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.

 

AP reports Egyptair flight 804 has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard. Quotes anonymous Egyptian officials. Egypt hasn’t confirmed. Three children on board. Search for debris. Airbus A320 has excellent safety record – developing – subject to change (Al Jazeera)
 

Quick News

  • Trump accuses Bill Clinton of rape
  • Sanders willing to harm Clinton on homestretch
  • Trump releases list of 11 SCOTUS picks
  • 6 choice Trump SCOTUS picks
  • Foreign hacking threats to 2016 campaigns?
  • House passes defense policy bill
  • “Religious protection” provision in defense bill – Dem fury
Trump Accuses Bill Clinton of Rape (NYT, Hill, Fox News, Hill, me)
• Donald Trump went there. In an interview with hardliner Sean Hannity on Fox News Wednesday night, Trump brought up an old allegation of rape by former President Bill Clinton. Discussing a recent NYT article regarding Trump’s history with women, Hannity led Trump down a line of questioning, naming women who had accused Clinton of sexual misconduct
 
• “For example, I looked at the NYT,” Hannity said. “Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?” In one case, it’s about exposure. In another case, it’s about groping and fondling and touching against a woman’s will.” Trump, unprompted: “And rape.” Hannity: “And rape.”
 
• Trump was referring to Broaddrick, who made her allegations public in 1999 that she was raped by then Arkansas state AG Clinton in 1978. They were publicly denied by Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, who called them “absolutely false.” Trump said: “…I treat women with respect. And I have fun – we all have fun. We all have good times.” (women in NYT piece didn’t have much fun)
 
• Trump has repeatedly mentioned past allegations against Clinton. Tuesday, he tweeted that Clinton was “the WORST abuser of woman in U.S. political history.” On the campaign trail, Trump has tried to tie Hillary Clinton to the scandals, such as by referring to her as an “enabler” (and difficult to disprove because  so-called “enabling” would have taken place privately)
 
• Clinton spox Nick Merrill said Trump was “doing what he does best, attacking when he feels wounded and dragging the American people through the mud for his own gain. If that’s the kind of campaign he wants to run that’s his choice.” (it is and he will. so get ready. he won’t stop. he had lunch with a dirt peddler. get ready for murder by hillary clinton – it’s coming, guaranteed)

 

• Trump’s misogynistic comments about women – all in one place – including ex-wife Ivana Trump’s account of Trump’s rape of her which she made in a deposition and told many of her friends about. She later rescinded the accusation. Ivana Trump later received a large divorce settlement (Vox, me)

 

Sanders Willing to Harm Clinton in Homestretch (NYT, me)
• Defiant and determined to transform the Democratic Party, Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) is opening a two-month phase of his presidential campaign aimed at inflicting a heavy blow on Hillary Clinton in California and amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July – or even wrest the nomination from her (which he won’t but might lose presidency)
 
• Advisers to Sanders said Wednesday that he was newly resolved to stay in the race, seeing an aggressive campaign as his only chance to pressure Democrats into making fundamental changes to how presidential primaries and debates are held in the future. They said he also hopes to capitalize on any late stumbles by Clinton or any damage to her candidacy
 
• Sanders resumed a combative posture against Clinton on Wednesday, demanding that she debate him before the 7 June primary in California and highlighting anew what he asserted were her weaknesses against Donald Trump (all of which trump will jump on. I don’t have a candidate in 2016. at all. but if sanders wants to defeat trump above all things this may not be the way)
 
• Sanders, his advisers said, has been buoyed by a stream of polls showing his beating Trump by larger margins than Clinton in some battleground states, and his belief that an upset victory in California could have a psychological impact on convention delegates who already have doubts about Clinton (so maybe he’s a true believer)
 
• But his new attitude is also the result of months of anger at the Democratic Party over a debate schedule that his campaign said favored Clinton; a fund-raising arrangement between the party and the Clinton campaign; the appt of fierce Clinton partisans as leaders of importation convention committees and the party’s rebuke of Sanders on Tuesday over the Nevada convention chaos

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• While Sanders doesn’t want Trump to win in November, his advisers and allies say he’s willing to do some harm to Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power
 
• Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders, said the campaign didn’t think its attacks would help Trump in the long run but added that the senator’s team was “not thinking about” the possibility that they could help derail Clinton from becoming the first woman elected president (“not thinking” doesn’t sound like a plan. trump is thinking long term, even if they’re not)
 
• “We have to put the blinders on and focus on the best case to make in the upcoming states,” Devine said. “If we do that, we can be in a strong position to make the best closing argument before the convention. If not, everyone will know in mid-June, and we’ll have to take a hard look at where things stand.”
 
