ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Broken Clouds
H 90° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 90° L 73°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    88°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 90° L 73°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    86°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 90° L 73°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
Georgia lawmakers will have prominent roles in Mueller questioning
Close

Georgia lawmakers will have prominent roles in Mueller questioning

Georgia lawmakers will have prominent roles in Mueller questioning
Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery
Special counsel Robert Mueller will testify before two congressional panels on Wednesday about the investigation he led into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Georgia lawmakers will have prominent roles in Mueller questioning

Three Georgia lawmakers will question former special counsel Robert Mueller during a hearing Wednesday that could be a defining moment for Donald Trump’s presidency.

U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson of Lithonia and Lucy McBath of Marietta are Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, many of whom are expected to home in on potentially obstructive incidents by the president laid out in the text of Mueller’s report.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, the panel’s senior Republican, is likely to focus his questioning on the origins of Mueller’s probe and the intentions of some of the senior investigators.

“What we’re going to find out is the dark underbelly of the corrupt cabal that started it all,” he said during a recent appearance on Fox News.

Collins tenaciously defended the president as Mueller conducted and completed his investigation and has accused the Judiciary Committee’s Democrats of endlessly investigating Trump in order to harm his chances of re-election.

Staffers for Johnson and McBath would not share specifics about their bosses’ questioning ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, but neither Democrat has joined the more than 90 House members who have publicly backed opening an impeachment inquiry.

» Mueller testimony live updates: What time, what channel, livestream

“I think it’s not now time for impeachment,” Johnson said last month. “The American people don’t support it, and until they do, I think we should refrain from embarking upon an impeachment inquiry.”

Both voted with Democratic leaders last week to kill a symbolic impeachment effort on the House floor, as did U.S. Reps. John Lewis of Atlanta and Sanford Bishop of Albany. The only Georgia Democrat who supported the resolution was U.S. Rep. David Scott of Atlanta, who has refused to publicly elaborate on his thinking.

Local Democratic candidates for Congress have been more accepting of an impeachment inquiry, which must originate with the House Judiciary Committee. Some believe Wednesday’s hearing will up the pressure on Democratic leaders to open such proceedings, regardless of what Mueller says.

Interviews with more than a dozen Georgia Democrats showed a stark divide over the idea. Some, including Phyllis Hatcher, want party leaders to take a more aggressive and confrontational approach to Trump.

“We need to do impeachment proceedings. Why does the president get exempted? He needs to be accountable to the same laws that we are,” said Hatcher, a Rockdale County activist and former state Senate contender. “And the Democratic Party should hold him to account.”

Others worried the tactic could backfire.

“Impeachment is playing into Trump’s hand. He wants to be the aggrieved. He wants to look like they’re all after him — like he’s been wronged,” John Penn, an educator, said at a recent Conyers town hall meeting.

“I don’t think his base is growing,” Penn said, “but you can use that to scare a whole lot of conservative Democrats in battleground states.”

The divide has also split Georgia’s two announced Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. Ex-Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has been outspoken in her support for impeachment proceedings, appearing with presidential candidate Tom Steyer at his “Need to Impeach” event in April 2018.

Citing the Constitution and “The Federalist Papers,” Tomlinson said Congress has “a duty” to commence with impeachment.

“Impeachment is not a tool to redo a prior election or to affect the next election,” she said. “It is to prevent one more day in which an executive can misuse the office and the power that goes along with it.”

Her rival, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, said the party’s focus should be trained on the ballot box.

“The American people have all the evidence they need,” he said. “What we’ve seen from the president and Senator (David) Perdue is enough to defeat them in 2020. I’m more interested in defeating them in the election than trying to impeach.”

McBath, a first-term Democrat in one of Georgia’s most competitive congressional districts, has tread carefully on the issue. A recent poll conducted by the House GOP’s campaign arm points to why.

The survey of 400 voters by the National Republican Congressional Committee — which has committed significant firepower to defeating McBath — found that 60% of voters in her district, which covers parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, oppose impeaching Trump. That includes 56% of independent voters.

