Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

Daily News Digest – November 8, 2018


Good morning. In case you haven’t heard, 13 people were killed at a California bar shooting last night . Here’s the rest of your Daily News for Thursday, November 8.

1. Sessions out.

What Happened
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly resigned Wednesday after being asked to by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, on behalf of the president.
  • This has been coming for some time, maybe even 18 months, ever since President Trump voiced displeasure with Sessions’ recusing himself from the investigation into Russian influence in the election.
  • Sessions’ Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker will take over as acting AG, which a lot of people are freaking out about vis-à-vie the Meuller investigation, but as Ashe Rangappa explains, the sky isn’t falling just yet.
  • Thus ends a long, strange journey for Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions that began in a 2005 Senate hearing over the United Nations building. Or does it?
  • All that in the full story from Washington HERE.
Go inside
  • Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd and a fellow DOJ official delivered Sessions letter of resignation to the White House. It was somber, professional, and the sort of peaceful transfer of power that Americans should expect and appreciate from their leaders, he said. Sessions’ letter speaks for itself.
  • There was a significant outpouring of support from law enforcement and Department of Justice attorneys and staff at an “all hands” meeting in the Attorney General’s conference room and a send off at the Department.
  • Sessions gave a “rousing” speech to his DOJ staff about the need to protect the rule of law and to protect the integrity of the department. The speech’s message and tone was described to me by those who were there as “important” and “very significant.”
  • He then exited the building to emotional applause and handshakes from deputies and other staff.
What’s next
  • Twitter was blowing up yesterday with speculation that Sessions could come home and seek his old Senate seat in the 2020 election.
  • I was highly skeptical of such talk. I still am to a degree, but after talking with a few folks close to Sessions, I can solidly report that this door is at least open.
  • One source put it at “a greater than 50 percent chance” that he runs.
  • Why would he? Sessions loved the Senate and was good at it. It’d be a chance to support the Trump agenda he believes in and finish out his career on his own terms.
  • Why wouldn’t he? It’s no guarantee he’d get his seniority back. That’s a lesson former Sen. Frank Lautenberg learned. Yet, I sense that Sen. Richard Shelby would love to have his old buddy back, and could help smooth the way with details like that.
  • If he ran, Sessions would be a lock to win. He’d clear the field, which would be a bummer for folks like Bradley Byrne and Gary Palmer and Del Marsh who have thought about running.
  • What does “greater than 50 percent chance” of running mean? It means he’ll go home, take some time off, breathe a little, and then figure out what’s next.
  • And, if he hurries home, he could even take in a little more tailgating.

2. What’s next: Legislature.

You know that Republicans in the Alabama House and Senate grew their majorities in the election. We covered that yesterday.
But what does it mean? Let’s talk about it.
  • Wasting no time, the Senate GOP Caucus met in the State Capitol Wednesday.
  • They unanimously re-elected Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper as Majority Leader. Reed has broad support within the caucus, partly because he appeals to both the fiscal and social conservatives. He and Sen. President Pro Tem Del Marsh led the effort to hold and grow the majority, so, winner winner chicken dinner.
  • As great as it will be for Marsh and Reed to have one more caucus member, the group could also get along better this term. Some senators who were perpetual flies in the ointment for the Senate GOP are gone now, so you could see a more united front on key issues like infrastructure.
  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon officially named former Rep. Mark Tuggle as his chief of staff Wednesday.
  • I reported on this interesting move back in August, but it’s now a done deal.
  • One fun thing McCutcheon and Tuggle have going for them? Having added to the House GOP caucus with FIVE new seats, they not only get more votes on the floor, but also in committee.
  • Representation on committees is determined by the ratio in the full House. So, the Speaker will get to appoint more GOP Caucus members to different committees, allowing him to spread the goodies around and make it harder for the opposition to stymie legislation.
Dates to keep in mind
  • The Legislature’s organizational session is scheduled to begin January 8. That’s when they officially elect leadership, set committees, and get the new folks up to speed.
  • The Inauguration is January 14. Tell your brothers and sisters.
  • The Regular Session will gavel in on March 5.

