TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

News Now

  • Escaped killers could be “anywhere”
  • White TX cop slams black girl to ground
  • G7: Ukraine / Greece / beer
  • Republican “roast & ride”
  • Govt data breach: Chinese hackers’ latest?
  • House trade vote: Nail-biter
  • Hastert: Money-making / allegations
  • Beau Biden: “An original”
  • Turkey’s AKP: Tough challenge


Escaped Killers Could Be “Anywhere” (AP, NYT, me)

• Two murderers who escaped from a prison by cutting through steel walls and pipes remain on the loose as authorities investigate how the inmates obtained the power tools used in the “Shawshank Redemption”-style breakout (anyone smelling movie or TV?)


• David Sweat, 34, was serving a sentence of life without parole for the 2002 killing of a sheriff’s deputy. Richard Matt, 48, had been sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping, killing and dismembering his former boss in 1997


• Gov Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced a $100,000 rewards for info leading to the men’s capture. “They are killers. They are murderers,” said the governor. Officials gave no details on how the men managed to avoid detection while cutting their way out. “They had to be heard,” Cuomo told ABC’s Good Morning America



• Authorities set up roadblocks and brought in bloodhounds and helicopters. Hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out around the prison, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border, following up on more than 150 tips. Dubbed “Little Siberia” by locals, the prison houses nearly 3,000 inmates


• Prison officials found the inmates’ beds inside the Clinton Correctional Facility stuffed with clothes Saturday morning in an apparent attempt to fool guards making their rounds (old school). On a cut steam pipe, the prisoners left a taunting note containing a crude Asian caricature and the words “Have a nice day.” Are they together? Did they receive help inside/outside?


• Officials said the inmates cut through the steel wall at the back of their cell, crawled down a catwalk, broke through a brick wall, cut their way into and out of a steam pipe, and then sliced through the chain and lock on a manhole cover outside the prison. It was the first escape from the prison, built in 1865. Access to tools? Why did no one hear them? (of course people did)



White Cop Slams Black Girl to Ground (Buzzfeed News, WaPo, me)

• A white police officer in McKinney TX has been suspended after a shocking video emerged Saturday that shows the cop manhandling, arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party. Three mins into the video, Cpl Eric Casebolt slams a 14-year-old girl in a bikini into the ground, pulls her hair and sits on her. It’s crazy


• The video captures a chaotic scene in a suburban community about 35 miles north of Dallas. When several teens move toward Casebolt, he lets the teen go and takes several steps toward them. As they begin to back up and turn to flee, he pulls out his gun and approaches menacingly before two other officers appear to intervene. He returns to the girl and grabs her arm


• “Call my mama, oh God,” she shouts. He forcefully swings her by the arm to the ground. “On your face!” he orders and presses his open hand to the back of her head and slams her face-first into the grass. While other teens watch, the officer places both of his knees on her bare back. Her crying is audible (and pitiful)


• Who is the fat white man wandering around right in the middle of it all in the video? Not objecting to any of the cops behaving appallingly and just – being there? If it hadn’t been for the video, would the cop be suspended right now? I think we all know the answer to that



Go Back to “Section 8 Housing”

• The McKinney PD said in a statement that the video “raised concerns” and is investigating the incident. Casebolt, a 10-year veteran of the dept, serves as a VP of McKinney’s police union. The girl in the video was detained but later released to her parents without charge (I’ll bet). One adult male was arrested for interference with a police officer (no teens – note)


• Teens at the pool told Buzzfeed News the police were called after a fight broke out between adults and youth at the pool after adults made racist comments telling the black children to leave the area and return to “Section 8

[public] housing.” The teens didn’t have permission to be at the pool


* Brandon Brooks, the 15-year-old who uploaded the video, told Buzzfeed News that many students had arrived at the end-of-year school celebration at the pool on guest passes. Some had also jumped the fence. Brooks, who is white, said it was like he was invisible while he was filming (he was – he was white)


• Grace Stone, a white 14-year-old, told Buzzfeed News that when she and her friends objected to the racist comments about public housing an adult woman became violent. “Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic,” Brooks said. Brooks was handcuffed when she approached police to explain what had happened – only white teen handcuffed



