TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

In the News

  • Boehner pitches plan as shutdown clock ticks…
  • Ashton Carter at Pentagon?
  • Immigration: House GOP / WH clash at hearing
  • Hundreds of police killings uncounted in federal stats
  • Police investigate Michael Brown’s stepfather
  • Lebanon detains relatives of ISIS leader
  • Loretta Lynch starts AG charm offensive
  • Senators push military sexual assault bill – again
  • Netanyahu fires ministers, seeks early election
Boehner Pitches Plan as Shutdown Clock Ticks
• Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Tuesday pitched a two-step plan to House Republicans that would keep the govt funded and also push back against President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Though the outcome remained unpredictable, Boehner and his deputies were already counting votes (Hill, NYT, Roll Call, Politico, me)

• Boehner told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting he plans to bring a bill – largely symbolic – to the floor as early as Thursday that would deal with Obama’s actions, which are providing legal status and work permits for up to 5 million illegal immigrants

• The House would then vote next week on a so-called CRomnibus spending bill. The measure would combine an omnibus spending package funding most of the govt through Sept 2015 with a separate, shorter-term measure funding the Dept of Homeland Security – which does immigration – for a few months


• Not all conservatives were on board. Rep Steve King (R-IA) said: “They need to come to this point that we have to shut off the funding to the president’s lawless act. Nothing else. I’m a little bit amazed that it isn’t more clear to more people.”

• Republicans are likely to need at least some Democratic votes. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to decide whether to free her members to support the measure. Her spox said, “We’re not inclined to support anything that diminishes the president’s legal authority to act on immigration.”

• Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on Tuesday, “That would be a big accomplishment if we could get a bill over here that would fund all the appropriations subcommittees except for one.” He said it was unfortunate that it was Homeland Security “but that’s the way it is.”

• The House and Senate Armed Services Committees released late Tuesday evening the text of their proposed 2015 defense authorization bill. No amendments will be allowed (Hill)
Ashton Carter at Pentagon?
• President Obama has settled on Ashton Carter to be the next defense secretary, senior admin officials said on Tuesday, and may formally announce him by the end of the week, an admin official said. WH spox Josh Earnest wouldn’t confirm it at Monday’s briefing with reporters (NYT, WaPo, CNN, Hill, TRNS, Fox, Politico, Reuters, me)

• Carter, a physicist, was the No 2 civilian official at the Pentagon and a candidate to succeed Leon Panetta when he stepped down as SecDef last year. Previously, he served as the DoD’s chief weapons buyer. He was also in charge of carrying out $500 billion in cuts that began in 2012 and will take a decade to complete

• In many ways, Carter was the last man left standing for the top Pentagon post, after a number of candidates withdrew from consideration. Sen Jack Reed (D-RI asked not to be considered, as did Michele Flournoy, a former Pentagon under secretary. DHS Sec Jeh Johnson said he was happy in his present job (job nobody wants…)

• It’s thought that Carter would have little trouble in Senate confirmation hearings. Sen James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that, if Carter was nominated, “it should be an easy nomination.”

• SecDef Chuck Hagel’s forced exit came amid concerns he wasn’t best equipped to lead the Pentagon’s efforts to combat the rising threat posed by ISIS. Hagel also reportedly struggled to break into Obama’s inner circle and reports suggested simmering tension between the DoD and the president’s national security staff
• Interactive: What is President Obama’s immigration plan? (NYT)

Immigration: House GOP / WH Clash at Hearing
• Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) opened a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday am by accusing President Obama of “an unprecedented executive power grab” and an “end-run around Congress” that he said would “undermine the Constitution and threaten our democracy.” (NYT, Politico, Roll Call, TRNS, me)

• The witness, Homeland Security Sec Jeh Johnson, said President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration were “well within our legal authority.” “The reality is that, given our limited resources, these people are not priorities for removal.”

• “The campaign is over, the Republicans win both houses of Congress and then the president issues this order,” said Rep Peter King (R-NY). “I feel there was bad faith.”

• Johnson said Obama had told him to begin planning the actions last spring, but they’d been delayed several times at the request of lawmakers trying to pass legislation, including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “This is not a permanent solution,” Johnson said, adding: “We feel that we had no choice.”

• His comments infuriated Rep Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “The American people want to see border security, they want deportations. I think Congress can pass a bill when the American people see that the admin starts enforcing the laws that are already on the books.” – banging his hand on the podium (that’s why you bring popcorn)

• Could be a fun meeting. President Obama is hosting incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the WH today. Tuesday, McConnell expressed surprise over “the way the president has reacted to what can only be described as a butt-kicking election.” No word if bourbon will be served – may need it (Hill, me)
Hundreds of Police Killings Uncounted in Federal Stats
• A WSJ analysis of data from 105 of the country’s largest police agencies between 2007 and 2010 found more than 550 police killings between those years were missing from the national tally kept by FBI or, in a few dozen cases, not attributed to the agency involved. Result: Nearly impossible to determine how many people are killed by police each year

• To analyze the accuracy of the FBI data, WSJ requested internal records on killings by officers from the nation’s 110 largest PDs. One-hundred-five of them provided figures

