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

  • Paris attacks: Response latest
  • Paris attacks: Refugees to US?
  • Paris attacks: 2016ers speak out
  • Paris attacks: Muslim leaders condemn
  • Democratic debate: Foreign
  • Democratic debate: Domestic
Paris Attacks: Response (AP, AP, Reuters, NYT, Telegraph, WaPo, Fox News, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• French authorities launched 168 pre-dawn anti-terror raids across the country today, making dozens of arrests in areas linked with radical Islamists who may have helped suicide bombers carry out Friday’s Paris attacks that left 132 people dead; 23 are in custody, 104 are under house arrest. A rocket launcher, assault rifle, automatic pistols and bulletproof vests were found
• France today identified the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abbaoud, currently in Syria. A French official said he’s linked to thwarted train and church attacks. Britain foiled an attack on the UK last month, according to a source in PM David Cameron’s office
• France launched “massive” air strikes on ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria Sunday night, destroying a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in the city of Raqqa, where Iraqi intel officials say the attacks on Paris were planned. Twelve aircraft dropped a total of 20 bombs
• Meanwhile, as police announced seven arrests and hunted for more members of the sleeper cell that carried out the Paris attacks that killed at least 132 people, French officials revealed that several key suspects had been stopped and released by police after the attack
• The arrest warrant for Salah Abdeslam, 26, born in Brussels, calls him very dangerous and warns people not to intervene if they see him. Yet police already had him in their grasp early Saturday, when they stopped a car carrying three men near the Belgian border. By then, authorities had ID’d Abdeslam as the renter of a VW Polo involved

• Raw: Cell phone video shot by a French journalist shows the chilling scene in a Paris alley as people rush out of the Bataclan music hall during one of the deadly attacks in the French capital –  graphic images (Le Monde, Reuters)


• An Iraqi intelligence dispatch on Thursday warned France and other countries that ISIS group leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had ordered his followers to immediately launch gun and bomb attacks and take hostages inside the countries of the coalition fighting them in Iraq and Syria
• The Iraqi dispatch provided no details on when and where the attacks would take place. A senior French security official told AP that French intel get these kinds of warnings “all the time.” However, Iraqi intel officials said they also warned France about details, such as: the attackers were trained for this op and sent back to France from Raqqa
• The officials also said that a  sleeper cell in France then met with the attackers after their training and helped them execute the plan. There were 24 people involved in the operation, they said: 19 attackers and five others in charge of logistics and planning. Details have not been corroborated by any Western intel agencies
• Four credible, ISIS-linked social media accounts began sharing messages 72 hours before the Paris attacks, including images of weapons, the Eiffel tower, as well as blessings for the attackers’ mission. Translations include a reference to our “sister,” suggesting an operative or member of the support team was a woman

• Interactive: 3 hours of terror in Paris – moment by moment (NYT)


• Abdeslam is one of three brothers believed to be involved. One who crossed with him into Belgium was later arrested, and another blew himself up inside the Bataclan theater after taking the audience hostage and firing on them repeatedly. It was the worst of Friday’s synchronized attacks, leaving at least 89 fatalities
• ISIS claimed responsibility. Its statement mocked France’s air attacks on suspected ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, and called Paris “the capital of prostitution and obscenity.”
• In all, three teams of attackers including seven suicide bombers attacked the national stadium, the concert hall and nearby nightspots. The attacks wounded 350 people, 99 of them seriously. Three Kalashnikovs were found inside another car known to have been used in the attacks – found in Montreuil, an eastern Parisian suburb
• As many as three of the seven suicide bombers were French citizens, as was at least one of the men arrested in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, which authorities consider to be a focal point for extremists and fighters going to Syria from Belgium – and regard as pretty much out of their control


• Isobel Bowdery, 22, from South Africa, who survived the attack at the Bataclan concert center, has penned a vivid account of her experience on Facebook – been viewed over 740,000 times. “Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue.” (WaPo)
• Refugees fleeing war by the thousands fear the Paris attacks could prompt Europe to close its doors, especially after police said a Syrian passport found next to one attacker’s body suggested its owner passed through Greece into the EU and on through Macedonia and Serbia last month. French prosecutors so far are unable to authenticate the passport
• Paris remains on edge amid three days of official mourning. The country held a minute of silence at noon. Tourist sites reopen today. Panic ensued Sunday night as police abruptly cleared hundreds of mourners from the famed Place de la Republique square, where police said firecrackers sparked a false alarm
• President Francois Hollande will make a rare address to the upper and lower houses of parliament today at the Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris. Paris had already been on high alert since Islamist gunmen stormed satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January, killing 17 people
• The U.S. flag is being lowered to half staff at the WH, federal buildings across the country and American military and diplomatic stations around the world as a mark of respect for victims. In his proclamation, President Obama said the “terror attacks” were an assault on all of humanity

