Sen. Jones talks Supreme Court, Russian interference during Washington update at VBC

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Senator Doug Jones held his 2018 Washington Update at the Von Braun Center Friday afternoon.

The senator addressed the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh by President Trump. Jones said he is going through a huge body of his work every day and hopes to meet with him saying, “I am going to keep an open mind…making my own decision…without bias.”

Jones said he is trying to learn as much about Kavanaugh as possible.  He said he planned to have an open mind throughout the confirmation process, and that the process is “not about getting a president a part of their team.”

“I do not think it’s appropriate, and we have sunken to a really bad place in this country, where the independent judiciary and the nomination for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court have been relegated to a political campaign,” he said. “You’re either a Republican or you’re a Democrat, you’re a conservative, you’re a liberal, you’re either for us or against us. That’s just wrong.”

Jones also said he’s troubled that all of Kavanaugh’s records have not been given to the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to a Sept. 4 hearing.

On the subject of the military and NASA, Jones said he can help fellow Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby — the Republican chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee — on the other side of the aisle.

“This community, in particular, the military, in particular, NASA, in particular, has a voice from Alabama in a caucus where you haven’t had a voice for a long time,” Jones said. “And I sincerely mean that.”

Jones also addressed Russian interference in American politics, saying what has been going on is “astounding.” He urged people to read the recent indictments issued against Russian nationals who face accusations of using social media to sow discord and hacking into Democrats’ emails.

“I don’t mean this to be political, I truly, honest-to-God do not mean to be political when I say this, but the president is doing all of us a disservice when he conflates the term ‘collusion’ with ‘interference,’ and he tries to make those to be the same,” Jones said.

He urged people to not trust what they read on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“We have to protect this democracy,” he said. “We have to protect the pillars of government, the very institutions of government that are under attack from both without and within. It is vital to everything we do as Americans.”