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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    Even as Democrats press ahead with a historic effort to impeach President Donald Trump in the House, lawmakers in both parties are on the cusp of possibly producing series of major, bipartisan legislative deals, covering everything from a crackdown on surprise medical bills to a compromise establishing the President's plan for a 'Space Force' at the Pentagon in exchange for a big benefits change for federal workers. The calendar doesn't offer much time for action in either the House or Senate, as lawmakers hope to leave town by the weekend before Christmas - which would give the House and Senate until around December 20-23. Here are some of the big issues which might get resolved in Congress at the same time as Democrats force a vote on impeachment. 1. Lawmakers cut deal on surprise medical bills. Sunday brought news that a group of key lawmakers - in both parties from the House and Senate - had reached agreement on a plan to rein surprise bills which consumers often face, especially after emergency care. Backers stressed the bipartisan nature of the agreement. 'The legislation includes proposals from 80 Senators, 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a Sunday statement. That does not necessarily mean this deal gets voted on in the next two weeks. 2. New minimum age to buy tobacco products. The deal on the issue of surprise medical bills also has some other items involved in it, including a provision which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years. The idea of raising the legal age for buying cigarettes and tobacco has been supported in recent months by the Senate's top Republican - Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - but it's not clear if McConnell would rush such a bill to the Senate floor over the next two weeks. 3. 'Space Force' might be ready for launch. Lawmakers in both parties were trying to finalize a major defense policy bill early this week, and the details are expected to finally give President Trump his plan to set up a 'Space Force' inside the Pentagon. The plan - which has been resisted by lawmakers in both parties - would not set up a brand new branch of the military, as sought by President Trump. Instead, the Space Force would operate out of the Air Force, sort of like the Marines are considered part of the Navy. Critics argued a plan to set up a separate new branch of the military would have been too expensive, and would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy. 4. Paid family leave benefit for federal workers? The President won't get his Space Force for nothing in this major defense policy bill, as reportedly the deal with the White House will give around 2.7 million federal workers a new benefit - paid family leave. The plan would reportedly include up to 12 weeks of such leave for federal civilian workers. While no final bill language has been released, a tweet from over the weekend by President Trump's daughter shows this exchange could well be part of the defense bill. Stay tuned. 5. USMCA trade deal still a late year possibility. With a flurry of late negotiations involving U.S., Mexican, and Canadian trade officials, it's still possible that the final touches could be put on a new trade deal among the three nations, and have it voted on by the House and Senate. The White House has been quietly working with Mexico and Canada in recent weeks to work out tweaks to the agreement, mainly dealing with labor and environmental enforcement, trade dispute resolution, and issues dealing with some medical drugs. While the President and his allies keep saying the plan has been sent to Congress already for a vote - that is simply not true. 6. Government funding plan remains in limbo. While there were seemingly agreement on surprise medical billing, the Space Force, and more, lawmakers still have not finalized a giant package of bills to fund the operations of the federal government for 2020. The current temporary funding bill runs out on December 20. While there is obviously the threat of a government shutdown, lawmakers in both parties hope they can either reach a deal now - or extend that temporary spending plan into the New Year. So, this could also be part of a late rush of big legislation.
  • The U.S. economy was humming last month, as the Labor Department reported Friday that 266,000 jobs were created in the month of November, with the nation's unemployment rate ticking down again to the historically low level of 3.5 percent, as job growth in 2018 is now almost equal to last year's levels. Not only were 266 thousand jobs added in November, but the latest jobs report also revised growth upwards in both September and October, adding another 41,000 jobs. Monthly average job growth in 2019 stands at just under 180,000 jobs per month, compared to 182,000 in 2018, and 195,000 in 2017. While some of the November job gains were attributed to workers ending a strike against General Motors, the November job gains were the second largest of 2019, trailing only the 312,000 jobs created in January. GOP lawmakers in Congress hailed the new numbers. While the jobs report indicated stronger than expected growth, the overall numbers in terms of U.S. economic output have shown a slower pace of growth in recent months than earlier in 2019. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product was at 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, but dropped to 2.0 percent in the second quarter. The current estimate is for a 2.1 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2019. President Trump has repeatedly blamed slowing growth on the head of the Federal Reserve - whom he nominated for the post - arguing the Fed should have cut interest rates more to spur economic activity in the U.S.
  • Invoking the concerns of the Founding Fathers about foreign interference in U.S. elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she was authorizing the House Judiciary Committee to draw up impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, possibly paving the way for a full House vote on impeachment by Christmas. 'In America, no one is above the law,' the Speaker said in a statement to reporters outside her office in the U.S. Capitol. A day after a closed door meeting with fellow Democrats, the Speaker said Congress could not close its eyes to the evidence gathered so far about the President's actions related to Ukraine. 'The facts are uncontested. The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit,' Pelosi said, as Democrats charge Mr. Trump withheld military aid for Ukraine in an effort to force the government to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats in the 2016 campaign. At the White House, the reaction was one of condemnation. 'They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country,' President Trump tweeted about Democrats shortly before the Speaker's announcement.  'But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,' Mr. Trump added. The White House Press Secretary echoed the President's sentiments on Twitter. Democrats quickly showed their support for the Speaker's decision. “The president abused his power,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).  “The president jeopardized our national security.    The president on multiple occasions obstructed justice.” While Pelosi did not set out a timeline for action, top Democrats have talked about action in the next week by the House Judiciary Committee, followed by a vote in the full House later this month. 21 years ago, Republicans faced a similar time crunch before the holidays, and ended up voting to impeach President Clinton on the Saturday before Christmas. It could be this Congress is heading for an impeachment vote holiday repeat.