• Graphic: Paris bloodshed may be the latest of many ISIS attacks around the world (NYT)


• World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the terror spree as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday. “The skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago,” Obama said. Russian President Putin urged “global efforts” to confront the threat. Obama also met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman
• While U.S. officials said Obama viewed the attacks in France as an act of war, they said he had no plans to overhaul his strategy for dismantling ISIS and said he remains staunchly opposed to an American ground war in Syria. Instead, they foreshadowed an expansion of airstrikes and train-and-equip missions for rebels inside Syria
• Foreign ministers gathered in Vienna over the weekend to discuss a new plan to end the war in Syria. The proposal appears to be based largely on a Russian initiative and envisions negotiations between embattled Syrian President Assad’s govt and opposition groups starting 1 Jan – but huge question remain about the proposal
• Obama and Putin huddled for 35 minutes on the sidelines of the summit to discuss the proposal. American officials described the meeting as “constructive,” emphasizing that the two leaders agreed on the need for a cease fire in Syria and a political transition to a new govt. Russian officials said the two men remained at odds about how to achieve those goals
• A more immediate option facing leaders was the possibility of France asking for help from its NATO allies. Only once in its 66-year-history – after 9/11 – has NATO’s communal defense obligation been invoked. Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said it was up to France whether to invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter

• Interactive: What we know about the Paris attackers (NYT)


Paris Attacks: Refugees to US? (Hill, Hill, Politico, WaPo, Hill, Politico, me)
• “We absolutely agree that this was an act of war by ISIL,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on ABC on Sunday. “We’re still planning on taking in Syrian refugees. We had very robust vetting procedures for those refugees. There are women and children, orphans of this war.”
• Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday reiterated his assertion that it would be “lunacy” to allow Muslim refugees into the U.S., but supported opening the border to displaced Christians. “There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror, Cruz said in SC. Cruz didn’t say how he would determine that refugees were Christian or Muslim
• In Texas, Donald Trump – who as recently as Sept supported bringing in Syrian refugees – called the admin’s plan to admit thousands “insane.” “Our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria,” Trump said – wildly inflating the actual figure – which is 10,000. “We all have heart, and we all want people taken care of and all that, but some of them are going to have problems.”
• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) said on CNN Sunday, “I think we need to do thorough screening and take a limited number, but ultimately the best way to deal with the refugee crisis is to create safe zones inside of Syria. The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria.”

• Back in October, FBI director James Comey told a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing about security gaps, “My concern is there are certain gaps…in the data available to us.” “There is risk associated of bringing anybody is from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that. There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise”


Paris Attacks: 2016ers Speak Out (NYT, Hill, Politico, WSJ, me)
• Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in South Carolina, argued that the U.S. must be willing to accept civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq. “It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties,” Cruz said Friday night. Saturday, on Fox, Cruz said: “I recognize Barack Obama does not wish to defend this country.” (love how Cruz won’t say “president”)
• Former SecState Hillary Clinton, at the Democratic debate in Iowa Saturday night, said: “I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. We’re at war with jihadists. I don’t want to be painting with too broad a brush.” (massive blowback. Mike Huckabee tweeted: “Say it with me: ‘Islamic Terrorism.'”)
• Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla) said on ABC Sunday that Clinton’s statement would be “like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party but weren’t violent themselves. This is a clash of civilizations … There is no middle ground on this. Either they win or we win.”
• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), at the Dem debate (who barely mentioned the Paris attacks during the debate or during his opening statement) said, “I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq – something that I strongly opposed – has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al Qaeda and to ISIS.”  (he needs an actual solution, not just blame)


Paris Attacks: 2016ers – More Troops on Ground?
• Still, Rubio, former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) and Cruz were tentative about committing more American ground troops to the fight against ISIS.  Bush refused to give a troop estimate, Rubio “wouldn’t put a number on it,” and Cruz still believed that Kurdish fighters should lead ground forces (polls show Americans don’t want American ground troops)
• Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on CNN on Sunday, “There’s a 9/11 coming and it’s coming from Syria if we don’t disrupt their operations coming from Syria.” “Without American boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, we’re going to be hit at home,” Graham warned
• In Texas on Saturday, Donald Trump said, “You can say what you want, but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry, it would have been a much, much different situation.” (only if they also had Kalashnikovs, or rocket launchers or something. just guns wouldn’t do it)
• Ben Carson said, “I would be working with our allies, using every resource known to man, in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources,  overt resources, military resources, things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources.” (because – – – we’re not now?)