A Message from The Poarch Creek Indians

  • Being a Tribe and a distinct group of people requires moving forward, and in so doing, helping Alabama move forward on this land we all call home.
  • That’s the message of the Poarch Creek Indians’ new advertising campaign that launches this week.
  • Poarch’s 2018 campaign includes two much-anticipated commercials, “Land” and “Craft” — real stories about real people in the place they call home.
  • The spots use iconic cinematography to send hopeful messages about tradition and home, and the power we all have as communities to positively impact the wellbeing of our neighbors.
  • Everyone that you meet on screen and in voiceover is Poarch Creek. All scenes and locations are authentic to the Tribe.
  • Click here to watch the first spot, “Land.”


3. What’s next: Congress.

The Senate
  • It looks like Tester won Montana and McSally won Arizona. So, when you add in Mississippi’s upcoming special election, the Senate GOP Majority should stand at 54.
  • That’s a big deal, particularly when it comes to confirming judges and other nominees.
  • President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aren’t finished reshaping the federal bench, and their path just got less resistant.
  • In the last two years, the Senate cleared 53 District Court judges, 29 Circuit Court judges, and 2 Supreme Court justices.
  • More than 40 nominations await Senate approval, and that list could grow this week.
  • Some believe Justice Clarence Thomas could retire in the next year or so, allowing Trump to preserve the seat for conservatives for decades. (BTW, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke three ribs in a fall yesterday and is healing in the hospital.)
  • McConnell said confirming judges is his “top priority” in a divided Congress.
The House
  • They are still counting votes in some places, but it looks like the breakdown in the House will be 229 Democrats to 206 – an 11-seat majority.
  • Go inside “How the House Fell” with Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns.
  • Nancy Pelosi fully expects to be elected House Speaker. There are dissenters in her caucus, but she has the support of President Trump!
  • Expect an aggressive oversight agenda – hearings, subpoenas and what not – all to see what’s under Trump’s rug (tax returns, profits from family business, etc).
  • Expect Democrats to exact their pound of flesh on things like spending deals and taxes.
  • Only a handful of Republicans have ever served in the minority before, and it’s a lot different. Their job will be to slow down the Democrats’ legislative train and help the Trump Administration dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge various attacks.
Keep this in mind
  • One potential silver lining for House Republicans is the return of Congressional earmarks.
  • Earmarks are line items in appropriations bills directing the government to spend funds on certain projects.
  • Earmarking funds was banned under the John Boehner/Paul Ryan speakerships because the the abuses that used to occur.
  • But banning earmarks left spending decisions up to executive branch officials who may or may not like states like Alabama.
  • Many Republicans, including Alabama’s Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt and Martha Roby, have advocated bringing back a reformed earmark process that avoids abuses but allows Congress to direct spending like it says they are supposed to do in the Constitution.
  • Pelosi and the Democrats are probably game, and that could mean good things for Alabama given our state’s clout on the Appropriations Committees.
  • Aderholt and Roby are both appropriators. And, of course, Sen. Richard Shelby chairs the full committee in the Senate.
  • Might not need a majority to make it rain.

