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Christian Utah Republican: Ensuring LGBT rights has helped me ‘live my religion’

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A Christian state lawmaker from Utah said in an interview with NPR that his faith has not been compromised by protecting LGBT rights — in fact, it has been strengthened.

“I actually believe I’m living my religion now, as I look out and try to do good to those that maybe don’t agree with me,” state Sen. Stuart Adams (R) said on Wednesday’s episode of Morning Edition. “Like loving my neighbor or trying to be respectful of other people. I believe those are good Christian religious principles that we ought to not just talk about, that we ought to actually live and act on.”

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Earlier this year, Adams and his fellow legislators approved a law expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while also allowing exceptions for religious institutions.

“We did not deal with public accommodations. We bookended this at housing and employment,” Adams explained. “And yet, I think if you walk down the streets of most cities in Utah and ask people whether there was protections for the gay and lesbian community, they would say yes. Most people don’t differentiate between housing and employment protections and public accommodations.”

When host Steve Inskeep asked Adams how lawmakers would approach the issue of public restroom access for the trans community — which has provoked heavily-criticized laws in states like North Carolina — Adams said that they relied on findings by the American Psychological Association in crafting the “Utah Compromise,” as their anti-discrimination law has been called.

“Through their processes, it takes about six months of psychological evaluation for someone to actually have a DSM-5 designation of gender identity,” Adams said. “And my understanding, and at least those that I’ve talked to, felt like Utah’s definition was something that was not perfect but was acceptable. And part of this solution is get the right definition so that we don’t have inappropriate behavior inside restrooms.”

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“You’re saying part of the solution is to define who we’re talking about here because one of the anxieties that gets thrown out all the time is some boy goes into a girls restroom just because and uses this defense,” Inskeep replied. “That’s what you’re saying.”

“That’s right,” the senator said. “And so the – when you’re dealing with especially sensitive issues inside of schools, whatever the resolution is, it has to be respectful of everyone. And I think there’s a way to do it, if, again, you try to look at the legitimate concerns.”

However, the Washington Post noted that Utah is one of the 11 states that filed a lawsuit last week opposing the federal directive for public schools to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

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“We think we we were handling that community in a very sensitive and a very appropriate way,” Adams said. “To have federal – the government insert their efforts into our local school districts and local schools, people are pretty frustrated.”

Inskeep’s interview with Adams can be heard in its entirety below.

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Trump is ‘a profoundly lawless individual’: Presidential biographer tells Democrats to wake up and go after president

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy" Saturday, in the wake of the Ukraine scandal, presidential biographer Bloomberg Opinion executive editor Tim O'Brien laid out how President Donald Trump's presidency has become a pure exercise in criminality — and how House Democrats need to treat this as the threat that it is.

"The Democrats are looking at this as a chess board," said O'Brien. "Republicans see it as a knife fight. They're not even trying to play chess. They've been playing politics at the electoral level and in the Congress by simply trying to rip the spine out of anybody who opposes them. The Democrats are trying to figure out what's the right thing. I honor that, but as long as they sit back and are more concerned about appearances or not upsetting the table, Republicans are going to run circles around them, both electorally and when it comes to Donald Trump."

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Trump took out DNI head Dan Coats to install a new acting director in charge of whistleblowers: CIA veteran

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," a longtime veteran CIA official said the whistleblower, who ran to the inspector general with a complaint about Donald Trump asking Ukraine's president for dirt on Joe Biden, should expect the president and his aides to come after them.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Jonna Mendez said she saw the first warnings signs that something was up in the U.S. intelligence community when the president forced DNI head Dan Coats and his top deputy out.

"Through the lens of someone who spent 27 years at the CIA, the thing that caught my eye instantly was Dan Coats' resignation follow by Sue Gordon," Mendez explained. "The fact that Dan Coats went into a meeting and said 'Sue, you've got to resign' and that she did, truncating a career that clearly hadn't reached its zenith."

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Mike Pence should be investigated for his part in Ukraine negotiations and ‘we need some answers’: Ex-prosecutor

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy" Saturday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance agreed with host Joy Reid that Vice President Mike Pence could be involved in the Ukraine whistleblower cover-up — and that Congress needs to act to learn the truth for the American people.

"Let me go to you on this very quickly, Joyce, because here's the question for Mike Pence," said Reid. "Mike Pence has been sort of severed from all of the other questions that are relating to potential impeachment for Donald Trump, that the House is wrestling with right now, but if Pence ... went in knowing why the aid was being held up, went in and spoke to the leader of Ukraine knowing what stick the administration had over them, and in that way was drawn in to this idea of using that stick to try to get what they wanted from Ukraine, does he then face the jeopardy of perhaps also being drawn into the questions of impeachment?"

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