• The prospect of a drawn-out Democratic fight is deeply troubling to party leaders who are eager for Clinton and House and Senate candidates to turn to attacking Trump without being diverted by Democratic strife. Democratic leaders want to avoid the kind of chaos they had expected at the Republican convention (GOP convention will be a spectacle of a different kind)
 
• For weeks, some current and former Sanders campaign workers have privately acknowledged feeling disheartened about campaign manager Jeff Weaver’s determination to go after the Democratic National Committee, fearing a pitched battle. It’s affected morale, they say, and raised concerns that Weaver wasn’t devoted to achieving Democratic unity

 

• After more than a week of controversy over allegations that Facebook displays a liberal media bias, a group of 16 Republican pundits and politicians met with the social network’s chief, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, and other top execs Wednesday. The 90-minute meeting was described as mostly collegial, sympathetic and inquisitive by attendees (NYT)

Trump Releases List of SCOTUS Picks (NYT, AP, Politico, me)

• Donald Trump released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he’s elected to the WH. The list of conservative federal and state judges includes Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colo and Raymond Gruendler of Mo
 
• Also: Thomas Hardiman, Pa; Raymond Kethledge, Mich; Joan Larsen, Mich; Thomas Lee, Utah; William Pryor, Ala; David Stras, Minn; Diane Sykes, Wis and Don Willett, Texas. All 11 picks are white (it’s a kiss-up dream list to conservatives. five of the names were on the Heritage Foundation’s list of eight names –  all politics now until November)
 
• The unusual move comes as Trump looks to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about the seriousness of his candidacy. After Scalia’s death in February, critics of Trump expressed concern about whether he had the judgment to fill vacancies on the court. The next president could have to fill several vacancies (mind boggles)
 
• Trump said in a statement that his short list is “representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as president, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court justices.” (wonder if he picked them?) Trump has urged the Senate not to vote on President Obama’s nominee in hopes that he will have the opportunity to fill the opening
 
• Minutes after Trump released the list, WH spox Josh Earnest ripped Trump’s choices, “I would be surprised if there are any Democrats who would describe any of those 11 individuals as a consensus nominee.” Earnest noted that Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, has been described by Republicans as a “consensus nominee”

 

• House Democrats hoping to win Senate seats this fall have introduced a bill to force the Senate to stay in session over the summer if it doesn’t hold a hearing on President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee by 19 July. Congress is set to be out of session for July and August. Bill will go nowhere… (Roll Call)

 

6 Choice Trump SCOTUS Picks (WaPo, me)
Raymond Gruendler, Mo: On the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, George W. Bush appointee. He wrote the opinion that ruled a 1978 pregnancy law doesn’t give female employees the right to contraceptive coverage, which opponents of Obamacare have used to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court
 
Thomas Hardiman, Pa: On the 3rd Circuit. Two majority opinions reviewed by SCOTUS: one supporting the strengthening on mandatory minimum sentences for criminals, and one supporting a Pa jail’s policy of strip searching the people it arrests, arguing it doesn’t violate a person’s Fourth Amendment right of unreasonable searches and seizures (they’re innocent until…oops)
 
Joan Larsen, Mich: On Michigan’s Supreme Court. Served in the Justice Dept office that produced the legal justifications for enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, also known as torture. She has said she didn’t work on that

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William Pryor, Ala: On the 11th Circuit, George W. Bush appointee. During his confirmation hearings, Pryor called Roe v. Wade, the SCOTUS ruling legalizing abortion, “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He was eventually confirmed 53 to 45
 
Diane Sykes, Wis: On the 7th Circuit. Her ex-husband is conservative Milwaukee radio talk show host Charlie Sykes, who strenuously opposed Donald Trump and hammered him on live radio. Sykes said his ex-wife would make a great SCOTUS justice
 
Don Willett, Texas: On the Texas Supreme Court. Wears a bow tie. Known as “the tweeting judge.” Has 39,700 followers. “Former rodeo rider,” his Twitter profile says. Very conservative and close to Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “‘We’ll rebuild the Death Star. It’ll be amazing, believe me. And the rebels will pay for it.’ – Darth Trump” – Willett tweeted on 7 April (someone pleeeze nominate him)
 

• No, Donald Trump, Ferguson and Oakland are not “among the most dangerous” places “in the world” as you falsely claimed to NYT. Annual homicides per 100,000 residents: Caracas, Venezuela 119.9; San Pedro Sula, Honduras 111; San Salvador, El Salvador 108.5; – – Oakland 19.5; Ferguson 9.5. Oakland’s mayor said most dangerous place in US: Trump’s mouth (me, Slate)

 
Foreign Hacking Threats to 2016 Campaigns? (Reuters, AP, me)
• Presidential campaigns face threats from hackers bent on spying and other activities more nefarious than political mischief, the office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Wednesday, but didn’t provide details on specific intrusions
 