But Democrats need no poll to remind them of the swingy politics of the 6th District, which had been held by Republicans for decades before McBath’s victory last year.

“We need to hear from the witnesses who can give us the truth as to what actually happened. We need to make sure that no entity, and no one person, is above the law,” McBath said last month at a town hall in Dunwoody. “At the end of the day, the chips will fall where they may.”

One lawmaker who has been surprisingly silent throughout the impeachment debate has been Lewis, an outspoken Trump critic who has boycotted all the president’s speeches to Congress after saying he didn’t see him as a “legitimate” president.

Lewis is a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has tamped down on impeachment talk and urged Democrats to win over public opinion first. He has said he supports her position.

“I could be persuaded in attending the meetings and being informed but have not arrived at a decision,” he said in June. “But something must give.”

AJC.COM LOGO

Go to ajc.com to keep up with Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress throughout the day.

Read More

News

  • This is one big cat. And this full-figured feline is looking for someone with a big heart to adopt him. >> Read more trending news  BeeJay, sometimes known as Mr. B, is 2 years old and weighs 26 pounds, WPVI reported. Officials at the Morris Animal Refuge said they are trying to find a forever home for BeeJay. 'OMG, big boi Mr. B is a CHONK. He's a chonk of a chonk. He redefines the term,' Morris Animal Refuge officials wrote on their Twitter and Facebook pages. BeeJay is a domestic shorthair cat with brown and white hair, WPVI reported. Officials at the Morris Animal Refuge said the reaction to BeeJay has been so popular the organization's website crashed. If you are interested in adopting this 'jumbo-sized package of fluff and love,' contact Morris Animal Refuge, WPVI reported.
  • A beloved giraffe at an Arizona wildlife park died from complications from previous 'anesthetic procedures,' officials said on social media. >> Read more trending news  'We are deeply heartbroken to announce farewell to our beloved friend Kibo,' officials with Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Campe Verde announced on Twitter. 'He touched thousands over 20 years at our park.' The 20-year-old giraffe died Tuesday, KNXV reported. In a Facebook post, the zoo said Kibo 'had a level of wit and curiosity that surpassed any other friends with which he shared his space.' The giraffe came to Out of Africa Wildlife Park in 1999, KNXV reported. 'He touched our hearts and reminded us to be silly and to laugh every day, especially when he would sit down in front of the entry gates,' zoo officials wrote on Facebook.
  • Twenty-two people were injured Thursday night in a light rail crash north of Sacramento, California, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to KOVR, officials are calling the crash a 'multi-casualty' incident. Sacramento Metro Fire spokesman Chris Vestal said there were multiple injuries and 'multiple medics' were at the scene, the television station reported. Officials with the Sacramento Fire Department said the crash occurred around 9:45 p.m., KCRA reported. At least five cars were on the tracks when the train derailed, according to the Sacramento Bee. Fire officials reported 22 injuries, the newspaper reported. Two had moderate injuries, and 20 were describe as 'walking wounded,' according to the Bee.
  • A convicted serial killer who admitted to killing six men in three states was executed Thursday night in Florida. >> Read more trending news  Update 1:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Gary Ray Bowles, 57, was executed by lethal injection at 10:58 p.m. Thursday at the Florida State Prison, the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis announced. Bowles did not say anything before his execution, but wrote he was sorry in a handwritten statement dated Thursday, according to The Associated Press. 'I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused. I hope my death eases your pain,' Bowles wrote. 