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

  • Sandra Bland: “I will light you up” – cop
  • Trooper’s dashcam video
  • Was the video edited?
  • What people say
  • Chattanooga gunman researched Islamic martyrdom
  • Obama, to veterans, defends Iran deal
  • Highway bill falters: Amendments galore
  • Sanctuary cities under fire
  • Trump: “World’s biggest jackass”
  • John Kasich is IN – 2016:  His 3 problems
  • Second Planned Parenthood sting video
Sandra Bland: “I Will Light You Up” – Cop (AP, Mother Jones, HuffPo, TRNS, me)

• Dashboard video from a trooper’s patrol car purports to show (see story below for questions) the traffic stop that led to the arrest of Sandra Bland. Authorities say the 28-year-old black Chicago woman hanged herself in a Texas jail last week, but family and friends have questioned the official account. She was arrested and accused of kicking an officer – failing to signal a lane change

• Bland, from Illinois, was stopped in Texas on 10 July in Waller County, which has a long history of racial strife. She was in Texas interviewing for a job at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college from which she had graduated

• The Texas DPS says the state trooper who pulled her over planned to give her a written warning, but she became uncooperative and argumentative. She was arrested and taken to the jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston

• She was still incarcerated awaiting posting of bond, when she was found dead 13 July in her cell. A medical examiner ruled her death a suicide caused by asphyxiation – plastic bag

Dashcam Video

• After the trooper hands Bland the written warning, he remarks that she seems irritated. (as you might be) Bland says she was irritated because she was stopped for changing lanes to get out of the path of the trooper’s car

• The conversation turns hostile when the officers asks Bland to put out her cigarette and she asks why she can’t smoke in her own car. The trooper then orders Bland to get out of the car. She refuses, and he tells her she is under arrest

• Further refusals to get out are followed by “I’m going to drag you out of there.” He reaches into the vehicle. He then pulls a stun gun and yells, “I will light you up!”

• When she finally steps out, the trooper orders her to the side of the road. There, the confrontation continues off camera but is still audible. The two keep yelling at each other as the officer tries to put Bland in handcuffs and waits for other troopers to arrive

• Out of the camera’s view, Bland continues protesting her arrest, repeatedly using expletives and calling the officer a “pussy.” At one point, she screams that he’s about to break her wrists and complains that he knocked her head into the ground

Trooper’s dashcam video: Sandra Bland traffic stop and arrest – 52 minutes

Was the Video Edited? (LAT, me)

• In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots where cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the dept didn’t mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do

• One of the more conspicuous spots comes 25 minutes and 5 seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming. There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps

• In another spot, at 32:37, a white car appears on the right side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, the trooper is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech

• What look like the same cars keep appearing in the same locations, following their same paths, beginning at 33:04. Again, the audio continues uninterrupted (er, draw your own conclusions. I’ve drawn mine and they’re not pretty)

What People Say

• Family members and friends insist Bland was looking forward to a new job at her former school and that she gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself. She asked to use the phone in the hour before she died. Family members had spoken to her on the phone about posting bond. Suicide seemed “unfathomable”

• However, Bland had posted a video to her Facebook page in March, saying she was suffering from “a little bit of depression as well as PTSD.” Friend and mentor LaVaughn Mosley believes Bland was just venting after a bad day

• Waller County DA Elton Mathis says the case is being examined as thoroughly as a murder investigation. He said no cameras were in the jail cell were Bland was found dead. A video from a camera monitoring the hall outside her cell shows no one entered or left it between the left time she last spoke with deputies and when her body was discovered an hour later

• The hard drive containing the original video has been turned over to the FBI to examine for any manipulation. (good) The Texas DPS says the trooper who pulled Bland over violated traffic stop procedures and the dept’s courtesy policy. (ya think?) He’s on admin leave pending the outcome of an investigation

• The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating. The county DA has said the matter will be turned over to a grand jury, which doesn’t meet again until August. Social media has exploded over the case. Bland had been outspoken about racism and injustice

