Talk Media News


Iranian intel officials have broken up “the biggest terrorist plot” to ever target Tehran and other provinces in the Islamic Republic, the country’s state TV reported today. Several suspects have been arrested and are under interrogation. The report referred to those arrested as “takfiris” – could refer to members of ISIS – unclear at this time (AP, me)


Morning News

  • Dueling Senate gun votes tonight
  • Orlando gunman calls: partial transcripts out today
  • Lynch defends investigation of gunman
  • Trump: Consider profiling Muslims
  • Gay pride events nationwide
  • Sanders collides with black lawmakers
  • SCOTUS: Biggie rulings coming up
  • Brexit: Campaigning resumes – countdown

Dueling Senate Gun Votes Tonight (Reuters, TMN, WSJ, me)
• Senators are scheduled to vote tonight on two Republican and two Democratic gun safety amendments. The floor vote was scheduled following an intense 15-hour Democratic filibuster last week led by Sen Chris Murphy (D-Conn) in response to last Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando (WSJ piece has most detail on what’s in the bills)
• Murphy introduced legislation that would mandate universal background checks while Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) introduced a bill that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying firearms and explosives
• Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would authorize states to impose a 72-hour waiting period on suspected terrorists who attempt to purchase a firearm, if a judge agrees. Judiciary chair Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Ind) introduced legislation that would mandate dealers report suspected terrorists who attempt to buy firearms – no background check
• Meanwhile, a group of GOP senators led by Sen Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Friday were trying to craft compromise legislation that could attract Republicans and Democrats. Collins’ proposal could be released today, but her efforts are already running into problems with Republican leadership – an aide to Cornyn said his proposal was the only constitutional one
• The bill would prevent the sale of guns to terrorism suspects whose names appear on either the govt’s “no fly” list, which bans them from boarding planes, or a so-called “selectee” list that requires additional screening at airports. These lists are much shorter than a broader FBI terrorism list. Her measure includes a five-year look back if someone no longer on the list buys a gun


Transcripts of Orlando Gunman Calls to be Released (NYT, AP, Reuters, me)
• The Justice Dept will today release partial written transcripts of three conversations between police negotiators and Orlando gunman Omar Mateen as he carried out a deadly attack at a gay nightclub, AG Loretta Lynch said Sunday. Law enforcement officials will also provide a detailed timeline of those calls
• Lynch said the calls should shed light on the motivation behind Mateen’s decision to walk into the Pulse nightclub on 12 June and carry out an attack in which he fatally shot 49 people before he was killed by the police (not so sure about that – they’re editing out some bits where he says why he does it – so it remains to be seen – seems like they’re steering us in a direction)
• Lynch made rare appearances on five Sunday news shows to discuss the investigation. She declined to discuss potential charges in the case but said on CNN that she considered the shooting both “an act of terror and an act of hate.” Lynch is scheduled to travel to Orlando on Tuesday to review the investigation in person and receive briefings
• Lynch said the transcripts wouldn’t include portions of the calls that would risk “revictimizing” those affected by the shooting or could “further this man’s propaganda,” including Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS. “He talked about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act.” (don’t see how you victimize someone with written transcript)
• “He talked about American policy in some ways. The reason why we’re going to limit these transcripts is to avoid revictimizing those who went through this horror. But it will contain the substance of his conversations. And there were three conversations between this killer and negotiators.” (don’t see how you get the substance without his claim of allegiance to ISIS)


Lynch Defends Investigations of Gunman
• Lynch frequently found herself defending aspects of the FBI’s current investigation of the shooting, as well as earlier ones into Mateen, which have draw scrutiny for failing to anticipate his actions. Asked if she thought there was anything federal authorities could have done differently leading up to the attack, Lynch said her dept was still “looking at that” (keep looking)
• Speaking on CBS, Lynch said that a key goal of the investigation was to determine why Mateen targeted the gay community. “The LGBT and Latino community has come under fire before, but never in as horrific a manner as this,” Lynch said on ABC (conflicting reports in media as to whether FBI has decided Mateen was closet gay or not – seems a bit quick to decide that)
• Investigators are still interviewing witnesses and looking to learn more about Mateen and others who knew him well, including members of his mosque. A lawyer for the Council of American Islamic Relations said that the FBI interviewed a man who worshiped at the same mosque as Mateen
• A rainbow appeared over Lake Eola Park in Orlando Sunday as tens of thousands of people turned out for an evening vigil to honor the victims of the shooting. The park was filled with people holding white flowers, American flags and candles
• One of those attending, Traci Hines-McKenzie, said the timing of the rainbow was perfect. “You know, that’s a sign,” she said. At the end of the vigil, people held up their candles as the names of each victim were read, creating a ring of fire around Lake Eola. They chanted “One Orlando,” “Orlando United” and “Somos Orlando,” Spanish for “We are Orlando.”