'I want to tell my mother that I am also sorry for my actions. Having to deal with your son being called a monster is terrible. I'm so very sorry. I never wanted this to be my life. You don't wake up one day and decide to become a serial killer.' Original report: Gary Ray Bowles, 57, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, barring a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. Bowles began his eight-month killing spree on March 14, 1994, when he beat and strangled 59-year-old John Hardy Roberts in the victim's Daytona Beach home, the Ledger of Lakeland reported. On May 19, 1994, Bowles killed 37-year-old Albert Alice Morris in the same manner. With each of his Florida victims, Bowles befriended the men while working as a prostitute, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He would then move in with the victims, who were gay men, and eventually kill them. Bowles also robbed the victims of their cars and credit cards. Tim Youngman, a retired homicide and crime scene investigator with the Daytona Police Department, told The Ledger that Bowles denied being gay himself, saying, 'I'm a hustler.' After the first two murders, Bowles killed two men in Georgia -- one in Savannah and one in Atlanta -- and another man in Wheaton, Maryland. He admitted to these killings but was never prosecuted for them, The News-Journal reported. Bowles' cross-country killings earned him the nickname the 'I-95 Killer.' The FBI began a manhunt for him in the summer of 1994 and added him to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. While on the run, Bowles was profiled on 'America's Most Wanted' at least five times, according to The News-Journal. Bowles was arrested shortly after killing 42-year-old Walter Hinton on Nov. 20, 1994, in his Jacksonville home. Hinton was also beaten and strangled. “The manner in which he murdered Mr. Hinton was really outrageous, really heinous,” Jacksonville prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told The News-Journal. Bowles was sentenced to die by a Jacksonville circuit judge in 1996. In August 1998, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Bowles' death sentence, saying prosecutors were wrong to introduce evidence of Bowles' homophobia, The Ledger reported. However, in May 1999, jurors recommended a death sentence for Bowles. Bowles' execution will be the 99th in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, WCJB-TV reported. Youngman said Bowles' execution is overdue. “He killed six people,” he said. “You can prove it, without a doubt. So why not? It’s time.”
  • Excitement is running high in northern Ohio as the Cleveland Browns prepare for the NFL regular season. For the first time in years, the Browns are being mentioned as possible playoff contenders, and a 2-0 mark in the preseason has ramped up expectations for the team reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2002. >> Read more trending news  One Browns fan is so confident about the Browns' chances, he got a tattoo Wednesday that proclaimed the team the Super Bowl LIV champions, WKYC reported. Ohio State student Garrett Howenstine, 20, a junior at Ohio State University, told the television station he got a tattoo on his right thigh predicting the Browns would be hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Feb 2 in Miami.  The tattoo features a Browns helmet with the words 'Superbowl Champs LIV' written underneath, WKYC reported. Howenstine has been getting grief online for not using the proper term, 'Super Bowl,' on his tattoo. Howenstine got the tattoo at Bodystain Tattoo & Body Piercing in Columbus. But here is the irony: Smitty, the tattoo artist who did the work, is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, WEWS reported. Howenstine's tattoo may seem a bit premature, since the Browns have never been to the Super Bowl, but he is confident Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett can bring glory to Cleveland this season. 'Most people either love it or hate it. The people that hate it let it go at the logo being old or the Super Bowl not being spaced out,' Howenstine told WEWS.
  • Indiana State Police troopers arrested a man Wednesday after a pursuit ended in the middle of a bean field. A farmer helped authorities reach the man when he gave police a lift in his four-wheel pickup truck, WXIN reported.  >> Read more trending news  Chad Decker, 45, of Terre Haute, was booked on a felony charge of resisting law enforcement in a vehicle and misdemeanor charges of operating while intoxicated, reckless driving, criminal mischief, refusal to identify himself and criminal trespass, according to the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute. According to the Indiana State Police, Trooper Andrew Mattern attempted to pull over an SUV in Vigo County, but the driver did not stop and continued driving for a mile, the newspaper reported. Once stopped, Mattern said he recognized Decker and noticed a strong odor of alcohol along with a partially empty bottle of Crown Royal in the passenger seat, WTTV reported. Decker did not exit his SUV when asked to do so and fled the scene, according to the Tribune-Star. Troopers said Decker drove his SUV through a gas station lot and onto railroad tracks before turning into a bean field, where he got stuck. A farmer gave Mattern a ride in his truck to catch Decker, who was caught while running away from his vehicle, WRTV reported. Decker was arrested and booked into the Vigo County Jail, WXIN reported.