• SecState John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, among others, will hold a closed-door, classified briefing for all House members today on the Iran nuclear deal
Chattanooga Gunman Researched Islamic Martyrdom (NYT, me)

• Counterterrorism officials have uncovered evidence the gunman who killed five service members last week in Chattanooga searched online in the days leading up to the attack for Islamic materials about whether martyrdom would lead to forgiveness for his sins, like drunkenness and financial debt, according to law enforcement officials (God: “No”)

• The FBI, which is leading the probe, has become increasingly convinced that Mohammod Abdulazeez, who died in a shootout with police, turned to radical ideology as he struggled with severe mental health and financial issues, the officials said. A family rep said he went to Jordan because the family wanted to get him away from bad influences in Chattanooga

• Investigators believe one of the crucial factors in his radicalization may have been an uncle who lives in Jordan. The uncle, an American citizen who hosted Abdulazeez during a trip to Jordan lasting several months last year, has been detained there since last Friday and interrogated by Jordanian intel officers. FBI agents have gone to Jordan to question him

• Investigators increasingly don’t believe Abdulazeez fits the model of Americans radicalized online by ISIS. Authorities have found no evidence that he was given orders to attack by any group overseas or was in touch with ISIS. An official said, “This case appears to be much more like the old model, where he was interested in radical Islam.”

• Writings obtained by the FBI show that Abdulazeez wrote about suicide and martyrdom as long ago as 2013. The bureau has also found evidence that he viewed videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike in 2011

• A military drone strike this month killed Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of Khorasan, a shadowy al Qaeda cell in Syria, that American officials say has been plotting attacks against the U.S. and Europe. Fadhli was so close to Osama bin Laden that he knew about the 9/11 attacks before they were launched, according to the State Dept (NYT, TRNS)
Obama, to Veterans, Defends Iran Deal (NYT, Military Times, TRNS, TRNS, me)

• In remarks to members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pittsburgh Tuesday, President Obama said that criticism of the Iran agreement offered “echoes of some of the same mind-set and policies that failed us in the past” and that it was being put forward by “the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq.” No names, but former VP Dick Cheney has ripped the deal

• Obama angrily called for Iran to release Americans who are being held prisoner there. “We are not going to relent until we bring home our Americans who are unjustly detained in Iran.” Obama named each of the three in prison he said “should be released.” and said “Iran needs to help us find Robert Levinson.”

• Obama also honored the four Marines and the Navy petty officer who were slain at military offices in Chattanooga last week, calling them heroes whose sacrifices demonstrate the dangers of serving during a time of a global campaign against terrorism. He said a few words about each of the people killed and then “God bless these American heroes.”


• Obama said the Veterans Affairs Dept was improving its delivery of health care one year after the scandal, but he added that “our work is not done.” “In some places, wait times are higher than they were last year. So I want you to know, I’m not satisfied,” Obama said (join the club)

• Obama reiterated his pledge to veto defense budget bills if Congress doesn’t lift mandatory spending caps on several federal agencies, saying GOP funding plans jeopardize national security. “

[Sequestration] is not the way to keep our armed forces ready … or to keep America strong,” he said

• Obama also said that a new federal rule would soon go into effect that prevents payday lenders, which offer exorbitant interest rates, from promoting loans to active duty service members. The new rules will cap such short-term loans at 36% interest, far short of the 400 to 600% interest that some lenders have been charging members of the military (criminal, IMHO)

• President Obama made his seventh, and final, appearance on The Daily Show Tuesday night. What really happened with the IRS tea party scandal, Obama said, was Congress “passed a crummy law” that was vague about what employees should do, and employees at the IRS enforced it “poorly and stupidly.” “Boy, you really do have only a year left,” said Stewart

Highway Bill Falters: Amendments Galore (Hill, Roll Call, Hill, AP, me)

• The Senate failed, 41-56, to move forward with legislation authorizing highway funding for six years, after Democrats objected that they hadn’t seen the bill’s details. The 1,030 page bill had arrived about an hour before. (speed-reading classes really needed) The bill was brokered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Sen Barbara Boxer (D-Calif)

• In a bizarre turn of events, Boxer ended up voting against the bill she helped negotiate, as she said she hadn’t seen details. McConnell immediately after the vote said he understood many Democrats wanted more time – and gave it to them. He said the Senate would be in session on Saturday and Sunday (punishment or something?)

• Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a 2106er, will offer an amendment that “ensures no Iranian nuclear deal unless Iran recognizes Israel and frees American hostages,” his office said Tuesday. Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has one on reviving the Export-Import Bank. There are more. President Obama plans to meet today at the WH with small biz owners to push the bank’s renewal

• After the vote Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid voiced strong skepticism that Democrats would be ready to move forward today, when he’s expected to huddle with members of the Democratic caucus to discuss the proposal – and that was before Cruz announced his amendment

• Lawmakers face a tight deadline to pass the highway bill – (or punt, as they have done 34 times) – with federal infrastructure funding expected to run out at the end of the month. The House has passed a $8 billion stopgap measure until December. Plus, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) wants the Senate to pass the House bill

• Safety advocates poring over the bill late Tuesday said some of the controversial provisions were “tweaked” but were still in the bill. One provision prevents the public from seeing the govt’s safety ratings of truck and bus companies. Another effectively allows some states to allow 18-year-olds to drive commercial trucks. Eligible age is now 21. Trucking industry backs both… (AP, me)
Sanctuary Cities Under Fire (Hill, NBC News, me)

• In an emotional hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Jim Steinle, the father of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly gunned down by an undocumented immigrant felon in San Francisco, said “We feel strongly that some legislation should be discussed, enacted and/or changed to take these undocumented immigrant felons off our streets for good.”

• Steinle was joined by relatives of other people killed by undocumented immigrants. Republicans wasted no time using the hearing to attack President Obama’s immigration policies and for what they say is his failure to enforce existing laws

• Sen David Vitter (R-La) asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement assistant secretary Sarah Saldana, “When are there ever going to be any negative consequences for those jurisdictions?” Saldana replied, “I presume when you all address comprehensive immigration reform. Perhaps it can be addressed there.”

• The Steinle tragedy has provoked a national discussion about sanctuary cities, which have adopted laws discouraging local law enforcers from cooperating with federal law immigration agencies. Supporters of sanctuary laws say they help fight crime by encouraging communication between police and members of the community who might otherwise remain silent

• Several lawmakers have pushed legislation aimed at discouraging sanctuary laws by withholding federal law enforcement grants to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal requests to hold or transfer undocumented criminals. Committee chair Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation along those lines Tuesday
• A unanimous ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday overturned five of the 18 corruption convictions that sent former Gov Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill) to prison for 14 years. The three-judge panel ordered he be re-sentenced. The panel ruled Blago’s attempt to obtain a seat in President Obama’s cabinet didn’t cross the legal line – but his attempts to trade a Senate seat for campaign cash did (Fox News) (TRNS)
Trump: “World’s Biggest Jackass” (AP, Hill, Hill, Hill, me)

• Donald Trump pushed back even harder Tuesday against Republicans who are fed up with him. In a speech to hundreds of supporters in South Carolina, Trump hammered Sen John McCain (R-Ariz), accusing him of being soft on immigration. “He’s totally about open borders and all this stuff,” Trump said (untruthfully)

• McCain ticked Trump off last week when he referred to supporters at Trump’s anti-immigration rally as “crazies.” Tuesday, McCain compared Trump’s criticism of his war record to the treatment that Vietnam veterans got when they first returned home. “I do not want to reopen the wounds of the war,” McCain said at an event at the Hudson Institute

• Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a friend of McCain, said of Trump on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, “Don’t be a jackass. Run for president. But don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.” Trump responded at his speech by calling Graham an “idiot,” not very bright and a “lightweight.” He read out Graham’s private cell phone number – the crowd (of crazies?) roared with approval

