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

  • Iran deal: DC pols to fight it out
  • Iran deal: Highlights
  • Republicans: Hell no
  • Democrats: Skeptical
  • Netanyahu: “Historic mistake”

  • Video accuses Planned Parenthood of crime
  • IMF attacks Greece bailout deal
  • Obama: Overhaul criminal justice system
  • Court rules against nuns: Contraception
  • Jade Helm 15 today: Govt takes over Texas…
Iran Deal: DC Pols to Fight it Out (NYT, AP, TRNS, me)
• The WH launched a robust lobbying campaign Tuesday to persuade skeptical Democrats to approve the Iranian nuclear deal (details below). VP Joe Biden started calling Democratic colleagues on the Hill and heads to the House today to brief Democrats. President Obama holds a WH news conference at 1 pm EDT today

• President Obama and members of his national security team are also calling members of Congress to brief them on the agreement. The foreign policy committees in both chambers – and possibly other panels – are expected to begin holding hearings next week (fireworks). Unlikely that Congress will take any formal action before the August recess

• Republican leaders vowed to kill the accord with Iran, setting up a fierce fight. Congress will have 60 days to review it, once all docs have been sent to the Capitol, after which it can pass a resolution of approval, pass one of disapproval or do nothing

• Obama would veto a resolution of disapproval and opponents could derail the agreement only if they could rally the required two-thirds vote of Congress to override his action (will be tough)

• Obama said to NYT, “We are not measuring this deal by whether it is changing the regime inside of Iran. We’re not measuring this deal by whether we are solving every problem that can be traced back to Iran, whether we are eliminating all their nefarious activities around the globe.” – – –


• “We are measuring this deal – and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by PM Netanyahu – Iran could not get a nuclear weapon. That was always the discussion.” (a point that’s lost in the discussion – now opponents are talking terror, regime change, other things. it was never about that – as desirable as that is. still unclear if it will stop a bomb)

• Obama said he anticipated that Netanyahu would lobby Congress to reject the deal. Obama added that at some point he was prepared to discuss additional security aid that the U.S. could offer Israel to allay its concerns (won’t allay anything)

• But critics were also preparing a large-scale mobilization during the August congressional recess, when lawmakers are in their home districts and states, to stoke opposition to the agreement and agitate for Congress to block it (some fun town halls coming up)

• WH officials were bracing for difficult questions about the implications of the agreement, including what happens after the strictest limitations phase out after 10 years and how to address what Iran may do with the money – at least $100 billion in sanctions relief – to which they’ll gain access through complying with the deal

• WH officials now must decide whether Obama should try to win over a majority of Congress, including hostile Republicans, or focus on shoring up a Democratic base to sustain a veto – (he knows he can’t bring the GOP into his camp)

• Obama: “Russia was a help on this. I’ll be honest with you. I was not sure given the strong differences we are having with Russia right now around Ukraine, whether this would sustain itself. Putin and the Russian govt compartmentalized on this in a way that surprised me, and we would have not achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us.” (NYT interview)
Iran Deal: Highlights (AP, me)
Enrichment: Iran will reduce the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges it has from almost 20,000 to 6,104, and reduce the number of those in use from some 10,000 to about half that. Limits in place for 10 years, then gradually relaxed over the next three. Iran commits to using only its current model – not more advanced centrifuges it had wanted to install

Stockpile: Iran has already rid itself of stockpiled uranium that was stockpiled to one step from weapons-grade material. It’s now committed to reducing its remaining stockpile from 5 tons down to 300 kilos for 15 years. U.S. officials say at this level it would take Iran at least a year to enrich enough uranium for a nuclear weapon

Underground site: Iran committed to convert its Fordo enrichment site – dug deep into a mountainside and thought impervious to air attack – into a research center. Will still house centrifuges but they’ll make medical isotopes instead of enriching uranium, and will be less than a tenth as many as there were

 Graphic: Iran nuclear deal – a simple guide – includes easy and fun to understand diagrams – in color (NYT)

Transparency: Iran will give more access to its nuclear program to the UN nuclear agency. If that agency identifies a suspicious site, an arbitration panel with a Western majority will decide whether Iran has to give access within 24 days. All sites, including military ones, may be inspected if the agency has solid evidence (24 days? can clean up a lot of mess in 24 days…)

Reactors and Reprocessing: Iran must redesign its nearly built reactor at Arak so it can’t produce plutonium for nuclear weapons

Sanctions: All U.S. and EU nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after experts have verified that Iran is hewing to its commitments. If Iran slips, those sanctions are supposed to snap back into place. Arms embargo stands for five years and restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program for eight (and then…)

• Graphic: Who got what they wanted in the nuclear deal: U.S. v Iran (NYT)
Republicans: Hell No   (Hill, Hill, Hill, Politico, TRNS, me)
• House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned in a statement: “Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world.” Boehner vowed that the House would review every detail and vowed to “fight a bad deal that is wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.”

