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.

Two or even 10 attackers, described as “jihadists” by an AFP source, said to be holding 170 hostages at Radisson Hotel in Barnako, the capital of Mali. Stormed hotel, screaming “Allah’u’Akbar!” Free some hostages – including those able to recite Qu’ran (BBC, Reuters)
 
French prosecutors: Third body, a woman, recovered from apartment in St Denis raided by police in connection with Paris attacks (BBC)
 
 
News Now
  • House passes refugee restriction bill
  • Bill flawed? / Visa waiver program
  • Ben Carson: Syrian refugees = dogs
  • Kansas official rants: Muslims & Obama
  • Paris Attacks: Latest
  • Syrians storming US/Mexican border?
  • Sanders defends democratic socialism
  • Benghazi suspect’s defense: Obama broke law
 
House Passes Syrian Refugee Restriction Bill (WaPo, Politico, Politico, AP, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• In a stinging rebuke to President Obama by Republicans and Democrats, the House ignored a veto threat Thursday and approved GOP legislation, 289-137, erecting fresh hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the U.S. Forty seven Democrats joined all but two Republicans – Reps Walter Jones (NC) and Steve King (Iowa) (rushed – will be probs)
 
• “Defeating terrorism should not mean slamming the door in the faces of those fleeing the terrorists. We might as well take down the State of Liberty,” said Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “It is against the values of our nation and the values of a free society to give terrorists the opening they are looking for,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif)
 
• Before the vote, the WH sent chief of staff Denis McDonough and Homeland Security Sec Jeh Johnson to the Capitol to try winning over Democrats. It was an epic fail. Aides said Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) had a forceful exchange with Johnson, saying that opposition to the bill would be a terrible vote for Democrats that could cost them seats next year
 
• The measure, which in effect would suspend admissions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, would oblige the heads of the FBI and Homeland Security Dept and the DNI to certify to Congress that each refugee “is not a threat to the security of the U.S.” (impossible) The bill is the American SAFE Act, HR 4038

 

• Have you noticed how everyone has forgotten about the three-year old Syrian boy in the red T-shirt who drowned off the coast of Greece a few months ago? Who grabbed our hearts? Look at him. Look. Is he a jihadi? OH – wait – if only he’d had 12 more years to grow into one…
 
Flawed Bill? / Visa Waiver Program
• Already, flaws are being found in the hastily-written bill. Iraqi translators and other staff who worked with the U.S. military in Raq could be shut out of the U.S. Many of them are in danger from ISIS and other militant groups due to their work with the American govt and other U.S. organizations following the 2003 invasions of their country, refugee advocates say
 
• The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said Thursday, “Don’t worry, it won’t get passed.” Senators will likely tackle the measure as a rider to the govt spending bill that Congress has to address in December – setting up a possible govt shutdown fight before Christmas (this is gonna be ho ho ho jolly)
 
• Sens Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) said Wed they plan to introduce legislation tightening the visa waiver program by ending waivers for anyone who has traveled to Syria or Iraq in the past five years
 
• The perpetrators of Friday’s Paris terror attacks thus far identified were French or Belgian nationals who would have been eligible to enter the U.S. with only minimal screening
 
• Sen Richard Durbin (D-Ill) said several of the attackers were on no-fly lists but that others weren’t – and, theoretically, could have boarded planes to the U.S. with a visa waiver. “That is a vulnerability far greater than 70,000 thoroughly vetted refugees,” Durbin said

 

• Interactive: The expanding web of connections among the Paris attackers (NYT)

 

Ben Carson: Syrian Refugees = Dogs (Politico, WaPo, WaPo, me)
• GOP 2016er Ben Carson in Alabama on Thursday when speaking of Syrian refugees, told reporters: “If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably gonna put your children out of the way. Doesn’t mean you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination.” (so shoot them?)
 

• Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. should create a database of Muslims in the country. “Oh, I would certainly implement that – absolutely,” he told NBC News. Trump said the govt should use a “lot of systems, beyond databases” to track Muslims, prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country and keep the nation safe
 

• Asked Tuesday night by a swarm of reporters about the database, Trump, in Iowa, acted confused. “Why? Why are you asking me that question?” “Where did you hear that?” Trump claimed he “never responded” in a Yahoo News interview when he supported allowing warrantless searches or requiring faith-based identification
 
• Another reporter asked Trump to explain the difference between a Muslim database in the U.S. and the registry of Jews that once existed in Nazi Germany. “You tell me,” Trump said. “You tell me. You tell me.” (beyond databases? numbers on the arms, maybe? – oops – might give Trump ideas)
 
• Back to Ben Carson in Alabama. He said that ISIS “is so much greater a threat” than al Qaeda in 2001. “We were not paying attention,” in 2001, Carson said. “We were not coordinating our efforts. So you didn’t have to be all that great. You had to be able to fly some planes to hit a couple of people.” (err – 3,000 dead people 2001 + learning to fly vs shooting a Kalashnikov)
 
• In reversal of a long-standing historical trend, more Mexican immigrants have returned to their home country than have come to the U.S. in the past five years, according to the latest Pew Research Center report out Thursday. In that time frame, 1 million families left the U.S., while just 870,000 have left Mexico to come to the U.S.

