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

  • Indiana law: GOP fix or scrap?
  • GOP 2016ers support new Indiana law
  • Clinton mixed personal, work chats
  • Iran: “Tricky issues” remain – deadline looms
  • NSA shooting: Driver killed
  • Boston Marathon bombing: Prosecution wraps
  • Plane: Co-pilot treated for suicidal tendencies
  • AZ gov vetoes police name shield bill
  • Top pols dedicate Edward M. Kennedy Institute
  • SCOTUS rejects T-shirt free speech appeal
  • Obama admin pitches highway bill
Indiana: GOP Fix or Scrap?
• Indiana’s Republican legislative leaders said Monday they’re working on adding language to a new state law to make it clear it doesn’t allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. The measure prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and assns (AP, Reuters, me)

• Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said at a Monday presser, “What we had hoped for with the bill was a message of inclusion, inclusion of all religious beliefs. What instead has come out was a message of exclusion, and that was not the intent.”

• The furor over the Indiana law stems in part from the fact that the state’s civil rights laws don’t ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long didn’t appear eager to add that language into the measure, noting that it’s a big policy decision and that only four weeks remain in this year’s legislative session (whole month in fact)

• Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said Indiana has been embarrassed and that a full repeal is needed. “That is the only thing that will start the process of reversing the damage that has been done to the people of this state.” No Democratic lawmakers voted for the bill

• Similar bills stalled on Monday in Georgia and North Carolina. In Arkansas, however, the Republican-controlled House is expected to approve a “religious freedom” act advanced by state senators last week. Gov Asa Hutchinson (R) has said he’ll sign it. Retail giant Wal-Mart, based in Arkansas, criticized the bill, saying it sends the “wrong message about Arkansas.”

• The Indianapolis Star has dedicated the front page of today’s edition to an editorial calling on Gov Mike Pence (R) to fix the state’s highly controversial “religious freedom” law. “Fix This Now” reads the bold headline (Politico)

GOP 2016ers Support Indiana’s New Law
• “There are many cases where people acting on their conscience have been castigated by the govt,” former Gov Jen Bush (R-FL) said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Monday. “And this law simply says the govt has to have a level of burden to be able to establish that there’s been some kind of discrimination. We’re going to need this.” (when) (Hill, me)

• “I think people have the right to live out their religious faith in their own lives,” Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on Fox News. “And when you’re asking someone who provides professional services to do something, or be punished by law, that violates their faith, you’re violating that religious liberty that they have.”

• “Gov Pence is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State,” said Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX). Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties.” (what attacks?)

• Gov Scott Walker’s (R-WI) spox Ash Lee for his Our American Revival, said in a statement: “As a matter of principle, Gov Walker believes in broad religious freedom and the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience.” (bland much, governor?)

Clinton Mixed Personal, Work Chats
• Hillary Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a Blackberry while SecState, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to docs obtained by the AP (AP, me)

• State Dept released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a FOIA request filed in 2013 by AP. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address as opposed to a govt-run email account

• They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a Sept 2011 message from adviser Huma Abedin about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations

• “I like the idea of these,” she wrote to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?” Abedin replied: “Did u mean to send to me?” Clinton write: “No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

Clinton Spox Confirms Her iPad Usage
• Clinton spox Nick Merrill said early today that the secretary used her iPaid from time to time, primarily to read news clippings. At the UN earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a govt one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device (curiouser and curiouser)

• “Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices,” Clinton said. (guess she was smart) Her office that day released a statement saying she “wanted the simplicity of using one device.” Clinton has said she exchanged about 60,000 emails in her four years in the Clinton admin. She said her server had no security breaches

• Clinton said she deleted some 30,000 emails that she described as personal, such as “yoga routines.” It’s not clear how Clinton handled emails that mixed personal and official business, such as the exchange with Abedin

• Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the House Benghazi committee, said Clinton wiped her email server “clean,” permanently deleting all emails from it and has declined to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review. He and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are considering next steps
• The U.S. will announce today that it’s offering to the UN a roughly 28% emissions cut as its contribution to a major global climate treaty set to be finalized in Paris in December (AP, me)
Iran: “Tricky Issues” Remain – Deadline Looms
• Negotiators from the U.S. and five other nations pushed into the night Monday to try to reach a preliminary political agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear program. “There is a little more light there today, but there are still some tricky issues. Everyone knows the meaning of tomorrow,” SecState John Kerry told CNN Monday night (NYT, me)