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said Senate hearings on the deal will focus on whether the accord will allow “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s military sites and research facilities (won’t) and whether Iran must disclose the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Also sanctions relief

• Sen Bob Corker (R-Tenn), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “In the end, those who believe this truly is going to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon will vote for it. Those who believe that is not the case, and the world is not going to be safer – in some ways it may pave the way for them to get a nuclear weapon – will vote against it.”

• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) called the deal “dangerous, deeply flawed and short sighted.” He said any deal should have required Iran to “verifiably abandon” their nuclear ambitions entirely. “This isn’t diplomacy – it’s appeasement,” Bush said – 2016er

• Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky), who in April slammed slammed others in his party whom he said had been “beating the drums for war,” said he’s against the deal. “1) sanctions relief precedes evidence of compliance, 2) Iran is left with significant nuclear capacity, 3) it lifts the ban on selling advanced weapons to Iran,” Paul wrote on Facebook

• Obama to NYT: “You know, I have a lot of disagreements with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that if you were able to verify an agreement that
[was negotiated] with the evil empire that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be,” then it would be worth doing.”
Democrats: Skeptical (Hill, Hill, Hill, me)
• Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who’s poised to lead Senate Democrats in the next Congress, said he would go through the deal with a “fine-tooth comb.” “Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision,” he said (massive WH lobbying to him upcoming)

• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) was careful in his statement. “It is now incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”

• Rep Eliot Engel (D-NY), top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a leading Iran critic, said an arms embargo will be lifted within five years and sanctions on its ballistic missiles lifted within eight years. “Throughout negotiations, these issues were off the table, so seeing them included in sanctions relief is deeply troubling.” (WH worried about him)

• Hillary Clinton said Tuesday evening, “It can help us prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” “The response to any cheating must be immediate and decisive – starting with the return of sanctions but taking no options off the table, including, if necessary, our military options.” – 2016er

• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) praised the admin, calling the deal “a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling.” He said the deal “could keep the U.S. from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East.” – 2016er

• On the streets of Tehran, Iranians honked their horns and celebrated in the city’s main square. President Hassan Rouhani said a “new chapter” had begun in his nation’s relations with the world, even as he denied Iran had ever pursued a nuclear weapon (AP)
Netanyahu: “Historic Mistake” (Hill, Hill, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said shortly after the deal was announced, “Judging by the initial reports that have emerged, one can now reach the conclusion that this agreement is a historic mistake for the entire world.”

• “In every area that was supposed to prevent Iran from gaining the capacity to arm itself with nuclear weapons, far-reaching concessions were made,” Netanyahu said. “In addition, Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars which it can use as a means to fuel its terror machine, its aggression and its expansionism in the Middle East and around the world.”

• President Obama phoned Netanyahu Tuesday to discuss the agreement. (fly on wall) Obama said the deal would benefit Israel’s security by cutting off Tehran’s path to a nuclear bomb, but said the agreement “will not diminish our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.”

• Earlier, in the East Room, Obama said he shares Israel’s concerns about Iran’s threats against the Jewish state and its sponsorship of terrorist groups which have launched attacks against Israel. “But this is precisely why we are taking this step – because an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon would be far more destabilizing and far more dangerous,” Obama said
• Obama also called British PM David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini soon after the deal was finalized. Later, Obama called King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince of the UAE
• In a testy House hearing Tuesday, Homeland Security Sec Jeh Johnson said that the federal govt shouldn’t force local govts to comply with controversial immigration rules as lawmakers grappled with the contentious issue of “sanctuary cities.” (Politico)
Video Accuses Planned Parenthood of Crime (HuffPo, NYT, WaPo, me)
• An undercover video by the obscure anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress claims to show a doctor at Planned Parenthood sometimes flippantly discussing the sale of fetal parts after an abortion. PP says the video was selectively edited to mislead viewers about fetal tissue donations that are legal, not for profit and for purposes of medical research

• The footage shows Dr Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services, describing how she would attempt to remove fetal organs and body parts intact during an abortion for patients who want to donate them for research. She’s speaking to an activist posing as a “fetal tissue procurement company,” according to the video

• Nutacola explains that clinics will be reimbursed $30 to $100 per specimen, which anti-abortion activists said Tuesday was evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling the tissue. The sale of fetal parts is illegal. But PP said it’s donating the fetal tissue for research at the request of some of its patients, which is legal

• It sometimes is reimbursed from tissue donation entities for the additional expenses of donating, such as transportation costs, it said, but never profits off the donations

Outrage From Conservatives
• PP said the activist group “has used deceptive and unethical video editing, and that has created a fake medical website as well as a fake human tissue website that purports to provide services to stem cell researchers.”

• There was outrage from conservative politicians. Gov Bobby Jindal (R-La) directed an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s activities and “this alleged evil and illegal activity.” He petitioned the FBI to assist, given the “alleged criminal activity.”