• Egypt is moving away from democracy, stifling freedom of expression, arresting thousands for political dissent and failing to hold the security forces accountable for “arbitrary and unlawful killings,” the Obama admin has determined in a formal report quietly submitted to Congress on 12 May without formal announcement (NYT)



G7: Ukraine / Greece / Beer  (Reuters, Telegraph, me)

• Group of Seven (G7) leaders on Sunday vowed at a summit in the Bavarian Alps to keep sanctions on Russia in place until President Putin and Moscow-backed separatists fully implement the terms of a peace deal for Ukraine. President Obama called for “standing up to Russian aggression.” Putin was booted out of the G7 last year


• The Ukraine conflict and a long-running debt standoff between Greece and its European partners dominated the first day of the annual meeting hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel at Schloss Elmau, a (quite ridiculous) luxury Alpine hotel in southern Germany


• Merkel is hoping to secure commitments from her G7 guests to tackle climate change ahead of a major UN climate summit in Paris in December. The German agenda also foreseea discussions today on global health issues, from Ebola to antibiotics and tropical diseases


• Before the summit, Merkel held a morning bilateral meeting with Obama and they attended an outdoor party in the idyllic Alpine village of Kruen. Merkel treated Obama to a full Bavarian breakfast of white sausages, pretzels and foaming wheat beer. A local farmer said the beer Obama drank was non-alcoholic. Obama said it was a “very fine beer. I wish I was staying.”



• “If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me,” Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “I’m into addition. I haven’t walked in her shoes. I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life.” (no comment) (Bloomberg)



Republican “Roast & Ride” (Politico, TRNS, me)

• Freshman Sen Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) Roast and Ride event for GOP presidential hopefuls Saturday was a chance to connect with hundreds of Iowans and the state’s political establishment in an informal setting. Seven hopefuls came. Three top tier contenders skipped: Sens Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former Gov Jeb Bush (R-FL) – his mother’s 90th birthday


• Neighboring Gov Scott Walker (R-WI) made the most of it. He was in motorcycle leather and rode with Ernst the 38-mile motorcycle journey from Des Moines to Boone. At the pig roast portion, his PAC booth was packed. The gov basked in media attention, though his speech was pretty much standard stump (in eight minutes – allotted) (it’s his to lose right now)


• Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL), who’s skipped several Iowa events, was mobbed by attendees who asked for meetings, talked policy and clamored for pictures. The crowd liked Rubio’s speech, including his swipes at critics and his implicit jabs at Bush and Hillary Clinton


• Former Gov Rick Perry (R-TX)’s speech didn’t stand out, but when it came to working a crowd and glad-handing, Perry set the gold standard. Perry arrived in Boone fresh off a separate motorcycle ride he did for an organization that supports veterans and dogs. He posed for pics, put his hands on peoples’ shoulders and clasped hands. Great retail politicking skills


• Carly Fiorina continued to impress conservative activists by slamming Hillary Clinton. She also scored points in talking about Israel, the VA and the size of govt. At the moment, she isn’t guaranteed a place in the upcoming debates because of her low poll ratings, but she can pull up if she continues to energize crowds. Is she a one-trick Hillary pony, though?



• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) scored an impressive 41% in a straw poll vote at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention this weekend – finishing a close second to Hillary Clinton, who won 49%. Both VP Joe Biden and former Gov Martin O’Malley (D-MD) received 3%. Former Sen Jim Webb (D-VA) won 2%, while former Gov Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) received 1% (Politico, me)



Govt Data Breach: Latest By Chinese Hackers? (Reuters, me)

• A massive breach of U.S. federal computer networks disclosed last week is the latest in a flood of attacks by suspected Chinese hackers aimed at grabbing personal data, industrial secrets and weapons plans for govt and private computers. It was the second computer break-in in less than a year at the Office of Personnel Management


• The Obama admin on Thursday disclosed the breach of computer systems at OPM and said the records of up to 4 million current and former federal employees may have been compromised. Washington hasn’t publicly blamed China – delicate. Beijing has denied involvement


