Talk Media News
 

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.
 

Quick News
  • Delegate dash for 2016ers
  • Obama: “No political influence” in email probe
  • Trump’s “charitable” giving – not
  • Senate: Budget crunch time
  • Hiroshima: Kerry doesn’t apologize
  • Brussels group “planned to hit France”
  • “Trump’s America:” Boston Globe faux front
 
Delegate Dash for 2016ers (AP, Hill, Politico, me)
• The Democratic and Republican 2016ers are coming to terms with the cold mathematical reality of chasing delegates ahead of their nominating conventions, with front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump driving for challenge-proof majorities against rivals who won’t go away (it’s like swatting at really big mosquitoes)
 
• For Trump, who remains well short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nod, that means his campaign focuses on developing a delegate-centered strategy similar to the one that rival Ted Cruz has pursued for months. “A more traditional approach is needed and Donald Trump recognized that,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s new delegate chief, said Sunday on NBC
 
• For Clinton, who lost Wyoming Saturday night to Bernie Sanders, it means maintaining her commanding leads among delegates and popular votes no matter how many states Sanders wins. Key to her drive is a win 19 April in New York, which she represented in the U.S. Senate
 
• Asked in a Sunday CNN interview whether she’s quietly preparing a strategy in the unlikely event of a contested Democratic convention, she replied: “No, I intend to have the number of delegates that are required to be nominated.” (what could she say?)

 

Kasich as Spoiler / “Gestapo Tactics”
• Challengers stuck to the hope that by winning more races and cozying up to delegates, they stand a chance of grabbing their nominations. For Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio), it’s about winning enough delegates to keep all candidates from locking up the majority – that means sowing doubts about the effect of a Trump or Cruz nomination on the party (down-ballot disaster…)
 
• Sanders, behind Clinton by hundreds of delegates and more than 2.4 million votes, is pointing to statewide wins in seven of the last eight contests. But in Wyoming Saturday, both Sanders and Clinton got seven delegates. On CBS Sunday, Sanders noted the contest has moved to states where he expects to do well. “Our plan right now is to win this thing,” he said
 
• Trump continued to try to catch up to Cruz’s ground operation, which is months ahead. Manafort said, “You go to these county conventions, and you see the Gestapo tactics – the scorched-earth tactics” of Ted Cruz in which “they don’t care about the party. If they don’t get what they want, they blow it up.” (Cruz a Nazi now?) “Great anger – totally unfair!” Trump tweeted on Sunday night
 
• Manafort spoke after Cruz completed his sweep of Colorado’s 34 delegates by locking up the remaining 13 at the party’s state convention in Colorado Springs. Trump organized late in Colorado and left the state convention up to his organizers. Trump on Sunday said the primary system “is corrupt.” “What they’re trying to do is subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans.”
 
• Clinton has 1,756 delegates, including superdelegates – or 74% of the number needed for the nomination. Sanders has 1,068. Trump needs to win nearly 60% of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he’s winning about 45%. Trump: 743; Cruz: 545; Kasich 143; Marco Rubio (out of race) 171 delegates

 

• Amid ongoing campaign rhetoric, CIA director John Brennan tells NBC News in an interview airing tonight, “I will not agree to carry out some of those tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about, because this institution needs to endure. I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again.” (Hill)

 

Obama: “No Political Influence” in Clinton Email Probe (NYT, Bloomberg, Fox News, AP, me)
• In his first interview as president with Fox News Sunday, President Obama said of Hillary Clinton’s emails: “I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Dept, or the FBI – not just in this case, but in any case. Full stop. Period.” Clinton says she never sent any emails from her private server as secstate that were marked classified
 
• Obama said Clinton’s private server email usage showed “a carelessness, in terms of managing emails” that she has recognized. “Hillary Clinton was an outstanding secstate. She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.” (faint praise) The FBI and congressional committees are examining Clinton’s emails. The FBI probe could be concluded by next month – NYT
 
• “There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” Obama said. “There’s stuff that is really top-secret-top-secret, and there’s stuff that is being presented to the president or the secstate that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open-source.” (tell that to Edward Snowden…)
 