  • As the focus of work in Congress on the impeachment of President Donald Trump shifted to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, a panel of constitutional experts became the proxies for both parties in this impeachment fight, with the two sides using the testimony to buttress their points for and against the impeachment effort. 'President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors,' said Harvard law professor Noah Feldman. 'If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account,' said Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan. 'If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,' added University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt. While Democrats focused their questions on their three witnesses, Republicans gravitated to their sole invitee, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. 'If you rush this impeachment, you're going to leave half the country behind,' Turley warned, comparing the Trump impeachment to that of President Andrew Johnson after the Civil War. 'This is the narrowest impeachment in history,' Turley added, urging Democrats to take extra time to bolster the investigative record related to President Trump. At one point, Turley questions about possible impeachment charges centering on abuse of power by President Trump on Democrats. 'It is an abuse power,' Turley said. 'It's your abuse of power.' While Turley said he was no supporter of President Trump, his testimony against impeachment drew interest - because he had testified 21 years ago for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. 'In my view, President Clinton's conduct demands an open and deliberative review under the conditions created for that purpose by the Framers,' Turley testified in November of 1998. 'Allegations of criminal acts in office by a president are perhaps the greatest threat to the perceived legitimacy of government,' Turley told the same House Judiciary Committee twenty one years ago before the Clinton impeachment. In the hearing, GOP lawmakers belittled today's proceedings. 'What a waste,' said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). 'This is not an impeachment, this is a simple railroad job,' argued Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). At the start of the hearing, Republicans forced a series of procedural votes which slowed proceedings, as they demanded testimony from the original Intelligence Community whistleblower who raised questions about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, and demanded the right to question Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the head of the House Intelligence Committee. With Christmas just three weeks away, it was not immediately clear when the Judiciary Committee would move to draw up actual articles of impeachment against the President, or when those votes would take place. 'What are we doing for the next two weeks?' asked Rep. Collins with an aggravated tone. 'I have no idea!' It was a similar situation in December of 1998, when there was talk from GOP leaders - exactly 21 years ago - of not voting on impeachment until the next year. Ultimately, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House, worked through two weekends, holding an impeachment vote in the full House on the Saturday before Christmas.
  • Phone records obtained by the House Intelligence Committee and made public in a new impeachment report from Democrats show President Donald Trump's personal lawyer speaking to the White House and figures in the Ukraine investigation at key times in 2019, and also reveal contacts between Giuliani a mystery phone number labeled only as '-1' in call records. 'Certainly the phone records show there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff did not reveal how the call records were obtained, though the legal 'Bates' identifiers used in the report might indicate Giuliani's cell phone records were obtained with a subpoena. It was not immediately clear who the '-1' calls were with - but the New York Times reported that a similar number was found in cell phone records introduced as evidence in the trial of Roger Stone. 'We can't confirm yet who that '-1' number belongs to, but certainly there were indications in the trial of Roger Stone that when he was communicating with the President it would show up in phone records as a 'dash-one' number,' Schiff told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview Tuesday evening. The new report from Democrats also had phone records from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who helped Giuliani along with Igor Fruman in Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman were arrested in early October and charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. elections. The phone records contained in the new impeachment report also showed Giuliani contacts with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as phone calls between Nunes and Parnas. 'Devin Nunes, you should have recused yourself at the outset' of the impeachment hearings,' tweeted Joseph Bondy, the lawyer for Parnas, who was arrested as he and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were leaving the country on a flight to Austria. While Nunes refused comment to reporters, he told Sean Hannity on Fox News that he didn't really remember calls with Parnas, saying it was 'possible' they had spoken. Ironically, the revelation of the Nunes-Parnas phone calls came as Nunes filed a $435 million defamation lawsuit against CNN, in which he said, 'Parnas was a renowned liar, a fraudster, a hustler, an opportunist with delusions of grandeur.
  • With two months until the Iowa Caucuses, the Democratic race for President continued to shrink in size, as Sen. Kamala Harris of California gave up her bid for the White House, unable to hang on to momentum from the first two debates earlier this year, as she slid from the top tier to struggling to raise enough money to stay in the race. “To my supporters, it is with deep regret - but also with deep gratitude - that I am suspending my campaign today,” Harris said in a statement. Early on, Harris attracted a lot of attention in the first two Democratic debates, as she zeroed in on the early favorite, former Vice President Joe Biden, focusing on how Biden dealt with racial issues during his years in the U.S. Senate. “I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said, as she launched a well planned attack against Biden which provided her with an early boost. But she could never sustain that momentum. “I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in an email to supporters, announcing her decision. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Harris said. “I don't know anyone who thought Harris would be dropping out & Biden would be at 50% with black voters in December, after that debate moment in late June... but here we are,” tweeted political analyst Harry Enten. Harris kept up her jabs at Biden in the second debate - and saw her poll numbers bubble up soon after - but that support faded away over the past four months. Recent national polls had Harris under 5 percent.  She had dropped to the same levels in Iowa, and was even lower in New Hampshire. The poll slide came as fundraising suffered as well. The decision by Harris comes just over two weeks before the next Democratic debate on December 19 in Los Angeles - which will be in her home state of California. At this point, these are the Democrats who will be on stage for the December debate: Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, and Warren.
  • A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Congressional committees in the U.S. House are operating well within their legislative powers to subpoena the financial records of President Donald Trump and his family businesses, dealing another legal setback to the President's effort to block Deutsche Bank and Capitol One from turning over those records. 'The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,' the Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel wrote in the decision. Like similar cases dealing with efforts by Congress and prosecutors in New York City to subpoena the President's tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazar's, this decision extended a legal losing streak for Mr. Trump. Two cases over subpoenas for the President's tax returns have already reached the U.S. Supreme Court - and this case involving Deutsche Bank and Capital One could follow as well. Mr. Trump's legal fight over his tax returns could be reviewed by the Justices in coming days. On November 25, the court temporarily delayed an order to Mazar's to abide by a subpoena from Congress for the President's tax returns. The Justices must decide whether to hear the case, or allowing the lower court order to go into effect.
