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 University: “Lie” & “scheme”
  • Trump attacks press: “Sleaze” presser
  • Clinton claims nearly 300 interviews this year
  • Obama to Elkhart, Ind: A promise kept?
  • Zika baby born in New Jersey
  • SCOTUS: Water pollution
  • Brexit: Brits lean “leave” – pound fall


Trump University: “Lie” & “Scheme” (NYT, AP, me)
• In blunt testimony revealed Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Trump’s insights (really worth a read)
• One sales manager, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump U salesman persuaded the couple to buy the class anyway
• The release of the docs Tuesday, under court order, was the latest turn in a federal lawsuit, filed in California by dissatisfied former Trump U students, that has bedeviled the businessman since 2010 and could trail him into the WH if he is elected president (but his followers may just think it was smart business practice)
• Trump, who started the university in 2005, owned 93% of the now-defunct company. From the start, he acted as its chief promoter, rather than day-to-day manager, selling it as a tool of financial empowerment. It would, he said, “teach you better than the best business school,” according to the transcript of a web video


Trump U: “Other People’s Money”
• Within the docs made public were internal employee guides encouraging customers with little money to pay for the tuition with their credit cards. “We teach the tuition of using OPM … Other People’s Money,” explained the instructions for salespeople. The confidential docs pushed employees to exploit emotions: “Let them know you’ve found an answer to their problems.”
• Corinne Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them couldn’t afford. “It’s OK, just max out your credit card,” Sommer recalled their saying
• Jason Nicholas, a sales exec at Trump U, recalled a deceptive pitch used to lure students – that Trump would be “actively involved” in their education. “This was not true,” Nicholas testified, saying Trump was hardly involved a all. Trump U, Nicholas concluded, was “a facade, a total lie.” (they did get a picture taken with a cardboard cutout of Trump)
• Lawyers for Trump said that the testimony of the former Trump U employees “was completely discredited” in depositions taken for the lawsuit. Lawyers for Trump declined to release those depositions on Tuesday. (why?) Trump argued through reps that the complaints came from a small number of former students and the vast majority had positive reviews
• Trump had fought the release of the docs. He had called the judge in the case, Gonzalo Curiel, biased and a “hater of Donald Trump” and he sought to draw attention to the judge’s ethnic background – “we believe Mexican,” Trump said. Curiel is American and was born in East Chicago, Indiana


• Is a Libertarian vote this year right – or what – for you? Hint: Try watching this interview with nominee Gary Johnson with the sound off… (well?)

Trump Attacks Reporters During “Sleaze” Presser (NYT, Politico, WaPo, Hill, TMN, me)

• A defensive Donald Trump listed more than two dozen veterans’ groups that he said had received $5.6 million thanks to his fund-raising and personal largess during a contentious presser Tuesday in which he repeatedly railed against reporters who questioned him (seemed actually surprised that reporters would dare to question him)
• Criticizing the news media at length, Trump demanded that journalists credit him for his act of charity. “Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr Trump’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone’s saying ‘Who got it, who got it, who got it,’ and you make me look very bad” (seems to think press are extension of his “John Miller” PR firm)
• In a heated, 40-minute harangue in Trump Tower, Trump dismissed a CNN reporter as “a real beauty” and attacked Tom Llamas of ABC News as “this sleazy guy” and “a sleaze” (twice) (job of press is to find out whether presidential candidates are telling the truth before they actually get into the WH, if possible. afterwards can be messy)
• Trump said the delay in gifts – announced in January – was due to a need to scrutinize the charities beforehand, though the recipient of his largest donation is well-known to him. And – new – he was shy about his donations, saying he “didn’t want to have credit for them” – though he had promised the donations in a speech carried on live TV (never been shy about anything in his life)
• The problem stemmed from an event Trump staged in late Jan as an alternative to the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses, which he skipped. In a televised fund-raiser that he said would benefit military veterans, he announced that he had raised more than $6 million and that he himself was giving $1 million


• WaPo details what Trump raised, what he’s given away and when. The $1 million of his own money was only given on 24 May. WaPo made inquiries on 23 May. Many of the donations were made on 24 May. Trump claimed the donations took so long because of “vetting” One of the charities has an F from Charity Watch, gives more to fund-raisers than to cause
• But the full amount of $6 million didn’t materialize, and WaPo reported a week ago that Trump had still to make his own donation. (Trump was livid and insulted the WaPo reporter) Tuesday, Trump read off a list of groups, complete with dollar amounts, to which he said he had donated (money was actually other people’s) Campaign aides and security guards applauded Trump
• Trump blasted Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol as a “loser” whose magazine “is failing.” Kristol is trying to recruit a mainstream conservative to step forward as an independent candidate to stop Trump. Kristol fired back on Twitter that “one thing I’ve always tried not to be is a roaring jackass.” (what this had to do with veterans was – nothing – but hey ho)
• “The press should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said. “The political press is among the most dishonest people that I’ve ever met. The press is so dishonest and so unfair,” he said without identifying a single thing anyone in the media has said about this topic that wasn’t true (because there isn’t anything – that’s why he’s complaining about “unfair”)
• Trump suggested there would be “probably libelous stories – or certainly close” in the papers about the donations. “I’m gonna continue to attack the press. Look, I find the press to be extremely dishonest. I find the political press to be unbelievably dishonest, I will say that.” (always remember he has a target audience – many of his potential voters don’t like the press, either)

