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

  • Trump suggests Clintons – – rape & murder
  • Clinton won’t debate: Sanders slams
  • Obama pushes for better rights in Vietnam
  • TSA security chief forced out
  • SCOTUS: Race and juries
  • Freddie Gray case: Officer acquitted
  • Impeachment hearing: IRS chief won’t testify
 
Trump Suggests Clintons: – – Rape & Murder (WaPo, Daily Beast, me)
• Donald Trump is reviving some of the ugliest political chapters of the 1990s with escalating personal attacks on Bill Clinton’s character. Trump’s latest shot came Monday when he released an incendiary Instagram video that includes the voices of Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey who accused the former president of sexual assault (so far they’ve gone unchallenged, but…)
 
• “They [Clintons] said things about me which were very nasty. And I don’t want to play that game at all. I don’t want to play it – at all. But they said things about me that were very nasty,” Trump told WaPo. “And you know as long as they do that, you know, I will play at whatever level I have to play at. I think I’ve proven that.” (oh you’ve proved what you are – and stop the repetition)
 
 Clinton campaign spox Brian Fallon said Monday on Bloomberg TV that Trump’s attacks were part of a “strategy to try to distract from an issues-based campaign, which is what we intend to run. … To me, every day he spends in this type of stuff is a misspent opportunity by him in terms of doing the outreach he needs to do to improve his numbers.” (err – he’s doing that too)

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• Trump has, at the same time, regularly criticized the media for reporting on his own behavior decades ago. “When was this? Twenty-five years ago? Wow, you mean you’re going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago,” Trump said when asked about pretending to be his own publicist in the 90s (how about “violating” his then-wife Ivanka – ask him about that)
 
• One issue on Trump’s radar is (as I’ve been predicting for so long you’re all bored) the 1993 death of Vince Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by three official investigations. But right-wing conspiracy theories swirl that the Clintons were involved. “He [Foster] knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide,” Trump said. “Very fishy.”
 
• Trump added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’ do that because I don’t think it’s fair.” (you brought it up. don’t talk about it at all then if you have no knowledge. you’re gossiping. dropping poison. backbiting. stop it)

 

• Former President Jimmy Carter (D) says that Donald Trump’s campaign for president has “tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism.” Carter plans a summit meeting in Atlanta this fall to bring together white, black, Hispanic and Asian Baptists to work on race and social inequality (suggest you broaden it, sir, to include all religions – that would be truly unifying) (NYT, me)
 

 

Clinton Won’t Debate – Sanders Slams (Hill, Hill, Hill, AP, LAT, AP, me)
• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) told a crowd of supporters at Santa Monica High School in Calif on Monday evening, “I think it’s a little insulting to the people of California – the largest state” that Hillary Clinton refused to debate him before the primary there. “She’s scared!” the crowd chanted. Clinton, Sanders said, is acting “very nervous lately.” Clinton previously agreed to a debate

• Sanders said to AP that the Democratic convention in Philadelphia could be “messy,” but that “democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle.” He said he will “condemn any and all forms of violence” but his campaign is bringing new people in to the process who have never gone to a political convention before. He hopes “their voices will be heard” (if they shout…)


 
• “Trump economics is a recipe for lower wages and more debt,” Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Monday. “He will bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies. Ask yourself – how could anyone lose money running a casino? Really?” Clinton spoke at the Service Employee International Union annual gathering in Detroit
 
• Clinton shouldn’t pick a senator from a GOP-controlled state as her VP, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) warned Monday. “If we have a Republican governor in any of those states, the answer is not only no, but hell no.” Democrats are fighting to regain control of the Senate – they need five to win it back outright. A GOP governor could appoint a GOP senator
 

• Gov Terry McAuliffe (D-Va) is a subject of a federal investigation looking at donations to his gubernatorial campaign, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. The probe has focused on campaign finances and donations to his 2013 campaign. The investigation has been ongoing for some time and no indication that it’s close to concluding

 

Obama Pushes for Better Rights in Vietnam (Reuters, AP, me)
• President Obama said today that nations are more successful when people can freely express their thoughts, assemble without harassment and access the internet and social media. Obama spoke at the National Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam
 
• “Upholding these rights is not a threat to stability but actually reinforces stability and is the foundation of progress,” Obama said. “Vietnam will do it differently than the U.S. … But there are these basic principles that I think we all have to try to work on and improve.”
 
• Obama spoke earlier with about 6-10 activists, including advocates for the disabled, sexual minorities, a pastor and advocates for freedom of speech, press and the internet, but he said that several others were prevented from coming. “There are still areas of significant concern” about political freedom, Obama said (well, it’s a one-party communist state)
 
• Two activists who spoke to Reuters said an intellectual, Nguyen Quang A, had been taken away by unknown men before he had hoped to meet Obama, citing his relatives. Reuters couldn’t verify the info, and Vietnam’s foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment (Monday, a BBC journo was ordered to stop reporting after interview an activist)
 
• Obama’s comments came a day after he announced the lifting of a fifty year arms embargo. From Hanoi, Obama flew today to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. He was to visit the Jade Pagoda. He then planned to visit the Dreamplex business complex for startup entrepreneurs and to meet with entrepreneurs where he would give remarks

 

• President Obama ate “cheap but delicious noodles” and drank “cold Hanoi beer” while sitting on a “low plastic stool,” during his trip to Vietnam, according to dinner companion Anthony Bourdain. They ate at the Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant. Bourdain noted that Obama’s “chopstick skills are on point.” Dinner was $6.00. “I picked up the check,” Bourdain noted (NBC News)
 
TSA Security Chief Forced Out (NYT, WaPo, me)
• Less than a month after he came under stinging criticism from whistleblowers testifying before Congress, the chief of the TSA’s key intelligence division has been replaced. TSA administrator Peter Neffenger announced in a memo to staff Monday that intel chief Kelly Hoggan had been replaced with his deputy administrator, Darby LaJoye, as acting replacement (deckchairs/Titanic?)
 