• An editorial in the Des Moines Register, in early-voting Iowa, urged Trump to “pull the plug on his bloviating side show” and quit the race. Trump called the editorial “sophomoric” and accused the paper of unfair treatment of his campaign (definition of fair treatment = endorsement, I’m guessing)

• Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev) noted that while Trump’s GOP WH rivals were nearly unanimous in denouncing his comments on McCain, they were more tentative in responding to his coarse immigration comments. On immigration, Reid said, “there is no meaningful difference between the Republican Party and Donald Trump

• Best thing ever: If you don’t click on this, you are a loser and a moron – Mother Jones’s Donald Trump Insult Generator – Yes – he’ll insult you, too – by name. You know you want it

John Kasich is IN: 3 Problems (WaPo, NYT, AP, TRNS, me)

• Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio) announced his candidacy for 2016 on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, saying: “I have the skills, the experience and the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world.” He cited three broad areas of experience – the federal budget, national security and state govt. He also spent nearly 10 years at Lehman Brothers

• But Kasich faces an immediate problem. The timing of his announcement was bad. Donald Trump is sucking up all the atmosphere in the room and not many news organizations are going to spend much time on Kasich’s bio, unfortunately. Kasich on the issues

• Kasich’s short-term problem is that he wants to use his announcement to get enough of a bump in the polls to make the stage at the first debate in Ohio on 6 August. The problem is he’s likely too late. He’s currently 2% in the new WaPo/ABC News poll and poll numbers for most people are moving pretty slowly. Fox News will take five national polls to determine the top 10

• Kasich’s big long-term problem is that he enters a field replete with people who match his resume in one way or another. The crowded field means that Kasich (and others) are seeing likely bases of support splintered between multiple people. One of the reasons Donald Trump is doing so well is that there’s no one else like him (carnival barkers, aside)
• The Fox News Republican presidential forum on 6 August – aka the midday consolation prize for #fail GOP candidates who don’t make the cut for the prime-time debate – is being moved to 5 pm and shortened to one hour. Bigger audience at 5 pm than 1 pm (Politico)


Second Planned Parenthood Sting Video (WaPo, Daily Beast, Think Progress, me)

• Anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, on Tuesday released a second heavily edited video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing the method and pricing of providing fetal tissue left over from abortions for medical research. The group released a longer video, described as full footage, later in the day

• The video shows excerpts of a conversation with Mary Getter, Medical Director for Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley. She’s talking with unseen activists, posing as medical company reps, about the price of the tissue, while she also says, “we’re not in this for the money.” At one point she jokes, “I want a Lamborghini,” then laughs and says, “No.”

• “What the video released today shows is a Planned Parenthood medical provider, who has dedicated her career to ensuring that women have access to the best health care, stating over and over again that she follows all laws and medical standards,” said a PP spox in a statement. The videos were “heavily edited in attempt to support false and outrageous claims.”

• Three congressional committees have launched investigations. Texas said Tuesday it would “expand its investigation” in light of the second video. Missouri AG Chris Koster (D) said Tuesday his office would investigate Planned Parenthood for any potential wrongdoing at its clinics in the state. Monday, PP warned that more misleading videos would likely be coming

• Two board members at CMP, Albin Rhomberg and Troy Newman, have a long history of anti-abortion activism. Newman is the president of Operation Rescue. OR’s announcement of the second video was written by Cheryl Sullenger, an OR senior policy adviser, who spent two years in federal prison for plotting the bombing of a San Diego abortion provider, 1988-1990

• It’s here: Trailer for “Spectre” the new 007 film coming out in October – and it’s epic. I had to stop watching after a minute because I didn’t want to know any more of the plot, was too gripping. And yes, Bond is still the perfection that is Daniel Craig

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ James Cullum, Anna Merod, William Hadden and Sydnee Fried contributed to this report

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