• The furor prompted the GOP-led House to at least temporarily shelve plans for a vote on what had been a noncontroversial bill for minting a coin to commemorate breast cancer awareness. A beneficiary, the Susan G. Komen organization, has contributed to Planned Parenthood, whose services include breast cancer tests

• The undercover video of the Planned Parenthood doctor appears to be the Center for Medical Progress’s only publication

IMF Attacks Greece Bailout Deal (BBC, me)
• The International Monetary Fund has attacked the bailout deal offered by eurozone leaders to Greece. The creditor said Greece’s public debt had become “highly unsustainable” and it needed relief from its debts. The Greek parliament must pass four pieces of legislation today (so this is a twist)

• The measures – which face resistance from PM Alexis Tsipras’s own MPs – include taxation increases and pension curbs. Greecs owes about 10% of its debt to the IMF. It’s missed two deadlines for repayment to the fund and is the first EU country ever to do so. The IMF’s assessment will make it harder for Tsipras to persuade parliament to back the measures today

• The IMF said it regarded forecast rates of growth for Greece as unrealistically high. Tuesday, Tsipras said in an interview on state TV that he didn’t believe in the bailout offered but was willing to implement it to “avoid disaster for the country” and the collapse of the backs (ringing endorsement – doesn’t believe it but doing it anyway – cynicism par excellence)

• The conditional agreement to receive up to $95 billion from the EU over three years depends on further economic reforms – including the labor markets, banks and privatization – being passed after today. Meanwhile, several unions and trade associations have called for strikes today. Banks may not open for another month

Obama: Overhaul Criminal Justice System (USA Today, TRNS, me)
• President Obama called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system Tuesday, saying it’s all too often “skewed by race and by wealth” and often has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. He spoke to the NAACP convention in Philadelphia

• Obama said the system “is not as smart as it could be,” “not as fair as it should be.” He said African Americans and Latinos received harsher sentences for similar crimes committed by whites, and “about one in every 35 African American men and one out of every 88 Latino men, is serving time right now.”

• The good news is that congressional Democrats and Republicans are working together on improvements, Obama said, and “strange bedfellows” across the political spectrum are coming together to back criminal justice reform. Obama also suggested more alternatives to prison like drug courts

• Obama addressed the organization a day after granting commutations to 46 men and women who had been sentenced to long sentences for non-violent drug crimes. The president continues a focus on criminal justice Thursday with a visit to a federal prison near Oklahoma City
Court Rules Against Nuns: Contraception (Hill, Denver Post, me)
• The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rules that a Denver-based order of Roman Catholic nuns cannot receive a full exemption from Obamacare’s contraception rules because they “do not substantially burden plaintiffs’ religious exercise or violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.”

• Under the contraceptive mandate, nonprofit religious groups like Little Sisters of the Poor are permitted to opt out of the requirement if they report their concerns to their insurance companies or the federal govt. But some have objected to any extra steps to obtain the exemption. They’re seeking the same treatment as houses of worship – no additional paperwork

• Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor, who accused federal officials of “hijacking” the nuns’ health plan, said in a statement that the group’s attorneys are considering whether to appeal to the Supreme Court

• The 10th Circuit ruling comes one year after SCOTUS’s landmark Hobby Lobby decision, which affirmed that businesses with religious affiliations can opt out of the mandate

• If religious businesses are given permission to opt out, the Obama admin has set up a system of third-party payments that allows women insured by those companies to continue receiving contraception coverage if they want it
Jade Helm 15: Govt Takes Over Texas Today… (Reuters, LAT, TPM, me)
• Jade Helm 15 – a two-month, seven-state Army Special Ops training exercise – starts today, prompting huge concerns among some residents, especially in Texas. A town hall meeting in Bastrop in April drew hundreds of outraged citizens. Late Tuesday, the Army released a statement again attempting to allay residents’ fears

• The plan, Army officials say, is to develop new warfare tactics and procedures in a landscape similar to combat zones in the Middle East and Afghanistan. “The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is a slight increase in vehicle traffic and the limited use of military aircraft and its associated noise,” the statement said

• But the military decided not to allow the media to observe the exercise, feeding the conspiracy theorists’ fears. In that info vacuum, a citizen surveillance group, “Counter Jade Helm,” has sprung up with plans to monitor the operation for any potential funny business

• Concerns range from a a labyrinth of tunnels under Walmart for military attacks on civilians to an orchestrated financial crisis that will lead to martial law, U.S. troops patrolling the streets and a dictatorship under President Obama (of course, he’s never going to step down)

• In an online comment about Jade Helm 15, Bastrop resident Josh Munyon wrote: “it’s something that the rest of the country should be worried about. They already have FEMA trains that oddly enough look like the trains that the Nazis used in ww2.”

• Vid: A naked man sitting on the roof of his car watching traffic go by, brought the rest of the rush hour to a crawl along I-95 in West Haven Conn Tuesday morning. The guy was brought to a hospital – no charges. Tuesday was apparently National Nude Day. Who knew – oh, you did? I see (rude language in video)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Nicholas Salazar, William McDonald, Sydnee Fried, Anna Merod and William Hadden contributed to this report

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