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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    The tide of controversy associated with charges of sexual harassment that has swept the nation and Capitol Hill, forced another lawmaker in the U.S. House to leave his job, as Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) announced on Thursday morning that he would not run for re-election in 2018, acknowledging that his staff managment had been “decidedly unprofessional.” “I had no idea how to run a Congressional office,” Farenthold said in a Facebook video. “I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional,” the Texas Republican added. While Farenthold said he had allowed ‘destructive gossip, off-hand comments, off-color jokes,” he denied charges of sexual misconduct that had swirled around him. “I want to be perfectly clear, the charges that were made are false,” he said. Farenthold had already pledged to repay an $84,000 payment made by Congress to a former staffer, who had alleged sexual misconduct – but in recent days, it became clearer that remaining in Congress becoming a more and more precarious situation. “I had a couple of conversations with Blake Farenthold yesterday,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan at a news conference. “There are new stories that are very disconcerting,” the Speaker added. “I think he’s making the right decision to retire,” the Speaker added. Asked about payments – like those made in the Farenthold case – Ryan said there really isn’t a ‘special fun’ for members of Congress, instead it comes out of the same type of payments made to workers in the Legislative Branch for all sorts of matters that turn into legal issues. . @SpeakerRyan: Rep. Blake Farenthold 'is making the right decision to retire. There are new stories that are very disconcerting.' https://t.co/68oHZbA4M3 pic.twitter.com/m1ARpavKdp — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 14, 2017 The decision by Farenthold is the latest in a string of stories about lawmakers and sexual misconduct – last week, they forced the resignations of two House members, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), as well as Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). While Farenthold’s announcement envisions him finishing out his current term in Congress, there is still a pending investigation against him in the House Ethics Committee; it’s still possible that could change the calculus on his departure date. At this date, 20 currently-serving members of the House have decided not to run for re-election in 2018, another 17 are running for a different political office – that’s a 9 percent change – with much more probably on the way.
  • Under fire from Republicans, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, warding off repeated questions from GOP lawmakers who charge that Mueller has assembled a group of senior officials who were pro-Hillary Clinton and anti-Donald Trump. “Have you seen ‘good cause’ to fire Special Counsel Mueller?” Rosenstein was asked early in a lengthy hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. “No,” Rosenstein answered, as he stuck to that observation throughout the hearing, leaving GOP lawmakers aggravated. “This is unbelievable,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who chastised Rosenstein just like the Ohio Republican demanded more information last week from the FBI Director, taking aim at several top FBI officials, whose private texts showed them with little respect for President Trump. “How with a straight face that this group of Democrat partisans are unbiased, and will give President Trump a fair shake?” asked Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). “I’m not aware of any impropriety,” Rosenstein said when asked about the Mueller probe, as he said he was confident that Mueller was not running a tainted investigation. But Republicans weren’t backing off. . @RepSteveChabot: 'Let me just review a few facts about the supposedly 'unbiased' group of people that Mr. Mueller pulled together…' pic.twitter.com/SldT1NwP8O — Fox News (@FoxNews) December 13, 2017 It was all part of the latest GOP push to undermine confidence in the the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian meddling into the 2016 elections, and any links to President Trump’s campaign, which saw new momentum with the release of text messages from 2016 between certain senior Justice Department officials, texts which were sent before Mueller had been appointed to review the Russia question. The texts detailed a series of verbal put downs of Mr. Trump during the campaign, using flowery language that some GOP lawmakers refused to read out loud at Wednesday’s hearing. Some of the G-rated texts referred to Mr. Trump as “awful,” an “idiot,” and a “loathesome human being.” Strzok/Page texts obtained by Fox's @JakeBGibson 'LP – I can not believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president.' — Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) December 13, 2017 “We recognize that we have employees with political opinions,” Rosenstein said at one point. “And it’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. Democrats played damage control for the Mueller investigation by leading Rosenstein through some more friendly questions about the Russia probe. “Your testimony today is that you believe Bob Mueller is a person of high integrity?” asked Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). “Yes,” Rosenstein responded. “You believe that investigation is being conducted fairly,” Swalwell asked. “Yes,” said Rosenstein. But Democrats also came after Rosenstein at times, as the Deputy Attorney General was repeatedly pressed to tell whether he had been called on the telephone by the President, and told to investigate certain people or issues – Rosenstein fended off those questions as well. “You’re being very artful in jumping around and evading,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) told Rosenstein at one point, prompting Rosenstein to disagree. “Are you afraid of President Trump firing you?” Johnson asked. “No, I’m not,” Rosenstein said, flashing a big grin at the witness table.
