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Daily News Digest – November 21, 2018

PRESENTED BY the Stop The HIT Coalition

Good morning! That was one heck of a trip around the Sun. Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, November 21.

1. Trump won’t punish Saudis.

  • President Donald Trump will not push to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of Saudi national and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
  • He made it clear in a statement that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing.
  • The president condemned the brutal slaying of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a “horrible crime … that our country does not condone.” But he rejected calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response.
  • He also questioned reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known about such an audacious and intricate plot.
  • “It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” the president said Tuesday. “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
  • In many ways, the statement captured Trump’s view of the world and foreign policy, grounded in economic necessity. It began with the words “America First!” followed by “The world is a very dangerous place!”
  • This morning the president is tweeting about gas prices being down, crediting and thanking Saudi Arabia.
  • Read more about all that HERE.

2. Marshall names Morris to lead special prosecutions.

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has named federal prosecutor Clark Morris to lead the division that prosecutes public corruption and white collar crime cases.
  • Marshall made the announcement Tuesday, a day after the departure of Matt Hart.
  • Morris will oversee the special prosecutions division beginning Jan. 7.
  • “I am delighted that Clark Morris has agreed to lead my public corruption unit,” Marshall said. “Public corruption continues to be a scourge on our great state, and I am confident that the people of Alabama will be well served by Clark in this role.”
  • Morris is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Justice and has served as an assistant United States attorney in both the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama. Morris has served as the first assistant in the U.S. attorney’s office in Montgomery since 2013.
  • U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin spoke well of Morris and said her appointment will enhance efforts to combat crime.
  • “Mrs. Morris has been an incredible asset to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and her absence will be a huge loss. However, her new position at the Attorney General’s Office creates an opportunity for a partnership that we have not seen in years. Her leadership and judgment will serve the State of Alabama well, they are lucky to have her.”


A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition

  • Sen. Doug Jones: Don’t let Alabama small businesses and middle-class families get sacked by the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
  • Absent immediate action, the 2020 Health Insurance Tax will begin penalizing hardworking Alabamians on January 1, 2020 by driving up their cost of care as much as $450.
  • Sen. Jones can help score lower premiums for Alabama’s 765,000 small business employees by supporting bipartisan legislation (S. 3063) to block the HIT in 2020.
  • Ask Sen. Jones to help take S. 3063 to the end zone and support legislation to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.

3. Lawsuit challenges elected judges.

  • A federal judge has finished hearing evidence in a trial challenging Alabama’s practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote.
  • Chief District Judge Keith Watkins said Monday that he will issue instructions in the next week for final briefs and oral arguments.
  • The 2016 lawsuit contends the practice of at-large judicial elections dilutes the voting power of African-American citizens and results in all-white courts in a state where one in four people are African American.
  • There have been only two African-American candidates elected to the state’s Supreme Court. The court has been all-white for 17 years.
  • The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Alabama NAACP and four black voters.
  • The final witness in the case was a political scientist who testified about racially polarized voting patterns in Alabama.


4. Mother: Opportunity Scholarship “life changing” for son.

  • A lot has been written and said criticizing the Alabama Accountability Act, which allows Alabama residents and businesses tax credits for funding scholarships for students to escape failing schools.
  • This morning, a mother of a recipient of one of those scholarships wants to be heard by way of a letter in support of the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund.
  • Nyenya Webster says the scholarship has been “life changing” for her son, Carlos.
  • And she wants the same opportunities for her younger son.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“When my son Carlos was in the fifth grade, he was constantly bullied and I wanted to desperately put him into a private school. Because of his situation, he didn’t want to go to school at all and every day was a struggle.
“He’s the type of student that learns better when teachers give him attention and work one-on-one with him. I was at a loss as to what to do to help my son. I knew on my teacher’s salary, I could not afford to place him in a private school. Then I found out about the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund…
“I applied and received the help I needed to send him to Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery, Alabama.”
  • Read her full letter HERE.