• Rob Eggebrecht, co-founder of InteliSecure, a private cybersecurity firm, said his firm had seen a spike in attacks on private company networks by Chinese actors over the past three months. The latest was a previously undisclosed breach at a U.S. pharmaceutical group, which cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars in sensitive research and development work


• China has in recent years introduced two new stealth fighters that analysts say bear a striking resemblance to the F-22 and F-35 built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed redoubled security efforts focused on suppliers after a “significant and tenacious” attack on its computer networks in 2011 that was enabled by lax security at a supplier


• U.S. senators have added $200 million in funding to their proposed fiscal 2016 budget to fund a detailed study of the cyber vulnerabilities of major weapons systems. The move came after the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester told Congress that nearly every major weapons program tested in 2014 showed “significant vulnerabilities” to cyber attack (so we’re too late, then)



• Treasury Sec Jack Lew, an orthodox Jew, was heckled and booed Sunday morning as he defended the admin’s negotiations for an Iranian nuclear deal to a crowd at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York. A video of the heckling was posted on the paper’s website (pretty rowdy stuff) (Hill, JPost, me)



House Trade Vote: Nail-Biter (Hill, me)

• The House vote, likely this week, on a bill that would grant President Obama broad trade powers, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, HR 1890, is expected to be a nail-biter as scores of lawmakers in both parties remain publicly undecided, but the WH and GOP leaders say their whipping efforts are paying off – on same side


• Only 18 Democrats are publicly backing the trade promotion authority (TPA) bill, known as fast-track, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support last month. Dems will be vital, as GOP leaders don’t yet have the 218 votes they need. And conservatives don’t want to give Obama additional authority (or additional anything else – except the boot)


• “Look at how they’ve negotiated what we’ve done with the Iran nuclear deal – I personally don’t want them negotiating anything else,” said Rep Ted Yoho (R-FL) Thursday. House Ways and Means Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) countered that TPA requires admin officials to follow guidelines set by Congress and frequently brief lawmakers about negotiations


• A number of liberal groups launched an 11th-hour push Friday urging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to take a strong stand against the bill. She – along with other top Democrats – hasn’t taken a public position on TPA. Huge contrast to the sharp opposition of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who hammered TPA


• House Democratic trade supporters are scrambling alongside the WH to pull their colleagues behind the TPA. “If you vote for TPA, you can still vote against the trade deal. But you’re trusting the president to put the best thing out there,” said Rep Mike Quigley (D-IL). “[Obama is] the ideal president to cut this deal. When is it going to get better?”


• U.S. employers added 280,000 jobs in May, showing the economy has regained momentum after starting 2015 in a deep slump. Unemployment ticked up to 5.5% from 5.4% in April, but that’s because hundreds of thousands more people began seeking work (TRNS)



Hastert: Money-Making / Allegations (AP, NYT, Politico, TRNS, me)

• Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) looked for ways to increase his income around the time he’s accused of paying someone to stay quiet about decades-old misconduct, according to a former business associate, who has had a falling out with Hastert and has sued him


• J. David John told NYT that he asked a financial adviser in 2010 how investments could be arranged to yield more cash and that he inquired on Hastert’s behalf, without identifying him. John says he doesn’t know whether the attempt to set up an annuity relates to the payoffs Hastert is accused of making (and doesn’t much care because it looks bad in print in NYT…)


• Separately, Jolene Burdge, who stepped forward with a specific allegation of misconduct involving her brother, said in a Facebook posting just hours after Hastert was indicted on charges he illegally structured cash withdrawals and lied to the FBI: “I can say with absolute certainty that there is sooo much more to this story. Finally the truth…,”


• Burdge told ABC News Friday that her later brother Stephen Reinboldt, who died in 1995 of AIDS, claimed to have had sex with Hastert while he was a student at Yorkville High School in IL. Hastert was a longtime football and wrestling coach, teacher and Explorer Scout leader known as a father-figure by some former team members

• Docs: Hastert, from public servant to rainmaker (NYT)


• Many graduates of the school expressed support for Hastert as the story broke and said they never saw him do anything inappropriate. Many of them said they were mystified. Hastert has been in hiding since his indictment last week. His lawyers don’t return calls


• The indictment last week refers to “prior misconduct” with an unnamed person referred to as “individual A.” Press reports have said the inappropriate behavior was sexual and involved a former student of Hastert. The indictment suggests the misconduct was related to his employment as a coach and teacher from 1965 to 1981


• Burdge said in the interview that she was contacted by the FBI a few weeks ago, shortly before the indictment. She said Hastert showed up at Reinboldt’s funeral in 1995. “I said: ‘I want to know why you did what you did to my brother.’ And he just stood there and stared at me.”


