TPM News

NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official says what is believed to be an explosive device has been set off on Manhattan subway platform.

The explosion happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Details were still developing.

A person was arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries.

There was no immediate word of any other injuries.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

Passengers were evacuated as a precaution from the subway line where the explosion happened, near 40th Street and Eighth Avenue.

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While Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has made his name as a self-proclaimed supporter of upholding the rights awarded by the Constitution, he’s not a big fan of all those rights.

In 2011, Moore appeared on a conspiracy-theorists’ radio show, and said if the U.S. got rid of all the amendments after the Bill of Rights, it would “eliminate many problems,” according to audio of the radio show, the “Aroostook Watchmen” show, obtained by CNN’s KFile.

“That would eliminate many problems,” Moore said. “You know people don’t understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended.”

In the interview, Moore specifically cited the 17th Amendment, which allows voters to directly elect senators instead of state legislatures, and the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to former slaves.

“The danger in the 14th Amendment, which was to restrict, it has been a restriction on the states using the first Ten Amendments by and through the 14th Amendment,” Moore said. “To restrict the states from doing something that the federal government was restricted from doing and allowing the federal government to do something which the first Ten Amendments prevented them from doing. If you understand the incorporation doctrine used by the courts and what it meant. You’d understand what I’m talking about.”

Other amendments post-Bill of Rights include the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, the 15th, which prohibited the government from blocking people’s right to vote based on race, the 19th, which gave women the right to vote and the 22nd, which limits the number of times a person can be elected to the presidency to two terms.

Moore’s campaign told CNN that he doesn’t actually believe in eliminating amendments 11 through 27, but was rather speaking about “the overall framework for the separation of powers” in the U.S. government.

In that same interview, Moore questioned the validity of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Both comments fall in line with controversial remarks Moore has made recently and in the early days of his career in the public eye, from claiming homosexuality should be illegal to saying in September that America was great back when “families were united — even though we had slavery.”

Listen to the interview below:

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President Donald Trump recorded a robocall encouraging Alabama voters to back Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat representing Alabama.

Politico first reported on Saturday that Trump would record a message, and CNN obtained audio of the call on Sunday.

“We need Roy voting for us. I am stopping illegal immigration and crime. We’re building a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values,” Trump says in the robocall supporting Moore, per CNN. “But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped cold. We already know Democrat Doug Jones is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and he will vote with the Washington liberals every single time.”

Moore faces allegations from several women that he inappropriately pursued a sexual or romantic relationship with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Despite the sexual misconduct allegations, Moore has pressed on in the race. Although Republican leaders urged Moore to leave the race when the allegations first surfaced, GOP leaders have since softened on Moore and pushed to keep the seat in Republican control.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Start the countdown clock on a momentous two weeks for President Donald Trump and the GOP-run Congress.

Republicans are determined to deliver the first revamp of the nation’s tax code in three decades and prove they can govern after their failure to dismantle Barack Obama’s health care law this past summer. Voters who will decide which party holds the majority in next year’s midterms elections are watching.

Republicans are negotiating with Democrats on the contentious issue of how much the government should spend on the military and domestic agencies to avert a holiday shutdown. An extension of the program that provides low-cost health care to more than 8 million children and aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida need to be addressed. And further complicating the end-of-year talks is the fate of some 800,000 young immigrants here illegally.

Lawmakers are trying to get it all done by Dec. 22.

A look at the crowded agenda:

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TAXES

Republicans are upbeat about finalizing a tax bill from the House and Senate versions for Trump’s first major legislative accomplishment in nearly 11 months in office.

“I feel very confident we’re going to get this done … at the end of the day we’re going to get this to the president’s desk and he’s going to sign it,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday in an interview on Fox News Channel.

The House and Senate bills would cut taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade while adding billions to the $20 trillion deficit. They combine steep tax cuts for corporations with more modest reductions for most individuals.

Republican leaders have struggled to placate GOP lawmakers from high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey whose constituents would be hit hard by the elimination of the prized federal deduction for state and local taxes. Repeal of the deduction added up to $1.3 trillion in revenue over a decade that could be used for deep tax cuts.

Lawmakers finally settled on a compromise in both bills — full repeal of the state and local deductions for income and sales taxes, but homeowners would be able to deduct up to $10,000 in local property taxes.