• “Is this what it’s going to be like covering you if you’re president?” a reporter asked near the end of the presser. Trump: “Yeah, it is. I’m going to continue to attack the press.” (bring it on, more insults = more scrutiny – see Trump U above)

Clinton: Nearly 300 Interviews This Year (Hill, Politico, AP, TMN, TMN, me)
• Democratic front-runner Hilary Clinton on Tuesday said, “I have done nearly 300 interviews just in 2016.” The remark came in a phone interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper as she defended herself amid criticism that she hasn’t held a press conference for months. Clinton appears to be counting short interviews at campaign stops as “interviews” – (these are quickies)
• Rival Bernie Sanders wrapped up a news conference billed by the campaign as being on health on Tuesday but didn’t take a single question from the press. The Vermont senator spoke for about 10 minutes and featured remarks from health industry professionals, said thank you, and left the stage. That’s not a press conference (what’s up, Bernie?)
• Clinton landed a coveted endorsement from Gov Jerry Brown (D-Calif) on Tuesday, patching up a strained relationship as she seeks to deliver a final blow to Sanders’ campaign. In a statement, Brown praised Sanders, but said that Clinton had an “insurmountable” lead and “has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda.”
• Clinton said Tuesday her campaign has been in touch with the campaign of Sanders about unifying the Democratic Party. “I will certainly do everything I can to unify the Democratic Party. Our campaigns have been reaching out to one another. We will continue to do that,” Clinton said on CNN (fly on phone during those talks – or emails)
• Clinton narrowly leads Trump by four percentage points in New Jersey, a state typically in the Democratic column in recent decades. Clinton leads Trump 38-34%, according to a Monmouth University poll, with 15% saying they were undecided. When a third-party candidate entered the mix, 15% said they’d support one (third party only needs 15% in five polls to make debate stage)


• Will California hold the key to the general election? Voter registration is up, polling for Democrats has narrowed –  and it’s a delegate-rich state (TMN)
Obama to Elkhart, Ind: A Promise Kept? (Time, me)
• President Obama, during an early 2009 visit, promised the residents of Elkhart, Ind, that he’d “do everything I could” to help the area recover from the Great Recession they were in. In March 2009, Elkhart’s unemployment rate hit 20%. Between 2008 and 2009, Obama visited the area four times, delivering a message of change (four times is a lot for a president)
• Between August 2008 and 2009, more than a dozen RV factories shuttered, the life-blood of Elkhart. Obama set aside money from his nearly $800 billion stimulus package to address the area’s woes. He visited Elkhart in Aug 2009 to announce a local RV manufacturer was one of several Indiana businesses to get part of a $400 million federal grant for the economy
• The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate in Elkhart was just 4.3% in March 2016. Charts promoted by the WH show foreclosure rates dropping and manufacturing jobs increasing during the president’s two terms in office. “The story of Elkhart’s recovery is the story of America’s recovery,” Obama said in an open letter
• During a trip today, Obama will tout the progress the community has made and the work that remains. “He gets very, very little credit, and I think that’s too bad because we got quite a bit of help,” Dick Moore, Elkhart’s mayor from 2007-2015, told NYT in April. A planned town hall meeting in the city with Obama will air on PBS tonight at 8 pm Eastern
• During Tuesday’s WH briefing, spox Josh Earnest said the president is likely not getting the credit he feels he deserves for the recovery because of “Republican obstruction” to recovery efforts. Earnest also said Obama will discuss the “very real choice” Americans are setting out to make this November 🙁 for Obama, though: Elkhart is Donald Trump country. (town hall could be fun)