• Watch the bestest anti-Trump ad you’re going to see all year: a 1-minute attack on the size of the mogul’s hands. When he decides to launch his nuclear war, the ad asks, are Trump’s hands big enough to push the nuclear button all the way down? (clearly not in the ad…) Paid for by “Americans Against Insecure Billionaires with Tiny Hands”


Trump: Consider Profiling Muslims (NYT, AP, me)
• Donald Trump suggested Sunday that the U.S. should “seriously” consider profiling Muslims inside the country as a terrorism-fighting tool. “We really have to look at profiling,” Trump said on CBS. “It’s not the worst thing to do.” (well, it is, really, short of green stars and crescents on their foreheads) Trump also favors a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country
• Trump has doubled down on this approach since Omar Mateen carried out the worst mass shooting in modern American history on 12 June at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Forty-nine people were killed in the attack, which stoked a mix of fears about terrorism, guns and violence against gays. Mateen’s motive isn’t (entirely) clear
• Racial profiling has been an occasional theme of the Trump campaign. In addition to his most recent comments, Trump has discussed increased surveillance of Muslims and mosques, and has said that he would consider registering Muslims in a special database or requiring that they carry cards that identify them as Muslim (sooo along the lines of stars/crescents on foreheads)
• AG Loretta Lynch said on CNN Sunday, “It is very important for us to maintain our contacts within the Muslim community, because, often, individuals, if they’re from that community and they’re being radicalized, their friends and family members will see it first. They will see activity first. And we want that information to come to us.”

• Trump seems to be backtracking his position from last week that people on the govt’s terrorist watchlist should be barred from buying firearms – a stance that contradicts that of the NRA. Trump met with the NRA last week. Now he says he “understands exactly” the NRA’s objections to restrictions access to people on the list – people are on it who shouldn’t be (predicted it – kool-aid)


• Donald Trump on Sunday told Republican leaders to stop talking about him so much. “I think that, honestly, they should go about their business and they should do a wonderful job … And they shouldn’t be talking so much. They should go out and do their job. Let me do my job.” (err politicians have First Amendment rights, too, like the press – #MassMuzzling) (Hill, me)


Gay Pride Events Nationwide (AP, me)
• People in wheelchairs, walking on stilts and riding rainbow-decorated motorcycles turned out for gay pride events over the weekend, including participants in a Denver parade who carried posters of the names or faces of the victims who died in last weekend’s attack on a nightclub in Florida
• New Orleans authorities held a presser Thursday to say extra officers and state troopers would be on duty. Crystal Luna of Tampa, Fla, and Joelasa Oquendo of Odessa, Texas, a married couple in the Navy, said they’d been a bit worried before the New Orleans event, but were reassured by seeing uniformed police officers
• In Portland, Ore, on-site security was up 25% from previous years. No serious problems were reported at gay pride events across the country, but the mood for many people was somber. A small number of anti-gay protesters also showed up
• Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 wounded when Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last weekend. The motive for his attack is still unclear. Other festivals went ahead Saturday under increased security in cities such as Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Providence, Rhode Island
• Patrick Mulligan, who was wearing a rainbow hula skirt, said he has lived in Denver all of his life but never attended a PrideFest festival. He said he is not gay, but he wanted to show that hate and fear will not define him. After Orlando, I think everyone needs to show support,” he said

• Tens of thousands of people in Okinawa staged protests Sunday over the U.S. military bases on the Japanese island. They’re calling for the U.S.-Japanese security agreement to be reviewed and are angry after a former U.S. Marine employed as a civilian worker was arrested over the rape and murder of a local 20-year-old woman (Hill, BBC, me)