  • Trading barbs with President Donald Trump via Twitter on Tuesday, women Democrats demanded that Congress investigate past claims of sexual misconduct leveled against the President during the 2016 campaign, as several lawmakers took the extra step of asking for Mr. Trump’s resignation. “President Trump should resign. But, of course, he won’t hold himself accountable,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who has emerged as the leader of efforts to pressure the President on the issue of past allegations. Mr. Trump lobbed a Twitter barb directly at the New York Democrat on Tuesday morning, labeling her a “lightweight” and “total flunky.” Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017 Gillibrand answered back, saying her voice would not be shut down by the President. You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office. https://t.co/UbQZqubXZv — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 12, 2017 And she was joined by other Democrats as well, in calling for the stories about the President to get more of a public airing. . @realDonaldTrump is a misogynist, compulsive liar, and admitted sexual predator. Attacks on Kirsten are the latest example that no one is safe from this bully. He must resign. https://t.co/7lNI23K7ib — Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 12, 2017 Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand? Do you know who you're picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump. Nevertheless, #shepersisted. https://t.co/mYJtBZfxiu — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 12, 2017 A day after the White House turned aside questions about past claims made by women against the President, Mr. Trump directly addressed the matter, saying that it was all “FAKE NEWS,” calling the charges against him nothing more than ‘false accusations and fabricated stories.’ Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017 At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, a group of House Democratic women asked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the head of the House Oversight committee, to investigate the accusations against Mr. Trump. “At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct,” the letter to Gowdy stated. “The President’s own remarks appear to back up the allegations,” the letter continued. “The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women.” “The ‘Me-Too’ movement has arrived,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL). “Victims must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable.” 'To date, more than 17 women have publicly come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct,' lawmaker says. 'Simply said, Americans deserve the truth.' https://t.co/mIxkZRGYzP pic.twitter.com/QhBvmGSxE1 — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 12, 2017 At a news conference, Frankel said the letter – which originally had 58 signatures – had swiftly jumped to over 100 in all. “Americans deserve the truth,” Frankel told reporters. While the Democratic women were in the spotlight, some of their male colleagues also chimed in with calls for a more thorough review of the accusations against Mr. Trump. “If you called for Franken to step down, don’t you also have to say it is the right thing for the President to resign?” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on CNN.
  • After enduring weeks of speculation on what would happen if controversial Republican Roy Moore wins a seat in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are waiting like everyone else to see the next act in this political play, as Senate GOP leaders have made clear they won’t give Moore a hero’s welcome if he does emerge victorious on Tuesday night in Alabama. As Senators arrived for their first vote of the week on Monday evening, Republicans ran a gauntlet of reporters asking a simple question – will Roy Moore soon be in the U.S. Senate? “I don’t know,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the senior Senator from the Yellowhammer State, who has made clear that he did not vote for Moore, but instead wrote in another Republican in the Alabama Senate race. Pressed again to say if Moore would win, Shelby re-emphasized his vote. “Not with my help,” he said. The polls in Alabama have been back and forth in recent weeks. The latest on Monday from Fox News, showed a 10 point lead for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Fox News Poll: Enthused Democrats give Jones lead over Moore in Alabama https://t.co/7RZmnq0zXN #FoxNews — Mihai Scorobete (@MihaiScorobete) December 11, 2017 “We’ll see,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who denounced Moore, and gave $100 to the Jones campaign. “At this point it’s what I call a turnout race,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), when asked who would win. “It depends who gets their vote out.” While Byrne believes the edge is with the GOP, political pollsters say his turnout argument is on point. “Tomorrow’s Alabama Senate special election will depend on which candidate has more people turn out to vote for him,” pollster Frank Luntz wrote Monday on Twitter. This group of conservative Alabama voters say all 9 of Roy Moore's accusers have been paid to lie against him. #ALSen https://t.co/OT1vV33KRT — Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 9, 2017 Outside the Senate chamber, many Republicans wanted to wait and see the vote totals before worrying about their next move. “Let’s see what happens,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), as he was pursued by a group of reporters. “That’s a decision that I leave to the Leader,” Johnson said when asked how Moore should be dealt with by his fellow Republicans – if he wins. “I’m not going to make a call on his qualifications,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) of Moore. “That will be a decision that will be made after the outcome of the election.” Others were quiet on the subject of Roy Moore for an obvious reason. “The answer to your question is, I’m doing good,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), before I had even asked the Senator a question. “I can’t talk to you about anything because I’m the Ethics Chairman,” Isakson added, as the Georgia Republican would be in charge of any ethics review of Moore, which the Senate Majority Leader has made clear he would ask for that if Moore is elected. Isakson – and his GOP colleagues – will find out Tuesday night what’s next for them, and what’s next for Roy Moore.
  • In a spirited series of exchanges in the White House Briefing Room, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders batted away questions about women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct in the past, as Sanders ripped the news media for misleading stories on other subjects. “The President has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations,” Sanders said in the first of a number of questions about the subject. Three of the women who have alleged sexual misconduct urged Congress on Monday to investigate the claims against the President. The White House basically countered that it was old news. “This took place long before he was elected to be President,” Sanders told reporters. “The people of this country, in a decisive election, supported President Trump. 'The president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations, and this took place long before he was elected to be president,' @PressSec says of women accusing Pres. Trump of sexual misconduct https://t.co/4NAJSB2AXV pic.twitter.com/NFHJzIU0xP — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 11, 2017 As for the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled by over a dozen different women, some Democrats in the Congress on Monday said it’s time for a public accounting of what really happened. ‘This is not about politics. This is not about policy,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said in a fundraising email entitled, “Why Donald Trump must resign,” as several Democrats publicly called for that outcome. “At least 17 women have accused Donald Trump of horrific sexual misconduct, and I believe them,” Merkley added. “Congress must investigate allegations by many, many women that he sexually assaulted and harassed them,” wrote Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Twitter. “No one is above the law.” Things got more testy over news coverage of the Trump White House in a later exchange between Sanders and CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. Reporter: 'I would say that journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn't make them fake news.' @PressSec: 'When journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them. A lot of times you don't.' pic.twitter.com/WsTV0eFKXM — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 11, 2017 “You cannot say that it’s an honest mistake when you are purposely putting out information that you know to be false,” Sanders said.