• Hastert is scheduled to appear at his arraignment on the two charges in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday. If convicted, he could face a maximum five-year sentence and a $250,000 fine on each charge


• A series of legal setbacks have halted the govt’s intensive preparations to move forward with President Obama’s executive actions shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, even as community organizations continue a rapid push to get ready for the programs – U.S. officials and immigrant advocacy groups (WaPo)



Beau Biden: “An Original” (Politico, TRNS)

• President Obama on Saturday eulogized Beau Biden, the former Delaware AG and oldest son of VP Joe Biden. “Beau Biden was an original,” Obama said. “He was a good man. A man of character. A man who loved deeply and was loved in return.”


• Obama spoke of Biden’s service in the military, his work as AG but most of all his place as a devoted member of a family that Obama acknowledged had once again met “faceless, seemingly random cruelty.” The Biden family arrived at the church in Wilmington by foot, huddled together as if in a giant embrace


• Just before the door to the hearse opened, the VP briefly looked to the sky. As they saw the flag-draped coffin, he bowed his head, kissed his daughter-in-law on hers, and then reached around to gently rub his grandson’s. As the casket was lifted out and began its path to the church, the VP briefly put the palm of his hand over his heart


• Obama’s voice broke as he spoke of his love for Beau and Joe Biden and the whole Biden family, of which he said he and the first lady had come to consider themselves honorary members. “We’re always here for you, we always will be. My word as a Biden,” Obama said


• “Beau Biden’s character was genuine. He had a natural charisma that few people possess. People willingly wanted to follow him, trusted his judgment and believed in him,” said Gen Ray Odierno, Army Chief of Staff, saying he had expected Biden to one day be president. Odierno presented Biden posthumously with the Legion of Merit at the service



• Vid: Coldplay singer Chris Martin honored Beau Biden at his funeral Saturday by performing “Til Kingdom Come” acoustic on his guitar. Biden was a huge Coldplay fan. Martin heard about the Bidens’ loss and offered to come and play


Turkey’s AKP: Tough Challenge (BBC, me)

• Turkey’s pro-Islamist AK party faces a challenge to form a govt after losing its majority at a general election for the first time in 13 years (huge snub). It secured 41%, a sharp drop from 2011, when it won nearly half the vote. Turnout was 83%. AKP will need to form a coalition or face entering a minority govt under the proportional representational system


• The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold, securing seats in parliament for the first time. There were jubilant scenes as the party’s supporters took to the streets. “It is a carnival night,” 47-year-old Huseyin Durmaz said. “We no longer trust the AKP.” Last year, Turkey blocked Twitter in a blow to free speech


• HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas ruled out entering into a coalition with the AKP. The result is a blow to President Erdogan’s plans to boost his office’s powers and turn Turkey into a presidential republic. Turkey straddles Europe and the Middle East and is considered important to the U.S. economically and strategically


• The HDP succeeded by appealing beyond the Kurds, drawing in leftists and staunch Erdogan opponents with its message of equality, gay rights and environmental concerns. In a volatile Middle East, Turkey matters greatly – and so the path it takes, the nature of its democracy, its leaders, all have implications far beyond its borders


• Erdogan’s heavy involvement in the general election campaign proved controversial. Once viewed as invincible, his party has been criticized in recent years for its clampdown on free speech and its growing authoritarianism. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) polled around 25% of the vote. It’s considered center-left. Islamist militants won’t like any of this



• Poignant coming-of-age show “Fun Home” was named best musical at the Tonys on Sunday, winning five trophies. It tied with “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which also won five. Revival of “The King and I” won four. Brits Alex Sharp won for “Incident” and Helen Mirren won for “The Audience.” (Fox News)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ William McDonald contributed to this report


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