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

  • Ryan-Trump make nice-ish
  • WH: Transgender access in schools
  • Trump’s butler: Kill Obama; Secret Service: On it
  • Trump’s butler: Facebook posts – explicit
  • Obama admin plans deportation raids
  • TSA under fire on the Hill
  • Judge sides with GOP against Obamacare
  • 9/11 28 pages: Drip drip drip
Ryan-Trump Make Nice-ish (AP, NYT, Politico, Reuters, me)
• Straining to mend their party after months of chaos, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Donald Trump declared themselves “totally committed” to working together after a fence-mending personal meeting on Thursday. Ryan praised Trump as “very warm and genuine.” (glugging the kool-aid he spoke – and trying not to choke)
• Ryan gave no public signal that he was poised to back Trump, and two people briefed on their private meeting said they didn’t discuss a possible endorsement. But in effusive remarks after the sit-down, Ryan insisted that the party leadership wasn’t on the brink of an irreparable split
• At a presser, Ryan said he had found the meeting encouraging and pleasant, but that it would take more than one session to bring the party together. Ryan said he and Trump had discussed the constitutional separation of powers, Supreme Court justices and abortion, among other subjects (separation of powers must have been interesting – one-branch govt?)
• “We will have policy disputes. There is no two ways about that. The question is, can we unify on the common core principles that make our party,” Ryan said. “And I’m very encouraged that the answer to that question is yes.” Trump tweeted: “…Things working out really well! #Trump2016.”
• While Ryan noted that Trump had expressed openness to his policy positions, about 12 hours earlier Trump was calling on Twitter for a hike in the federal minimum wage. Ryan risks getting on board with one Trump, only to possibly find a new version making statements he finds untenable, even repugnant, weeks or months later (shape-shifting, NYT calls it – blink of an eye shifts)


Some House GOP Pols Miffed at Trump
• Trump also met with other House GOP leaders, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and his top deputies, and senators were later full of praise. But top Trump ally Rep Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) slammed the billionaire after he failed to meet with rank-and-file lawmakers backing his campaign. Hunter said Trump refused multiple requests to meet (elites only)
• Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has called Trump a “nut job” and a “loser as a person,” softened a bit after speaking by phone with the candidate Wed. “He’s from New York. He obviously can take a punch,” said former 2016er Graham. He said he still won’t endorse Trump but his “insults will stop” (they’re all getting in line behind Trump – where is Cruz?)
• As the meetings began, Democrats mocked Trump and GOP pols. “Since Sen McConnell has so enthusiastically embraced Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said on the Senate floor. “we can only assume he agrees with Trump’s view that women are dogs and pigs.” (dirty, harry)
• There were protests outside the meeting places. “The GOP is dead to our community,” said Deyanira Aldana, 21, a protester who is the child of Hispanic immigrants. “And Donald Trump is the final nail in that coffin.”


WH: Transgender Access in Schools (NYT, AP, Hill, me)
• The Obama admin will issue a decree today to all public school districts in the U.S. telling them to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity, NYT reports. While the decree doesn’t have the force of law, it carries a threat: Schools that don’t comply could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid (wait for GOP outrage)
• The Justice Dept on Monday sued North Carolina over a bathroom access law that it said violates the rights of transgender people a measure that AG Loretta Lynch likened to policies of racial segregation and efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry
• Under the guidance, schools are told that they must treat transgender students according to their chosen gender identity as soon as a parent or guardian notifies the district that that identity “differs from previous representations or records.”
• There’s no obligation for a student to present a specific medical diagnosis or identification documents that reflect his or her gender identity, and equal access must be given to transgender students even in instances when it makes others uncomfortable, according to the directive (this is going to drive opponents nuts)
• The move was cheered by Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian and transgender organization, which called the guidelines “groundbreaking.” Courts haven’t settled the question of whether the nation’s sex discrimination laws apply in matters of gender identity


