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.

News Now

  • Dem debate: Clinton crushes it
  • Sanders defends Clinton on emails
  • No breakouts for three stragglers
  • Naughty, naughty: Facts please
  • Planned Parenthood Won’t Take Payment: Fetal Tissue
  • US to Raise Iran Missile Test at UN
  • Israel Responds to Jerusalem Attacks
  • Appeals Court: Muslims Can Sue NYPD
  • British grandfather faces 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia
Dem Debate: Clinton Crushes It (NYT, Politico, WaPo, Hill, AP, WSJ, TRNS, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• Hillary Clinton, seeking to halt the momentum of her insurgent challenger, Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), aggressively challenged his values, positions and voting history Tuesday night in the first Democratic presidential debate (well-prepared, comfortable, all those debates with Barack Obama steeled her)
• Mocking Sanders’s admiration for the health care system of Denmark, Clinton interrupted a moderator, suggesting Sanders was unprepared to grapple with the realities of governing a superpower. “We are not Denmark,” Clinton said, adding with a sly smile, “I love Denmark. We are the United States of America.” Crowd erupted in applause
• A few moments later, Clinton went after Sanders’s vote to shield gun makers and dealers from liability lawsuits. Sanders, who linked his record on gun control to his representation of a rural state, called the bill “large and complicated.” “I was in the Senate at the same time,” Clinton replied. “It wasn’t that complicated to me. It was pretty straightforward.”
• Asked if Sanders had been tough enough on guns during his decades-long career in Congress, Clinton offered a sharp reply: “No. Not at all.” “I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long, and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA.” (his weakest issue – and “socialist” label)


• Watch: Hillary Clinton: “I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.” (TPM) / Listen: DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says a late run by VP Joe Biden “will generate more enthusiasm.” (TRNS)
Sanders Defends Clinton on Emails
• A memorable moment for Sanders occurred when he defended Clinton from criticism of her email practices. “Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Clinton flashed a wide smile, shook his hand. “Thank you Bernie,” – huge applause
• Sanders shone over Wall Street excess. Clinton said her plan to crack down on Wall Street wrongdoers “would have the potential of actually sending the execs to jail,” but that Sanders’s proposal to break up banks was naive. “Congress does not regulate banks,” Sanders retorted sharply. “Wall Street regulates Congress.” – roars from the crowd (rooting for him)
• Clinton stumbled over the Keystone XL pipeline. Prodded about her history of changing positions on major issues, she clumsily explained, “I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.” (tailor-made for GOP or Dem ads)
• But overall, Clinton seemed highly attuned to questions about her authenticity and whether she cares about the problems of ordinary people. And in Las Vegas, she smiled and laughed regularly. After a commercial, she joked about the duration of her allotted bathroom break. “It does take me a little longer,” she said (reminder to voters that she’s the only woman)

• Moderator Anderson Cooper captured the problem with the Sanders candidacy when he said: “The Republican attack ad in a general election – it writes itself. You supported the Sandanistas in Nicaragua. You honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And just this weekend, you said you’re not a capitalist.” (ouch)


• Watch: Bernie Sanders, a former conscientious objector, says that he’s prepared to take the country to war if necessary (TPM) / Watch: Martin O’Malley defends his tenure as former mayor of Baltimore – which has come in for recent criticism after upsurge of violence (TRNS)
No Breakouts for Three Stragglers
• Former Sen and Gov Lincoln Chafee (RI) told the audience in his opening statement: “What I’m most proud of is that, in 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals. I have high ethical standards.” (swipe at Clinton that didn’t really work – kind of a reminder of how incredibly boring he is)
• Former Sen Jim Webb (Va) seemed to take a swipe at Clinton’s closeness to Democratic party insiders, saying the country was looking for somebody “who understands how the system works, who has not been co-opted by it.” (he also repeatedly complained that he wasn’t getting enough time to talk – maybe if he campaigned more, they’d take more notice of him)
• Former Gov Martin OMalley (Md) repeatedly found ways to stand out, calling for expanding the Affordable Care Act to cover the children of undocumented immigrants. “We are a nation of immigrants,” he said. “I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we are all in this together.” (sooo he’s going nowhere, then)
• Cooper asked whom the candidates were most proud to call an enemy. A pretty long list. Clinton added mischievously: “Iranians (all of them?), probably the Republicans,” But it was Webb, a former marine who fought in Vietnam, who nailed it: “I’d have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to.”
• A big question is how Clinton’s strong performance may change the calculation of VP Joe Biden. Biden’s allies have continually pushed back the timetable for his announcement about whether he’ll jump into the race, and he still may wait until after Clinton’s high-stakes testimony next week before the House Benghazi committee (last night wouldn’t make it more likely IMHO)
• Interactive: Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley on the issues (NYT) / Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson told reporters in the spin room after the debate that Hillary Clinton won but that Bernie Sanders held his own (TRNS)