Sanders Collides with Black Lawmakers (Politico, me)
• In a letter sent to both the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the Congressional Black Caucus is expressing its resolute opposition to two key reforms demanded by Sanders in the run-up to the Democratic convention: abolishing the party’s superdelegate system and opening Democratic primaries up to independents and Republicans (Sanders has a recurring black issue)
• “The Democratic Party benefits from the current system of unpledged delegates to the National Convention by virtue of rules that allow members of the House and Senate to be seated as a delegate without the burdensome necessity of competing against constituents for the honor of representing the state during the nominating process,” the letter states
• The letter – also sent to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz – follows a Wednesday CBC meeting where members discussed the impact of eliminating superdelegates on the African-American community, according to CBC chair Rep GK Butterfield (D-NC)
• The opposition to open primaries is based on the fear that allowing independent or Republican voters to participate in Democratic primaries would dilute minority voting strength in many places. Sanders and his supporters have railed against the unelected superdelegates, who have the freedom who back any candidate they choose, throughout the campaign
• “The black caucus is immovable on this subject because our number one concern is going to always be the highest level of minority participation as possible at the convention,” Rep Emanual Cleaver (D-Mo) said. “… same thing with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Mr Sanders, if he had met with either or what’s called the tri-caucus, he would have found out there is no flexibility.”
• A record 65.3 million people were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015, an increase of 5m in one year, the UN refugee agency says. This represents one in every 113 people on the planet, the UN agency says. Meanwhile, the UN refugee chief says a worrying “climate of xenophobia” has taken hold in Europe. It’s World Refugee Day (BBC)
SCOTUS: Biggie Rulings Coming Up (WashExam, Reuters, Reuters, me)
• The Supreme Court is limping into its home stretch, with major rulings due by the end of the month on President Obama’s unilateral immigration plan, racial preferences in university admissions and a restrictive Texas abortion law. There are 13 cases yet to be announced. Expect some cases to be announced today
• The court may weigh in this week on gun control. Justices are due to decide as soon as today whether to hear a challenge by gun rights advocates to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York. Both states ban semiautomatic weapons like the one used by the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando a week ago

• Justice Clarence Thomas, a reliable conservative vote on SCOTUS, is mulling retirement after the presidential election, according to court watchers, Washington Examiner reports. Thomas has been considering retirement for a while and never planned to stay until he died, they said. He likes to spend summers in his RV with his wife (not sure what they has to do with it, though…)
• Thomas’s retirement would have a substantial impact on control of the court. The next president is expected to immediately replace the seat opened by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, providing a one-vote edge in the court that is currently divided 4-4 (Paul Bedard, who writes Washington Whispers for WashExam, has pretty good sources)

• Should Thomas leave, that slight majority would continue if Donald Trump becomes president. If it’s Hillary Clinton, then she would get the chance to flip two Republican seats, giving the liberals a 6-3 majority. And that could switch to 7-2 if Republican Justice Anthony Kennedy, already a swing vote, retires. He will be 80 next year (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg could go, too)

• LeBron James powered the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday in an electrifying Game Seven to complete an improbable comeback unlike any seen before and capture their first NBA championship. “I gave it everything I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game,” an emotional James, the MVP, said (Reuters)


Brexit: Campaigning Resumes – Countdown (FT, Reuters, BBC, me)
• Campaigning for Britain’s vote on EU membership resumed on Sunday after a three-day hiatus prompted by the Thursday killing of pro-EU lawmaker Jo Cox, but pledges of a more respectful tone were quickly tested by a fresh row over immigration. Politicians return to Westminster this morning to pay tribute to Cox (watch to see if they sit by party, watch for tone of tributes)
• Thomas Mair, who is accused of killing Cox, is due in court at the Old Bailey later today. Mair told a courtroom Saturday his name was “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” Meanwhile, Baroness, Sayeea Warsi, co-chair of the Conservative party, switched from Leave to Remain, citing hate, lies and xenophobia by the Leave campaign (common sense, then)
• Finance minister George Osborne, a leading conservative Remain campaigner, criticized as “disgusting and vile” a poster unveiled by Leave campaigners last week showing a long line of refugees under the slogan “Breaking Point,” saying it was reminiscent of literature used in the 1930s. Leave has now withdrawn the poster (bit late)
• The only opinion poll fully carried out since the killing showed support for “Remain” at 45%, ahead of “Leave” at 42% – a reversal of the 3-point lead the pollster, Survation, showed for “Leave” in a poll conducted Wednesday. The FT’s poll of polls puts the two sides level on 44% (political polling in UK can be unreliable – and there hasn’t been a vote on EU since the 70s)
• Top bosses from the chair of football’s Premier League to Sir Richard Branson are urging Britons to vote Remain. Meanwhile, politicians and businesses have learnt not to put much faith in opinion polls, leading to great uncertainty over Britain’s future. Turnout will be a big factor in a vote that could determine Cameron’s future as prime minister as well as the UK’s European destiny
• Anton Yelchin, 27, an actor most famous for playing the role of Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek series, was found dead Sunday after he was crushed by his own car on a steep driveway. Zachary Quinto – Spock: “One of the most open and intellectually curious people I have ever had the pleasure to know. So enormously talented and generous of heart.”

victoria jones

 Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.