  • With two weeks until Christmas, the to-do list is a long one for the Congress, as GOP lawmakers try to finish work on a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, fund the government into 2018, and look to deal with a number of other contentious issues that have eluded lawmakers and the White House, but it’s not clear how much the House and Senate will be able to accomplish before going home for the holidays “If things don’t get done, we are going to have quite a catastrophe,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), one of many GOP lawmakers who remain confident that Republican leaders will find a way to reach a deal on tax reform. “I think this is one that we’re going to get done,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). “There’s unanimity in the conference to get this done.” Here is what lies ahead for lawmakers in the Congress: 1. GOP must move quickly to finish tax reform bill. If Republicans are going to get a tax reform bill on the President’s desk before Christmas, they don’t have much time. Lawmakers certainly don’t want to be on Capitol Hill after Friday the 22nd; the first formal meeting of the House-Senate tax reform “conference” committee is on Wednesday, but that’s really more for show. Behind the scenes, key GOP lawmakers have already been trying to reach agreements on final language in the bill. If you want a full rundown on the differences between the House and Senate versions, read this comparison from the Joint Committee on Taxation. There have already been a number of stories about mistakes and loopholes in the GOP tax reform plan – we’ll see if those get resolved as well. This is no slam dunk, but the odds still favor the GOP. Tight squeeze. Conference draft by 11th. Many hairy issues. Must finish by 18th to do budget due on 22nd. Stephen Cooper and Dylan Moroses: 'Brady Says International Tax Changes May Need Transition' https://t.co/LutCCAUq2V — Martin Sullivan (@M_SullivanTax) December 8, 2017 2. Next stop gap budget runs out on December 22. There isn’t enough time to write a full “Omnibus” spending bill (Speaker Ryan said that last week), so the question is more likely how much will Congress get done on funding the operations of the federal government, and how much gets booted into 2018. Republicans have been making noise about approving a funding bill for the military, keeping all other agencies on a temporary budget, and then adding in a bunch of year-end sweeteners to the bill. It’s also possible that such a deal could increase the ‘budget caps,’ allowing for a larger defense budget, and maybe more domestic spending as well. The idea of increasing spending just before the holidays does not sit well with more conservative Republicans. And what about DACA and the immigrant Dreamers? There could be a lot of wheeling and dealing in the days ahead. Would Freedom Caucus support a CR compromise that includes CHIP, health CSR, or defense/non=BCA cap breaking? If not, Dems may be able to demand DACA in CR without getting full blame for shutdown or threat — Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) December 10, 2017 3. Will there be more shoes dropping on Capitol Hill? After what was a historic week – where three members announced their resignations due to allegations of sexual misconduct – it’s not unreasonable to wonder if more stories will surface in coming days. There’s already pressure on Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) to resign – an ethics probe was announced last Friday on Farenthold, who says he will pay back an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement with a former staffer. Over the weekend, reports surfaced about another possible taxpayer payout related to a harassment lawsuit, involving Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). As a reporter, I cannot stress how unusual last week was on Capitol Hill. If you have one lawmaker announce a resignation, that’s a big deal. Two resignations was a major headline. And then a surprise third. One cannot discount the possibilities that more such stories are in the pipeline. Stay tuned. Taxpayers paid $220,000 to settle a sexual harassment suit involving Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings… https://t.co/j5dQct1nea — George Bennett (@gbennettpost) December 9, 2017 4. From member of Congress to anti-filibuster PAC? Last Thursday, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) stunned his colleagues by announcing his resignation, effective January 31. But on Friday, he decided to make it effective immediately, citing the hospitalization of his wife, after revelations that he had tried to get female staffers in his office to be a surrogate for his child (not a campaign surrogate). In between those events, a Minnesota television news crew that was in Washington to cover the resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), stumbled into Franks at their hotel, as they overheard the Arizona Republican on the phone soliciting big money donations to start a political action committee that would fight to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, which Franks, and other more conservative Republicans in the House have been blaming for inaction on the GOP agenda. The news crew that stumbled into that story must still be shaking their heads about their luck. Amazing: Minnesota news crew in DC for Franken overhears Trent Franks soliciting $2 million to start an anti-filibuster PAC https://t.co/TkAzUXx6Yz — Matt DeLong (@mattdelong) December 9, 2017 5. Roy Moore and the Alabama U.S. Senate race. Tuesday is finally Election Day in the Yellowhammer State, and no matter what else is happening in the halls of Congress this week, the outcome of this race will be a big deal. If Moore wins, a lot of GOP Senators won’t like the outcome. If Democrat Doug Jones wins, that will be a setback for President Donald Trump, who tried to stir support for Moore during a Fright night rally in Pensacola, Florida. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telegraphed last week that if Roy Moore wins, then the new Alabama Senator is certain to face a review by the Senate Ethics Committee. Alabama’s senior Senator, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), made it clear again on Sunday that he wrote in someone else – instead of voting for Roy Moore. Just that part of the story is highly unusual, let alone all the other news stories that keep coming out about Moore’s past actions and beliefs. It would be an unprecedented situation if Moore wins, since so many GOP Senators have made it crystal clear that they want no part of him.