  • After denying for over a year that he and his wife had illegally spent over $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses like vacations, dinners, school tuition, and a variety of household uses, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) told a California television station on Monday that he will change his plea to 'guilty' in a Tuesday hearing before a federal judge in California. “It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter said in an interview with KUSI-TV., as the Congressman says he will plead guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds. Tuesday's court hearing was originally set as a 'status' hearing on the corruption case, but in a docket posting on Monday, that suddenly had become a 'Change of Plea Hearing' for the California Republican. Back in June, the GOP Congressman's wife, Margaret Hunter, had changed her plea to 'guilty,' turning up the heat even more on the Republican Congressman from San Diego, who had long claimed a federal investigation into his campaign contributions was politically motivated. 'We are seeing this with President Trump, we are seeing this with my case,' Hunter said, as he denounced the Justice Department investigation. 'This is the new Department of Justice - this is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement,' Hunter told reporters when he was arraigned, alleging political bias against a Republican by President Trump's Administration. 'The investigation of Congressman Hunter by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California began shortly after his public endorsement of candidate Trump,' Hunter's lawyers wrote in one of a series of evidence challenges, alleging that two prosecutors involved in the case were supporters of Hillary Clinton. But the facts of the case never bore out Hunter's claim - instead it showed how Hunter had used campaign money 'to carry out a series of intimate relationships' with a series of women who were not his wife. + Individual 14 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 15 - a staffer who worked in the office of a member of the House leadership,  + Individual 16 - a staffer in his Congressional office,  + Individual 17 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 18 - a lobbyist. The evidence produced by federal investigators included a lengthy tally of how campaign money was spent on dinners, vacations, school tuition for Hunter's children, concerts, and a variety of personal items. Hunter originally plead 'not guilty' back on August 23, 2018, when he was met by protesters outside the courthouse, who chanted, 'Lock him up!' Hunter would be the second early supporter in Congress of President Trump to plead guilty to major criminal charges - Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) resigned from Congress in September just before pleading guilty over insider trading allegations.
  • With Democrats in Congress returning from a Thanksgiving break ready to continue their push on a historic impeachment investigation, President Donald Trump on Monday once more blasted the work of House Democrats, saying impeachment undermines him during his foreign travel. 'For them to be doing this, and saying this, and putting an impeachment on the table,' the President told reporters as he left the White House for a NATO summit in England, 'it's an absolute disgrace what they're doing to our country.' The President's criticism of Democrats for scheduling an impeachment hearing on Wednesday - which White House lawyers refused to attend - was echoed by other Republicans and top Administration officials, part of a broader effort to push back against Democrats in the House. 'I regret that they've chosen to hold these hearings at the same time as the President and our entire national security team will be traveling to Europe,' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told 'Fox and Friends,' as Pompeo accused Democrats of trying to 'distract' the President at the NATO Summit in London. The criticism from the President came a day after the White House Counsel sent a scorching letter to House Democrats, refusing their invitation to send legal representatives to a Wednesday impeachment hearing, where constitutional scholars will testify about impeachment. It's thought that hearing is just a prelude to work by the House Judiciary Committee to draft, debate, and vote on actual articles of impeachment against President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee has also set a deadline for this Friday for the White House to determine if it will send lawyers to participate in that process. Democrats say they're convinced the answer will be 'no.' 'The President and GOP allies demanded testimony, then refused to read it,' said Rep. Don Beyer. 'They said Trump lawyers must be at hearings, then refused to send them.' 'The only constant is that they can’t defend Trump’s abuses of power,' Beyer added on Twitter. During a visit to a climate change gathering in Madrid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about the impeachment proceedings against the President - but at a news conference, she refused to comment. Impeachment proceedings will resume on Tuesday evening, when the House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to approve a report on the Ukraine investigation, sending that to the House Judiciary Committee. That panel will then begin its impeachment work on Wednesday morning.