And yet it’s still not a done deal.

“There’s a lot of conversation around the fact that in some of the blue states where the taxes are high, the property tax alone, they will not be able to use the $10,000 possible deductions,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” on Sunday. “So allowing for income and property taxes, which would cost another $100 billion by the way, to be options for folks in those states would be a better solution. And we’re looking at ways to make that happen.”

Just a few weeks ago, lawmakers were unyielding on their insistence that the corporate tax rate be slashed from 35 percent to 20 percent. Now, one way to finance the changes on state and local taxes would be to cut the corporate tax rate to 21 or 22 percent instead.

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GOVERNMENT SPENDING

Republicans and Democrats are trying to work out a sweeping budget deal. They got a temporary reprieve from a partial government shutdown when they passed a stopgap, two-week bill last Thursday.

Republicans want a major boost in defense spending. Democrats want a similar increase for domestic agencies.

Congress also has to figure out how much disaster aid should be directed to Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. The Trump administration requested $44 billion last month, an amount lawmakers from hurricane-slammed regions say is insufficient. The latest request would bring the total appropriated for disaster relief this fall to close to $100 billion — and the government still must calculate how much it will cost to rebuild Puerto Rico’s devastated housing stock and electric grid.

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CHILDREN’S HEALTH

Fresh federal money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, ran out on Oct. 1, a blow to the widely popular program that provides low-cost medical care to more than 8 million children. Some states have relied on unspent funds, while others that were running out of money got a short-term reprieve in the two-week spending bill.

Lawmakers hope to agree on a long-term budget solution for a program that’s about $14 billion a year.

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IMMIGRATION

Democrats want to act now to protect young immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, with demands that a solution is included in any year-end spending deal.

“We will not leave here without a DACA fix,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

These young immigrants, often referred to as Dreamers, face deportation in a few months after Trump reversed administrative protections established by President Barack Obama.

Republicans say it can wait till next year and shouldn’t bog down the broad budget agreement. However, House GOP leaders likely will require Democratic votes for the spending bill and they have to work out a deal with Pelosi.

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Associated Press writers Marcy Gordon and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

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PARIS (AP) — Several U.S.-based climate scientists are about to hit the jackpot, as French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to award them multi-year, all-expenses-paid grants to relocate to France.

The “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants are part of Macron’s efforts to counter U.S. President Donald Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a competition for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the global accord reached in Paris in 2015 to reduce climate-damaging emissions.

Macron is unveiling the first winners Monday evening at a startup incubator in Paris called Station F, where Microsoft and smaller tech companies are announcing projects to finance activities aimed at reducing emissions.

Monday’s event is a prelude to a bigger climate summit Tuesday aimed at giving new impetus to the Paris accord and finding new funding to help governments and businesses meet its goals.

More than 50 world leaders are expected in Paris for the “One Planet Summit,” co-hosted by the U.N. and the World Bank. Trump was not invited.

Initially aimed at American researchers, the research grants were expanded to other non-French climate scientists, according to organizers. Candidates need to be known for working on climate issues, have completed a thesis and propose a project that would take between three to five years.

The time frame would cover Trump’s current presidential term.

The applicant list was whittled down to 90 finalists in September, the majority of them Americans or based in the U.S., according to French national research agency CNRS.

About 50 projects will be chosen overall, and funded with 60 million euros ($70 million) from the state and French research institutes.

Some French researchers have complained that Macron is showering money on foreign scientists at a time when they have been pleading for more support for domestic higher education.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the European Union on Monday to back a new U.S. peace initiative in the Middle East, after President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital met with widespread condemnation and triggered clashes in the Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu, on a first official visit to the EU by an Israeli premier in 22 years, told reporters in Brussels that recognizing Jerusalem was merely stating the reality on the ground. He said he expected many European countries to follow Trump’s lead in the future.

But European officials say they have heard no details about the U.S. plan to relaunch moribund Mideast peace efforts.

“We should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace,” Netanyahu said, before a meeting with EU foreign ministers, chaired by the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Europeans are impatient to hear details of any new U.S. peace move. None were forthcoming when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Brussels last week.

“They’ve announced to us some kind of American initiative. We’ve been waiting for several months. If it’s not the case, then perhaps the European Union should take the initiative, but it’s too early to say,” Le Drian said.