4. News Briefs.

Pettway, Carr win in JeffCo
  • Democrat Mark Pettway was elected Tuesday as Jefferson County sheriff on a platform that included additional police body cameras and criminal justice reform.
  • Democrat Danny Carr won the district attorney’s office after suggesting that first-time marijuana possession be treated more like a traffic offense than a serious crime.
  • Jefferson County is almost evenly split racially in its population and both candidates beat white Republican incumbents.
  • Read more about the two candidates and their campaigns HERE.
Hinton gets to vote
  • A photo of Anthony Hinton went viral on election day because it was the first time in 30 years that he was allowed to vote in Alabama.
  • Hinton was a former inmate on death row before he was freed of all charges for being wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative.
  • As of Wednesday night, the photo has been liked 37,000 times and retweeted over 9,000 times.
  • Equal Justice Initiative spokeswoman Tania Cordes said Hinton was first in line at his polling place, arriving before the doors opened Tuesday.
  • Read more about Hinton HERE.
Voters end jail food problems
  • Morgan and Cullman County voters overwhelmingly voted on a measure that would prohibit sheriffs from pocketing whatever profits they can generate from feeding prisoners as cheaply as possible.
  • A Morgan County sheriff has already been jailed after a federal judge found him guilty of not feeding his prisoners properly and pocketing the money.
  • The measure was strictly local and won’t affect other counties in Alabama.
  • Gov. Ivey has already moved to make the practice illegal in the state, but some advocacy groups said the controversial practice will not stop unless lawmakers change state law.
  • You can read more about it HERE