• The main points that the negotiators have been grappling with include the pace of lifting UN sanctions, restriction of the research and development of new types of centrifuges, the length of the agreement and even whether it would be detailed in a public document

• Yet another dispute was highlighted Sunday when Iran’s deputy FM, Abbas Araqchi, told Iranian and other international news media that Iran had no intentions of disposing of its nuclear stockpile by shipping the fuel out of the country, as the U.S. has long preferred

• State Dept spox Marie Harf confirmed that the stockpile question remained unresolved, but insisted on Monday that there had never been a tentative agreement that shipping the fuel out of Iran was a requirement for a deal. “You could have some other dispositions for it that get us to where we need to be in terms of our bottom line.”

GOP/Experts Concerned
• The U.S.’ goal is to extend to a year the amount of time, known as the “breakout” time, that Iran would need to produce bomb-grade material for a single nuclear weapon. Achieving that objective depends on many factors, including how much nuclear fuel Iran has on hand and how fast it can produce new fuel – nuclear stockpile

• “The shipping out of Iran’s nuclear uranium stockpile was to be the key admin win in this agreement,” Rep Ed Royce (R-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday. “It was presumed they were going to win on that point because they were giving in on every other point. Now it looks like that rationale is being tossed out the window.”

• Robert Einhorn, a Brookings Institution scholar who worked for the first five years of the Obama admin on the Iran nuclear program, said, “If Iran is withdrawing its tentative agreement to ship out the stocks, this would be a real setback. It is not clear what measures would be needed to compensate in order to preserve the one-year breakout time.”

• The political accord, which American officials hope will be announced today, is intended to define the main elements of a comprehensive agreement that’s to be completed by the end of June

• President Obama’s and 30 other world leaders’ passport numbers and personal info was accidentally leaked on 7 Nov 2014 by the Australian immigration dept in an email to organizers of the Asian Cup soccer tournament, but the WH wasn’t informed of the breach at the time. The info was deleted within 10 minutes of the breach (Guardian, me)
NSA Shooting: Driver Killed
• The overnight tryst began in Baltimore, with three men, two of them dressed as women. It continued at a motel on U.S. 1, and when the older man woke up Monday morning, his two cross-dressing younger companions, and his Ford Escape, were gone (WaPo, NYT, CNN, me)

• The dark-colored Escape headed south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Its driver, in what authorities believe could have been a mistake, took a restricted exit leading to a security post at the sprawling campus of the NSA at Fort Meade, MD

• An NSA statement said the driver ignored police commands to stop and instead accelerated toward a police vehicle as at least one officer opened fire. The stolen SUV crashed into the cruiser. One man died at the scene, A wounded 20-year-old man, Kevin Fleming of Baltimore, was taken to a hospital for treatment. An NSA officer was injured, unclear how

• What had first appeared to be an attempt to breach security now appears to be a wrong turn by two men who police believe had robbed their companion of  his vehicle and perhaps didn’t stop because there were drugs inside

• An FBI spox said early in the investigation that authorities “do not believe
[the incident] is related to terrorism.” A parkway sign that points to the parkway exit says “NSA” and below, in black letters on a white background, says, “Restricted Entrance.” President Obama was briefed on the incident
• Partial results from Nigeria’s election give ex-military ruler Gen Muhammadu Buhari some two million more votes than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. However, populous states such as Lagos and Rivers are yet to declare (BBC)
Boston Marathon Bombing: Prosecution Wraps
• Prosecutors wound up their case against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Monday and defense attorneys began calling witnesses. MA Chief Medical Examiner Henry Nields showed the jury 8-year-old Martin Richard’s bloodstained grey New England Patriots T-shirt with holes that correlated with injuries to the child’s torso (Reuters, AP, me)

• Jurors cried openly as they viewed Richard’s autopsy photos. Nields said a piece of shrapnel appeared to have gone straight through Richard’s body. Richard died from the bombing. Tsarnaev faces death or life in prison if convicted. It’s not clear if Tsarnaev will testify in his own defense