“Everyone knows that the resolution of the Middle East crisis goes through negotiations and the recognition of two states,” he said.

“(Jerusalem) could be the capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state but that has to be negotiated between the two parties,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

Reynders said that, as the biggest aid donor to the Palestinians and a major partner of Israel, the EU has “a particular role to play” in the dispute.

Netanyahu insisted, however, that “what President Trump has done is put facts squarely on the table. Peace is based on reality.”

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, no one can deny it. It doesn’t obviate peace it makes peace possible,” he said, adding that he believed most European countries will now “move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Netanyahu was also due Monday to discuss Israel’s relations with the EU, which have been tense, particularly over the EU’s insistence on labeling Israeli products made in Jewish settlements.

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Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) once bragged that the only way he’d lose reelection is if he was caught with “a dead girl or a live boy.” Roy Moore might be about to do him one better.

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, most of whom were teenagers at the time. Top national Republicans have demanded he leave the Alabama Senate race, refused to support his campaign and threatened him with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation on the day he’s sworn in. He’s spent the final week of his hotly contested campaign in hiding, with no public events since last Tuesday. His TV ads have the production quality of local infomercials. His campaign has been badly outspent by Doug Jones, his Democratic opponent. His potential future colleague, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) slammed Moore on national television on Sunday, saying “Alabama deserves better.”

Yet Moore has crept back into the lead in public and private polls — and it’s difficult to find anyone in the state outside of Jones’ surrogates, including Moore’s harshest critics, who think he’s likely to lose.

“I’m not super confident,”Laura Hamilton, a former Madison County circuit court judge volunteering at Jones’ Huntsville office on Thursday told TPM.

Hamilton said she was “much more nervous now” than she had been a few weeks earlier.

“We’re going to keep working because you never know, you just never know, and Doug is just too great a candidate to let it go,” she said.

She, and the many other Jones volunteers TPM talked to across the state the last few days who expressed pessimism about the race’s outcome, have reason to be concerned.

Jones had shot to a lead in public and private polls before Thanksgiving, in the wake of the accusations against Moore of sexual misconduct from nine women, including one who said he sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and he was a deputy district attorney in his early ’30s, and another who said he initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was just 14 years old.

But Moore has come back and currently holds a lead slightly outside the margin of error in most recent public polls. Moore’s own internal survey had him up by 8 points over the weekend, according to two sources familiar with the numbers.

Democrats believe the race is a much closer contest, with Moore and Jones essentially tied. While it’s impossible to confidently predict a turnout in an oddly timed December election where one candidate is so fatally flawed and turnout levels amongst key groups including African Americans is a mystery, Republicans clearly feel more confident.

The race isn’t over yet, but if Moore wins it will be in spite of himself.

The candidate has been in hiding for the last week, taking a full six days off between a Tuesday rally with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and another one with Bannon scheduled for Monday night. He hasn’t taken questions from any news outlets who aren’t friendly to his candidacy since the scandal blew up more than a month ago.

Moore wasn’t even in the state for part of the final week. A source close to his campaign confirmed to TPM that he flew to Philadelphia to see his son play in the Army-Navy football game on Saturday, and he wasn’t at his own church Sunday morning. His thinly staffed campaign had almost no visible presence around the state past a few yard signs along the highway and scattered TV ads.

“I know you’re excited because I’m the only candidate talking to you,” Jones said mockingly of Moore during a quick scrum with reporters Sunday in Birmingham. “What kind of public servant hides?”

While Moore has gone to ground, Jones has been almost everywhere in the state in the past week. His campaign says it’s made more than 1 million phone calls, hit more than 100,000 doors and held almost 250 events in the race. In the last weekend alone he held rallies across the state with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and other prominent African American politicians, as well as a pair of concerts from indie-country darlings Jason Isbell and Shovels & Rope.

The Jones surrogates pushed to remind voters it’s not just Moore’s alleged sexual history that should give them pause — it’s his controversial views on race and his hostility towards gay people and non-Christians.

“It’s going to be a turnout game,” Sewell told TPM in Selma. “It’s a great juxtaposition. You have a person who’s going to be fighting for equal justice for everyone and someone who really stands for divisiveness and has always stood for divisiveness.”