• “We’re aware that campaigns and related organizations and individuals are targeted by actors with a variety of motivations – from philosophical differences to espionage – and capabilities – from defacements to intrusions,” Clapper’s spox Brian Hale said in a statement, deferring to the FBI for specific incidents (bet the FBI didn’t thank him for that)
 
• Earlier, Clapper said the U.S. intel community had “already had some indications” of hacking attempts against presidential campaigns. “As the campaign intensifies we’ll probably have more,” Clapper said at a cybersecurity event in DC. The last two presidential cycles in 2008 and 2012 witnessed a barrage of cyberattacks from a range of adversaries – many Chinese
 
• Clapper said the Homeland Security Dept and the FBI are working to educate “both campaigns” about cyber threats (wot, not feeling the Bern or not hiking the Hill?) Hotel properties belonging to Donald Trump have been hacked twice since he declared his candidacy. And Anonymous declared cyberwar on Trump several weeks ago
 
• The two candidates will begin receiving intel briefings after being officially nominated at their conventions. Clapper said they would receive “exactly the same” briefings. He said the sessions wouldn’t be used to try to persuade Trump to soften his stance on a proposed Muslim ban, which national security experts have said is counterproductive to fighting terrorism
 

• Rep Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, on Wednesday introduced a resolution to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The resolution seeks Koskinen’s resignation or removal, as well as forfeiture of his pension, claiming he failed to cooperate with a congressional investigation of the agency over the tea party issue. There will be hearings in June (popcorn, BBQ, cotton candy…)

 

House Passes Defense Policy Bill (Hill, AP, me)
• The GOP-led House on Wednesday voted 277-147 to pass a defense policy bill that authorizes $610 billion for Pentagon programs and spending. The bill would authorize $551 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget and $59 billion for war funding, known as overseas contingency operations
 
• The bill passed on a bipartisan basis, with 237 Republicans and 40 Democrats voting in favor, and five Republicans and 142 Democrats voting against. The WH issued a veto threat on the bill on Monday over a number of provisions. The bill must be reconciled with a Senate version by month’s end
 
• Republicans plan to shift $18 billion from the war fund to pay for things in the Pentagon’s base budget, which the WH objects to. The plan would leave the war funding account short $18 billion come April, but Republicans are betting the next admin would request a war supplemental upon taking office to make up the difference (yes let’s make defense plans based on bets)
 
• The bill included a provision that Democrats said would overturn an executive order issued by President Obama that bars discrimination against lGBT employees by federal contractors (see below). The legislation contains a 2.1% pay increase for troops, above a 1.6% raise proposed by the WH
 
• The bill would restrict transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. and prevent the admin from conducting a new round of military base closures. It contains an amendment that reverses a provision that narrowed the eligibility of special immigration visas for Afghan translators who assisted U.S. govt workers during the 13-year war

 

• Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will tell the WH this week whether or not he supports declassifying 28 secret pages from a congressional inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he told lawmakers on Tuesday evening. The classified pages are thought to detail suspected links between the govt of Saudi Arabia and al Qaeda hijackers (just let us decide OK) (Hill, me)
 

 

“Religious Protections” Provision in Defense Bill – Dem Fury (Roll Call, me)
• The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee voted against the sweeping defense bill, in part because of a provision he feared would open the door for federal contractors to discriminate based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. Rep Adam Smith (D-Wash) said the Rules Committee’s decision not to allow debate was the “last straw” for him
 
• A bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed for an amendment that would have stripped the religious protections provision from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) but it wasn’t included among the more than 180 cleared by the House Rules Committee Monday and Tuesday. The issue could come up again when the Senate and House work to reconcile the final bill
 
• At issue was a provision for protections and exemptions to “any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society” that receives a federal contract. The provision was added to the NDAA by Rep Steve Russell (R-Okla) during a late night markup in April (always with the late night markups) – would apply to any branch or agency of govt
 
• Gay rights advocates objected, saying the measure would undermine a 2014 executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against Americans based on their sexuality and gender identity (imagine it’s supposed to – that’s why it was done late at night)
 

• Rep Charles Dent (R-Pa) agreed that such discrimination could be an unintended (or intended) consequence of the broad language. He and four Republicans and four Democrats this week offered the unsuccessful amendment to cut the provision. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said he was “outraged” the measure remained in the bill

 

• Superbugs will kill someone every three seconds by 2050 unless the world acts now, a hugely influential global review says. The report sets out a plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the dark ages” that requires tens of billions of dollars in investment.  It calls for a revolution in the way antibiotics are used and a massive campaign to educate people (BBC)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

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