• Beginning late last year, Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Dept of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95% of the time in 70 covert tests. Meanwhile, lines at airports get longer and longer
 
• Mark Livingston, a program manager in the agency’s Office of the Chief Risk Officer, said, “No one thinks he is really making any meaningful changes.” Livingston has sued the agency, claiming he was demoted because he reported misconduct by senior managers. “Bottom line is no one in TSA believes in Neffenger now. He is only acting out of desperation.”
 
• Neffenger announced that a new TSA leadership team was now overseeing screening operations at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, which has had some of the longest waiting times of any airport in the country. Sunday, hundreds of passengers missed flights because of waits of two or three hours in security lines. Many had to spend the night in the terminal (stunned no riots so far)
 
• The TSA has sent 58 additional security officers and four more bomb-sniffing dog teams to O’Hare. Last week, Neffenger apologized to passengers and briefed officials in Chicago about efforts to address crushing delays. The agency has attributed the lines, in part, to tightened security procedures and budget cuts that have caused a shortage of screeners (whatever – join the line Neff)
 
SCOTUS: Race and Juries (USA Today, AP, me)
• The Supreme Court ruled 7-1 in favor of black death row inmate Timothy Tyrone Foster on Monday, chastising Georgia state prosecutors for improperly keeping African-Americans off the jury that convicted him of killing an elderly white woman. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented
 
• “The focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. The outcome probably will enable Foster to win a new trial, 29 years after he was sentenced to death (should enable him to just walk out the door, frankly – maybe swap places with prosecutors)
 
• What brought Foster’s case back to court after three decades was a series of prosecution notes obtained by defense lawyers through an open records request. While jurors were being picked, prosecutors had highlighted the names of African Americans, circled the word “black” on questionnaires, and added notations such as “B#1” and “B#2”
 
• On a sheet labeled “definite NOs,” they put the last five blacks in the jury pool on top. And they ranked them in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.” This happened just a year after SCOTUS had declared such actions unconstitutional
 
• Georgia officials had told the court that prosecutors were expecting to be accused of racial discrimination, so they singled out potential black jurors in their notes and listed several race-neutral reasons for opposing each one. Justice Elena Kagan said during oral argument, “what it really was, was they wanted to get the black people off the jury.”

Freddie Gray Case: Officer Acquitted (BBC, NYT, WaPo, me)
• A police officer was acquitted Monday of charges related to the death of a black man in police custody in Baltimore last year. Edward Nero, 30, was cleared by a judge of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office (are any officers going to be found guilty in this case?)

• Freddie Gray, 25, died after sustaining a severe spinal injury in the back of a police van during his arrest in April 2015. His death caused days of massive protests and unrest in Baltimore and brought additional scrutiny to the deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers across the country

• Las year, a jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Officer William Porter in connection with Gray’s death. There are four more trials to come. “The state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence,” said Circuit Judge Barry Williams. “There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”

• Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed that officers had the right to stop Gray, who had fled them in a high-crime area for no apparent reason. But prosecutors said Nero and Officer Miller exceeded their authority by handcuffing, moving and searching Gray without first questioning and frisking him, as the law requires

• Nero had also been charged for failing to restrain Gray with a seatbelt when he and other officers placed him in a transport wagon. Nero’s lawyer, Marc Zayon, said it was up to the driver to do it. Of Nero: “This is an officer with two years on the force. He was a baby, still learning with regard to a lot of this.” (Baby? Two years? Most people are veterans in their jobs after two years)

 
• The United States Military Academy at West Point released a video showing this year’s graduating class. Can you spot the texting cadet? Hint – she’s towards the end… oh dear dear
 
Impeachment Hearing: IRS Chief Won’t Testify (WaPo, NYT, me)
• IRS chief John Koskinen will not appear before the House Judiciary Committee today to defend himself against charges that he defied a subpoena from Congress as it investigated the treatment of conservative groups and should be ousted from office. Aides said he’s recently returned from China and not had time to prepare – providing written statement (can you blame him)
 
• House Oversight Committee chair, Rep Jason Chaffez (R-Utah), who has led the charge for impeachment, is scheduled to testify as a witness on why the IRS chief has been derelict in his duties. With him will be Rep Ron DeSantis (R-Fla). Both are members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, which has pestered GOP leadership to punish the IRS (popcorn, nachos for this one)
 
• Koskinen, a fix-it exec with a record of turning around troubled companies, wasn’t at the IRS when the agency’s tax-exempt division singled out tea party – and liberal- groups for extra scrutiny. But as Republicans investigating the case sought emails written by Lois Lerner, the since-retired official at the center of the scandal, they accused Koskinen of, well, lying
 
• In articles of impeachment Chaffetz filed last Oct, he charged that Koskinen erased backup computer files containing thousands of emails written by Lerner. Koskinen told lawmakers his staff turned over all relevant emails, and when some were found to be missing said they were unrecoverable. He said this is what he believed at the time
 
• Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the Finance Committee, has made clear that the Senate wouldn’t convict Koskinen, which would require a nearly impossible two-thirds vote. The last admin official other than the president to be impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap – 1876. Nobody below cabinet level has ever been impeached (meanwhile, Zika mozzies buzz closer)
 

• Cool trailer alert: “Star Trek Beyond” – new trailer is out. Idris Elba, as villain Krall,  is a very, very bad – whatever he is. Elba told Entertainment Weekly that he’s not a Gorm – so don’t push him on that – he could always do something unspeakable to you…

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Victoria Jones – Editor

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