  • Returning to Capitol Hill from a Thanksgiving break, House Democrats are showing no signs of backing away from their efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, with plans this week to release a new report on the Ukraine investigation and hold the first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, a process which could ultimately lead to a historic vote before Christmas to impeach President Trump. After wrapping up five public days of impeachment hearings in November, House Democrats spent the last ten days releasing more testimony about the Ukraine investigation, and writing a report on the findings. Here is some of what we learned over the Thanksgiving break, and some of what to expect in the days and weeks ahead: 1. Democrats to forge ahead on impeachment. Since the end of public impeachment hearings, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have been writing a report to summarize the findings from the panel's Ukraine investigation.  That report - based on information from a series of closed door depositions and public impeachment hearings on President Trump's actions regarding Ukraine - is expected to be voted on by the Intelligence panel in a Tuesday evening meeting. On Wednesday, the focus shifts to the House Judiciary Committee, which will hold its first impeachment hearing with a group of constitutional scholars. In other words, Democrats are not wondering what they should do on impeachment. 2. Will Trump legal team join in impeachment hearings? As House Democrats signaled last week that they were ready to push ahead with impeachment efforts, they also gave the White House until this Friday to decide whether to join the proceedings. In letter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) set the December 6 deadline for an answer.  Republicans have complained about the inability of the President's lawyers to be involved in the process, but on Sunday night, the President's White House Counsel told Democrats they would not join in a hearing set for Wednesday.  It's a scathing five page letter. 3. Two White House budget officials quit over Ukraine aid delay. In a deposition released to the public just before Thanksgiving, there were some new nuggets from the impeachment testimony of career OMB official Mark Sandy. Sandy - who was the only OMB employee not to defy a subpoena for testimony - confirmed that he knew of two different White House budget staffers who had quit their jobs over the delay in Ukraine military aid. This wasn't a policy dispute. It was partly over concern that the White House was breaking the law by not spending money approved by the Congress for Ukraine. It's very interesting to note that in a city which is renowned for leaks to the press, the news of these Ukraine-related resignations at the White House never became public, until now. 4. Testimony reveals more pieces to Ukraine puzzle. The Sandy testimony also brought out more evidence of how important July 25, 2019 has become in the Ukraine investigation. That morning, President Trump spoke by phone with the leader of Ukraine, and asked the President of Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections. We also now know from the impeachment testimony that a few hours after that phone call, Ukraine government officials were already sending emails to counterparts at the Pentagon and State Department, worried the Trump Administration was delaying military aid for Ukraine. And Sandy confirmed in his testimony that on the evening of July 25, the White House officially put the aid money on hold, two weeks after basically deciding that would be the decision. 'Things seem to keep coming back to July 25th,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). 5. Have you read any impeachment transcripts? Here is a link to all 17 of the impeachment deposition transcripts released by the House Intelligence Committee. There are three tweets in this thread with all of the links. Don't tell anyone you didn't have a chance to read some of the evidence for yourself. 6. Republicans still want to hear from the whistleblower. In the five days of public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, GOP lawmakers repeatedly demanded to hear from the person who first raised red flags through the chain of command about the delay in Ukraine aid. So far, Democrats have stiff-armed those Republican requests. But don't look for the GOP to be silent about the matter in coming weeks. 7. Republicans also want testimony by Rep. Schiff. GOP lawmakers also are likely to keep up a steady drumbeat of jabs at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. While Republicans charge that Schiff met with the unidentified whistleblower, and that he knows the identify of that person, Schiff has publicly denied that. For GOP lawmakers and the President, Schiff has become their impeachment pinata - and one would expect that to continue as this effort from Democrats continues in the House. 8. Trump echoes GOP broadsides on impeachment. Over the Thanksgiving break President Trump joined Republicans in Congress in continuing to belittle the impeachment investigation from Democrats in Congress. 'Schiff’s impeachment hearings wasting time when Congress must do real work,' the President tweeted.  'Trump did nothing impeachable,' he added in another post. 'Sen. Tim Scott Says Trump 'Innocent,' 'No Way' Senate Convicts,' was another Twitter missive from Mr. Trump. And as the impeachment proceedings continue, one should not expect the President to be silent. 9. The impeachment schedule was similar 21 years ago. Rewind to December of 1998. The story I wrote on this day said, 'The White House and Democrats are demanding that GOP leaders bring impeachment proceedings to a quick finish.' That sort of sounds familiar. Back then, it was Republicans pursuing a historic impeachment vote against President Bill Clinton. The partisan battle resumed after a Thanksgiving break, and raged until the Saturday before Christmas, when the House approved two articles of impeachment against Mr. Clinton. Given the calendar, an impeachment vote in 2019 against President Trump - by the Saturday before Christmas - would be a possibility this time as well.

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  • ATLANTA Georgia football got the AllState Sugar Bowl invitation everyone expected and will face Baylor at 8:45 p.m. on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are making a repeat trip to Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where last year they came off an SEC Championship Game loss and were defeated by Texas, 28-21. Big 12 runner-up Baylor (11-2) is coming off a 30-23 overtime loss to College Football Playoff semifinalist Oklahoma on Saturday. This marks the fifth time the Bulldogs and the Bears have met, UGA holding a 4-0 series lead with all four prior meetings taking place in Athens. This marks Georgia's 10th Sugar Bowl appearance and fourth in the past 18 years. The Bulldogs have played in the Sugar Bowl more than any other postseason game. It's a rich history that includes the program's most recent national championship, a 17-10 win over Notre Dame on Jan. 1, 1981. Kirby Smart's current Bulldogs entered this season with national championship aspirations, but injuries took a toll, particularly in the receiver ranks where there was already heavy attrition. Georgia lost its top five pass catchers from the 2018 season, and the passing game took a major hit when go-to target Lawrence Cager suffered shoulder, rib and ankle injuries the second half of the season. Freshman Dominick Blaylock, another of the Bulldogs top targets, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 37-20 SEC Championship Game loss o LSU on Saturday. Blaylock has a torn ACL. Georgia also figures to be without junior tailback D'Andre Swift, who was limited to five touches in the SEC title game on account of a shoulder injury. Swift is expected to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft and not play in the bowl game. Bulldogs' junior All-American left tackle Andrew Thomas is also headed tor the NFL Draft, but Thomas might still decide to play in the Sugar Bowl as he has maintained his health throughout the season. DawgNation Georgia football D'Andre Swift discusses limits and pain in SEC Championship Jake Fromm makes no excuses after defeat in SEC Championship Game What's next for Georgia football: Bowl bid, players leaving, staff changes WATCH: Kirby Smart sheds light on LSU, Jake Fromm passing issues Bulldogs stock report, LSU crashes Mercedes-Benz Stadium How LSU beat Georgia in SEC title game, scoring, injuries The post Georgia football lands Sugar Bowl bid, aims for sweet ending against Baylor appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Joe Burrow collected a shiny award as the game's MVP. LSU's fans had another trophy on their minds. 