But it’s still Alabama — one of the most racially polarized and conservative states in the country. No Democrat has won statewide here in more than a decade, and the more national “elites” criticize what Alabamians are doing, the more stubbornly many voters resist being told what to do.

Moore has also had some help. President Trump has painted the race’s outcome as crucial for his presidency, and parachuted in for a rally in one of Alabama’s larger media markets.

“We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our Make America Great Again agenda,” he said to cheers at a rally Friday just over the border in Pensacola, Florida. “We want jobs, jobs, jobs. So get out and vote for Roy Moore.”

Trump says the same in a robocall for Moore aimed at turning out the GOP base. The Republican National Committee has spent a total of $170,000 to boost Moore’s chances in the last week, the pro-Trump outside group America First Action dropped more than $1 million in the same stretch, and the National Rifle Association sent around mailers to its members pushing them to back Moore as well.

That all matters — as does the general dismissal of the accusers by many Republicans, who claim the women are likely lying and even if they’re telling the truth that it’s not that big of a deal.

Helping their argument was accuser Beverly Young Nelson’s admission Friday that she’d added a date and location to what she says is Moore’s inscription in her yearbook. Nelson has said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16, one of the most serious allegations against him.

Jeana Boggs, a longtime Moore friend and campaign volunteer who attended Trump’s Pensacola rally on Friday, told TPM that she didn’t believe the two women accusing Moore of his worst actions — and if the rest are telling the truth, what of it?

“He did nothing illegal. The age of consent was 16, and our parents, my sister was set up when she was 16 with a 30-year-old guy, and I worked in a dry cleaners when I was 15 or 16 years old and I dated the guy who owned the service station next door and he was in his 30s. Girls would brag about it, especially if the guy had an education, a career and was good looking,” she told TPM Sunday. “The other women said he was a perfect gentleman, it was only those two, and their statements have been debunked.”

Boggs said that “Trump’s endorsement and the yearbook fiasco” had handed Moore a comfortable lead in the race.

Her dismissiveness was echoed by many other Republicans across the state — though there were clear gender, educational and generational divides in how people viewed the accusations against Moore.

Many older Republican women didn’t believe the accusers or shrugged off the allegations, while a number of younger women saw things very differently and were either voting for Jones or staying home. Most older Republican men were sticking with Moore, but some younger ones said they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for either candidate.

The biggest question for Jones is black turnout. Jones’ campaign has put a huge effort into mobilizing black voters, as has a local outside group which has “Vote or Die” signs all over the state.

While anecdotal information is inherently limited, most African American voters TPM talked to from Huntsville to Selma to Montgomery had heard a ton about the race from TV, said they’d been contacted by Jones’s campaign or allies, and planned to vote. While they all knew a lot more about Moore than Jones, many mentioned Jones’ work prosecuting KKK members in the notorious civil rights-era bombing of a black church in Birmingham.

Tabitha Austin, an African American woman, told TPM as she grabbed lunch at Lannie’s barbecue in Selma she’d heard about the race “All day, every day” on TV, and was “absolutely” voting, calling Moore a “donkey.” Others expressed similar views.

Jones’ allies admit they need almost everything to go right on Tuesday to pull off what would still be a stunning upset in deep-red Alabama. But they’re holding out hope.

“I recognize that it’s not only uphill but up-mountain,” Alabama state Rep. Hank Johnson (D) told TPM in Montgomery. “But I think we’re going to be mountain-climbing.”

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A national Democratic group is putting out a “predator alert” on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to try and convince Republican women to vote against the accused child molester on Tuesday.

American Bridge is launching a last-minute digital ad that begins with the sound of an emergency alert — and only gets darker from there.

“Roy Moore has infiltrated our Alabama communities and his rap sheet reads like a serial sexual predator,” the ad’s narrator says as prison rap sheet-like images with Moore’s face flash onscreen. “His record from the Alabama Supreme Court paints an even darker picture. Judge Moore has repeatedly sided with rapists and sexual predators. These aren’t Alabama values. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, vote no on Roy Moore.”

 

Nine women have accused Moore of initiating inappropriate sexual encounters, many of them when they were teenagers. One says Moore undressed both of them and put her hand on the front of his underwear when she was 14 years old, while another says she was 16 when Moore sexually assaulted her.