• Those internal figures show 1,825 police killings in those 105 depts between 2007 and 2012, 47% more than the FBI’s tally for justifiable homicides in those depts’ jurisdictions, which was 1,242. Nearly all police killings are deemed by the depts or other authorities to be justifiable

• The full scope of the underreporting can’t be quantified. In the period analyzed by WSJ, 753 police entities reported about 2,400 killings by police. The large majority of the nation’s roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies didn’t report any (wow)


• The reports to the FBI are part of its uniform crime reporting program. Local law enforcement agencies aren’t required to participate. Some localities turn over crime stats, but not detailed records describing each homicide, which is the only way particular kinds of killings, including those by police, are tracked by the FBI. WSJ’s analysis identified holes in the FBI data

• Justifiable police homicides from 35 of the 105 large agencies contacted by WSJ didn’t appear in the FBI records at all. Some agencies said they didn’t view justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers as events that should be reported

• For 28 of the remaining 70 agencies, the FBI was missing records of police killings in at least one year. Also missing from the FBI data are killings involving federal officers

• About a dozen agencies said their police homicide tallies didn’t match the FBI’s because of a quirk in the reporting requirements: Incidents are supposed to be reported by the jurisdiction where the event occurred, even if the officer involved was from elsewhere. So an agency might believe a justifiable homicide had been reported by another dept, but it hadn’t


• Police in Washington DC didn’t report to the FBI details about any homicides for an entire decade beginning with 1998 – the year WaPo found the city had one of the highest rates of officer-involved killings in the country. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she doesn’t know why the agency stopped reporting in 1998 – she said she wasn’t the chief then

• A total of 100 agencies provided WSJ with numbers of people killed by police each year from 2007 through 2012; five more provided some years. Several, including NYC, LA, Philadelphia and Austin, post details use-of-force reports online
• The FBI has almost no records of police shootings from three depts in three of the most populous states in the country – Florida (not since 1996), New York and Illinois. A spox for the FL state agency said in an email that its tracking software was outdated. NY is looking to “modify its technology so we can reflect these numbers.” (lame and lame)
• Attorneys for Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his execution scheduled for tonight. They say he’s too delusional (he’s absolutely crazy). Some 20 conservatives have written to TX Gov Rick Perry asking him to stop the execution (AP, HuffPo, BBC, me)
Police Investigate Michael Brown’s Stepfather
• As National Guard troops began withdrawing from the troubled Ferguson region, police officials said Tuesday that they were investigating whether the stepfather of Michael Brown incited a riot by issuing an invective-filled call to action outside the PD on 24 Nov, not long before protesters began smashing windows and burning cars (NYT, AP, me)

• The angry outburst by Louis Head occurred just after the announcement that a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Brown. “The investigation involves multiple arsons, robberies, destruction of properties and larcenies,” Officer Shawn McGuire, a St Louis County PD spox, said in an email

• On 24 Nov, about 8.30 pm, as hundreds of protesters assembled outside the police station learned that Wilson wasn’t being charged, Head embraced Brown’s mother, then he turned to the crowd, stomped on the hood of a car and shouted, repeatedly, “Burn this bitch down!”

• Vid: Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, consoles Brown’s weeping mother, then he turns to the crowd around him and yells: “Burn this motherfu*ker down! Burn this bitch down!” (NYT)

• While making his outburst, Head asked for a microphone, but he wasn’t handed one, and it seems most likely that many in the crowd, spread throughout a four-lane street and adjacent parking lots, had no idea that he had spoken

• Head, reached by phone Tuesday, said he hadn’t heard from the police about an investigation. “I’m not worried about nothing,” said Head, who declined to discuss the comments he made last week

• Also Tuesday, some activists who met with President Obama on Monday at the WH, expressed dissatisfaction at the initiatives he announced. Protest leader Ashley Yates told reporters in a conference call that a trip to Ferguson would be “too little, too late,” and that he should be using his power to enact real change

• In the Seattle area, a 46-year-old man was arrested Tuesday, accused of making repeated threats to kill Wilson and other officers on his Facebook page. Jaleel Tariq Abdul-Jabaar was charged with three counts of making interstate threats, according to federal prosecutors
• A Pentagon spox says Iran has conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in eastern Iraq in recent days. Rear Adm John Kirby says the U.S. was not coordinating with Iran. A senior Iranian official today denied conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraq (BBC, Reuters)
Lebanon Detains Relatives of ISIS Leader
• Lebanese authorities have detained a daughter of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as the child’s mother, American officials said Tuesday, possibly granting Lebanon leverage in its efforts to free Lebanese captives held by the group. It was originally reported that it was a son – but it’s a daughter (NYT, BBC, TRNS, me)

• Asked about the details in Brussels, SecState John Kerry said that he didn’t know the details of the case (really?) and that the U.S. wouldn’t take part in hostage talks. “I don’t think we engage in that kind of negotiation, period.” Kerry said (really?)

