Politics GOP Civil War to Fill Jeff Sessions' Senate Seat

15:06  17 july  2017
15:06  17 july  2017 Source:   NBC News

US charging 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

  US charging 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion U.S. prosecutors have charged more than 400 people with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing.Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the charges Thursday. Officials say those charged include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics. In prepared remarks, Sessions calls it the "largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history."Among those charged are six Michigan doctors accused of a scheme to prescribe unnecessary opioids.

Now, ahead of the August 15 primary to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions , the leading GOP candidates are accusing each other of showing insufficient loyalty to the president, whom they speak of with divine reverence.

Luther Strange in this year’s special election to finish the U.S. Senate term of Attorney General Jeff Sessions , and the nation’s best known state judge says he is ready to battle big GOP dollars in the primary and defend the Constitution in Washington.

Image: Strange, Moore, Brooks© From left, Sen. Luther Strange, Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks Image: Strange, Moore, Brooks

WASHINGTON — In Alabama, where Republican dominance is unchallenged, Donald Trump carried every county in the state's presidential primary last year and defeated Hillary Clinton by an almost 2-1 margin.

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Now, ahead of the August 15 primary to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the leading GOP candidates are accusing each other of showing insufficient loyalty to the president, whom they speak of with divine reverence.

Blacked out page of Sessions security clearance form is out

  Blacked out page of Sessions security clearance form is out The Justice Department has released a heavily blacked out page from Attorney General Jeff Sessions' security clearance application. The document has become public in response to a government watchdog group's lawsuit.The application page asks whether Sessions — a senator before joining the Trump administration — or anyone in his immediate family had contact within the past seven years with a foreign government or its representatives.There's a "no" listed, but the rest of the answer is blacked out.

Doug Jones, the former U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members for an infamous church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, has jumped into the race to fill Jeff Sessions ’ U.S. Senate seat . The seat , however, is considered solidly GOP .

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Incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat temporarily in February, called Trump's election a "Biblical miracle." Roy Moore, the twice-elected, twice-deposed Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, said, "God…sent Donald Trump in there." And Rep. Mo Brooks, a Tea Party favorite, has vowed to read the King James Bible on the Senate floor until the president's border wall gets built.

"You would think every candidate were his best friend, based on how they are talking about the president," said Montgomery-based Republican pollster Brent Buchanan. "And every time the media talks about Donald Trump and Russia, Republican voters become stronger Trump supporters."

Luther Strange© Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., is interviewed on March 6, 2017. Luther Strange

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell favors Strange, who for months was the only candidate with enough money to air TV ads. And a McConnell-affiliated super PAC — which plans to spend up to $10 million on the race — is pummeling Brooks, one of the GOP congressmen shot at on a ball field in Virginia last month.

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Democratic senator accuses Sessions of 'obstructing' a congressional investigation. 4:31 p.m. Watch the testiest exchange from Jeff Sessions ' Senate hearing. Last night's GOP Senate primary in North Carolina was billed as a surrogate battle in the Republican Civil War between the establishment and

Robert Aderholt had already asked his state’s governor to appoint him to a possible vacant Senate seat , should Sen. Jeff Sessions accept a Cabinet position. Robert Bentley to appoint him to fill the junior senator ’s seat before Sessions was officially tapped on Friday.

The latest ad from the Senate Leadership Fund says "career congressman Mo Brooks...sided with" Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren when he criticized Trump last year.

Brooks, while supporting Ted Cruz in the presidential primary, called Trump a "serial adulterer" and said, "I don't think you can trust Donald Trump with anything he says."

Brooks endorsed Trump in the general election and when Strange made his own negative comments about Trump last year, Brooks' team fired back with a Trump-style statement dubbing Strange "Big Lyin' Luther."

  GOP Civil War to Fill Jeff Sessions' Senate Seat © Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Huntsville, Alabama on May 15,...

Two of Stranges' campaign ads feature him firing a handgun equipped with a silencer at "Obama's amnesty plan" in order to call attention to his support for a bill to cut taxes on silencers.

David Ferguson, an Alabama GOP strategist, said that "gimmicks about silencers at the gun range or reading the King James Bible on the Senate floor" are a misreading of Trump's success in the state.

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  Trump administration to appeal travel ban ruling to Supreme Court The Trump administration will try to block a judge's ruling on the president's temporary travel and refugee ban, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Friday. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu said the ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries cannot stop grandparents and other relatives of U.S. citizens from entering the country, and also opened the door for more refugees to enter.

Jeff Sessions 's 1986 Senate hearing to provide a… Now, as the state of Alabama heads toward the special election to fill Sessions ’ vacated Senate seat , a number of Republicans have tossed Brooks believes in the mythical “ war on whites” and once said that anyone who talked about race was “a part

"Donald Trump won some counties (in Alabama) with over 80 percent of the vote in the general election because he appealed directly to the people," Ferguson said. "These candidates and their consultants should be taking notes rather than trying to ride the president's coattails."

Still, as much as Trump resonates in the state, GOP operatives expect the president, who has not endorsed in the Republican primary, to steer clear of the contest to avoid alienating one faction or another.

Strange, meanwhile, is still dogged by questions about his appointment to Sessions' seat by former Gov. Robert Bentley, who was shortly thereafter driven out of office by a sex scandal.

Bentley had initially and controversially scheduled the special election for next year — despite a law calling for one "forthwith" — which would have given time for Strange's incumbency status to cement.

When Gov. Kay Ivey replaced Bentley in April, she quickly rescheduled the first round of the election for August to better comply with state law.

"The people of Alabama deserve to be the ones to select who their next senatorial person is going to be to represent them," Ivey told NBC News, "and they're going to get that by virtue of me changing the date simply because I read the law and followed the law."

Protester’s Conviction for Laughing in Sessions Hearing Overturned

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Roy Moore© Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore poses in 2015. Roy Moore

Democrats are a non-factor in Alabama, so the race for the Senate seat will be decided by whoever wins the GOP nomination. That's likely go to take two rounds of voting, since no candidate is expected to clear the 50 percent threshold for an outright win in August. While there are 11 Republicans on the ballot, Strange, Brooks and Moore are seen as competing for the two slots in the runoff, scheduled for September 26.

Moore, who is ahead in most polls, made headlines nationally in 2003 when he was removed for office after he refused to removed the stone Ten Commandments he had installed on the grounds of the state judicial building. He was elected chief justice again in 2012, but suspended again last year for refusing to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Brooks and Strange are regarded as competing for the second spot in the runoff, and that explains why the acrimony between them has ratcheted up so significantly in final weeks of the race.

Brooks has tried to use Strange's fundraising strength against him, warning that Washington establishment "swamp critters" are trying to "strong-arm" Alabama Republicans into picking their candidate.

The tenor of the campaign has led even some Republicans to chafe that the contest has turned into caricature of Southern conservatives interested only in "God, guns, and Trump" as Quin Hillyer, a longtime conservative commentator based in Mobile, put it.

"They're so brazenly pandering," Hillyer said.

Trump has confidence in Sessions, White House says .
President Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite his criticism of the Justice Department head's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, the White House said Thursday. "Clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at an off-camera briefing.In a "Clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at an off-camera briefing.

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