 

Kansas Official Rants: Muslims & Obama (KSN, me)
• Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn went nuts on Muslims Wednesday night, including a list of “Muhammeds” who have committed crimes in comments at the end of Wednesday’s commission meeting. He even showed a slide show of people named Muhammed who have committed crimes
 
• “Now I’ve heard some folks say, ‘well, not all Muslims are terrorists.’ But irrelevant,” said Peterjohn. “Not all Russians were Communists, not all Germans were Nazis. We have plenty of incidents, and I’m going to mention one that I’ve wanted to say, speak out on this, but I’ve held my counsel, held my breath for quite awhile.” (say it, Karl, let it alllll out)
 
• “In light of the most recent Muslim atrocities committed against Russian civilian aircraft and the people of Paris, including at least one American citizen lost their life, we have a, in my opinion, a clear and present danger in our own country.” (video of the rant is in the story above)
 
• Peterjohn then showed photos of Muhammeds, including Mohamed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the 9/11 attacks, John Allen Muhammed, executed for the Beltway Sniper attacks in 2002, and Hesham Mohamed Hedayet, who opened fire at the airline ticket counter of Israel’s national airline at LAX airport. Then he launched into President Obama…
 
• “At the most senior level we have a president who is more critical of his Republican opponents in this country, at least by his rhetoric, than the Islamic butchers of Paris. Unlike the president, my father was a Christian, not a Muslim. I did not have a Muslim stepfather, or educated in a Muslim school overseas.” (clearly implying Husayn Obama is a secret Muslim”
 
 
Paris Attacks (BBC, Politico, Politico, Reuters, TRNS, me)
• French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve says European countries must “wake up” to terror threats, following the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead. He spoke after it emerged that the suspected Belgian ringleader of the attacks had entered France undetected
 
• Belgian PM Charles Michel has defended Belgium’s security services amid claims the attacks were organized there. It comes as EU interior and justice ministers hold emergency talks in Brussels today to discuss tightening checks at the external borders of the EU’s passport-free Schengen area
 
• Thursday, French prosecutors confirmed that ISIS militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud was among those killed in a police raid the previous day. His bullet-riddled, mangled body was found in the wreckage of an apartment in the Paris suburb of St Denis. It had been initially thought he was in Syria
 
• ISIS released a video Thursday threatening the WH with suicide bombings and car blasts and vowing to conduct more attacks on France. “We will blow it up, the same as we blow up the idols in this good land,” a fighter says, referring to the WH. Another fighter says, “We will grill them … with
[explosive] belts and car bombs.” – Presidents Obama and Hollande
 
• FBI director James Comey said Thursday, “We are not aware of any credible threat here of a Paris-type attack, and we have seen no connection at all between the Paris attackers” and the U.S. Comey spoke in a joint briefing with AG Loretta Lynch in DC

 

• So, this has to be the weirdest last thing ever said before detonating a suicide vest. It’s the woman who blew herself up in the St Denis raid Wednesday morning. Cop: “Where is your boyfriend?” Hasna Aitboulahcen: “He’s not my boyfriend!” Cop: “Where is he?” Aitboulahcen: “He’s not my boyfriend!” BANG BOOM (okey doke, buh bye, then) (NYT, me)

 

• The U.S. is “prepared to change the rules of engagement” in Syria, U.S. SecDef Ash Carter said Thursday. “The president has indicated he’s prepared to do more, including on the ground.”
 
• At a presser, Cazeneuve said “no information” had been received from other European countries about Abaaoud’s arrival on the continent. But he said he had received intel that Abaaoud had passed through Greece on his return from Syria (Cazeneuve is livid with Belgium – and pretty much all other countries over lack of sharing intel)
 
• French PM Manuel Valls said some of those involved in the attacks had taken advantage of the migration crisis in Europe to “slip into” France unnoticed. One of the attackers, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France, has been traced by his fingerprints to Greece where he was registered as a refugee
 
• Thursday, the French parliament extended a state of emergency for a further three months. Eight people were arrested following the raid in St Denis. Hasna Aitboulahcen, a woman in the flat – reported to be Abaaoud’s cousin – died after detonating a suicide vest

 

• Former spy Jonathan Pollard was released from a federal prison today, 30 years after he was caught selling American intel secrets to Israel. He’s expected to settle in the New York area while on parole for five years. He’s barred from traveling outside the country, including to Israel, without permission (AP)
 