  • As Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and any ties to the campaign of President Donald Trump, Republicans in the Congress have joined Mr. Trump in stepping up attacks on the FBI, raising questions about political bias inside the top ranks of that agency, an effort that could well form the basis for partisan opposition to the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Those sentiments were on full display last Thursday at the first Congressional oversight hearing for the new FBI Director, as Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee repeatedly pressed Christopher Wray for answers on GOP allegations that partisan bias among top FBI officials had infected both the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the review of any ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. At the hearing, it didn’t take long for Republican frustration to boil over, as the FBI Director repeatedly refused to give detailed answers about the Clinton and Trump probes, saying – accurately – that the Inspector General of the Justice Department was reviewing how those matters were handled, as Wray sidestepped GOP requests for information. But that didn’t matter to GOP lawmakers. “I think you’re walking into a Contempt of Congress,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) snapped, criticizing Wray for fending off a variety of questions, as a number of GOP lawmakers all but asserted that the FBI was illegally withholding information from Congress on a number of fronts. Republicans also pressed for more background about two leading FBI officials, who were involved in both the Clinton and Trump probes, demanding more information about Peter Strzok and Andrew Weissman, who GOP lawmakers say expressed anti-Trump feelings to others inside the Justice Department, impacting both of those probes. Tied into all of this is the contention of some in the GOP that the FBI wrongly used the controversial “dossier” put together about President Trump during the 2016 campaign – which the GOP says was paid for by the Democrats – and possibly funneled to the FBI for its use. “I mean, there are all kinds of people on Mueller’s team who are pro-Clinton,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as some Republicans suggested a top to bottom review of key people in the Russia investigation to see if they are harboring anti-Trump sentiments. During the over five hour hearing, Democrats asked Wray several times about President Trump’s recent assertion that the FBI was in “tatters” after the stewardship of former Director James Comey. NEW: FBI Director Chris Wray responds to Pres. Trump's claim that bureau's reputation is in 'tatters': 'The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women…decent people committed to the highest principles of integrity and professionalism.' pic.twitter.com/e7hb6GjK2u — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 7, 2017 “I am emphasizing in every audience I can inside the bureau, that our decisions need to be made based on nothing other than the facts and the law,” Wray said. But judging from the reaction at this oversight hearing – which could have covered any subject – the biggest concern for Republicans right now is pursuing allegations that the FBI was too lenient on Hillary Clinton, and too quick to investigate Donald Trump.
  • Just fifteen miles from the Alabama border, President Donald Trump used a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday night to make the case for controversial GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, telling cheering supporters that his administration needs to keep that Senate seat in GOP hands, to insure that Mr. Trump’s agenda can move through the Congress. “We can’t afford to have a liberal Democrat, who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” the President said of the special election on Tuesday for U.S. Senate in Alabama. “Responding to someone in the crowd who was chanting Moore’s name, the President heartily agreed. “This guy is screaming, ‘We want Roy Moore!’ He’s right,” Mr. Trump said, as he made the case for Moore in a next-door state. Pres. Trump at Pensacola, FL campaign-style rally: 'This guy's screaming 'we want Roy Moore.' He's right.' https://t.co/NFyqQFaIKP pic.twitter.com/PxhGASXHPS — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 9, 2017 Pres. Trump on Alabama special election: 'We cannot afford — this country, the future of this country cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate — we can't afford it, folks.' https://t.co/NFyqQFaIKP pic.twitter.com/C9pHFzgLCl — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 9, 2017 Pres. Trump: 'His name is Jones and he's their total puppet and everybody knows it. He will never, ever vote for us.' https://t.co/NFyqQFaIKP pic.twitter.com/xJUsvuFZ4J — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 9, 2017 In his rally, the President gave a familiar campaign stump speech, mixing attacks on the news media with a pitch for a variety of proposals, like tougher measures on illegal immigration, and money for his proposed border wall. LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already. The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2017 But to achieve that, the President said it was imperative that Republicans win in Alabama on Tuesday. “Get out and vote for Roy Moore!” Mr. Trump said to cheers.