Paris Attacks: Muslim Leaders Condemn (ThinkProg, Telegraph, me)
• Muslim leaders the world over have condemned the horrific terrorist attacks that struck Paris Friday night. Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This attack is being claimed by the group calling themselves ‘Islamic State.'” There is nothing Islamic about such people and their actions are evil, and outside the boundaries set by our faith.”
• The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the thousand-year-old, highly influential center for Sunni Muslim scholarship, called the attacks “odious,” and called on the world to “unite to face this monster.”
• In the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) quickly issued a press release rejecting terrorism. Their statement also made mention of a bombing in Beirut Thursday that killed 200 and wounded 45. “We condemn these horrific crimes in the strongest terms possible…The perpetrators of these heinous attacks must be apprehended and brought to justice.”
• Iranian president Hassan Rouhani called the attacks a “crime against humanity,” and Qatari foreign minister Khaled al Attiyah described them as “heinous. Saudi Arabia’s FM described them as “in violation and contravention of all ethics, morals and religions.”
• Many Muslims have taken to Twitter using the hashtags #NotInMyName and #IAmAMuslim to condemn the attacks and terrorism. “My name is Maz Hussain Raja. I am a Muslim. I condemn the #ParisAttack. Over 1.5 billion Muslims do. Please remember this.” (what people want to see is massive demonstrations worldwide by Muslims in the streets)
Democratic Debate: Foreign (Guardian, Politico, Politico, AP, TRNS, me)
• Was Hillary Clinton hawk or dove on ISIS at the second Democratic debate in Iowa Saturday night? “ISIS cannot be contained, it must be defeated,” she said. But she also said, “It cannot be an American fight … we will support those who will take the fight to ISIS. I don’t think that the U.S. has the bulk of the responsibility.”
• Both Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and former Gov Martin O’Malley (D-Md) quickly disagreed with Clinton, suggesting she had downplayed the challenge. “This actually is America’s fight,” O’Malley said. “We must rise to this occasion.” (O’Malley had a strong debate – whether it does him any good is another matter. But he stepped it up)
• Sanders objected to Clinton’s line about who bore responsibility for ISIS. “I don’t think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive instability that we are seeing right now,” he said (Sanders’ opening statement was weird. Their statements were to be about the attacks, but his was an awkward jump from terror to standard stump on economy)
• In a possible preview of a major general election debate to come, Clinton rejected a “clash of civilizations” framework Republicans have used after the Paris attacks. “We are not at war with Islam or Muslims,” Clinton said. “We are at war with violent extremism.”
• Clinton said that no new congressional authorization would be required to open a new military front against ISIS, but “I would like to see
[the authorization to use military force] updated.” NYT has a handy fact check graphic for the debate


• The Nielsen ratings showed a lame 8.5 million people watched the debate Saturday night. “Look, there was a clear intent to bury these debates to the benefit of Clinton,” said a Democratic campaign official Sunday afternoon. “And it’s doing a disservice to the Democratic party.” Next Saturday night before Christmas (- woo hoo – eggnog drinking games) (Politico, me)
Democratic Debate: Domestic
• Sanders hit Clinton for taking campaign donations from Wall Street. Clinton replied that she had been a senator during the September 11 attacks and was working to “rebuild” the city. Howls from Republicans, and from O’Malley later in the spin room. “I’ll let her answer that gaffe. I think it was one of the biggest ones of the night.”
• On immigration, O’Malley pointed out that “net immigration from Mexico last year was zero” and called Donald Trump an “immigrant-bashing carnival barker.” Trump went nuts on Twitter, asking why O’Malley was on the stage, and calling him a “clown” and a “failed former mayor of Baltimore” (O’Malley got exactly what he wanted, then – attention)
• Asked what his top tax rate would be, Sanders quipped: “It will not be as high as the number of Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90%. I’m not that much of a socialist as Eisenhower.”
• Clinton hit Sanders on his vote to give “immunity to gunmakers and sellers.” She said the decision made the “gun lobby” more powerful and that it was a “terrible mistake.” She said she would “love” to see Sanders join with some of her former Senate colleagues to reverse that decision (she’s running to the left of Sanders on guns – successfully)
• The Dept of Justice may be widening its probe of Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server, but there was a grand total of one question about Clinton’s emails at the debate. And Sanders was still not interested. “That’s just media fluff. I was sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s email. I am still sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s email.”
• SNL spoofs “Young Ben Carson” – with a knife! with a hammer! with his friend black Jesus!

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Nicholas Salazar, Loree Lewis and Washington Desk contributed to this report


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