5. News Briefs.

CDC: Toss the Salad


  • Health officials in the U.S. and Canada told people Tuesday to stop eating romaine lettuce because of a new E. coli outbreak.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is working with officials in Canada on the outbreak, which has sickened 32 people in 11 states and 18 people in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
  • The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year but appears similar to last year’s outbreak linked to leafy greens.
  • FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency doesn’t have enough information to ask suppliers for a recall, but he suggested that supermarkets and restaurants should withdraw romaine until the source of the contamination can be identified. People are also being advised to throw out any romaine they have at home.
  • Read more HERE.
SPLC sues over license policy
  • A federal lawsuit is challenging Alabama’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who can’t pay traffic tickets, arguing it violates the Fourteenth Amendment by “punishing persons simply because they are poor.”
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit on Monday in Montgomery federal court on behalf of three Alabama residents who had their licenses suspended.
  • The lawsuit states that nearly 23,000 Alabamians have suspended licenses because of the nonpayment of tickets.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
Trump answers Mueller
  • President Donald Trump has provided the special counsel with written answers to questions about his knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016 election, his lawyers said Tuesday, avoiding at least for now a potentially risky sit-down with prosecutors. It’s the first time he has directly cooperated with the long investigation.
  • The step is a milestone in the negotiations between Trump’s attorneys and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team over whether and when the president might sit for an interview.
  • The compromise outcome, nearly a year in the making, offers some benefit to both sides. Trump at least temporarily averts the threat of an in-person interview, which his lawyers have long resisted, while Mueller secures on-the-record statements whose accuracy the president will be expected to stand by for the duration of the investigation.
  • Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall names Clark Morris to lead special prosecutions division
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SPLC sues state over license policy
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump legal team provides answers to Mueller’s questions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump defies call to punish crown prince for reporter’s killing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – CDC: Stay away from Romaine lettuce
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mother: Alabama’s Opportunity Scholarship ‘life changing’ for son
AL.COM – Alabama record stores of the past: gone but still loud
AL.COM – Doug Jones on his first year, Trump, Kavanaugh, Sessions and Shelby
AL.COM – Body recovered where a man fell off a boat near Dauphin Island
AL.COM – Cannabidiol still illegal; Alabama AG explains narrow exceptions
AL.COM – Acting AG Whitaker got $900k as sole employee of charity, worked for company accused of fraud
AL.COM – Alabama’s pre-kindergarten rated tops for ‘essential elements’.
AL.COM – Alabama AG names new special prosecutions leader
AL.COM – Terri Sewell bill would require Alabama to clear voting changes once again with feds
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Debate over Amendment 2 meaning continues after passage
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Price tag for Alabama elections: $111 million
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban overturned by federal judge
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Romaine lettuce warning: CDC says E. coli outbreak has sickened 32 people in 11 states
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Indictment issued against Montgomery woman in murder case
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan man arrested second time for murder
DOTHAN EAGLE – VA Clinic consolidation in Dothan begins next week
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan Utilities takes next step toward implementation of smart-metering system
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa theater to show ‘Home Alone’ Wednesday
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa council considers incentives for hotels and John Deere dealership
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – No change in CFP top four; Alabama still No. 1
DECATUR DAILY – Calvary believes it has buyer for Beltline property
DECATUR DAILY – Decatur creates technology learning ground for teachers
DECATUR DAILY – Man who confessed to 90 deaths says he killed Decatur woman in 2005
TIMES DAILY – Safety first: Never leave cooking unattended
TIMES DAILY – Mom’s delayed reaction leads to her arrest
TIMES DAILY – 1 indicted for sexual molestation
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State Auditor Jim Zeigler eyeing 2020 run against Doug Jones for U.S. Senate
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mazda-Toyota site selection team tells the story of how they chose Huntsville
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mo Brooks questions Trump administration’s reaction to lawsuit about counting illegal aliens in the census
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – 5 county teachers surprised with technology bag grants [with gallery]
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Twin now mom to triplets
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – City gets $359K from Southeast Gas
TROY MESSENGER – Patriots take home third place
TROY MESSENGER – Experienced Patriots hungry for success
TROY MESSENGER – Powell and Eagles begin new season
THE ANNISTON STAR – Anniston City Council approves new Coldwater Mountain trails
THE ANNISTON STAR – Look Back … to victories for two in playoff action, 1993
GADSDEN TIMES – FDA warns: Don’t eat romaine lettuce
GADSDEN TIMES – Trump provides written responses to Mueller questions
GADSDEN TIMES – Glencoe alums wed on high school’s football field
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – I-85 accident involving semi hauling mobile home backs up traffic for miles
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – TURNER: AU has never beaten Duke, but the Tigers have come close
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Police reports from Nov. 20
CULLMAN TIMES – Promises to keep
CULLMAN TIMES – Trump provides written responses to Mueller questions
CULLMAN TIMES – Interstate work begins Monday
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Jefferson State’s Culinary Institute welcomes community to Holiday High Tea
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Hoover Police ready for holiday shopping season
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Man faces 25 counts of possession of child pornography
THE MADISON RECORD – City of Madison announces Thanksgiving garbage, recycling, trash schedules
THE MADISON RECORD – HPD arrests one suspect in counterfeit money case, asks for help in identifying second
THE MADISON RECORD – Mark Mincher Chosen For High School Hall Of Fame
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Festival of Lights opens Friday night
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Scammers pose as U.S. Marshals
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Jasper police: Be alert during holidays
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton
NEW YORK TIMES – In Pardoning Saudi Arabia, Trump Gives Guidance to Autocrats
NEW YORK TIMES – In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing
WASHINGTON POST – Conservative nonprofit with obscure roots and undisclosed funders paid Matthew Whitaker $1.2 million
WASHINGTON POST – Pelosi shows strength in fight for speakership, sidelining challenger and winning praise from Obama
WASHINGTON POST – ‘They just care about the strawberries’: During wildfires, workers say they felt pressured to stay on the job
USA TODAY – Russia loses to South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang in bid to lead global police body Interpol
USA TODAY – Acting AG Matthew Whitaker released details of past income that shows $900K from nonprofit
USA TODAY – What we know about Nancy Pelosi’s House Speaker bid and why some Democrats oppose her
POLITICO – Stalemate on Trump’s wall amid threat of shutdown
POLITICO – Poll: Democratic voters back Pelosi as speaker by wide margin
POLITICO – Zuckerberg says neither he nor Sandberg stepping down over political controversy

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