  • In a head shaking series of events, a tide of sexual misconduct allegations continued to sweep across Capitol Hill on Thursday, as one Senate Democrat and one House Republican announced their resignations, while another House GOP lawmaker became the subject of an ethics review over a sexual harassment case that has already resulted in a taxpayer funded settlment. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) began the highly unusual day on Capitol Hill, taking the Senate floor just before lunch to announce his resignation ‘in coming weeks,’ but denying any wrongdoing. Hours later, the House floor suddenly was in the spotlight, as Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) surprised colleagues by announcing he would resign effective at the end of January. A group of fellow Republicans just prayed on the House floor with Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who @PoliticsReid reports is resigning. Everyone stone-faced. — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) December 7, 2017 About the same time, the House Ethics Committee announced it had formed an investigative panel to review allegations of sexual harassment against Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who has already acknowledged having the taxpayers pay $84,000 to a former employee to settle a sexual harassment case. All those developments came amid talk in the halls of the Capitol of possibly more stories emerging about lawmakers, mirroring the public rush of sexual misconduct allegations nationally. “Every one of these claims, whether it’s in business, industry, or in Congress, has to be taken very seriously,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, hours before Ryan said he had asked Rep. Franks to resign. The Speaker’s office put out this background on the Franks case: “Last Wednesday, the speaker was briefed on credible claims of misconduct by Rep. Trent Franks. He found the allegations to be serious and requiring action,” read a statement put out by the Speaker’s office. The Speaker’s statement was much different than the explanation put out by Franks, who said he had discussed the issue of having a child by a surrogate with two former female staffers. “Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018,” Franks said in a statement. Meanwhile, pressure increased on Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who admitted this week that he had used taxpayer dollars to pay an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement with a former employee on Capitol Hill. On CNN Thursday evening, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) said she thought Farenthold needed to move on. “I think that he should voluntarily resign,” Love said, becoming the second GOP lawmaker to call for Farenthold to quit, along with Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA). Farenthold is now facing a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which was announced at about the time that Rep. Franks announced his resignation. Meanwhile, Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), was resisting calls for his resignation, over claims of sexual misconduct during his 2016 run for Congress. “We have a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the House of Representatives,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has publicly urged Kihuen to leave the Congress.
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

    Follow Jamie on Google+

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Local News

  • Hall County fire services responded to a crash between a school bus and a car Thursday afternoon.  The crash happened on McEver Road at Vineyard Way. One person had to be removed from the car and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. One child on the bus complained of injuries but was not taken to a hospital. The school bus was from Gainesville Exploration Academy, which has students K-5. A second bus arrived to transport students home. The car's driver, identified as Soleil Nyasamaza, 23, of Gainesville, has been charged with failure to yield after stopping at a stop sign. TRENDING STORIES: Mary Norwood may challenge votes following Atlanta mayoral recount Omarosa teases tell-all in post-White House resignation interview/a> 93-year-old woman evicted, jailed when she refused to leave, police say
  • An Uber driver was arrested Thursday after a 16-year-old girl said she was raped in Gwinnett County, police said. Abdoulie Jagne, 58, of College Park, was identified as the man police say raped a girl somewhere along South Norcross Tucker Road between Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Old Norcross Tucker Road in unincorporated Norcross, Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said.  Uber officials said Jagne had been with the company for a couple of months and released a statement: “What’s reported here is horrifying beyond words. Our thoughts are with the rider and her family during this time. This driver has been permanently removed from the app.'  After the girl was dropped off at an apartment complex in that area Monday, she seemed intoxicated and banged on several doors, Pihera said. RELATED: Pregnant woman: ‘I kept bleeding’ after being attacked by Uber driver Jailed ex-Uber driver faces additional burglary, peeping Tom charges Uber driver carjacked at Cascade Road gas station Someone called 911 and when police spoke with the girl she said her Uber driver raped her, Pihera said. The girl, whose pants were still around her ankles, was immediately taken to a nearby hospital for an evaluation, Pihera said.  “The officers made contact with the friend who scheduled the Uber ride and obtained identifying information on the driver along with the vehicle information,” Pihera said.  Uber officials have been working with police in the ongoing investigation. Jagne was booked into the Gwinnett County jail Thursday. Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. In other news:
  • Authorities have arrested a man they say was responsible for bank robberies in metro Atlanta, Athens and South Carolina. Athens-Clarke County police and FBI agents arrested Frank Douglas, 58, on Tuesday in South Carolina, police spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez said in an emailed statement. Douglas was arrested on an unrelated charge, Rodriguez said. However, authorities “were able to confirm” Douglas was responsible for robberies in Conyers, Athens and North Augusta, S.C. Earlier, Athens police were seeking Douglas for questioning about a Dec. 5 robbery at a Bank of America branch, according to the statement. A man went into the bank and passed a note to a teller that demanded money, Rodriguez said. Douglas is also thought to be responsible for a robbery at the BB&T branch on Ga. 20 in Conyers on Nov. 30, police spokesman Buck Vaughn said. Police also are seeking a woman in her 60s who was driving a car that the man got into after the robbery, Rodriguez said. She is believed to be from the Monroe area and may have just met Douglas on U.S. 78 while giving him a ride to Athens. They do not believe the woman was knowingly involved in the robbery. “Detectives would like to speak with the female to obtain any information she can provide about Frank Douglas and the activities on that day,” Rodriguez said. Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. In other news:
  • Aggravated stalking and obstruction charges for a Hall County woman who entered the property of her victim uninvited. Rhonda Leigh Haney, 46, from Flowery Branch then resisted being handcuffed by police. She remains in the Hall County jail. The Hall County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.    Battery and false imprisonment charges for Cindee Sheree Perdue, 33, of Talmo, Ga. The Hall County Sheriff’s Department arrested her after she struck her victim several times on the hand resulting in a laceration. Perdue then held her victim down to the floor preventing them from leaving the location. Perdue was then arrested and booked into the Hall County Jail.    Heroin and marijuana charges for Robert Allen West, 32, of Tucker, Ga, arrested by the Hall County Sheriff’s Department during a traffic stop on I-985. Deputies stopped West for several traffic violations. He was found in possession of a quantity of heroin and less than one ounce of marijuana and booked into the Hall County jail. 