'Heisman! Heisman! Heisman!' they chanted. The coronation is likely complete. Burrow turned in another dazzling performance on the big stage, leading No. 1 LSU to a spot in the College Football Playoff with a 37-10 rout of No. 4 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday. “Joe is the heartbeat of this team,” running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said. The Tigers, going for their first national title since 2007 season, will either return to Atlanta or head west to suburban Phoenix for a semifinal game on Dec. 28. They surely made a persuasive case to be the top overall seed when the four-team field. and pairings are announced Sunday. Burrow was all over the stat sheet for LSU (13-0, No. 2 CFP). He threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Tigers' second-leading rusher with 41 yards on 11 carries, often leaving the Bulldogs grasping at air as he twirled this way and that. He even caught a pass on a ball that was batted down at the line and wound up his arms, taking off for a 16-yard gain. ''He's a great athlete, man,' Georgia safety J.R. Reed said. “We had a lot of plays out there we were supposed to make, and he'd just squeeze out of it.' The Heisman-worthy moment came late in the third quarter. With Georgia (11-2, No 4 CFP) bringing the heat, Burrow spun to his left to get away from lineman Travon Walker, whirled back to his right to send Walker sprawling to the turf, then delivered a pass on the run while sprinting toward the LSU sideline with another defender in hot pursuit. Justin Jefferson hauled in the throw just beyond midfield and took off down to the Bulldogs 9 for a 71-yard play. Three plays later, Burrow delivered his third TD pass of the game, hooking up with Terrace Marshall Jr., on a 4-yard touchdown pass that essentially finished off the Bulldogs. “It was all improvised,” Burrow said. “Justin ran a 6-yard hitch route and saw me scrambling and took off deep. We got a great feel for each other. I knew exactly where he was going to be when I got out of there.” Burrow wasn't done. Derek Stingley's second pick of Jake Fromm turned the ball back over to the prolific LSU offense at the 13, and Burrow wasted no time finding Jefferson for an 8-yard TD in the waning seconds of the third quarter to send many in the predominantly Georgia crowd heading for the exits. LSU left no doubt it is the king of the mighty SEC, completing its run through a gauntlet of the league's top teams. The Tigers had already knocked off Alabama, Florida and Auburn. Now, they can add the Bulldogs to the list, ensuring the SEC will only get one team in the national playoff. LSU came into the game as the second-highest scoring team in the country behind Ohio State. They figured to have a tougher time against Georgia's stellar defense, ranked No. 2 in points allowed. but Burrow kept the Bulldogs on their heels the entire game. It was by far the most points Georgia has given up their season. Until Saturday, they held every opponent under 20 except South Carolina, which stunned the Bulldogs in double overtime nearly two months ago. There was no such drama in this one. Just total domination by the Tigers. It was a painful loss — literally — for the Bulldogs, who were making their third straight appearance in the SEC title game. Two players were carted off the field with apparently major injuries. Another player wobbled off with a concussion after being leveled on a kickoff. Fromm twisted an ankle and had to go to the medical tent to get taped up, though he missed only one play. Not that it mattered. Fromm, who guided Georgia to the cusp of the national title two years ago as a freshman, was 20 of 42 for 225 yards with those two interceptions. He didn't get much help from his teammates: Tyler Simmons dropped a deep ball on the very first possession, and Matt Landers couldn't hang on to a throw in the end zone. Georgia finally reached the end zone with just under 12 minutes remaining on Fromm's 2-yard TD pass to George Pickens. “That is a really good football team,” coach Kirby Smart said. “We were going to have to make explosive plays. We were unable to do that.” INJURY REPORT Georgia's sideline looked like a M(asterisk)A(asterisk)S(asterisk)H unit. Receiver Dominick Blaylock crumpled to the turf after going up for a catch in the first quarter. He was carted to the locker room with a left knee injury. Outside linebacker Walter Grant suffered a concussion in the third quarter from a special teams hit. LSU’s Tory Carter was ejected for targeting. Backup middle linebacker Quay Walker (right shoulder) and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (apparent leg injury) also left the field with injuries. Star running back D'Andre Swift clearly wasn't at full strength, either, after going out of the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech with should injury. He had just two carries for 13 yards. THE TAKEAWAY LSU: The Tigers could certainly take pride in putting up 481 yards on a defense of Georgia's caliber, but the most encouraging aspect of this game was another strong performance from LSU's defense. Maligned much of the season, they followed up a 50-7 rout of Texas A&M in the regular-season finale with another championship-worthy showing against the Bulldogs, who were held to 286 yards. Georgia: Fromm came into the season projected as a high NFL draft pick who would likely go pro after his junior season. Now, it's not a reach to say he might be better off returning for his senior season to try to boost his stock. He has now failed to complete even half his passes in five straight games. UP NEXT LSU: Makes its first appearance in the College Football Playoff, which began in 2014. The Tigers last played for a national title during the 2011 season, when they won 13 straight games before a dismal 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game. Georgia: Appears likely to make its second straight appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, loser of the Big 12 championship game. ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com
  • 21 faculty members across UGA’s schools and colleges met to discuss the development of UGA’s Innovation District on Dec. 3 in the Peabody Board Room of the Administration Building. The Innovation District Faculty Advisory Council will meet throughout the year to provide input on the Innovation District initiative, with particular focus on programming, resources and support for research commercialization and university-industry engagement. The council will be led by the Innovation District leadership team: Kyle Tschepikow, special assistant to the president and director for strategy and innovation; David Lee, vice president for research; and Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. The members of the council are: Jenay Beer, Insitute of Gerontology Karen Burg, College of Veterinary Medicine Justin Conrad, School of Public and International Affairs Andrew Crain, Graduate School Joseph Dahlen, Warnell School of Forestry Naola Ferguson-Noel, Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center Chris Garvin, Lamar Dodd School of Art Chris Gerlach, New Media Institute Kristina Jaskyte, Institute for Nonprofit Organizations Kirk Kealey, Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center Eileen Kennedy, College of Pharmacy William Kisaalita, College of Engineering Kevin McCully, College of Education Sergiy Minko, College of Family and Consumer Sciences Michael Myers, Small Business Development Center Jonathan Murrow, AU/UGA Medical Partnership Usha Rodrigues, School of Law Pejman Rohani, Odum School of Ecology Christine Szymanski, Complex Carbohydrates Research Center Amitabh Verma, College of Environment and Design Dee Warmath, College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • U.S. Rep. Doug Collins was as pugnacious as ever as he delivered his opening remarks during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment. The Gainesville Republican repeated his critique that the Democratic-led investigation was primarily fueled by contempt for President Donald Trump. He described the probe as a rushed attempt to ram through charges without evidence that the president had done anything wrong. “This is nothing new, folks; this is sad,” said Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee. There were some points of levity — including when Collins joked about the room’s chilly temperature and uncomfortable chairs — but most of his comments were pointed and biting, both toward the Democrats on the committee and the three constitutional law experts who backed impeachment. Collins also used his opening statement to criticize the decision to invite four constitutional law experts to the hearing, three of whom were recommended by Democrats and one called by Republicans. One of them, Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan later said she took offense at his insinuation they had not reviewed the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report before testifying. “Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” she said. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.” Throughout the meeting, Collins and other Republicans forced procedural votes on requests varying from postponing the hearing to requiring House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and an anonymous whistleblower to testify. Democrats, who are in the majority, objected each time.