• Tsarnaev, 21, is charged with the 15 April 2013 bombing that killed three and injured 264 people,and the fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier three days later as he and his brother Tamerlan prepared to flee the city. Tamerlan died after a gunfight with police that ended when Dzhokhar inadvertently ran him over with a hijacked car

• Defense lawyers opened the trial earlier this month with a blunt admission that Tsarnaev committed the crimes he was accused of. But they contended that he had done so out of a sense of subservience to his older brother rather than his own anger at his adopted country. The Tsarnaevs came to the U.S. from Chechnya about a decade before the attacks

• By painting Tamerlan as the driving force behind the attacks, the defense hopes to spare the younger Tsarnaev a death sentence and persuade the jury to determine that he should spend the rest of his life in prison (the members of the jury have been really impacted by the autopsy photos and evidence from the injured and bombing witnesses, often crying)
• President Obama will visit his father’s homeland of Kenya this summer for an international business summit. Former Gov John Sununu (R-NH) said Monday, “I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been dead a long time ago.” (If wannabe birthers like you didn’t bring it up, guv, it would be…) (Hill, TRNS, me)
Plane: Co-Pilot Treated Earlier for Suicidal Tendencies
• Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot suspected of crashing a Germanwings airliner into a mountain “had received psychotherapy for an extended period of time, during which suicidal tendencies had been noted,” Dusseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said Monday. But he said the treatment occurred “several years ago,” before Lubitz was issued a pilot’s license (WaPo, Spiegel, me)

• Investigators have found no evidence of advance planning or any clear motive, Kumpa added. Since the initial course of psychotherapy, Lubitz had continued to see neurologists and psychiatrists “until recently.” Those specialists found evidence of problems severe enough to justify excusing Lubitz from work, Kumpa said

• The prosecutor also said investigators have found no evidence that Lubitz was suffering from any physical ailments. The vision issues that Lubitz may have consulted doctors about may have been psychosomatic. Lubitz had not passed on official doctors’ notes excusing him from work – including on the day of the crash – to Germanwings

• An official familiar with the investigation said that police had discovered papers with words and phrases in Lubitz’s handwriting suggesting deep stress about the future and about the vision problems. The vision issues, on top of the preexisting psychological problems, appeared to make him fear losing his job, officials said

• One factor that remains a question mark in the case is how or whether Lubitz’s relationship with his girlfriend played a role in his state of mind at the time of the crash. The two appeared to be living together in Dusseldorf. The woman, described as a math teacher, has been interviewed by authorities

AZ Gov Vetoes Police Name Shield Bill
• With just hours left before a midnight deadline, Gov Doug Ducey (R-AZ) vetoed legislation Monday that would have prevented law enforcement agencies from releasing the names of officers involved in serious or fatal shootings for 60 days. “I worry it could result in unforeseen problems.” (NYT, AZ Republic, me)

• Proponents argued that it allowed for a cooling-off period, easing tensions and helping reduce threats to officers. But the bill attracted the attention of civil rights groups, news organizations and even the chiefs of police depts, who worried that shielding officers’ names would limit transparency, stoke distrust of law enforcement and limit the discretion of local officials

• The effort revealed a rift in AZ law enforcement between rank-and-file officers, whose professional organization was involved in drafting the bill, and the high-ranking law enforcement officials. The AZ Assn of Chiefs of Police resisted the bill because releasing officers’ names in such cases had been at their discretion and they didn’t want to lose that authority

• The Arizona Republic and the ACLU asked the governor to veto. “Police officers have extraordinary authority – to investigate us, detain us, and search or arrest us,” the ACLU said in its letter. “When agencies and officers use these powers, the public must be informed.”

• “I’m not only disappointed, I’m angry about it,” Levi Bolton Jr, executive director of the AZ Police Assn, said. “This bill was not intended to be nefarious, or to deprive people of information. There’s no other benefit derived for this other than to protect the name of the officer.” (so, depriving people of information)

• The Daily Show: “Spot the Africa” – the Daily Show’s next host Trevor Noah. Comedy Central has tapped 31-year-old South African comedian Trevor Noah to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. Here’s Noah doing standup – live at the Apollo in London  (TRNS)

Top Pols Dedicate Edward M. Kennedy Institute
• President Obama on Monday condemned the demise of bipartisan compromise in American politics that he said had prompted voters to turn away in bitterness and “disgust,” using the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston to call for a new era of consensus-building (NYT, AP, TRNS, me)

• “We live in a time of such great cynicism about all our institutions, and we are cynical about govt and about Washington most of all,” Obama told about 1,800 people outside the institute. “We can fight on almost everything, but we can come together on some things, and those some things can mean everything to a whole lot of people.”