Syrians Storming US/Mexican Border? (Daily Beast, me)
• Conservative media and Donald Trump are in a frenzy over an “exclusive” report from Breitbart: “8 Syrians Caught at Texas Border,” the headline screamed. The same words have been on The Drudge Report for a few days, at one point with a photo of President Obama
 
• “Eight Syrian illegal aliens attempted to enter Texas from Mexico” and were “apprehended at the Juarez Lincoln Bridge in Laredo, Texas…” Breitbart wrote. Breitbart described the Syrians as traveling in “two separate ‘family units'” but didn’t reveal anything else about their identities
 
• Gov Greg Abbott (R-Texas) used the incident in a tweet to justify his vow to prevent any Syrian refugees from entering the state: “THIS is why Texas is vigilant about Syrian refugees.” Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted the news along with baseless speculation that the people caught were members of ISIS
 
• In an update, Breitbart claimed it had “confirmed” the piece via a statement from the Dept of Homeland Security. DHS statement: “confirms that on Tuesday, members of two Syrian families, two men, two women and four children, presented themselves at a port of entry in Laredo. They were taken into custody by CBP and turned over to ICE for further processing.”
 
• So in fact, six of the Syrians were women and children, a fact that Breitbart and Trump conveniently left out. And second, they didn’t try to sneak into the U.S., but rather “presented themselves” to border agents in a likely attempt to seek asylum. In other words, they weren’t so much “caught” but rather turned themselves in
 
• In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday, Democratic 2016er Hillary Clinton called for accelerating the U.S.-led operation to defeat ISIS, urged a no-fly zone with coalition forces to protect Syrians, more airstrikes and an expanded deployment of special ops troops to assist local ground forces (TRNS, TRNS, NYT)
 
Sanders Defends Democratic Socialism (NYT, Politico, AP, me)
• Democratic 2016er Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) said Thursday that economic security is essential to Americans achieving true freedom, a central tenet in his political philosophy of “democratic socialism.” “Real freedom must include economic security. That was Roosevelt’s vision 70 years ago. It is my vision today,” Sanders said in the major speech of his campaign
 
• “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this,” he said to a packed audience at Georgetown University. “I don’t believe govt should own the grocery store down the street or control the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”
 
• “It’s time we had democratic socialism for working families, not just Wall Street, billionaires and huge corporations. It means that we should not be providing welfare for corporations, huge tax breaks for the very rich, or trade policies which would boost corporate profits as workers lose their jobs.”
 
• “I’m not running to pursue reckless adventure abroad, but to rebuild America’s strength at home. I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will never send our sons and daughters to war under false pretense or pretenses, or into dubious battles with no end in sight.” Sanders is keen to persuade voters that he’s electable despite the “socialism” label
 
• Students lined up for hours in the rain to pack ornate Gaston Hall. Sanders emphasized that he was seeking “transformational” change in America. “These are not radical, extremist ideas,” Sanders said. “I am not coming before the American people saying, ‘Look, I am this wild-eyed socialist.'”


• Here we go… NYT has figured out an interactive guide to build your Thanksgiving feast. How many people are coming? How experienced a cook are you? How omnivorous are your guests? When will you begin cooking? Then it selects dishes to suit your profile. Kind of cool (NYT)

 

Benghazi Suspect’s Defense: Obama Broke the Law (Politico, me)
• The defense for Ahmed Abu Khatallah, an accused leader of the Benghazi attacks, argued Thursday that President Obama committed a crime when he authorized a U.S. military raid that captured the militant last year. Defense lawyers contend that the op violated various rights but also ran afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (intriguing)
 
• The law generally prohibits use of U.S. military forces in law enforcement ops. Defense attorney Mary Petras said internal govt emails provided to the defense say the op wasn’t covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. Prosecutor John Crabb said the op was lawful
 
• Crabb said the raid to capture Abu Khatallah was akin to the U.S. military op that led to the capture of Panamanian President Manuel Noriega. However, Petras said the capture of Noriega was “ancillary” to the broader U.S. invasion of Panama, while the U.S. military action in Libya had one purpose: seizing Abu Khatallah (very creative stuff, this)
 
• Moves to have cases thrown out over allegedly illegal or outrageous conduct by the govt are rarely successful. However, Abu Khatallah’s team is merely asking that he be returned to Libya and that the U.S. be forced to seek his extradition through the Libyan govt. The DC judge pointed out that there was no U.S. extradition treaty with Libya – and was generally skeptical
 

• Petras argued that the govt violated the law by: taking 13 days to bring Abu Khatallah to court, by initially questioning him without Miranda warnings, by denying him access to counsel and by violating international law by seizing him without permission of the Libyan govt (and the govt doesn’t give a bleep about any of it – they got the bastard)

 

• Rocking into the weekend with “Opus” – Eric Prydz – some epic techno house music from a master

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Ellen Ratner, Loree Lewis, Luke Vargas, Ebony Romero and Ryan Prete contributed to this report

 

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