Naughty, Naughty: Facts Please (Politico, me)
• Hillary Clinton on Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal: “I did say, I hoped it would be the gold standard” of trade agreements. Nope. In a Nov 2012 speech in Australia, she said the deal “sets the gold standard in trade agreements,” a statement she echoed in many venues. Last week, she said the deal “didn’t meet my standards.” The final deal changed several provisions
• Bernie Sanders: “We have 27 million people living in poverty.” In fact, according to the Census, there are 46.7 million people living in poverty (that’s one you’d really think he’d nail)
• Hillary Clinton said Edward Snowden “could have gotten all the protection of a whistleblower.” Doubtful. If Snowden had been an NSA employee, this would be true, but he was working for Booz Allen when he took off with millions of classified docs – the whistleblower exec order and law didn’t apply (she’s echoing the administration’s line here)
• Clinton’s email account “was allowed by the State Dept but it wasn’t the best choice.” Hardly. A State Dept policy on the books when she was secstate said routine work-related email use should be conducted on official systems
• Jim Webb: “Try to get to Tripoli airport today. Can’t do it.” While the security situation in Libya has been chaotic in recent months, you can still fly into and out of Tripoli airport. Four flights went into and out of the airport on Tuesday, according to


• Sooo, Mike Huckabee decided to out-trump Donald Trump on Twitter during the debate. After tweeting: “Racism exists because we have a sin problem, not a skin problem,” Huckabee went on to trash Asians: “I trust @BernieSanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with my labrador!” (and Huckabee will prob get a bump in the GOP polls…)

Planned Parenthood Won’t Take Payments for Fetal Tissue (NYT, WSJ, Hill, me)

• Responding to a furor over undercover videos, Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that it would no longer accept payments to cover the costs of the programs that make fetal tissue available for research. Republicans said Tuesday that ongoing investigations would continue

• The decision was meant to combat a series of covertly filmed videos that contended that PP officials sought to profit from programs providing post-abortion fetal tissue to researchers. PP said the videos were deceptively edited and denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement of costs

• The videos were released, starting mid-July, by a group of anti-abortion activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress. Activists posed as reps of a biomedical firm and sought to negotiate the purchase of fetal organs from some PP personnel

• Republicans in control of Congress have responded by starting several investigations of PP, along with efforts to cut off its federal funding. Most of that is reimbursement for Medicaid patients receiving cancer screenings, contraception and other non-abortion services. GOP efforts to cut off funding nearly closed down the govt at the end of September

• PP said its fetal tissue programs took place in only two states – California and Washington – at about a half dozen health centers. PP’s executive VP, Dawn Laguens, said the Washington state affiliate already had a policy of accepting no reimbursement for costs, and that the California affiliate would follow the same policy


• Four Planned Parenthood clinics have been attacked since an anti-abortion group released deceptively-edited videos attacking PP. Clinics in Thousand Oaks, Calif, and Pullman, Wash, were firebombed on 30 Sept and 4 Sept. Attacks also occurred at clinics in Aurora, Ill, on 19 July and New Orleans on 1 August


US to Raise Iran Missile Test at UN Security Council (Reuters, me)
• A missile test announced by Iran over the weekend was an apparent violation of UN Security Council resolution 1929 and Washington will raise the incident at the UN, State Dept spox Mark Toner told reporters Tuesday
• Toner and WH spox Josh Earnest both said the issue was separate from a deal Iran struck in July with six world powers, which seeks to curb Tehran’s atomic program in return for having sanctions against it eased. (both spox very keen to emphasize that the issue was separate from the nuke deal – and try to head off GOP attacks)
• Once the deal goes into effect, Iran will still be “called upon” not to undertake any ballistic missiles work designed to deliver nuclear weapons for a period of up to eight years, according to a Security Council resolution adopted in July. Ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under resolution 1929 which remains valid until the 14 July nuclear deal goes into effect
• But at the time the resolution was drafted, a U.S. official called this provision meaningless and said the U.S. would veto any suggested transfer of missile technology to Iran. Tuesday, Earnest said countries could do more to stop the flow of ballistic missile technology to Iran. “That requires international cooperation,” he said


• Jason Rezaian, the WaPo reporter jailed in a (bogus) espionage case in Tehran, heard of his conviction on Iranian state TV and is depressed and angry about being deprived of info about his case, his brother, Ali Rezaian, said Tuesday. “As this goes on, it becomes more and more difficult for him. The ambiguity makes it worse.” (Reuters)

Israel Responds to Jerusalem Attacks  (BBC, me)

