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: Embargo demand – deadline day
  • Greece: Crisis eurozone summit today
  • Panic: “Republican-on-Republican violence”
  • Cosby “obtained sedatives for sex”
  • Obama: ISIS fight not quick
  • South Carolina Senate votes: Move Confederate flag
  • Sanctuary city “killer”: Blame game
  • Holder: Possible DoJ deal with Snowden


Iran: Embargo Demand – Deadline Day (NYT, AP, Reuters, me)

• A senior Iranian official said in Vienna Monday that Tehran was demanding that all UN sanctions against his country – including the ban on the import or export of conventional arms – be lifted as part of any nuclear deal. Today is the self-imposed deadline for the negotiations – could slip by a day or so. U.S. is a bit freaked


• The embargo issue’s not a new one. American officials and their European partners in the talks – France, Germany and Britain – have opposed any lifting of the embargoes, arguing that it will only pour fuel on the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, as well as Yemen and Lebanon, as Iran accelerates its arming of Shiite militias (arming-palooza)


• Russia and China, both permanent members of the UN Security Council who profit from arms sales to Iran, have been quietly pressing for a lifting of the ban, American officials say. “I think the Iranians see an opportunity here to break the solidarity of their negotiating opponents,” said a European negotiator. “They are very good at this.”


• SecState John Kerry and a team of negotiators have been pushing for a deal to be concluded by today or at the latest Wednesday, so they can convey a final accord to Congress by 9 July. If a deal is reached later in the summer, the congressional review period doubles from 30 days to 60 days (recess) – giving political opponents more chances for debate (Iran knows this)


• The text of a new Security Council resolution is being drafted. Meanwhile, Iranian state TV, the main tool for disseminating views of the establishment, suddenly changed its tune Monday on the nuclear talks. News anchors were all smiles, with one anchor saying: “The American president needs a victory and only a deal with Iran can give him that.” (being somber again today)

• Graphic: A simple guide to the nuclear talks with Iran – includes handy cartoon diagrams (NYT)



Greece: Crisis Eurozone Summit Today (BBC, AP, me)

• Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is expected to present new proposals at a Eurozone emergency summit in Brussels today on his country’s growing debt crisis. The plan is said to include a demand for Greece’s debt to be cut by 30%, after voters rejected the terms of an international bailout on Sunday. It’s thought things could go either way


• Athens has been urged to make “serious” proposals as Greece faces the risk of default on its $331 billion debt. Greece’s banks are to stay closed until Friday or Monday. Tsipras may be prepared to accept many of the demands made by Greece’s creditors


• But – emboldened by his resounding win in the referendum – Tsipras also wants changes and substantial debt relief. Central to negotiations will be new finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who replaces outspoken Yanis Varoufakis on Monday. Germany has warned against any unconditional write-off of Greece’s debt (sets bad precedent, among other things)


• Meanwhile, the European Central Bank said it would maintain existing levels of emergency cash support of Greek banks, which are running out of funds and on the verge of collapse. However, it told the banks to lodge more collateral with the Bank of Greece


• Some countries – led by France – are pushing for a deal which will give Greece some breathing space to stay in the eurozone. Others – led by Germany – are under greater political pressure at home, and wonder whether such a deal is possible. It all leaves Greece in a precarious position



Panic? “Republican-on-Republican Violence” (AP, Guardian, me)

• Worried about “Republican-on-Republican violence,” top party donors are taking action. Foster Friess, investor and a top donor in 2012, wrote to all 16 WH prospects and the RNC late last week, calling all candidates to stay on the “civility reservation.” (so that went down like a lead balloon)


• The call for calm comes as the sprawling Republican field shows signs it could tip into a bare-knuckles struggle for the nomination (could? has) – a scenario that the party’s elite donors see as a distressing echo of four years ago. Enter: Donald Trump, who’s lashed out at a number of GOP critics over his recent comments about Mexican immigrants


• Trump over the weekend posted a message from another user on his Twitter account charging that former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) “has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife,” Columba, who was born in Mexico. Bush took the remark personally. Trump said Monday evening “somebody else” retweeted the message and “I don’t know anything about it” – under his a/c


• Trump said earlier Monday “the Mexican govt is forcing their most unwanted people into the U.S.” and “criminals, drug dealers, rapists” are among them, this country is a “dumping ground for Mexico, and “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.” He also said “many fabulous people” come from Mexico (in an offensiveness competition w/ himself?)


