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AUDIO: Idaho Republican asks if a woman can swallow a camera for gynecological exam

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Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) was well on his way to becoming a national laughingstock on Monday for his bungled understanding of the female anatomy — now you can listen to what he actually said.

As the Associated Press reported, Barbieri tried to compare telemedicine abortion procedures to colonoscopies during a meeting of the House State Affairs Committee. But his comeuppance was more thorough than wire reports suggested.

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“You mention the risk of colonoscopy,” Barbieri told physician Julie Madsen. “Can that be done by drugs?”

“It can not be done by drugs,” Madsen replied. “It can, however, be done remotely, where you swallow a pill, and this pill has a little camera and it makes its way through your intestines, and those images are uploaded to a doctor who’s often thousands of miles away who then interprets that.”

“Can this same procedure be done in a pregnancy — swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is with the child?” Barbieri asked.

“It cannot be done in pregnancy simply because, when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina,” she answered prompting loud laughter from within the chamber.

“Fascinating,” Barbieri said. “That certainly makes sense, doctor.”

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The exchange came as the committee discussed House Bill 154, which would ban health care providers from overseeing chemical abortions through video conferencing.

Barbieri, who is a board member for a “crisis pregnancy center” in in Coeur d’Alene and an advocate of home-schooling, said during the hearing that abortion is a procedure that requires a physician to be physically present.

But Madsen, who currently practices in the state, criticized the bill earlier in her testimony, saying it exposes a physician to potential lawsuits even if they did not violate any existing medical standard.

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“I’m wary of a group of medical laypersons such as you specifying the nature of medicine, and that is exactly what this bill does,” she said. It specifies how a doctor provides medical care — including how the care is documented in the patient chart.”

Madsen and other critics of the bill testified on Monday that the bill would hurt women in rural areas who do not have access to reproductive health clinics or have to travel great distances to reach one. The committee approved the bill in a 13-4 vote along party lines, with Barbieri, meaning the Republican-controlled House will vote on it soon.

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Listen to Madsen’s exchange with Barbieri, as posted online, below.

The entire hearing can be heard here. Madsen’s testimony begins around the 1:15:49 mark.

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A Republican witness gets humiliated when the author of a study he cited refutes him

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During a hearing on Thursday, September 17, Bharat Ramamurti of the Congressional Oversight Commission questioned Republican Chris Edwards on the benefits of federal aid to states. Edwards, during the hearing, questioned the benefits of that type of aid. But Ramamurti skillfully used a study that Edwards cited to make a case in favor of federal aid to states — not against it.

Ramamurti, a Democrat who was appointed to the Congressional Oversight Commission by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier this year, noted that Edwards has claimed that a 2019 study by economics professor Valerie Rainey of the University of California shows that a dollar of federal aid to states results in less than a dollar of economic growth. And Edwards responded that yes, Rainey’s study did show that.

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2020 Election

‘Loony’ Bill Barr is the ‘second most dangerous man in America’: WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson

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Discussing comments made by Bill Barr this past week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday morning, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson called the attorney general "loony" after calling the AG the "second most dangerous man in America."

With host Joe Scarborough pointing out that Donald Trump attacked his own FBI director again this week, Robinson was asked to explain what is going on with the Justice Department.

"Historically, obviously, as you know, and as everyone knows, the FBI director is given an amount of autonomy and authority to do what he needs to do in the service of American justice and is thought to be immune from the sort of political interference," he began. "At least that's the theory, that was what we tried to do from the end of J. Edgar Hoover's tenure to now and it started at the beginning of Donald Trump's term when he got rid of Jim Comey because he wouldn't do his political bidding. So this is nothing new for Donald Trump."

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Bill Barr’s friends aren’t sure if he’s just a liar or delusional: ‘He’s been substantially influenced by right-wing media’

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough wondered what Attorney General William Barr's friends thought of his transformation into a right-wing crank.

The "Morning Joe" host said the attorney general has become the president's personal fixer -- as Trump attorneys Roy Cohn and Michael Cohen once had done -- and embraced conspiracy theories aimed at undermining the election, and Scarborough wondered what happened to the once-respected lawyer.

"He has all the money he wants," Scarborough said. "What do you think, what do some of his friends, former friends think about this guy who has savaged his reputation, lies willfully for the president of the United States, and sounds more like a bizarre right-wing blogger than the attorney general of the United States?"

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