• Israel’s cabinet has authorized police to seal of “parts of Jerusalem,” in an attempt to halt a wave of deadly attacks. After an emergency meeting, the cabinet said that soldiers would also be deployed to help police in some areas

• The move comes after three Israelis were killed on Tuesday and more than 20 injured in shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and central Israel, Israeli police say. Two were killed when two Palestinian assailants shot and stabbed passengers on a bus in Jerusalem before being shot by police. Another Israeli died after being run down and stabbed elsewhere in the city

• Later, a Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Clashes continued between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank after activists called for “a day of rage.” Near daily stabbings by Palestinians have left dozens of Israelis dead and wounded over the past two weeks. Several attackers have also been killed


• The cabinet said soldiers would also be deployed to make public transport safe, and specially trained security guards would be recruited later. It said the authorities could demolish the homes of Palestinians who attacked Israelis and take away their right to live in Jerusalem

• Netanyahu also told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “stop lying, and stop inciting.” Abbas has blamed “acts of aggression” by the Israeli authorities and Jewish settlers for the upsurge in violence. In the U.S., SecState John Kerry said, “The U.S. condemns in the strongest terms possible the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.”

• Violence has spiraled since clashes erupted at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site in mid-September. It was fueled by rumors among Palestinians that Israel was attempting to alter a long-standing religious arrangement governing the Western Wall, and allow Jews to pray there – which they’re not allowed to do now, as it’s in close proximity to the al Aqsa Mosque


• The U.S. and Russia are to hold a third round of talks on air safety in Syria after it emerged combat aircraft from both nations came within visual contact 10 to 20 miles of each other on Saturday. Despite the talks, the U.S. said Russia’s actions in Syria were “wrongheaded.” (BBC)

Appeals Court: Muslims Can Sue NYPD (AP, Politico, me)
• The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s decision to throw out a civil rights lawsuit brought by a coalition of Muslim groups that accuses New York City police of conducting secret surveillance on Muslims in New Jersey without suspicion of criminal activity, finding the plaintiffs had standing to argue the counter-terrorism program violated their rights

• “What occurs here in one guise is not new,” Judge Thomas Ambro wrote, joined by Judges Julio Fuentes and Jane Roth. “We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during WWII are examples that readily spring to mind.”

• The program was exposed by AP, which reported that officers were infiltrating Muslim organizations throughout the NY region in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Mayor Bill de Blasio ended the program in 2014. The NYPD’s legal affairs chief said Tuesday the dept would vigorously fight the revived lawsuit and expected to win (it was a hideous program)

• The plaintiffs in the case, including New Jersey imams, business owners and students, sued in 2012, claiming the surveillance subjected them to discrimination, threatened their careers and caused them to stop attending religious services. Ambro and Fuentes are appointees of President Bill Clinton. Roth was appointed by President George H.W. Bush

• Officials said a review of the program concluded the same info could be better collected through direct contact with community groups. “There is no Muslim exception to the Constitution,” said Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, along with Muslim Advocates (er – ask Trump and Carson about that)


• With pressure building on the WH to slow or completely halt the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, senior officials said that President Obama appears increasingly willing to keep a force there large enough to carry on the hunt for al Qaeda and ISIS militants, as ISIS has gained a toehold by recruiting disaffected Taliban (NYT)

British Grandfather Faces 350 Lashes in Saudi Arabia (NYT, Guardian, me)

• The son of a British man facing a sentence of 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia has accused the UK Foreign Office of allowing business interests to get in the way of helping him. Karl Andree, 73, faces being publicly flogged as part of a punishment imposed after bottles of homemade wine were reportedly found last year in his car by Saudi police enforcing strict laws prohibiting alcohol

• The family of the oil executive, who has been held in prison in Jeddah for over a year, say he’s already weak as a result of cancer and fear that the flogging will kill him. Son Simon Andree told BBC radio, “He’s at the bottom of the pecking order. I feel that the business dealings with Saudi Arabia and the UK are probably taking priority over it.”

• The British govt said Tuesday that it was canceling a $9 million program to train prison officers in Saudi Arabia, and that PM David Cameron would make a personal appeal for clemency, as Andree’s case continued to draw attention on social media

• Govt officials also said that Cameron planned to make a personal request, in writing, for review of the case. The Saudi Embassy in London couldn’t be reached for comment (surprise). The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, had called on Cameron to scrap the contract on the grounds that Britain shouldn’t aid a country that allows for lashings and beheadings

• Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crashed as a result of a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board says in a final report into the July 2014 disaster, which killed 298 people. The report doesn’t say who fired the missile, but says airspace over eastern Ukraine should have been closed (BBC)


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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Justin Duckham and Washington Desk contributed to this report


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