• Sunday on NBC, Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) refused to condemn Trump’s comments, saying he’s not going to perpetrate “Republican-on-Republican violence.” Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) said, “I find it ironic, right, that Ted Cruz, is giving lectures on Republican-on-Republican violence,” accusing Cruz of sponsoring hardball ads against Sen Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) in 2014


• A Trump company may be relying on some undocumented workers to finish the $200 million hotel on the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion in downtown Washington, according to several who work there. A Trump spox said the company and its contractors follow all applicable laws. Some workers at the site are now worried about their jobs (WaPo)


Cosby “Obtained Sedatives for Sex” (AP, me)

• Bill Cosby in sworn testimony unsealed Monday admitted that he gave now-banned sedative quaaludes to at least one of the women accusing him of sexual assault and to unnamed others. His lawyer interfered before he could answer deposition questions in 2005 about how many women were given drugs and whether they knew about it


• “If today’s report is true, Mr Cosby admitted under oath 10 years ago sedating women for sexual purposes,” said Lisa Bloom, attorney for model Janice Dickinson, who contends she was drugged and raped. “Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?” (he’s done)


• The AP had gone to court to compel the release of a deposition in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand – the first of a cascade of lawsuits against Cosby that have severely damaged his image. His lawyers objected to the release, arguing it would embarrass him


• The judge said it wasn’t about Cosby as a private person. “Rather

[Cosby] has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, child rearing, family life, education and crime.” “He has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim.”


• Cosby, 77, has been accused by around 40 women of sexual misconduct in episodes dating back more than four decades. He’s never been charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations on most of the accusations has expired. He settled Constand’s lawsuit under confidential terms in 2006

• Docs: Cosby deposition (Buzzfeed)


• Cosby’s lawyers insisted during the deposition that two of the accusers knew they were taking quaaludes from the comedian. Nevertheless, attorneys for some of the numerous women suing Cosby seized on the testimony as powerful corroboration: that he drugged and raped women


• Cosby, giving sworn testimony in the lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting Constand at his home in 2204, said he obtained seven quaalude prescriptions in the 1970s. Constand’s lawyers asked him if he kept the sedatives through the 90s – after they were banned – but was frustrated by objections from Cosby’s lawyer


• “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” lawyer Dolores Troiani asked. “Yes,” Cosby answered. “Did you ever give any of these young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?” Cosby’s lawyer again objected – Troiani petitioned the judge to force Cosby to cooperate


• Cosby later said he gave Constand three half pills of Benadryl, though Troiani in the docs voices doubt that was the drug. Constand thought he was giving her an herbal remedy, she said in the lawsuit. She woke up to find her clothes askew after recalling him touching her breasts and putting her hand on his penis. Cosby called any sexual contact consensual

• Cosby’s lawyer said in June, “It would be terribly embarrassing for this material to come out.” Judge Robreno asked last month why Cosby was fighting the release of his own testimony, “Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?” Robreno said (thank you, judge)


Obama: ISIS Fight Not Quick (USA Today, TRNS, TRNS,me)

• The U.S. military is making progress against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but, “This will not be quick – this is a long-term campaign,” President Obama said Monday at the Pentagon after meeting top military brass in the wake of setbacks that have prompted critics to call for a more robust U.S. response against the militants


• Obama stressed that the U.S. is working with a 60-mation coalition and that local forces must take the initiative. Military force alone will not “degrade” and “destroy” ISIS, he said, citing diplomatic and economic efforts that include efforts to cut off the terrorists’ money. Meanwhile, the U.S. must be vigilant against “lone wolves” who might be inspired by ISIS


• The heart of the U.S. strategy involves training and equipping local troops to battle ISIS. Results have been dismal: a touted effort to train and equip Syrian moderates has had a stumbling start, with fewer than 100 having been vetted and receiving training – were told thousands would be trained – they can’t find people trustworthy


• Meanwhile, WH spox Josh Earnest on Monday criticized Senate Republicans for stalling on the confirmation hearing of Adam Szubin, nominee as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes on the Treasury Dept. He would assist in ending finances being streamed to ISIS’s terrorism operations


• Today, SecDef Ash Carter and Army Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are scheduled to testify before Sen John McCain’s (R-Ariz) Armed Services Committee on the Pentagon’s counter-ISIS strategy (popcorn and a large drink – maybe an umbrella in the drink for this one – McCain is fired up)


• The EU’s top prosecutor said Monday she’s been told that smugglers’ boats bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe are also carrying ISIS fighters. Michele Coninsx said it isn’t yet clear what problem the reported infiltration of ISIS militants may pose for European law enforcement – (this is huge – under the radar) (AP, me)



South Carolina Senate Votes: Move Confederate Flag (NYT, me)

• The South Carolina Senate voted Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House. The bipartisan proposal, which emerged after last month’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, was approved by a 37-3 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate. The Senate has one remaining ratification vote – likely yes