  • Georgia junior inside linebacker Natrez Patrick got some good news on Thursday. According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Patrick had his marijuana possession charge dropped after his arrest the same night as the SEC Championship game. Patrick now likely will not face the consequences of his third suspsension for marijuana Jayson Stanley also had one of his charges dropped, according to Schlabach.   The post Report: Natrez Patrick has charges dropped after recent arrest appeared first on DawgNation.

Bulldog News

  • NORMAN, Okla. — Back in the team meeting room they call the Red Room, underneath Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium, quarterback Baker Mayfield on Thursday met with the local press for the first time since accepting the Heisman Trophy in New York on Saturday. Asked who was the most intriguing person he met during his whirlwind postseason award tour, Mayfield did not hesitate. “Herschel Walker,” the Sooners’ superstar said. Then he gushed. “He looks like he could still play right now,” Mayfield said of Georgia’s greatest tailback of all time. “That’s just impressive. You meet so many special guys, but a guy like that is like a once-in-a-century type of athlete. It was pretty neat.” Reminded that Walker played for the team his Sooners are about to meet in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, Mayfield laughed. “That’s OK,” he said. “It’s Herschel Walker. I don’t have to play him, so it’s all right.” That exchange offered a nice glimpse into the persona of Oklahoma’s record-setting quarterback. The dude knows how to work a room and is quite comfortable at a lectern. And he knows how to butter-up an opponent. Mayfield nsists he wasn’t just trying to endear himself to the Bulldog Nation by offering effusive praise about their greatest player of all time. But one started to wonder when he began to gush about the Georgia defense he’ll face when No. 2 Oklahoma faces No. 3 Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Mayfield was asked if the Sooners’ had faced a comparable defense to Georgia’s this season “They’re the best defense; you can’t compare them to anybody,” he said. “They’re in a league of their own and that’s the reason they’re in the playoffs. They follow behind that defense. You can’t compare them to other people because they’re so talented and they play so well together. To say they’re like anybody else would be downplaying how good they are.” And so it went. If there is going to be any trash-talking in the first-ever meeting between these two powerhouse programs, it wasn’t coming out of the Red Room on Thursday. Led by Mayfield, the Sooners come into the Rose Bowl No. 1 in the nation in total offense at 583.3 yards per game and No. 3 in passing at 367.4. Georgia will counter with the No. 2-rated passing defense (158.3 ypg), tied for third against the score (13.2 ppg) and fourth in total defense (270.9 ypg). Something’s got to give. But that’s what makes it one of the most exciting matchups of the postseason. It’s especially exciting for Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown. The Sooners’ starting left tackle happens to hail from Duluth, where he attended Peachtree Ridge High School. “A lot of those guys in high school tore me up,” said Brown, a consensus All-American as a redshirt junior. “I’m not the same player I was then, so I’m just ready. … I always play with a chip on my shoulder but I’m excited about that. These are guys I’ve known for a long time.” Asked what Georgia players specifically “tore him up” in high school, Brown mentioned Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. The two seniors start at outside linebacker for the Bulldogs and definitely will get matched up against Brown on occasion if not constantly. “Obviously I played against 7 in high school, Carter,” Brown said. “I think I saw Bellamy at one point at a camp. It’s going to be competitive. They’re great. They play a lot of good ball. Very instinctual, very well-coached. You can tell they make a lot of scheme-related plays and a lot that are not scheme-related. They’re in the playoffs for a reason.” Brown and running back Trey Sermon are the only Sooners who hail from Georgia. Sermon, a freshman from Marietta’s Sprayberry High, rushed for 710 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 13 games as Rodney Anderson’s backup. Sermon as named to the Big 12’s all-freshman team. Like Georgia, Oklahoma does not allow freshmen to be interviewed. The Sooners certainly don’t need many other voices with Mayfield front and center. The fifth-year senior from Austin, Texas, is as comfortable before cameras and microphones as he is behind that big offensive line that allowed him to throw for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions this past season. It’s understandable considering he and Herschel Walker are the only players to have been invited to three consecutive Heisman Trophy Award ceremonies. The third time was the charm for both. Asked what was the best advice he got from his fellow award winners, Mayfield said it was that the national championship remains the better prize. “It was kind of common theme for the guys who were able to win it and play for a national championship,” Mayfield said. “I got the same advice from all of them: This is a special deal but if you can do anything you need to win the big one at the end. I talked to Chris Weinke about that and he’s a guy who lost to OU. So he was speaking from the heart.” So was Mayfield, he’d have you believe. The post Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield gushes about Herschel Walker, Georgia’s defense appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NORMAN, Okla. – The marijuana charges against Natrez Patrick were dropped, we learned Thursday. That’s certainly good for him. It may be good for Georgia football, too, in terms of its pursuit of wins and