• Obama said Kennedy “regretted the arguments now made to cameras instead of colleagues, directed at a narrow base instead of the body politic as a whole, the outsized influence of money and special interests, and how it all leads more Americans to turn away in disgust and simply choose not to exercise their right to vote.”

• VP Joe Biden described how Kennedy acted as his “tutor and my guide” when he arrived in the Senate, squiring him around the gym introducing him to senators who were undressed. “God, was I embarrassed,” Biden recalled. “All politics is personal, and no one, no one in my life understood that better than Ted Kennedy,” Biden said

• The dedication drew a host of prominent figures from both parties, including the former Senate majority leaders Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD). “It’s getting harder to find someone who loves a good fight as much as he did,” said Sen John McCain (R-AZ). “The place hasn’t been the same without him.”
SCOTUS Rejects Free Speech T-Shirt Appeal
• The Supreme Court rejected a free speech appeal on Monday from several California high school students who were told they couldn’t wear a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on the Cinco de Mayo holiday. The court didn’t explain its reasoning (LAT, me)

• The court’s action has the effect of upholding school officials who said they acted because they feared an outbreak of fighting between white and Mexican American students. The court’s action sets no legal precedent but it raises questions about whether students have the same free speech rights as adults on matters that may provoke controversy

• The Live Oaks High School south of San Jose had seen at least 30 fights between white and Mexican American students and the annual celebration of the Mexican holiday on 5 May had heightened the tension. On that day in 2010, the principal told several white students they must remove their shirts featuring an American flag or go home

• They went home but, with the help of their parents, later sued the school for violating their rights under the First Amendment. Federal judges in San Francisco rejected their claim on the ground that the school officials had a reasonable fear that their shirts could provoke fighting or a disruption of the school’s activities

• Lawyers for the parents cited a ruling from the Vietnam War era which said young people don’t lose their constitutional rights when they go to school. But the justices have steered clear of school free speech disputes in recent years

• Some of Britain’s leading Muslim scholars have launched a new magazine to combat Islamic extremism on the internet. Haqiqah, “the Reality” in Arabic, contains articles debunking ISIS’s claims to be a caliphate, as well as reinterpretations of verses from the Qu’ran that jihadis use to justify terrorist attacks, among others. The magazine is aimed at young people (Buzzfeed)

Obama Admin Pitches Highway Bill
• The Obama admin is sending a six year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress with lawmakers struggling to beat a 31 May deadline to renew federal infrastructure spending (Hill, me)

• Transportation Sec Anthony Foxx said in a statement: “All over the country, I hear the same account: the need to repair and expand our surface transportation system has never been greater, and yet federal transportation funding has never been in such short supply.”

• State transportation officials have said they’ve already begun to prepare for a construction shutdown if Congress is unable to reach an agreement on extending the federal govt’s funding. The Dept of Transport has said that it will have to stop making payments to state govts for construction projects if Congress allows its Highway Trust Fund to run out of money

•  The Obama admin’s proposal, “repatriation,” would require companies to bring back earnings to the U.S. at a 14% tax rate, generating an estimated $238 billion in revenue for the govt that could be used to pay for infrastructure improvements. Republicans are open to the idea – but want the payments voluntary, not mandatory

• Transportation advocates have pushed for an increase in the gas tax to solve the infrastructure funding problem, but lawmakers have been reluctant to ask drivers to pay more at the pump to help finance road projects. Improvements in car fuel efficiency have greatly sapped the gas tax’s purchasing power in recent years.

• Martha Stewart on Monday mercilessly roasted Justin Bieber, giving him tips for his “inevitable” turn in the slammer. “Justin, you have no idea what you’re in for. I’m sure it’s great to have 60 million followers on Twitter. But the only place people will be following you in prison will be into the shower.” (USA Today)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Justin Duckham and Washington Desk 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.

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