Television crews go over the Mueller report outside the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday in Washington. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Jolt: The Mueller report makes its debut in Georgia’s 2020 Senate race

In Washington, some top Democrats have seized on the Mueller report to make the case that the issue of President Donald Trump’s impeachment is far from settled.

That same divide is likely to play a factor in the 2020 race for U.S. Senate in Georgia. 

Via Twitter, Stacey Abrams, who is considering a Democratic challenge to Sen. David Perdue, came to this conclusion: “The Mueller Report - the sections released to the public - is not an exoneration. We must see the full report.” 

Former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson plans to run for the seat if Abrams does not. She has forcefully supported the Mueller investigation, and was one of the few elected officials to take the state with Tom Steyer at a “Need to Impeach” event in Atlanta last year.

On Thursday, she called for the House to quickly assess the report and the next move. 

“Transparency and accountability are essential to our democracy,” she said, “and the political discomfort or inconvenience of this controversy cannot dissuade our elected officials from promptly completing their constitutional duty.”

As for Perdue, here’s what he posted on Facebook: “Two years and millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on a wild goose chase. However, Democrats are still pushing a false narrative. They only want to investigate. They do not want to legislate. It's time to move on. No collusion. No obstruction. No kidding.”

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Kyle Hayes, who puts out the Georgia-oriented PeachPod, posted an hourlong interview with Teresa Tomlinson on Thursday. A few highlights:

-- The Democrat explained her decision to enter the U.S. Senate race only if Stacey Abrams did not.

“I see it as unproductive to have two formidable women leaders capable of holding statewide office running in the same primary,” she said. “We’re at a place where we can actually take this. We can beat David Perdue. And I think we need to be unified to a reasonable point, certainly. We don’t need necessarily to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

-- Tomlinson said she supported the continuation of private health care insurance for those who want it, but proposed lowering Medicare eligibility to age 55. I think everybody is in agreement that we have to go back and make some changes to the ACA, but I think generally speaking, it is a good policy structure, a great base upon which to work but we can make it even better.”

-- And she reluctantly supported ending the filibuster and its requirement for a 60-vote majority in the U.S. Senate. “I’m afraid that because of our disfunction and the evolution of our political selves, it is time for [the filibuster] to go, and it pains me to say that,” she said.

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Your must-reads for the day: Our AJC colleague Bill Rankin reports that a state judicial watchdog panel has recommended that Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford of the Griffin Judicial Circuit be removed from office for the alleged theft of court funds. Crawford, a former state legislator who also once headed the state’s public defender system, has already been indicted and has pleaded not guilty.

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A measles-like outbreak of First Amendment contagions appears to be contained. 

The Peachtree City council on Thursday unanimously rejected an ordinance to allow city officials and employees – at city’s expense -- to sue citizens who defame them and their work.

That ordinance would have included work in any medium, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on the airwaves or in a newspaper. 

Fox 5 News reports that Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the council took up the issue Thursday night after listening to the concerns of about 25 constituents. From the report: 

The mayor said the resolution was mostly meant to legally protect employees and volunteers like members of commissions or even volunteer firefighters. But in the end, the council voted unanimously to kill the resolution.

“I think it’s the right outcome I work for the citizens, the intent was very pure but it wasn’t written correctly I’ve been told and so the citizens have spoken and we move on,” said Mayor Fleisch.

Opponents of the proposed ordinance had some backup from the Georgia chapter of the ACLU, which sent a friendly reminder that “city resolutions cannot unilaterally rewrite the U.S. Constitution or otherwise change” the freedom to criticize public officials.

The measure considered by the Fayette County city followed a bill introduced state Rep. Andy Welch, a Republican from nearby Henry County, that would establish a state panel to discipline wayward journalists. At the same time, Welch also said he would resign his seat in the Legislature, a situation that Gov. Brian Kemp labeled “bizarre.”

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