The Jolt: Doug Collins demands FBI director’s head over antifa remarks

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins called on FBI Director Chris Wray, a fellow Georgian, to resign after he split with President Donald Trump by testifying before a House committee that he believes racial extremists pose the greatest domestic terror threat and describing antifa as an ideology, not an organization. From the Wall Street Journal:

The Trump administration, including [Attorney General Bill] Barr, has repeatedly blamed antifa for violence in recent months, often describing it as an organized group. Mr. Trump earlier this year said the U.S. would designate antifa a terrorist group, which legal experts have said likely isn’t possible given antifa’s domestic status.

Mr. Wray repeatedly told lawmakers antifa isn’t a group but more an ideology or movement with loose nodes in some regions. He said the FBI is investigating some self-described adherents in connection with crimes.

Among domestic extremists, the primary perpetrators of deadly incidents and violence in 2018 and 2019 and “the most lethal of all domestic extremists since 2001” have been those who are racially and ethnically motivated, Mr. Wray said.

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Trump erupted on Twitter with his own definition of antifa:

I look at them as a bunch of well funded ANARCHISTS & THUGS who are protected because the Comey/Mueller inspired FBI is simply unable, or unwilling, to find their funding source, and allows them to get away with “murder”.

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Collins, locked in a contest with U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler over loyalty to the president, seized on the FBI director’s remarks -- a few minutes before Trump weighed in. “It’s time for Chris Wray to resign,” Collins said.

Wray’s comment undercut messaging from Trump, who has long blamed antifa for violence and looting that took place after peaceful demonstrations demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality in some cities.

Expect Collins to expound on his stance today, when he and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida stump together at the Cobb GOP.

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Earlier this week, we spoke with Tom Frieden, who directed the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017, about Trump administration interference in pandemic research. This quote was intriguing:

“The CDC website is at 1.6 billion clicks. They’ve put out over a thousand documents, and 99.9% of the things on the CDC website are technically sound,” Frieden said.

“But that there are a few documents that aren’t scientifically defensible really is very problematic. I can tell you which of these documents to trust or not trust, but how could most people? What the administration has done in undermining trust in the CDC and the FDA is really damaging to our ability to fight this and future infectious disease emergencies.”

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Today, the New York Times reports this:

A heavily criticized recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month about who should be tested for the coronavirus was not written by C.D.C. scientists and was posted to the agency’s website despite their serious objections, according to several people familiar with the matter as well as internal documents obtained by The New York Times.

The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. It came at a time when public health experts were pushing for more testing rather than less, and administration officials told The Times that the document was a C.D.C. product and had been revised with input from the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

But officials told The Times this week that the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the C.D.C.'s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.

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Our AJC colleagues Alan Judd and Jeremy Redmon have identified Dr. Mahendra Amin as the physician alleged to have performed multiple hysterectomies without proper consent on women housed at an ICE detention center in Irwin County. Their report includes this:

In 2013, two former X-ray technicians at the Ocilla hospital told federal authorities that Amin was part of a scheme to inflate billings to Medicaid and Medicare.

Amin owned a company that provided management services to the hospital and frequently referred patients there for his financial benefit, according to the complaint. He and other doctors allegedly left “standing orders” for expensive diagnostic tests for patients they never actually examined to determine if a treatment was medically necessary. Amin told nurses to perform an ultrasound on any pregnant woman seeking treatment at the hospital, regardless of her symptoms, the suit alleged. They usually billed Medicaid for the tests, court documents show, including at least two that were performed without medical necessity on pregnant women who had bronchitis.

The hospital’s chief executive did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Neither Amin nor the hospital admitted wrongdoing but settled the case by paying $520,000 in civil penalties. Amin continued seeing patients at the hospital — among them, women from the immigration detention center.

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Even more cash is flowing into Georgia’s two U.S. Senate races.

We told you yesterday that Majority Forward, a group aligned with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, would spend $6 million to mobilize voters of color to back Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

The development came on the same day that groups tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would spend another $3.2 million on the Georgia races.

The announcements add to the huge spending on the twin races, and further proof that the dual contests – rather than the presidential election – will dominate the airwaves in the next 45 days.

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At the state Capitol, the House Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, has released a brief report on what went wrong with the June 9 primary. Click here to read it. The gist:

From counties throughout the state, the committee heard complaints of printer failures, issues with ballot scanners, and general malfunctions of the new voting equipment. Specifically, the set up and take down of equipment, troubleshooting issues with the machines, problems with login credentials, and a lack of clear instruction for machine usage emerged as the most reported complaints.

The committee heard testimony stating that poll workers received inadequate training on operating the new voting machines. This lack of training on the machines, paired with equipment malfunction, were cited as reasons for long lines and long wait times for voters in polling locations across the state.

Additionally, the “My Voter Page” voter information portal on the Secretary of State’s website did not serve as a reliable source of information for voters on election day, leading to poll location confusion and issues with absentee ballot status

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Jill Biden, wife of the Democratic presidential candidate, will participate in a virtual campaign event in Georgia on Saturday. Biden will speak to volunteers at phone and text banks to mark the start of early voting. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz are also scheduled to participate.

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U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, has introduced legislation that would prohibit any federal funding from being used to teach students curriculum tied to the New York Times' “1619” project that explores the impact slavery had on the genesis of America. Allen’s bill, titled the Saving American History Act, mirrors a proposal first filed in the U.S. Senate by Arkansas' Tom Cotton.

In his press release, Allen said the “1619” project, which included articles, essays and podcasts, was historically inaccurate. However, his office declined our request to point out specific excerpts or details he disagreed with.

Allen’s initiative tracks with a position adopted by President Donald Trump on Thursday, as noted by the New York Times:

Speaking at the National Archives Museum, Mr. Trump vowed to counter what he called an emerging classroom narrative that “America is a wicked and racist nation,” and he said he would create a new “1776 Commission” to help “restore patriotic education to our schools.” The president reiterated his condemnations of demonstrators who tear down monuments to historical American figures, and he even sought to link the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., to the removal of a founding father’s statue in Mr. Biden’s home state, Delaware.

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