• The debate shifts to the House of Representatives, also Republican, where things are murkier. The killings of nine African-Americans at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church revived a debate that fractured the legislature about 15 years ago and yielded, in the Senate, quick action in the debate over a highly controversial symbol


• Monday, with the desk of a slain member draped in black, the Senate defeated a series of amendments that would have undermined the bill, including one that would have allowed the battle flag to fly each year on Confederate Memorial Day


• Although the debate was at times contentious – Sen Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg County), said that “removing this flag from out front is not going to do anything to change this nation” – the Senate’s vote ultimately delivered a significant victory to the flag’s opponents. The bill calls for the flag to go to South Carolina’s Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum



• The Obama admin said Monday that it can’t support bills in the House and Senate that would reform the No Child Left Behind law, saying they don’t provide enough “accountability” to students and communities. No veto threat was issued. The Senate is expected to begin debate today, and the House on Wednesday (Hill)


Sanctuary City “Killer”: Blame Game (AP, Hill, me)

• The killing of a woman at a sightseeing pier has brought criticism down on liberal San Francisco because the Mexican man under arrest was in the U.S. illegally, had been deported five times and was out on the streets after city officials disregarded a request from immigration officials to keep him locked up (clues, stupidity)

• For over two decades, San Francisco hasn’t cooperated with federal immigration authorities. It’s a “sanctuary” city. In a jailhouse interview with a TV station, Francisco Sanchez, 45, the repeat drug offender arrested in the shooting of Kathryn Steinle, confirmed he came to the city because of its status as a sanctuary. He also claimed the gun fired on its own… (sure)

• Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Monday saying that city policy was never intended to protect “repeat, serious and violent felons.” He asked for federal and local agencies to review what happened (er, they let him in). Mourners held a morning vigil at Pier 14, where Steinle, 32, was gunned down Wednesday, seemingly at random, during a stroll with her father and a friend


Seven Felony Convictions

• In 2013, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s office started turning over fewer people under arrest to federal immigration agents for deportation. Earlier this year, Sanchez was released from prison and turned over to the Sheriff’s Dept on an outstanding warrant. The DA’s office declined to prosecute a decade-old marijuana possession case, and Sanchez was freed on 5 April

• Before he was set free, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had filed a so-called detainer with SF authorities, asking to be informed if they intended to let him go, said ICE spox Gillian Christensen, but she said ICE was never notified

• Freya Horne, legal counsel for Mirkarimi’s office, said that ICE could have issued an active warrant if immigration authorities wanted to keep him in custody, and that ICE knows about San Francisco’s policy. Sanchez has been deported five times and has seven felony convictions, four involving drug charges

• WH spox Josh Earnest said at the briefing Monday, “I recognize that people want to play politics with this. The fact is the president has done everything within his power to make sure that we’re focusing our law enforcement resources on criminals who pose a threat to public safety.” He said Republicans had “blocked common sense immigration reform.”

• Vid: A group of HSBC bankers has been fired on the spot in England and the bank apologized after a video emerged of some of its employees taking part in a mock ISIS style beheading of an Asian colleague, apparently filmed during a “team-building exercise” (it’s absolutely appalling) (Sun, Telegraph, me)


Holder: Possible DoJ Deal With Snowden (Yahoo News, Hill, me)

• Former AG Eric Holder, in an interview with Yahoo News published Monday, threw cold water on the notion that govt leaker Edward Snowden – holed up in Moscow for two years – would never again step foot on U.S. soil. “I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists,” Holder said


• Holder went further toward praising Snowden’s actions than any current or former Obama admin officials have done. “His actions spurred a necessary debate,” Holder said. “We are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures,” he said (extraordinary from the man who went after leakers so hard when he was in office)


• Snowden has been charged with multiple crimes for his 2013 leak of classified federal docs, including Espionage Act violations that could land him in jail for decades. Snowden’s supporters have said that he wouldn’t be able to fairly give his side in court because of the nature of the charges. His lawyer says he’s unwilling to serve jail time for “his act of conscience.”


• Snowden’s legal team have long been in discussions with Obama admin officials to potentially reduce the charges in exchange for Snowden’s return home, but so far no progress. Moreover, some in Congress and hard-liners in the intelligence community would go ballistic over suggestions of leniency toward Snowden


• Monday, DoJ spox Melanie Newman said in a statement, “This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed.”



• Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been sentenced to death, filed a motion in federal court Monday seeking a new trial, according to court records. The preliminary motion cited a lack of evidence in his trial this spring (really? really?), according to docs filed in federal court in Massachusetts (Reuters, AP, me)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ James Cullum and William Hadden contributed to this report


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