  • The Athens Symphony will perform the first ever public performance of a new arrangement of “O Holy Night” at their annual Christmas concerts on December 7 and 8.    The piece, arranged by Hollywood film scorer Chad Rehmann, was initially featured in the 2018 film A Christmas Arrangement. Following rave reviews, Rehmann re-arranged the score for orchestral performance and dedicated it to his wife Kari.    “After reaching out to a few regional orchestras known for their holiday concerts,” said Rehmann, “Brad Maffett (Athens Symphony’s Associate Conductor) contacted me expressing interest in performing the work. The more we corresponded, the more excited I became about the Athens Symphony premiering this work, especially given the ensemble’s commitment to family-friendly programming and its focus on a relationship with the Athens community. “   The Symphony will host Rehmann at the December 7 concert with a red-carpet welcome planned for 7:30 p.m.    A Christmas Tradition   A longstanding tradition, the Athens Symphony’s annual Christmas Concerts bring Athenians and Northeast Georgia residents together to celebrate with classic Christmas favorites, a sing-along, and even a visit from Santa.    “The Athens Symphony Christmas Concerts are known for being premier events of the holiday season in our community, bringing people from all walks of life together to celebrate the season,” said Symphony Executive Director Dr Richard Hudson. “It’s a privilege that the Symphony is able to continue its mission of providing free concerts that are open to everyone, knowing that the power of music is a unifying force.”   Complimentary tickets will be available at The Classic Center Box Office beginning Nov. 25 and are required for entry into the concerts, which will be held Saturday, December 7 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia has opened as a 7 1/2-point favorite over Baylor in the AllState Sugar Bowl Game, according to VegasInsider.com. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) and No. 7 Bears (11-2) are both coming off losses in their respective conference championship games. Georgia got manhandled by No. 1-ranked LSU, falling 37-10 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday. Baylor, meanwhile, lost its rematch with No. 4 Oklahoma in overtime, falling 30-23 to the Sooners at . The Bulldogs could be without some marquee players in the Sugar Bowl. Junior tailback D'Andre Swift has been dealing with an injured shoulder that led him to a limited role against LSU. Swift, who has indicated he will declare himself eligible for the upcoming NFL draft, had just two carries and three catches, none after the first series of the third quarter. Georgia junior offensive tackle Andrew Thomas is widely projected as a Top 10 pick, but Thomas seemed to leave the door open to playing following Saturday night's loss in Atlanta. Smart said he learned last season to only bring the players to the bowl site who are 'engaged' and want to be there. 'Bottom line is, it's your job to go play in a football game, and you get a great opportunity,' Smart said on the Sunday night Sugar Bowl teleconference. 'There's a lot of teams all across the country that would be dying to play in a game like this, he said. 'We're gonna sell it that way. It's a once in lifetime opportunity to be Sugar Bowl champs. 'We're going to take the ones that want to do that and want to play well.' The Bulldogs will also be without two of their top three receivers, both sidelined by injuries. Graduate transfer Lawrence Cager underwent ankle surgery on Nov. 29 and is in the early stages of recovery. Freshman Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the SEC Championship Game and will be aiming for the start of fall drills. Smart is also dealing with a coaching vacancy, with celebrated offensive line coach Sam Pittman taking the Arkansas head coaching job on Sunday night. SEC bowl games Dec. 27, Academy Spors & Outdoors Texas Bowl, Houston Texas A&M -5 over Oklahoma State Dec. 28, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, CFP Playoff Semifinal, Atlanta LSU -13 over Oklahoma Dec. 30, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville Mississippi State vs. Louisville, no line yet Dec. 30, Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami Florida 13 1/2 over Virginia Dec. 31, Belk Bowl, Charlotte Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech, no line yet Jan. 1, Outback Bowl, Tampa Auburn 7 1/2 over Minnesota Jan. 1 VRBO Citrus Bowl, Orlando Alabama -7 over Michigan Jan. 1 All State Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Georgia -7 1/2 over Baylor Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Jacksonville Tennessee vs. Indiana, no line yet The post Georgia football favored by more than a touchdown over Baylor in Sugar Bowl appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The Georgia football program is spinning around Kirby Smart with the possibility of coaches and players coming or going. The Bulldogs' head coach, fresh off his fourth regular season, remains calm in the center of it all. Smart, master of time management, has his to-do list in order and seems to be taking the approach the chips will fall where they may in the aftermath of an 11-2 season that has his program ranked No. 5 and headed for the Sugar Bowl to play Baylor. Smart calmly addressed Sunday reports that celebrated offensive line coach Sam Pittman could be headed for Arkansas as the Razorbacks head coach when asked by DawgNation on the Sunday night Sugar Bowl teleconference. 'You always hear rumors flying around and different things, and you don't know what to be true and what's not,' Smart said. 