring.

That’s precisely what the Democrats have done in the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s termination two days ago. In short, they’ve seized the moment, launching a well-coordinated campaign to resurrect the cry that Russia gave Trump the Presidency.

More specifically, the idea they’re now peddling is that President Trump fired Comey simply to avoid scrutiny over alleged collusion with Russia to throw the election last fall. This, despite the fact that former President Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in sworn testimony Monday that there’s no evidence to support such claims.

Nevertheless, with Comey gone, if Democrats can create enough of a fuss to get a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s influence on the campaign, the nation’s attention may once again shift to the White House and away from their party’s colossal political and policy failures.

Ironically, for this to happen the problem the Democrats must overcome is the same one that led to James Comey’s firing and Hillary Clinton’s defeat: a credibility problem.
Let’s start with the Democrats. As recently as last week, they were the ones demanding Comey’s head, but now that he’s gone, they’re declaring his termination the greatest miscarriage of justice since Watergate.

As Rush Limbaugh pointed out yesterday:

• Business Insider ran an article entitled “‘Comey Acted in an Outrageous Way During the Campaign, Bernie Sanders Suggests FBI Director Should Resign”
• The liberal website ThinkProgress published a piece entitled “The Case for Firing Comey”
• Democrat operative John Podesta said the American people “are getting nauseous at the sound of Comey’s voice”

The list goes on, yet despite these contradictions and their obvious hypocrisy, the central question remains: did the President have grounds to fire Comey? Once again, the answer to this question is centered around his loss of credibility.

While Comey’s credulity problems started long before 2016, his clumsy actions during last fall’s presidential campaign are too questionable to ignore. After his boss at the time, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a clandestine meeting with Bill Clinton on a private tarmac, Comey concluded that Hillary Clinton never intended to do anything wrong. Not only was his rationale highly suspect, this determination wasn’t his to make—the FBI’s job is to investigate, not prosecute. Reeling from the backlash of this now infamous July declaration, Comey pivoted in October and reopened the investigation, citing new emails not previously seen.

Continuing to give the nation little reason to trust him, FBI officials also acknowledged that, in his recent Senate testimony, Comey inaccurately stated the number of Hillary Clinton’s emails to her aide Huma Abedin, which were forwarded to her ex-husband Anthony Weiner’s computer. Whether an honest mistake or not, the FBI Director simply cannot make this kind of error.

It’s hard to tell how this whole mess will turn out, but in the wake of Comey’s firing, one thing is clear: as much as Democrats want to make this about Russia’s influence on the campaign, credibility is the currency of relationships and James Comey squandered his.

1
1 year ago

Who are some other recent U.S. governors who had to resign in disgrace?

With the resignation of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley now official, we decided to take a look at some other recent United States governors who were forced to resign amid scandals and the last governor to be impeached.

The last governor to resign amidst a scandal was Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. He remains the longest-serving governor in the history of the state. He resigned in February of 2015 after controversy continued to build over his fiancé’s work for the state. After pressure built from state lawmakers and one of the leading newspapers in the state, Kitzhaber stepped down.

Related: Get to know Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, the next Governor of Alabama

The last state governor to be impeached was Illinois’ Rod Blagojevich. He was removed from office in January of 2009 and declared ineligible to hold public office in that state. In August of 2010, he was convicted on one of 24 federal charges against him. The charge that brought him down was lying to the FBI.

While Bentley is a Republican, Blagojevich and Kitzhaber are both Democrats.

There are other recent examples of governors having to leave office early due to scandals. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) resigned in 2008 after he was caught setting up a meeting with a prostitute, and former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy (D) had to resign due to sexual harassment claims against him.

As this Governing.com article points out, while scandals involving governors were all over the place in the 2000s (roughly from 2002 to 2010), the current decade has seen a drop off in gubernatorial scandals. Now we have Robert Bentley to add to the list of disgraced governors ousted from office.

1
1 year ago

Sessions lauds arrest of teen who threatened Jewish Community Centers

On Thursday, a teen with Israeli-American citizenship was arrested in connection with a dozens of bomb threats made to Jewish Community Centers across the nation, which included several against the Levite Jewish Community Center Birmingham. Upon announcing the arrest, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised law enforcement and intelligence officials.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Sessions said in a statement. “I commend the FBI and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case.”

Sessions added that the arrest was the “culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country.”

The teen has been described as a 19 year-old “hacker” who used advanced technology to hide his digital footprint. He was arrested in South Israel.

In Birmingham, the Levite Jewish Community Center has been threatened four separate times, receiving its most recent bomb threat in early March. The LJCC also received bomb threats on Jan. 18, Feb. 20, and Feb. 27. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the incidents.

President Donald J. Trump came out late last month to condemn such threats against the Jewish community. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said. “I certainly hope they catch the people.”

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2 years ago

Shelby slams FBI director in scathing new letter about Clinton investigation

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an stunning and unexpected move, the FBI announced that it is assessing new emails “pertinent” to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) immediately weighed in and ripped into FBI Director James Comey for his previous decision to not press charges.

Comey let Clinton off the hook earlier this year because he stated his agency failed to accumulate enough evidence to prove that Clinton acted with criminal intent. According to The Hill, the new emails were uncovered as a result of a separate investigation into Anthony Weiner, who allegedly sent sexually explicit messages to an underage girl. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is a long time aide to Clinton.