• Obama told Chris Wallace that he will stick with Merrick Garland, his SCOTUS nominee, through the end of his term. “What I think we can’t have, is a situation in which the Republican Senate simply says, ‘Because it’s a Democratic president, we are not going to do our job, have hearings, and have a vote,'” he said
 
• Asked about his “worst mistake,” Obama said, “Probably failing to plan for the day after” the ouster and death of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. Intervening “was the right thing to do.” Best day was the one his health care plan was passed. Worst day was “the day we traveled up to Newtown,” after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that killed 26 people, including 20 children

 

• The WH and intel officials are considering declassifying docs known as the “28 pages” which could show the possible existence of a Saudi support network for the hijackers involved in the 911 attacks. The discussion of the docs, which have been locked away for 13 years, comes as President Obama plans a trip to Saudi Arabia this month (long overdue) (Hill)

Trump’s “Charitable” Giving – Not (WaPo, Hill, me)

• Donald Trump says he’s given more than $102 million to charity in the past five years. But a WaPo analysis shows that not one of the 4,844 donations the campaign reported was a gift of the GOP front-runner’s own money (it’s a rollicking good read – his charitable giving seems almost scammy – except it’s perfectly legit)
 
• The Post analysis shows Trump provided many free rounds of golf at his courses for charity auctions and raffles. And the largest donations on the list were land conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property he owns
 
• And while many gifts came from the Donald J. Trump Foundations that organization didn’t received a personal check from the businessman between 2008 and 2014 (he didn’t give his own foundation any money!) The foundation’s work is largely funded by others, the Post reported, but Trump decides where the gifts go
 
• The tally of Trump’s giving was provided by his campaign last year to AP, to assess Trump’s recent record of charitable giving. AP shared the campaign’s list with WaPo. The Post article is a real treat. Oh – and that January fundraiser for veterans in Iowa, where Trump said he brought in more than $6 million, remember?
 
• The Trump campaign has detailed only about $3 million worth of donations that have been given to veterans’ groups. Some were given directly by donors recruited by Trump, and in some cases, the Trump Foundation served as a middleman. Campaign said they’re still identifying new recipients – no details. No answer to whether Trump has donated $1 million of his own money
 

Senate: Budget Crunch (Hill, me)

• Budget crunch. Senate Republican leaders need to decide in the next 10 days whether to move a budget, something they promised prior to winning the majority, or skip it and face charges of hypocrisy from Democrats. GOP senators say they’ll only move a budget if the House passes one – privately few think the lower chamber can do that (almost no chance)
 

• One Republican senator – anonymous – said the Senate GOP conference is waiting to see if House Republicans can overcome their internal divisions to pass a budget. “I don’t think anybody thinks that can happen,” the lawmaker said, projecting the chances of Senate action as low
 

• Failure to pass a budget would be an enormous embarrassment for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), who previously promised to pass a budget every year the Republicans had control of the Senate and in January vowed a “major effort to pass a budget.” (enormous embarrassment for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) – and potential WH contender, too…)
 

• After 15 April, the Senate Appropriations Committee can begin to move the annual spending bills without the passage of a budget. McConnell said he expects the Appropriations panel to start moving soon – further eroding the incentive for taking tough votes that are always part of the process of passing a budget
 

• Several endangered GOP senators facing reelection have said they don’t think a budget is necessary this year because the top-line spending numbers have already been set by a deal negotiated late last year between President Obama and congressional leaders. The view is catching on in the Senate GOP conference (I’ll bet – avoid tough votes in an election year)

 

• Police in India have detained five men in connection with an explosion and fire at a Hindu temple in Kerala that killed more than 100 people. The men who work at the Puttingal temple in Paravur, are being questioned about an unauthorized fireworks display that sparked the massive explosion. Authorities have ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident (BBC)
 

Hiroshima: Kerry No Apology (AP, Reuters, WaPo, me)

• Accompanied by foreign ministers of the G7 countries, John Kerry today became the first U.S. secstate to pay his respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum, raising speculation that President Obama might visit in May
 