'Right now, we're focused on the Sugar Bowl and getting ready for it.' A source at Arkansas told DawgNation on Sunday night that Arkansas has had several candidates fall through, and that Pittman is indeed in play. Smart said he doesn't have a clear idea of which players will be traveling to New Orleans to play the No. 7-ranked Bears in the 8:45 p.m. game on Jan. 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Dome. Smart confirmed that receiver Dominick Blaylock (ACL) is out for the season. Smart also said it's 'very doubtful' that grad-transfer Lawrence Cager will be healed up from the ankle surgery he underwent on Nov. 29. The other Georgia players who were knocked out of the SEC Championship Game are expected to be back, Smart said. The Bulldogs have a handful of underclassmen, however, who could be leaving early for the NFL draft and may elect not to play in the game. 'That's obviously a fluid situation, I think we'll find out more as it comes about,' Smart said. 'Guys really haven't had time to sit back and evaluate where they are and get information. We really only had one last year, and that was Deandre Baker. '(So) I don't know where that will fall, and I'm really not concerned with that right now as much as I am finishing up final exams, and finishing up recruiting, and then getting started on Baylor.' Junior tailback D'Andre Swift is not expected to play in the Sugar Bowl, while offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has left the possibility open. Junior quarterback Jake Fromm and junior safety Richard LeCounte are other underclassmen who could be considering declaring early for the NFL draft. But, as Smart suggested, players are still in the process of getting NFL draft grades to help them make better-informed decisions. 'What I found out last year was that for a lot of kids, it was the most important game of their season and meant so much to them,and then maybe for some others it didn't,' Smart said. 'You've got to take the guys that are engaged and excited about playing, because that matters a whole lot more than how good they are.' The post Kirby Smart at center of whirlwind: Stays on point amid coaching rumors, player attrition appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Lewis Cine got his first chance to speak to the media at Georgia on Saturday night after the loss to LSU in the SEC championship game. It allowed a DawgNation correspondent to unravel the answer to a few 2019 mysteries involving Cine. It wasn't just how the Under Armour 2019 All-American has worked himself into a regular contributor this fall. Cine is one of just six Bulldog freshmen to play in every game this year. With Cine, the biggest question coming in could have been in regard to his jersey choice. Or choices. Was he No. 8? Or No. 16? Or No. 28? Cine wore that No. 28 earlier this year when he picked off the first pass of his Georgia career. ( For the record, he's No. 16. Definitely.) Did he have a certain number for road games? Home games? Was it his destiny to befuddle play-by-play announcers with the unique phonetics of his last name (Sounds like 'Scene' as in the movies) AND his revolving door of jersey numbers in 2019? Those were all good thoughts coming in, but all of that went out of the wayside as he started his first game as a Bulldog against LSU. He had to because his unique blend of size, speed, skills and smarts made him the perfect extra defender to stay on the field to try and half Heisman favorite Joe Burrow and that prolific LSU offense. Cine tied for the team-best totals in tackles against LSU. That furthered the notion that if both fans and those play-by-play TV guys don't have the phonetics of his last name down yet, then they will soon. Georgia employed seven defensive backs early in the game to try and keep those receivers hemmed in. Mark Webb Jr. was in the game as usual. But that challenge meant that both Cine and another highly-touted and successful freshman in Tyrique Stevenson also started his first career game. The platter was full by then of material to cover with Boston native by way of Texas. And then the sky bump happened. Cine made a play. Scooped up an apparent early LSU fumble and his head coach wanted to meet him for a tap about nine feet in the air. That's when Kirby Smart also looked like a man who made a lot of big plays at safety for Georgia. Except maybe one that was coming up fast on his 44th birthday. 'Kirby whenever us players make a big play he's a player's coach,' Cine said. 'He's always going to want to celebrate with us. But I didn't think he would fall like that.' It appears that Cine was a little too jacked about helping his team and putting those spiked savage shoulder pads on again. 'I think I got a little too high and came with a little too much energy,' he said. 'Then he fell like a pile of bricks. I didn't think that.' RELATED: Check out the reason why Lewis Cine will always wear No. 16 at Georgia Lewis Cine: His thoughts on his first season at Georgia Burrow was tough to deal with on Saturday. 'Joe Burrow makes it very tough to cover,' he said. 'Because he extends a lot of plays with his legs. You have got to give him credit. He's a really good player. He made a lot of plays that we didn't think he was going to make with his legs. The whole plan was to cover the guys but hen he got around us and made some plays.' He is going forward from that LSU game with his eyes on making an even bigger contribution to the defense in 2020. J.R. Reed, the brilliant three-year starting safety, will be in the NFL. Junior talent Richard LeCounte III will also have some thinking to do about that subject, too. 'I've got a lot for J.R. and a lot of respect for Rich,' Cine said. 