You can view the text of Shelby’s scathing letter below.

Dear Director Comey:

I am writing in response to the letter you sent me regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) intention to re-open the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Due to the serious nature of this matter, I request that the FBI expeditiously and thoroughly conduct its review.

In July, you held a press conference where you explained to the American people that Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified information while using a private e-mail server. Unfortunately, it has now become apparent that the FBI, with all its extensive resources and highly-trained personnel, closed an incomplete investigation that resulted in only partial findings. I firmly believe that the American people deserve to know the facts – all of them.

There is much at stake in how this investigation is conducted. Not only is the Bureau’s examination a reflection on the current Administration and Secretary Clinton, but it is also critical to the integrity of the FBI and the American people’s ability to place their trust in government. I believe that your recommendation and the Department of Justice’s decision not to prosecute Secretary Clinton set a dangerous precedent for the way we hold our public officials accountable.

While I am pleased that the FBI is re-opening this case in light of new information, it is imperative that the Bureau immediately evaluate the material to complete this investigation. The American people are electing their next Commander-in-Chief only days from now, and they deserve to know the conclusion of your review prior to Election Day. Let me be clear: This should be your utmost priority.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Shelby

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2 years ago

Alabama moves to protect election systems after FBI discovers hacks in other states

Voting Booths

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama elections officials are moving to ensure the state’s voting systems are secure in the wake of revelations that the voter databases in at least two other states have been breached in recent months.

According to a Reuters report, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.”

The database breaches do not “necessarily suggest an effort to manipulate the votes themselves,” but raise concerns at a time when cyber security is already playing a significant role in the presidential election. The Democratic National Committee was hacked last month, with embarrassing emails showing coordination between the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign being released publicly. The hack, which intelligence officials have pinned on Russian operatives, led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

David Kennedy, the CEO of TrustedSec, a firm specializing in information security, told Reuters the latest attacks on voter databases were “largely exploratory and not especially sophisticated.” He added, however, that “it could be a precursor to a larger attack.”

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office told Yellowhammer they are working with federal authorities and the state’s election system vendor to ensure security.

“Secretary [John] Merrill participated in a conference call with several other secretaries of state regarding this issue,” said John Bennett, Secretary Merrill’s communications director. “During the call the Department of Homeland Security advised that they would be willing to have members of their team deployed to states to help set-up significant protections against hacking. Secretary Merrill was a part of bipartisan support requesting that the power to secure and properly maintain elections should remain in the hands of the states. This was followed by similar support for the complex systems that states have in place to protect our elections systems.

“We did, however, [complete] an internal review of our systems and have verified that no breaches have taken place at this time. We are also currently working with Election Systems & Software, our election systems vendor, to ensure that no breaches have occurred to their system.”

Statewide elections are scheduled to take place Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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2 years ago

Shelby unleashes fury on Dept. of Justice: ‘Hillary Clinton is not above the law!’

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)

WASHINGTON – In response to FBI Director James Comey’s press conference regarding Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) sent a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Justice warning that following the FBI’s recommendation to not prosecute Clinton “could set a dangerous precedent for not holding a public official accountable for reckless actions.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch had previously said the DoJ would follow the recommendation of the FBI.

“Many in Alabama and America believe that some powerful public officials act as if rules and laws do not apply to them,” Shelby wrote. “As John Adams said, ours is a ‘government of laws, and not of men.’ The nation is counting on your application of this principle.”

FBI Director Comey conceded during his press conference that “110 e-mails in 53 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information… Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were ‘up-classified’ to make them Confidential.”

Shelby wrote to the DoJ that “these statement confirm Secretary Clinton mislead the American people and was extremely reckless in her handling of classified information both sent and received on her private e-mail.

“If a lower-level government employee with access to classified information had behaved in this manner, including at the Top Secret level, they would loser their security clearance immediately and would almost certainly lose their job,” he continued. “If that same employee had previously established their own personal unsecured email server in their home for the purpose of evading government oversight, they would rightly be charged with a crime.”

After sending the letter, which can be read in full here, Sen. Shelby released the following statement titled “Hillary Clinton is not above the law:”

Today the FBI confirmed that Hillary Clinton misled the American people and was ‘extremely careless’ with classified information both sent and received on her private e-mail server. While I appreciate and respect the hard work of the FBI, I have serious concerns with their recommendation after uncovering that Hillary Clinton grossly mishandled matters relating to national security. If the DOJ follows the FBI’s recommendation, it could set a dangerous precedent for not holding a public official accountable for reckless actions.

I strongly believe that all Americans should be held to the same standards and that the Department should take a hard look at the FBI’s strong rebuke of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail practices. From former President Bill Clinton visiting Attorney General Lynch’s aircraft for a secret meeting to Hillary Clinton’s attorneys deleting e-mails, it is clear that the Clintons believe that they do not have to play by the same rules. It is now up to DOJ to ensure that Hillary Clinton is not treated as though she is above the law.

A staffer for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, dismissed the concerns of Shelby and others and said the matter has now been put to rest.

“We are pleased that the career officials handling this case have determined that no further action by the Department is appropriate,” said Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. “As the Secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved.”

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