• As Iraqi forces press an offensive to dislodge ISIS militants from Fallujah, conditions are worsening for 50,000 civilians trapped in the city, including as many as 20,000 children. A leading aid group warns of an unfolding “human catastrophe.” ISIS reportedly has corralled civilians into a neighborhood for use as human shields (AP)
Zika Baby Born in New Jersey (Reuters, Reuters, me)
• A baby suffering from a birth defect caused by the Zika virus was born Tuesday in New Jersey to a woman visiting from Honduras who was infected with the virus after she was bitten by a mosquito early on in her pregnancy, media reported – not bitten in the U.S. Zika-carrying mosquitoes could arrive in the U.S. this month
• The baby girl is suffering from microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems, after she was delivered through cesarean at Hackensack University Medical Center. The unidentified newborn also suffers from intestinal and visual issues, Manny Alvarez, chief of OB/GYN at Hackensack, told
• Zika is carried by mosquitoes, which transmit the virus to humans. A small number of cases of sexual transmission have been reported in the U.S. and elsewhere. A case of suspected transmission through a blood transfusion in Brazil has raised questions about other ways it can spread. There’s no vaccine or cure for Zika
• People returning from areas where the Zika virus is found should follow safe sex practices or abstain from sex for at least eight weeks rather than just four as previously thought, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, after scientists found the virus lingers longer than previously thought in blood or other body fluids (every bit of news is worse than the last)
• WH spox Josh Earnest said at the press briefing, “Republicans now, for more than three months, have dragged their feet and, yes, enhanced the risk facing the American people from the Zika virus because our public health professionals have not gotten the benefit of having had the last three months to prepare” due to not appropriating funds President Obama has requested
• The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied a motion to reconsider its ruling that gave a Virginia transgender high school student access to the bathroom of his gender identity. The Gloucester School Board had asked the full court to review the decision by a three-judge panel last month in favor of Gavin Grimm (Reuters)
SCOTUS: Water Pollution (TMN, Hill, Politico, me)
• In a victory for property-rights activists and a setback to the Obama admin, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that landowners can go straight to court to challenge federal regulators’ decisions to stop property development over water-pollution concerns (and landowners will line up to do just that)
• Ruling came in a dispute by a Minnesota peat mining company, Hawkes Co, of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination barring peat mining on 530 acres under the federal Clean Water Act. The Obama admin had argued Hawkes should be able to challenge the finding only by filing for a permit, a costly process that can take years
• The court sided with Hawkes’ contention that landowners shouldn’t have to await the end of the permitting process before mounting a federal court challenge to regulatory actions under the Clean Water Act “where such proceedings carry the risk of ‘serious criminal and civil penalties,'” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court
• In a concurrence, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy for himself and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Kennedy called the Clean Water Act “notoriously unclear” and said consequences for even accidental violations “can be crushing.”
• Reed Hopper, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation who argued the SCOTUS case, hailed Tuesday’s decision: “This victory guarantees the rights of millions of property owners nationwide,” he said. The case is likely to have consequences for the federal govt’s entire enforcement of the Clean Water Act, the main law regarding pollution control – lawsuits


• More than 45 million people are living in modern slavery, with Asia accounting for two thirds of the victims, a new report says. The Global Slavery Index, from the Walk Free Foundation in Australia, defines slavery as “situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception.” (BBC)
Brexit: Brits Lean “Leave” – Pound Falls (AP, Guardian, NYT, me)
• The British pound fell sharply Tuesday after two ICM polls for the Guardian newspaper indicated support for a British exit from the 28-country European Union in the 23 June referendum. In both polls, one phone and one online, the “leave” campaign was up 52 points to 48. Online has stayed the same. Two weeks ago, a phone poll showed “remain” held a 10-point lead
• British bookmakers still think a “remain” vote is the more likely outcome but there’s been a modest narrowing over the past few days. The bookies give a vote to remain a probability of around 75% (because bookies think Brits will ultimately shy away from the big leap – like they did from Scottish independence, but this is different. this is fear-driven about immigrants)
• Putting aside very recent and bitter differences, London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan of the Labour Party, this week joined forces with PM David Cameron, a Conservative, in the campaign to keep Britain in the EU. Khan’s predecessor as mayor, Boris Johnson, is a conservative who is one of the leaders of the Leave campaign – and who has challenged Cameron’s leadership
• Khan believes it’s vital for London, its financial markets and its businesses to stay within the single market of the EU. He also called for a more positive campaign in favor of remaining in the union – they’ve been playing up economic risks of leaving. The Leave campaign is playing up the dangers of supposedly uncontrolled immigration if Britain stays (scary invading foreigners)
• Khan and Cameron have unveiled a pledge card to be distributed around the country in the name of the Remain campaign, with five guarantees: full access to the European single market, protection of workers’ rights, continued right to issue arrest warrants in Europe, a special status for Britain in Europe and economic stability (zenophobia and nativism may “trump” that)


• The family of a boy who entered a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla’s enclosure last weekend – spurring zoo officials to shoot and kill the animal, Harambe – will be the focus of an investigation into the incident. The Assn of Zoos and Aquariums is also investigating the incident. The Agriculture Dept is looking to see if it happened because the zoo was not in compliance with laws (CNN)

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Victoria Jones – Editor