Moore also had a record of siding with defendants in sex crime cases while serving as a judge, according to reports.

Those accusations have consumed the race — and badly damaged Moore, creating a close race in deep red Alabama. Moore has inched ahead in recent public polls, but if Democrat Doug Jones gets enough African American support and wins over enough Republican women he could still pull off an upset on Tuesday.

The digital ad, shared first with TPM, is targeting the latter group: Republican women who don’t like President Trump. The ad has $15,000 behind it, a small but not insignificant amount for a statewide digital buy.

This story has been updated to reflect the full size of American Bridge’s ad buy.

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s race for U.S. Senate settled into church for worship on Sunday, with the minister at a historic black congregation calling the race a life-or-death matter for equal rights, conservatives standing by Republican Roy Moore and others feeling unsettled in the middle.

Speaking at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, where four black girls died in a Ku Klux Klan bombing in 1963, the Rev. Arthur Price evoked the civil rights era between hymns. Democratic nominee Doug Jones prosecuted the last two Klansmen convicted in the attack and has attended events at the church, a downtown landmark with twin domed towers.

“There’s too much at stake for us to stay home,” Price said of Tuesday’s election. He didn’t endorse Jones from the pulpit but in a later interview called the candidate “a hero” to the congregation and Birmingham.

Despite allegations of sexual misconduct involving teen girls decades ago, Moore isn’t being abandoned by worshippers at Montgomery’s Perry Hill Road Baptist Church, where Moore spoke at a “God and Country” rally in September before the accusations arose.

Leaving the red-brick building after a service that ended with a hymn and an altar call, Kevin Mims said he didn’t believe the claims against Moore. But even if true, he said, they occurred long ago, and Moore is a conservative who stands “on the word of God.”

“Everyone has to vote their convictions,” said Mims, holding a Bible. “My conviction is he’s the right man for the job.”

Lines aren’t so clearly defined elsewhere.

Interviews with a dozen parishioners at Mobile’s Ashland Place United Methodist Church, the home church of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, turned up neither any Moore defenders nor confirmed votes for Jones. The prevailing mood seemed to be one of frustration over having to choose between a Republican with Moore’s baggage and any Democrat.

“I will vote for Judge Moore,” said Bill Prine, of Mobile. “I’m not a fan of his, but I’ll have to stick with the Republicans.”

The candidates also spent time in church. Accompanied by Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, and others, Jones tweeted a photo from More Than Conquerors Faith Church, a large black congregation in Birmingham. Aides to Moore, who has been almost invisible on the campaign trail during the closing days of the race, didn’t disclose his whereabouts Sunday.

Polls show the race too close to call. While Moore had a clear path to victory in a state where no Democrat holds statewide office, the 70-year-old has been fighting for his political life since reports surfaced a month ago that he made sexual advances on teen girls when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s.

Speaking on CNN on Sunday, GOP Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old were the “tipping point” in his decision to cast a write-in ballot for a “distinguished Republican” rather than to vote for Moore or Jones.

“There’s a lot of smoke,” Shelby said. “Got to be some fire somewhere.”

Roy Moore’s chief strategist, Dean Young, tried to tie Moore to the star of President Donald Trump, who remains popular among state Republicans despite low national approval ratings.

“If the people of Alabama vote for this liberal Democrat Doug Jones, they’re voting against the president, who they put in office at the highest level,” Young said on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

In a state considered part of the Bible Belt, the allegations transformed a race into an unexpected referendum on which is better: a man accused of child molestation claims he vehemently denies or a Democrat?

For many conservative Republicans, there’s really no choice.

“To me, there’s only one person in the race, and that’s Judge Moore,” said David Smith, leaving Perry Hill Baptist with his wife, Cecilia. The two have a recording of Moore’s speech earlier this year at their church and sometimes listen to it in the car for inspiration.

At 16th Street Baptist, Merion Turner recalled participating in civil rights marches and was in high school at the time of the bombing. Turner said she would vote for the Democrat on Tuesday, though her choice has little to do with the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.

“I just don’t like all the division in this country right now,” she said. “I think Doug Jones would help that.”

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Chandler reported from Montgomery; Barrow reported from Mobile. Associated Press writer Jay Reeves contributed to this report from Birmingham.

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