Trump’s Butler: Kill Obama; Secret Service: On It (Mother Jones, NYT, me)
• The Secret Service said Thursday it would investigate Donald Trump’s longtime butler over Facebook posts laced with vulgarities and epithets calling for President Obama to be killed. The racially tinged posts by Anthony Senecal were unearthed by Mother Jones and referred to Obama as a “Kenyan fraud” who should be hanged for treason
• Warning: going to be offensive: “With the last breath I draw I will help rid this America of the scum infested in its government – and if that means dragging this ball less dick head from the white mosque and hanging his scrawny ass from the portico – count me in!!!!!” Senecal wrote as long ago as 23 May 2015 (and he’s still at very recently)
• In a statement, the Secret Service said it was “aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation.” Trump campaign spox Hope Hicks said in an email about the posts by Senecal, “We totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him.” (hmmm – but Trump has also strongly suggested Obama is a Kenyan fraud in the past, sooo)
• Senecal didn’t immediately responded to requests for comment. Senecal, 84, worked for Trump for almost 30 years and was deemed irreplaceable. When he tried to retire in 2009, Trump kept him as an unofficial historian at Mar-a-Lago. But Hicks claimed “Tony Senecal has not worked at Mar-a-Lago for years.” NYT did a profile of Senecal in March – didn’t mention Facebook posts


Trump Butler: Disgusting Facebook Posts (Mother Jones, me)
Death: Hold onto your hats. This is going to get explicit. You have to wonder whether Trump is a Facebook “friend” and knew about this stuff. But certainly people associated with him must have done. 21 April 2015, Senecal: “Looks like that sleezey bastard zero (0) is trying to out maneuver Congress again, if the truth be known this prick needs to be hung for treason!!!”
Birther: In 2015, asked why he’s called for Obama to be killed, Senecal says: “I cannot stand the bastard.” He continues: “I don’t believe he’s an American citizen. I think he’s a fraudulent piece of crap that was brought in by the Democrats.” Senecal notes he’s been suspended by Facebook in the past for violating the service’s guidelines (comments by his friends are equally awful – really no further comments by me required)
Muslim: 18 Sept 2015: “Our current ‘president’ is a rotten filthy muzzie!!!!! Period!!!!! He continues his war on Christians!!!!!! …zero is against the people of America!!!!!” Months earlier: “look at the number of goat screwing muzzies he is degrading our government with!!!!!” (goat “screwing?” who in the govt is up to that activity?)
Insults/Hillary Clinton: 12 August 2015, he published a photo of Obama, with a caption in caps: “If Allah had an asshole it would look like this.” A year ago, he derided Hillary Clinton: “Stop the lying bitch of Benghazi now —killery clinton!!!!!! she should be in prison awaiting hanging!!!!!!!”
Obama Admin Plans Deportation Raids (Reuters, Hill, me)
• The Obama admin is planning a new round of raids to deport those residing in the U.S. illegally, Reuters reported Thursday. U.S. immigration officials plan to conduct the raids in May and June, deporting hundreds of individuals who came to the U.S. from Central America (Reuters saw documents)
• The arrests will focus on mothers and children who’ve already been told to leave the U.S. and minors who entered the U.S. without a guardian and are now over 18 (lovely work, women and children facing rape, violence and death – not men?). Officials nabbed 121 people following raids early this year in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina – and caught flak from immigration activists
• “I oppose the painful and inhumane business of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries,” Democratic 2016er Bernie Sanders said in a statement Thursday. “Sending these people back into harm’s way is wrong.”
• Hillary Clinton said in a statement: “I’m against large scale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities.” She touted proposals to provide unaccompanied minors access to counsel and called for “a comprehensive plan to stop the root causes of violence in Central America and expand orderly resettlement programs.”

• Democrats on Capitol Hill blasted the reported raids. “To conduct these types of enforcement actions against women and children who have fled violence and who will face violence if they are returned, it is not just hypocritical – it is just plain cruel,” Reps Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) said in a joint statement

• The Senate Armed Services Committee passed the 2017 defense policy bill 23-3 Thursday evening. The legislation provides $602 in fiscal year 2017 for the Defense Dept and for nuclear weapons programs. The Senate bill would also require women to register for the draft. The House version would require women to register, but floor amendments would strip the language (Hill)


TSA Under Fire on Hill (NBC News, Hill, NYT, me)

• Lawmakers on Thursday accused the Transportation Security Admin of disguising a $90,000 bonus payment to official Kelly Hoggan by doling it out in nine chunks of $10,000 instead of one lump sum – known as “smurfing.” He received the bonus even as the screeners he supervised failed a test to detect mock explosives and banned weapons (oh such a little thing)

• TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told the House Oversight Committee that Hoggan was awarded the bonus under his predecessor and he’s put in checks to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Hoggan “is no longer employed by the TSA, Neffenger said.” But when asked if he planned to fire Hoggan, Neffenger said no, that he had seen no direct misconduct (jobs for boys)
• The agency faces loud criticism over long lines at security checkpoints that result in passengers missing flights, an unusually high employee turnover and burnout and charges of widespread waste, fraud and managerial abuse of power. Last year, an IG testified the agency has problems with technology, procedure and human errors and “layers of security were simply missing”
• Neffenger said he has ended the agency’s controversial practice of unfairly reassigning employees who report waste, fraud or abuse. A Homeland Security IG’s report last year found that auditors were able to smuggle fake explosives and weapons past TSA screeners 95% of the time (now you just don’t get past screeners at all, you just stay on line forever…)
• Rep John Mica (R-Fla) detailed his recent “night from hell” at an airport, in which every member of his group missed their flights because they were waiting in security lines while a number of lanes were closed and TSA staff stood around. (???) “I was on the phone for hours, and you can’t get hold of a damn person in TSA, even as a member of Congress,” Mica fumed
Judge Sides with GOP Against Obamacare (AP, me)
• In a win for House Republicans, U.S. District judge Rosemary Collyer ruled Thursday that the Obama admin is unconstitutionally spending federal money to fund the president’s health care law. At stake is $175 billion the govt is paying over a decade to reimburse health insurers for reducing co-payments for lower-income people (this was a given – she allowed the suit)
• The House argued that Congress never specifically appropriated that money and has denied the admin’s request for it. It says the admin is spending the money anyway, exceeding its constitutional authority. The admin has said it’s using other, previously approved money (a significant defeat for the admin – lack of money can choke Obamacare)
• Collyer issued an order stopping further reimbursements, but said it wouldn’t take effect pending an appeal. House Republicans authorized the lawsuit in 2014 over Democratic objections. The House had already voted dozens of times to repeal all or parts of the law known as Obamacare, but those efforts went nowhere with Obama in the WH
• The disputed subsidies help lower-earning people afford out-of-pocket costs such as annual insurance deductibles and co-payments when they visit doctors. The WH had earlier argued that the House had no legal authority to pursue its lawsuit, but Collyer rejected that argument. An appeal by the admin is expected. Collyer is a George W. Bush appointee


9/11 28 Pages: Drip Drip Drip (Guardian, Hill, Daily Beast, me)
• Former Sen Bob Graham (D-Fla), an ex-chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and an author of the congressional report into the 9/11 attacks, is blasting John Brennan over the CIA director’s resistance to releasing 28 classified pages. Graham focused on Brennan’s claim that the pages contain “inaccurate” information (good, Brennan’s trying to block release, it seems)
• “Americans are fully capable of reviewing the 28 pages and making up their own minds about their significance,” Graham wrote in a WaPo op-ed Thursday. “What is the investigatory basis for his conclusion?” The pages are being reviewed by the DNI’s office (and who knows who else) for possible release – maybe by June, but now…
• Meanwhile, John Lehman, a former member of the 9/11 Commission, an investment banker and former Navy secretary under Reagan, said: “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi govt.” “Our report should not have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.” (but was a bit weaselly)


• Lehman said a statement by the two former commission chairs that only one Saudi govt employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi govt officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network (wow – read Guardian piece)
• Separately, a federal judge in Florida has been working for two years, page by page, on another 80,000 classified FBI documents, many of which are believed to deal with Saudi connections to the 9/11 terror plot. He’s weighing whether to declassify portions of the 80,000 classified pages (i don’t have space to do justice to the potential bombshells in the two big articles above)
• A team of lawyers and investigative journalists believes it has found hard evidence that operation leader Mohamed Atta visited a Saudi family in a gated community in Sarasota, Fla, and phone records connect the house to members of the conspiracy. The occupants of the upscale home vanished back to Saudi in the two weeks prior to the attacks (read daily beast piece)

• Rocking into the weekend with the new and menacing “Burn The Witch” – single off Radiohead’s first album in five years, with the exception of their fabulous Bond theme. “A Moon Shaped Pool” is a brilliant and innovative – Radiohead album. Thanks, lads

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Victoria Jones – Editor