'I watch what they do. The plays they make and I learn from that. Even mistakes they might have made, they told me Lew don't do that' and Learn from this' and I'm hoping really to fill in some big footsteps.' What else did Cine have to say? Check out his answers in his DawgNation conversation in the featured video atop this post. How does he assess his freshman year? Cine's thoughts on his progression for his sophomore year Why his number changes were part of being a team player with his special teams duty in 2019 What does he have to do to get better? What makes him feel like Georgia can return to the SEC championship game in 2020? The Day after on DawgNation: LSU 37, Georgia 10 Beloved Georgia line coach Sam Pittman emerging as a leading candidate at Arkansas Georgia accepts potential sweet ending to the season with Sugar Bowl bid What did Nolan Smith say about his first year at UGA? The news is as feared for freshman WR Dominick Blaylock Travon Walker shares his thoughts on his first season as a Bulldog LSU gets No. 1 playoff seed, Bulldogs await likely Sugar Bowl bid Bill King: Georgia couldn't keep up with a great LSU team Georgia slips in polls but remains seen as a national powerhouse Joe Burrow says the Georgia defense forced his scrambles WATCH: D'Andre Swift slowed by a lot of pain against LSU Report card: Georgia fails test against LSU The post WATCH: Talented freshmen safety Lewis Cine knows his time is coming soon appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA Georgia football got the AllState Sugar Bowl invitation everyone expected and will face Baylor at 8:45 p.m. on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are making a repeat trip to Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where last year they came off an SEC Championship Game loss and were defeated by Texas, 28-21. Big 12 runner-up Baylor (11-2) is coming off a 30-23 overtime loss to College Football Playoff semifinalist Oklahoma on Saturday. This marks the fifth time the Bulldogs and the Bears have met, UGA holding a 4-0 series lead with all four prior meetings taking place in Athens. This marks Georgia's 10th Sugar Bowl appearance and fourth in the past 18 years. The Bulldogs have played in the Sugar Bowl more than any other postseason game. It's a rich history that includes the program's most recent national championship, a 17-10 win over Notre Dame on Jan. 1, 1981. Kirby Smart's current Bulldogs entered this season with national championship aspirations, but injuries took a toll, particularly in the receiver ranks where there was already heavy attrition. Georgia lost its top five pass catchers from the 2018 season, and the passing game took a major hit when go-to target Lawrence Cager suffered shoulder, rib and ankle injuries the second half of the season. Freshman Dominick Blaylock, another of the Bulldogs top targets, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 37-20 SEC Championship Game loss o LSU on Saturday. Blaylock has a torn ACL. Georgia also figures to be without junior tailback D'Andre Swift, who was limited to five touches in the SEC title game on account of a shoulder injury. Swift is expected to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft and not play in the bowl game. Bulldogs' junior All-American left tackle Andrew Thomas is also headed tor the NFL Draft, but Thomas might still decide to play in the Sugar Bowl as he has maintained his health throughout the season. DawgNation Georgia football D'Andre Swift discusses limits and pain in SEC Championship Jake Fromm makes no excuses after defeat in SEC Championship Game What's next for Georgia football: Bowl bid, players leaving, staff changes WATCH: Kirby Smart sheds light on LSU, Jake Fromm passing issues Bulldogs stock report, LSU crashes Mercedes-Benz Stadium How LSU beat Georgia in SEC title game, scoring, injuries The post Georgia football lands Sugar Bowl bid, aims for sweet ending against Baylor appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA Georgia football didn't get the SEC Championship Game win it was aiming for this season, but the Bulldogs clearly earned some respect. Georgia finished No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 and Coaches' regular-season polls. UGA is the highest-ranked two-loss team on the heels of a 37-10 loss to No. 1-ranked LSU on Saturday. It was Georgia's third straight trip to the SEC Championship Game. UGA soldiered through an injury filled season to score marquee wins over Top 15 teams Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida. The Bulldogs are expected to receive a Sugar Bowl bid. The New Year's Six Bowl played annually in New Orleans features the top ranked teams from the SEC and Big 12 that aren't a part of the College Football Playoff. Baylor (11-2) is the top-ranked team from the Big 12, No. 8 in both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches' Poll. The SEC has five of the top 10 ranked teams in the AP Top 25, with LSU No. 1, Georgia No. 5, Florida No. 7 and Alabama and Auburn tied at No. 9. AP Poll Top 25 Week 16 rankings Ranking Team Record 1 LSU 13-0 2 Ohio State 13-0 3 Clemson 13-0 4 Oklahoma 12-1 5 Georgia 11-2 6 Florida 10-2 7 Oregon 11-2 8 Baylor 11-2 Tie-9 Alabama 10-2 Tie-9. Auburn 9-3 11 Wisconsin 10-3 12 Utah 11-2 13 Penn State 10-2 14 Notre Dame 10-2 15 Memphis 12-1 16 Minnesota 10-2 17 Michigan 9-3 18 Boise State 12-1 19 Iowa 9-3 20 App State 11-1 21 Navy 9-2 22 USC 8-4 23 Cincinnati 10-3 24 Air Force 10-2 25 Oklahoma State 8-4 Coaches Poll Top 25 Week 16 rankings Ranking Team Record 1 LSU 13-0 2 Ohio State 13-0 3 Clemson 13-0 4 Oklahoma 12-1 5 Georgia 11-2 6 Oregon 11-2 7 Florida 10-2 8 Baylor 11-2 9 Alabama 10-2 10 Utah 11-2 11 Wisconsin 10-3 12 Penn State 10-2 13 Auburn 9-3 14 Notre Dame 10-2 15 Memphis 12-1 16 Minnesota 10-2 17 Michigan 9-3 18 Boise State 12-1 19 Iowa 9-3 20 App State 12-1 21 Navy 9-2 22 Cincinnati 10-3 23 USC 8-4 24 Air Force 10-2 25 Virginia 9-4 The post Georgia football slips in polls but remains among national powerhouses appeared first on DawgNation.