5. Headlines.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gunman kills 12 then himself at California bar
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jeff Sessions pushed out after a year of attacks from Trump
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ginsburg, 85, fractures three ribs in fall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Trump, Pelosi talk about getting along – until they don’t
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With split Congress, prospect for economic deals looks dim
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Pettway, Carr win in Jefferson County
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Voters in 2 Alabama counties end sheriffs’ jail food bonus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Thousands share photo of former inmate getting to vote
AL.COM – 65 percent of Alabama voters cast straight-ticket ballots.
AL.COM – After 28 years on Alabama’s Death Row, Anthony Ray Hinton votes with a smile.
AL.COM – Doug Jones on Sessions resignation: ‘Vital to protect’ Mueller probe.
AL.COM – Poll: Should Jeff Sessions return to Alabama to run for his old U.S. Senate seat in 2020?
AL.COM – Alabama losing ‘100 years of black political knowledge’ but new leaders rising.
AL.COM – Jeff Sessions will run for Senate in 2020, analyst says.
AL.COM – Byrne: Sessions resignation ‘doesn’t change’ possible Senate plans.
AL.COM – #RedForEd: Teachers rally at Alabama Supreme Court hearing.
AL.COM – Hwashin announces $26 million expansion, to create 50 jobs.
AL.COM – Alabama A&M graduate becomes first black lieutenant governor of Wisconsin.
AL.COM – Alabama just elected ‘one of the most conservative governments we’ve ever had’.
AL.COM – Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hires former lawmaker as chief of staff.
AL.COM – Luther Strange: Send Jeff Sessions back to Senate.
AL.COM – Two counties vote to stop sheriffs keeping inmate food money.
AL.COM – Unofficial Alabama numbers show 50 percent voter turnout.
AL.COM – Mountain Brook native Elaine Luria wins Virginia Congressional seat.
AL.COM – Republicans solidify control of Alabama Legislature.
AL.COM – Alabama among states with the nation’s lowest total mortgage debt.
AL.COM – After no obvious voting system compromises in midterms, US cybersecurity officials look to 2020
AL.COM – Protests in support of Mueller investigation planned after Whitaker appointment
AL.COM – Eufaula City Schools closed Thursday due to social media threat
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Suburbs, Wiregrass and national climate power Alabama Republican sweep
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama amendment allows display of Ten Commandments: Where you might see them.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Election Day 2018: Voting problems aplenty in Montgomery County
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Records show man sought in Montgomery bank heist has history of robberies
DOTHAN EAGLE – Carnival worker at Peanut Festival arrested for possession of narcotics
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dale County voters choose to fund EMS with tag fee
DOTHAN EAGLE – Man wanted for Eufaula murder captured in Michigan
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa semifinalist for O’Brien Award
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Political races decided in West Alabama
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Two charged in road rage incident near Brookwood Middle School
DECATUR DAILY – GOP dominates straight-ticket voting locally
DECATUR DAILY – Alabama football: Framework for Alabama’s offense starts with 2016-17 recruiting classes
DECATUR DAILY – City’s appeal denied in Voketz case
TIMES DAILY – Lauderdale Commission incumbents re-elected
TIMES DAILY – Stutts, Melson win again
TIMES DAILY – Man charged with passing counterfeit checks
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mallory Hagan lashes out at Alabama Democratic Party in loss: ‘They sh-t on Democratic candidates left and right’
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Watch: Emotional Sessions leaves DOJ to applause from colleagues
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama fan killed by two LSU fans in Saturday night bar fight
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – DTF arrests 6 for meth
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – LSINC promotes Opp native Patton
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – MIRACLE MAKERS: Meredith’s Miracles plans service awards
TROY MESSENGER – New season: Trojans travel to Birmingham to take on Ramsay in opening round of state playoffs
TROY MESSENGER – Stopping the run key for Trojans against the Eagles
TROY MESSENGER – TES, Banks School host fall festival fundraisers Thursday
THE ANNISTON STAR – Venerable Anniston buildings for sale by auction
THE ANNISTON STAR – FIVE THINGS to expect after the midterm election
THE ANNISTON STAR – Parade, concert, ceremonies to mark Veterans Day
GADSDEN TIMES – Minority candidates see both success and veiled racism
GADSDEN TIMES – Veterans Parade rained out
GADSDEN TIMES – Smartphone makers bet on foldable screens as next big thing
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Sessions resigns; Alabama asks what’s next?
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn City Council faces rezoning issue
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Opelika council casts final vote approving OPS ONE sale
CULLMAN TIMES – Sessions resigns as attorney general at White House request
CULLMAN TIMES – Farm-City tour highlights economic diversity
CULLMAN TIMES – Marie Street NW closed for drain repair
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Hoover, Shelby County to partner on recreational projects
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Chamber hears about youth hunt organization
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Chelsea students declared ‘Super Citizens’
THE MADISON RECORD – Huntsville to host free public screening of ‘Redneck Housewives of Alabama’ Nov. 10
THE MADISON RECORD – West Madison Elementary to host fun ‘Math Night’ Nov. 8
THE MADISON RECORD – Voters voice opinions in amendments to state constitution
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Putting on a show: McFall, students have fun in Dora High’s band
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Commission getting funds for three roads
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Eight dogs at city animal shelter test positive for distemper
NEW YORK TIMES – Jeff Sessions Is Forced Out as Attorney General as Trump Installs Loyalist
NEW YORK TIMES – How Sessions’s Firing Could Affect the Russia Investigation
NEW YORK TIMES – How the House Fell: Republican Chaos and Democratic Focus
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Multiple fatalities’ reported in bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif. during ‘college night’ gathering
WASHINGTON POST – Jeff Sessions forced out as attorney general
WASHINGTON POST – Washington in battle mode as Trump vows retaliation against Democratic probes
WASHINGTON POST – In Matthew Whitaker, Trump has a loyalist at the helm of the Justice Department.
WASHINGTON POST – Sessions’s ouster throws future of special counsel probe into question.
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans abandon the fight to repeal and replace Obama’s health care law.
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats gain hundreds of legislative seats and secure majority of state attorneys general.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: Trump’s rambling, angry news conference shows he ignored the message voters sent him.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributors William P. Barr, Edwin Meese III and Michael B. Mukasey: We are former attorneys general. We salute Jeff Sessions.
WASHINGTON POST – Chinese-owned pork producer to get money from bailout program spurred by China’s tariffs.
USA TODAY – Tesla says Robyn Denholm of Telstra to replace Elon Musk as new board chair
USA TODAY – Trash compactor crushes man looking for cellphone: ‘He’s very lucky to be alive’
USA TODAY – Midterm elections results, Affordable Care Act enrollment, polar vortex: 5 things to know Thursday
POLITICO – Coming soon to the Senate: A 2020 Democratic brawl
POLITICO – Florida becomes ‘Trump Country’
POLITICO – Mueller has powerful new House allies as he bears down on Trump


Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)


Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.


Web Development By Infomedia