championships. Ultimately, we don’t know yet exactly what it means. On the surface, one’s left to believe that the Bulldogs’ starting inside linebacker will be reinstated and play against No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in three weeks. But we don’t know that because coach Kirby Smart has yet to weigh in on it. And it’s a bit of a tricky situation when closely evaluated. In the meantime, some charges were dropped out here in Boomer Sooner territory on Thursday, too, and they were much more serious than what Patrick faced. A rape allegation levied against OU running back and leading rusher Rodney Anderson did not result in charges by the local district attorney. The news was shared with local media in a rare news conference by a prosecutor to explain why he wasn’t going to prosecute a case. In a nutshell Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told reporters that, “after a thorough investigation” that include polygraph tests, interviews of friends of both the accused and the alleged victim and examinations of phone records and texts, “charges are not warranted.” “There are certainly cases where we just simply can’t prove something, so we decline due to insufficient evidence,” Mashburn said. “In this case, I think it’s important for us to tell the whole story so people understand that facts were presented to us through the Norman P.D.’s investigation.” Earlier in the day Thursday, before the D.A.’s announcement, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley had said that Anderson was “still fully on the team” while authorities continued to investigate the allegations. Riley didn’t issue any other statements after the charges were dropped, and Anderson was not made available after the Sooners’ practice he participated in Thursday. But those in the OU camp expect Anderson to be play against Georgia in the Rose Bowl. “Good for him; he’s a great person,” said Sooners left tackle Orlando Brown, a junior from Duluth. “Hopefully he’ll be able to play in the game.” Likewise, the assumption in Georgia’s camp is that Patrick will be able to play in the Rose Bowl. Smart probably won’t weigh in on this latest development until the Bulldogs’ Rose Bowl media day Monday. Georgia has yet to begin its Rose Bowl preparations, and there won’t be any interview access until then. But it might not be as cut-and-dried as it seems. While we know that Patrick doesn’t face any legal ramifications, we don’t know for certain that there won’t be any team repercussions. Patrick already had violated UGA’s marijuana-use policy twice due to previous marijuana arrests, hence his four-game suspension in the middle third of the regular season. A third calls for dismissal from the team. We do know from the body-cam footage provided by police that Patrick was in a car with a teammate who was was either actively smoking or had just smoked marijuana. Jayson Stanley, also a starter as a wide receiver, had DUI charges against him dropped  Thursday but is still charged with misdemeanor possession. So we assume he’ll be subjected to UGA’s first-strike pot policy, which is a one-game suspension in football. That the one game is the College Football Playoff and the Rose Bowl makes it particularly painful. What we don’t know is whether Patrick had to undergo any kind of testing as a result of the encounter. Usually a student-athlete who has had more than one violation is subject to counseling and intensified drug-testing. Perhaps Patrick already has successfully cleared that, or he could be awaiting results. We can’t be sure. We’ll know for sure in 18 days when Georgia and Oklahoma kick off in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, these off-field issues have been the one downside to an otherwise magical season. While they’ve been piling up wins and points this year, they also have been piling up arrests and disciplinary issues. Duly noting that this latest charge against Patrick was dismissed, there are still 14 known arrests of Georgia football players going back to last season. The latest came earlier this week when freshman defensive back Latavious Brini was jailed on a first-degree forgery charge. It was for an incident that allegedly occurred back in July, or shortly after he arrived from Miami. He hasn’t played this season and is therefore set to be redshirted, but neither Georgia nor Smart has commented on his status just yet either. Generally, UGA student-athletes charged with a felony are immediately suspended on a temporary basis until their legal matter is worked out. The arrest ledger also counts the case of D’Antne Demery, a signee who had his scholarship revoked after he was charged with battery/domestic violence against his girlfriend in April. I don’t know why Demery wouldn’t be included in such an accounting since he already had signed his national letter-of-intent two months before he was jailed in Athens. Most of the other arrests seem relatively trivial, depending on your personal sensibilities. Most of them involve pot. Tailback Elijah Holyfield and wide receiver Riley Ridley also were arrested earlier this year and subsequently suspended for single games for misdemeanor marijuana possession. But 14 is a high number of legal run-ins no matter how one slices it. That begs the question: Does Georgia have a discipline problem on this team? I know that last sentence makes you cringe. It does me, too. There is so much good going on for UGA, nobody wants to throw water on it. But that question bears asking. It’s only fair. Former Georgia coach Mark Richt came under sharp criticism for a perceived lack of discipline during his UGA tenure. It reached a peak when the Bulldogs incurred 11 arrests from March to October of 2010. Then he cracked down. Georgia had only one arrest in 2011 when Cornelius Washington was charged with DUI. There were some isolated incidences and some serious offenses that followed, but they were dealt with harshly. Bulldogs fans don’t need to be reminded that several dismissals occurred from 2012 to 2015. Smart is a coach who preaches discipline on the first line of his mission statement. He expends a lot of time and energy talking about poise and composure. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs were flagged for nine personal fouls in their two games against Auburn (they seem to have a thing for face masks in particular, don’t they?). Georgia enters the postseason as the fourth-most penalized team in the SEC. Is there a connection there? Who knows. Certainly most good football players are aggressive by nature. Arrests numbers and penalty numbers are facts, but the assertion that Georgia is an undisciplined team is not. That’s subjective and speculative at this point. And what has been going on here at Oklahoma proves that UGA is not alone in fighting that perception. It’s not just what proved to be false accusations against the Sooners’ current running back. Lest we forget, quarterback Baker Mayfield, who accepted the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, was arrested in February in Fayetteville, Ark., for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing police. But the Bulldogs need to do better. Obviously, Georgia is a very, very good football team under Smart. Based on recruiting, it appears that will continue if not get even better. But the disciplinary issues need to trend in the other direction, even if you care about nothing other than what happens on the football field. The post Natrez Patrick gets good news, but Georgia needs to tighten up on discipline front appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia junior inside linebacker Natrez Patrick got some good news on Thursday. According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Patrick had his marijuana possession charge dropped after his arrest the same night as the SEC Championship game. Patrick now likely will not face the consequences of his third suspsension for marijuana Jayson Stanley also had one of his charges dropped, according to Schlabach.   The post Report: Natrez Patrick has charges dropped after recent arrest appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Rose Bowl fever is sweeping across the UGA campus and Wednesday one quick-witted student scored free tickets to the game. A time-honored tradition at the University of Georgia is to ring the Chapel Bell after a Bulldogs victory. On this day, it got junior Carter Glenn two seats. 'Unbelievable! I am so excited. Now I have to make my travel plans to get out there,” Glenn said. Rose Bowl officials were on campus giving away tickets to the big game. It was a contest of sorts.They tweeted clues all morning long, like “Where does a UGA fan go after the Bulldogs win?” RELATED STORIES: Kirby Smart vs. Lincoln Riley: Breaking down the Rose Bowl coaches JAKE FROMM: From AJC Super 11 to the College Football Playoff Breakdown of how Georgia has fared against Heisman Trophy winners 'So for the final tweet today, we had a tweet saying where we were and to ring the Chapel Bell and yell 'Rose Bowl.' That's how the winner got it,” Rose Bowl spokesperson Karen Linhart said. Carter is taking fellow student Jack Glenn with him to Pasadena. Jack happens to be his brother. 'Two months ago I told my dad if the team goes to the Rose Bowl, we gotta go, so it's pretty cool,” junior Jack Glenn said. The Glenn brothers had a strategy to win the tickets: They split up. 'You know, North Campus is more scenic, so we'll stay around here. He took the South part.I took the North part and it just worked out,” Carter Glenn said. Rose Bowl officials gave away another pair of tickets a few hours later. On Thursday, they’ll do the same thing at the University of Oklahoma.
  • By Georgia Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia junior linebacker Roquan Smith has now been included on the All-America First Team by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FBS Coaches’, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News, Walter Camp and the Associated Press. Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., becomes the fourth Bulldog over the last 20 years to earn unanimous NCAA First Team All-America honors joining Champ Bailey (1998), Drew Butler (2009) and Jarvis Jones (2011-12). In addition, senior offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and senior tailback Nick Chubb were named to the AFCA All-America Second Team and Wynn was also an AP and College Football Madness Second Team All-American. Also of note, quarterback Jake Fromm and right tackle Andrew Thomas garnered ESPN Freshman All-America honors this week. Smith has also been named a First Team All-American by ESPN, SI.com, Bleacher Report, College Football Madness and The All-American while Wynn was also on the Bleacher Report’s First Team. Smith became the first Bulldog to win the Butkus Award this season, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. He was also a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award, which are given to the country’s most dominant defensive player. Wynn, a native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., Fromm, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., and Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., directed an offense that has averaged the Southeastern Conference’s third-best scoring offense (34.9 ppg) this season while posting the nation’s seventh-best rate for third down conversions (47 percent).  The Bulldogs captured their first SEC title since 2005 and went an undefeated 6-0 versus teams from the league’s Eastern Division for the first time since the SEC split into divisions in 1992. The third-seeded Bulldogs (12-1) travel to Pasadena, Calif., to face second-seeded Oklahoma (12-1) in the College Football Playoff’s semifinal round in the Rose Bowl Game on Monday, January 1. Kickoff is at 5:10 p.m. ET.