• ISIS is one of the insurgent factions holding more than 20 Lebanese soldiers and police officers, and the Lebanese authorities have been struggling to secure their release. As negotiations have dragged on, a number of captives have been released or beheaded, and families of remaining prisoners have publicly criticized the govt for not doing more

• Two Lebanese officials identified the woman as Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi – probably Syrian or Iraqi. An official said the investigation was still focusing on whether she’s really Baghdadi’s wife, adding there were strong indications that she was. An army official said she was still being questioned – unsure how much info she possessed about ISIS’ operations

• I asked WH spox Josh Earnest Monday at the briefing whether any U.S. intelligence agencies were involved in the capture of the woman or were involved in her interrogation. He declined to answer both questions

• What can unite Congress? No to Nazis, that’s what. Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a bill that would cut off Social Security benefits to the handful of Nazis who continue to receive those benefits. Companion bill in the Senate – bound to sail through (CNN, me)
Loretta Lynch Starts Charm Offensive
• Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee as the next AG, began one-on-one meetings with key senators Tuesday, part of a broader listening tour in the coming weeks aimed at winning enough Senate support to be confirmed as Eric Holder’s successor (Politico, NYT, me)

• One issue certain to emerge during Lynch’s confirmation hearings is Obama’s recent executive actions that could shield some 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and grant them work permits. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “To hold Loretta hostage to that would be unfair to the nation, as well as to her.”

• Her past remarks on race may come up, too. In the wake of a string of abuses by NY police officers in the 1990s, Lynch, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, spoke forcefully about “the pain of a broken trust” that African-Americans felt and the responsibility for repairing generations of miscommunication and mistrust fell to law enforcement

• In a speech to the Black Law Students Assn at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan in early 2001, Lynch said, “Building a better relationship between the police and the minority community serves us all. The community desperately wants it. If people did not want things to get better, they would have burned the city down by now.”

• In the speech, Lynch cautioned against using a reduction in crime as a benchmark for police success. “While crime is down, there is a large part of our community that still does not feel safe. And that means that law enforcement has not done its job, no matter what the numbers say.”
• President Obama on Tuesday urged Congress to give a “good Christmas present” to the world by approving $6 billion in emergency Ebola funding. Obama spoke at NIH. He called progress in vaccine research “exciting.” (TRNS, BBC, TRNS)
Senators Push Military Sexual Assault Bill
• Several senators from both parties on Tuesday pushed for Congress to take a second look at strengthening proposals for victims of sexual assault in the military, less than a year after a similar proposal fell several votes short of avoiding a filibuster in the Senate (NYT, me)

• Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY, who has sought to remove military commanders from overseeing such cases, told reporters that the armed forces hadn’t proved that they could reverse the rising rates of sexual assault in the ranks

• Gillibrand said Tuesday that many senators had told her that they would support her bill if there was little improvement in the handling of sexual assault cases over the course of the year – a promise she said she would remind them about. But she faces hurdles from most GOP lawmakers and Pentagon officials

• Gillibrand said she had asked President Obama to consider taking executive action on the issue and, asked about whether she would hold up the confirmation of a new defense secretary over it, said she would “think about that.”

• Gillibrand didn’t say what her next step would be, but she has said that she might introduce her measure as part of the next National Defense Authorization Act, raising the prospect of a protracted battle that could hold up funding for the Pentagon

• Judy Huth filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby on Tuesday in LA County Superior Court alleging the comedian sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1975, when she was 15 years old (LAT)
Netanyahu Fires Ministers, Seeks Early Election
• Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has fired his finance and justice ministers and declared he wants parliament dissolved, triggering an early general election. He said he wanted an election two years early to win “a clear mandate to lead Israel.” (BBC, me)

• Netanyahu and his ministers have disagreed about the content of a bill designed to strengthen the Jewish nature of the Israeli state and over a proposed tax break for first-time home buyers, which finance minister Yair Lapid regards as his signature issue

• Speaking at a presser Tuesday, Netanyahu said it was “impossible” to lead with the current coalition, describing justice minister Tzipi Livni and Lapid’s activities as a “putsch.” Netanyahu said he was taking a “personal risk” calling for elections but was doing so “for the good of the country.”

• Following Netanyahu’s presser, Livni reportedly accused the PM of cowardice, saying that he “didn’t even dare to look me in the eye to fire me” and she denied there was a “putsch” against him

• A BBC analyst says Netanyahu regards Lapid, who leads Yesh Atid, the centrist party that’s the second largest in the governing coalition, as being too ambitious. Netanyahu may hope to return to power at the head of a new coalition in which Yesh Atid would be replaced with a bloc representing ultra-Orthodox Jews
• Vid: Rolling Stones’ sax player Bobby Keys died Tuesday at his home in Franklin, TN. He was 70. Keith Richard wrote, “I have lost the largest pal in the world.” Here’s “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” live in NYC 2003. Here’s “Brown Sugar” live from 1972 – in Texas. Both with great sax solos from Keys

Sign up here for TRNS News Notes


Victoria Jones

TRNS’ Justin Duckham, Loretta Lewis and Paayal Zaveri contributed to this report


The Talk Radio News Service is the only information, news booking and host service dedicated to serving the talk radio community. TRNS maintains a Washington office that includes White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau. Talk Radio News Service has permanent access to every breaking newsevent in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.