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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
  • Cruzin’ to victory in Wisconsin
  • Bernie blasts through Wisconsin
  • Obama slams Trump: Border wall payment scheme
  • Obama calls for global tax reform – Pfizer pfallout
  • 200 people in the US exposed: Panama Papers
  • Gay rights battle in the South
Cruzin’ to Victory in Wisconsin (AP, NYT, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, me)
• Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stormed to a commanding 48.3% victory in Wisconsin Tuesday, denting Donald Trump’s – 35% – chances of capturing the GOP nomination before the party’s convention. Trump’s defeat capped one of the worst periods of his campaign, highlighting his weaknesses with women and raising questions about his policy depth (there are questions?)
 
• “Tonight is a turning point,” Cruz told cheering supporters at a victory rally. “It is a call from the hardworking people of Wisconsin to America. We have a choice. A real choice.”
 
• But Trump’s campaign put out a biting statement about “Lyin’ Ted” who “had the governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk show hosts and the entire party apparatus behind him”: “Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet – he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr Trump. ” (can’t steal something you don’t own, Donnie)
 
• Exit polls showed a majority of GOP voters said they’re either concerned or scared of a potential Trump presidency. More than a third said they were scared about what Trump would do as president, according to surveys conducted by Edison Research for AP and TV networks
 
• Cruz won at least 33 Wisconsin delegates, while Trump carried at least three. Six delegates are still up for grabs – pending outcomes. Trump still has a narrow path to claim the nomination by the end of primaries on 7 June. But by losing Wisconsin, he has little room for error in the upcoming contests
 
• Complicating the primary landscape for both Cruz and Trump is the (to them pesky) continuing candidacy of Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio) – 14.1%. Kasich’s only victory has come in his home state, but he’s still picking up delegates that could otherwise help Trump inch closer to the nomination or help Cruz catch up (they’re both sooo furious with him – he’s gleeful)
 
 
• List! Trump’s many incorrect predictions on the economy (Buzzfeed)

 

Bernie Blasts Through Wisconsin (NYT, AP, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NYDN, WaPo, WaPo, me)
• Democrat Bernie Sanders triumphed over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin Tuesday 56.5% – 43.1%, his sixth straight victory, but he still trails her in the pledged delegate count and has so far been unable to persuade superdelegates to drop their allegiance to the former secstate and back his campaign (maybe if he continues winning, that will change)
 
• “With our victory tonight, we have now won 7 out of 8 of the last caucuses and primaries,” Sanders declared at a raucous rally in Wyoming, which votes Saturday. In a sign of Clinton’s low expectations in Wisconsin, she spent Tuesday night at a fundraiser with top donors in New York City (which is must-win for her, a former senator)
 
• Clinton congratulated Sanders on Twitter and thanked supporters: “To all the voters and volunteers who poured your hearts into this campaign: Forward!” she said. With 86 delegates at stake in Wisconsin, Sanders will pick up at least 45 and Clinton will gain at least 31. That means Sanders must still win 67% of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates
 
• Clinton’s loss underscores her problems connecting with young and white middle-class voters who have gravitated to Sanders’s economic message – a message he will now take to economically depressed parts of New York State ahead of the 19 April primary there. That contest is expected to be a rough and tumble one
 
• In a New York Daily News interview with the editorial board last week, Sanders struggled (embarrassingly) to provide the specifics of his plan to break up the Wall Street banks (mop up on aisle three statement issued Tuesday). The tabloid has a cover story today critical of his position on granting immunity to gun manufacturers, with the headline, “Bernie’s Sandy Hook Shame.”

 

• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) told reporters Tuesday that a so-called motion to discharge, which is meant to allow President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, to essentially circumvent the Senate Judiciary Committee, is “certainly, we’ve got that arrow quiver to do that and other things if we choose.” (drip drip) (Politico)
 
Obama Slams Trump: Border Wall Payment Scheme (Hill, WaPo, Bloomberg, me)
• President Obama on Tuesday slammed Donald Trump for his plan to bar immigrants in the U.S. from sending money back home to force Mexico to pay for a new border wall. “I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made,” Obama told reporters at the WH during a rare appearance in the briefing room
 
• Obama said Trump’s border wall proposal could have “enormous” economic consequences for Mexico, which receives billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home. “The notion that we are going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico – good luck with that,” Obama said (money to Mexico means immigrants are working, not on welfare…)
 
• Obama’s remarks came after WaPo published a two-page memo from Trump outlining how he would get Mexico to pay for his wall. Trump’s memo outlines how he would cut off certain remittances – cash transfers from people in the U.S. to Mexico – unless Mexico’s govt offered a payment of $10 billion to $15 billion to pay for the wall (payment or ransom?)
 
• Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said he won’t pay for Trump’s wall. Former President Vicente Fox has said, repeatedly, “I’m not going to pay for that f**king wall.” World leaders are also asking Obama about Trump’s rival, Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has called for admitting only Christian refugees from Syria and special policing of Muslim neighborhoods, Obama said
 
• Obama called Trump’s remittance cut-off proposal “just one more example of something that’s not thought through” and made only for political purposes.” World leaders “don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the WH. We can’t afford that.” (third time in a week that Obama has trashed Trump’s foreign policy thought bubbles)

• More people were executed worldwide in 2015 than at any time in the past 25 years, according to a report issued today by Amnesty International. At least 1,634 people were put to death across 25 countries, a 54% increase from last year. Nearly 90% of all recorded use splits between Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Pakistan. The U.S. rounds out the top five (so proud) (Time)

 
Obama Calls for International Tax Reform (Guardian, NYT, Reuters, WSJ, me)
• President Obama on Tuesday called for international tax reform in the wake of the revelations contained in the Panama Papers. “there is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem,” he told reporters at the WH. “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”
 
• Obama said the leak from Panama – “important stuff” – illustrated the scale of tax avoidance involving Fortune 500 companies and running into trillions of dollars worldwide. “We shouldn’t make it legal to engage in transactions just to avoid taxes,” he said, praising instead “the basic principle of making sure everyone pays their fair share.”
 
• Obama said that new federal rules announced by the Treasury Dept on Monday would help prevent American companies from using complicated arrangements called “inversions” to lower their tax bills by buying foreign counterparts and moving operations overseas
 
• Obama said the rules would help prevent “one of the most insidious loopholes out there, fleeing the country just to get out of paying taxes.” He added that by effectively renouncing its corporate citizenship, a company that makes an inversion deal “sticks us with the rest of the tab, and it makes Americans feel like the deck is stacked against them.” (it sort of is)
 
• Pfizer has decided to kill its planned $150 billion takeover of Allergan, after the Obama admin took aim at a deal that would have moved the biggest drug company in the U.S. to Ireland to lower its taxes, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies are expected to announce the deal’s termination as early as this morning
 

• Essential viewing: The Panama Papers, explained in 2 minutes, with piggy banks (now I really get it…) (Vox)

 

200 People in the US Exposed: Panama Papers (Guardian, McClatchy, me)
• So far, 200 people in the U.S. have been exposed in the Panama Papers, the massive leak of secret docs that shows how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. McClatchy reported that in four cases, hacked law firm Mossack Fonseca helped register offshore companies for individuals now either accused or convicted of serious financial crimes
 
• Robert Miracle of Bellevue, Wash. His company was an active shareholder in several offshores created by MF in the British Virgin Islands. Miracle was indicted for a $65m Seattle-area Ponzi scheme involving investment in Indonesian oilfields. (sounds dodgy) In 2011, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison
 
• John Michael “Red” Crim, author of self-published books From Here to Malta and I’ve Been Arrested, Now What? In 2008, federal jurors in Philadelphia convicted him and two associates of a plot to have investors use phony trusts to cheat the IRS out of roughly $10m in tax revenue (wonder if he read his own book)
 
• According to McClatchy, there are at least 200 scanned individual American passports in the MF files, but establishing a final total is difficult. Heather Lowe, director of govt affairs at Global Financial Integrity, pointed out that MF appeared to have a network office in Nevada and “a few states are well-known for being open for anonymous business – Nevada, Delaware and Wyoming.”

 

• Iceland’s PM Gunnlaugsson has resigned, the first major casualty of the leaked Panama Papers. The leaks showed that he owned an offshore company with his wife but hadn’t declared it when he entered parliament. He’s accused of concealing millions of dollars of family assets (BBC)
 

Gay Rights Battle in the South (NYT, me)

• Gov Phil Bryant (R-Miss) on Tuesday signed into law a measure that protects churches, religious charities and privately held businesses that decline services to people if doing so would violate their beliefs. (beliefs of the people turned away don’t matter, apparently) Individual govt employees are also protected, although the measure says govts must still provide the services
 

• In North Carolina, PayPal said it had dropped plans to put in a global operations center in Charlotte because of that state’s recent passage of a law banning anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. PayPal had pledged to bring 400 jobs and invest $3.6 million in the area
 

• The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, Brian Seage, criticized the Magnolia State’s law, calling it a futile effort “to defend a culture of fear.” “The state of Mississippi will likely find itself in federal courts once again,” Seage said in a statement, “spending large sums of funds which could have been spent on building the future.”
 

• In Georgia last week, Gov Nathan Deal (R) vetoed a bill intended to protect critics of same-sex marriage. But in North Carolina, Gov Pat McCrory (R) signed a law that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and that regulates the use of single-sex bathrooms. It superseded a new anti-discrimination ordinance that was set to take effect in Charlotte this month
 

• More than 120 business executives signed a letter objecting to North Carolina’s new last last week. Some have pledged not to make new investments in the state until the law is repealed. Other signatories include Apple, Facebook and Bank of America. Duke Energy has come out against the law. Some states have issued bans on most state-sponsored travel there

• California investigators on Tuesday evening searched the apartment of David Daleidin, the anti-abortion activist behind the series of anti-Planned Parenthood sting videos and seized his personal laptop and multiple hard drives. The equipment contained all of the video Daleidin had filmed as part of his 30-month project, as they look to see whether he broke any laws (WaPo)

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Victoria Jones – Editor