• “Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial. It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself,” Kerry wrote in a guest book at the museum. He didn’t apologize for the devastating U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 at the end of WWII
 

• Obama has yet to decide whether he might visit Hiroshima and the memorial when he attends a Group of Seven meeting of leaders in central Japan in late May, according to the official – but there’s discussion about it in the WH. Obama has shown he’s willing to do controversial things, such as visit Cuba. Kerry is in Japan for the G-7 foreign ministers conference
 

• No serving U.S. president has visited the site. It took 65 years for a U.S. ambassador to attend Hiroshima’s annual memorial service, and six more years to win Kerry’s visit. The official said Japan didn’t seek an apology from Kerry. The officials said both countries wanted the event to show the strong ties they developed since peace in 1945

 

• A senior North Korean military official who oversaw spying operations has defected, say South Korean officials. The officer hasn’t been named, but the defense ministry in Seoul said he was a senior colonel in the Reconnaissance General Bureau and left last year. He was seen as an elite among other defectors (BBC)

 
Brussels Group “Planned to Hit France” (BBC, Hill, NYT, me)
• The suspected surviving bomber in the Brussels attacks has admitted the group was initially planning a new attack on France, prosecutors say. Mohamed Abrini said the group made a “hasty decision” to attack Brussels instead after the arrest of fellow suspect Salah Abdeslam, prosecutors quoted Abrini as saying
 
• He also reportedly admitted being the third bomber in the airport attack, fleeing without setting off his device. Gun and bomb attacks in Paris on 13 November killed 130 people. A further 32 were killed in the attacks on an airport and metro station in Brussels on 22 March. Both attacks were claimed by ISIS
 
• Belgium and Europe in general “were just not equipped for this; they were not ready. They had warnings that an attack like this could happen,” Rep Pete King (R-NY) told radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday. King said that as the U.S. ramped up security after 9/11, Europe failed to follow suit. “They had a very smug attitude,” he said
 
• The reality that, after five months of intensive work, French and Belgian investigators into the Paris and Brussels attacks are still finding new suspects and learning about potential new targets, provides a window into the size of one of ISIS’s European networks
 
• Western intel and counterterrorism officials say their working assumption is that there are potentially comparable cells – although the one in Paris and Brussels may have been particularly large – in two or more European countries, including Britain and Germany, and that they’re poised to carry out attacks
 
“Trump’s America” – Boston Globe Faux Front (Boston Globe, WSJ, me)
• The editorial board of the Boston Globe Sunday produced what it calls “a front page in Trump’s America” dated, for the eagle-eyed, 9 April 2017. It’s topped with the banner headline “Deportations to Begin,” with reports of riots. A smaller headline: “U.S. soldiers refuse orders to kill ISIS families” (it’s a clever, satirical front page – some of the sidebar stories are quite funny)
 
• “What you read on this page is what might happen if the GOP front-runner can put his ideas into practice, his words into action. Many Americans find this vision appealing, but the Globe’s editorial board finds it deeply troubling,” reads a note in the lower left corner of the page (some media “elites” have criticized the Globe for it – but no reporters were involved)
 
• Trump, at a rally in Rochester NY, went off on it: “How about that stupid Boston Globe? Did you see that story? The whole front page – they made up a story – they pretended that Trump was president,” Trump said. “The whole front page is a make believe story, which is really no different from the whole paper.”
 
• “To me, it’s exactly what they accuse Donald Trump of – they are trying to invoke fear,” Andre Bauer, the former GOP lieutenant governor of South Carolina who has endorsed Trump, said on CNN. It was the front page of the inside “Ideas” section of the Globe and didn’t wrap around the front page of the first section distributed Sunday
 
 
• Shocker at the Masters! Englishman Danny Willett took home the green jacket to his new infant son with a 5-under-par 67. Jordan Spieth threw away a five-shot lead at the treacherous par-3 12th hole with a quadruple-bogey 7. Two shots in the water – ouch

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Victoria Jones – Editor