Quick Morning 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.

Morning Jumpstart

  • Khizr Khan: Trump “black soul”
  • Trump: Khan controlled by Clinton campaign
  • Politicians appalled by Trump
  • Trump wrong on Ukraine, debates
  • Clinton: Russian intel hacked DNC
  • Obama addresses veterans today
  • Hot air balloon pilot had DWI
Khizr Khan: Trump “Black Soul” (WaPo, WaPo, WaPo, me)
• Khizr Khan, whose son died fighting in Iraq, said Sunday that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s temperament and lack of empathy render him unfit to lead the nation and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) have a moral obligation to speak out against their party’s standard bearer (they do but…)
• “Two things are absolutely necessary in any leader or any person that aspires, wishes to be a leader. That is moral compass and, second, is empathy. This candidate is void of both traits that are necessary for the stewardship of this country,” Harvard-educated Khan said on CNN. “He is a black soul. And this is totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country.”
• “I implore those patriotic Americans that would probably vote for Donald Trump in November, I appeal to them, not to vote for hatred, not to vote for fear-mongering. Vote for unity. Vote for the goodness of this country. Vote for liberty and freedom. So my appeal now is to the folks that are going to be thinking to vote for Trump,” he said on NBC (prejudice vs unity – hmmm)
• Khan and his wife appeared last week at the Democratic convention, where Khan gave an emotional speech in which he questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution and offered to lend him his copy. The Khan’s son, Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khan said the GOP nominee had “sacrificed nothing and no one”

Trump: Khan Controlled by Clinton Campaign
• Trump lashed out at the Khans, accusing Khizr Khan of being controlled by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Trump pointed to the sacrifices he said he had made creating jobs. “Mr Khan,” Clinton said at a church in Cleveland, “paid the ultimate sacrifice in his family, didn’t he. And what has he heard from Donald Trump? Nothing but insults, degrading comments.”
• Khizr Khan’s wife, Ghazala, didn’t speak on stage. The Khans are Muslim and Trump questioned why she didn’t speak. “She probably – maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say,” he said. (sick – lowest point so far) In a subsequent interview, Ghazala Khan said she didn’t speak because she becomes overwhelmed with emotion whenever she sees her son’s picture
• In a WaPo op-ed Sunday, she responded directly to Trump. “Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.” (if they have a heart)
• Sunday, Khizr Khan told CNN, “She is ill. She had high blood pressure. People that know her looked at her face, and she said, ‘I may fall off the stage.'” said Khan, his voice quavering with emotion. “And I told her that you have to assemble yourself and stand for the beauty of this tribute that is being paid.” (she broke down before and after she went on stage)

Khan: “I Will Continue to Speak”
• Khan said of McConnell and Ryan: It is their “moral, ethical obligation to not worry about the votes but repudiate him, withdraw the support. If they do not, I will continue to speak, and I am speaking.” (this mamby-pamby “honoring” Humayun Khan business while standing by Trump will not stand. You can’t support a bigot who spews hate and claim to “honor” Khan)
• In a statement Sunday, McConnell said Khan was a hero. “And as long as I have made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values,” he said (but he didn’t mention Trump and neither did Ryan, who in a statement late Sunday said Humayun Khan should be “honored”)
• In a statement Sunday night Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said, “By suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS at its source and projecting strength on the global stage, we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family (like Khan’s old country?)
• In a clumsy walk-back (gets sooo tiring and lame – these walk-backs) statement late Saturday night, Trump called Humayun Khan a “hero” – aaaand said Khizr Khan had “no right” to question whether he’d read the Constitution (really? no free speech for Muslims?). Trump notably did not apologize to the Khans for his (disgusting) attack on a grieving mother, Ghazala Khan
• In response, Khizr Khan said Sunday, “This is faked empathy.” “What he said originally – that defines him … people are upset with him. He realizes, and his advisers feel, that [his original statement] was a stupid mistake. That proves that this person is void of empathy. He is unfit for the stewardship of this great country.”

• The raw, pure prejudice and bigotry that’s being evinced against the Khans represents a minority – don’t think Trump is the only one who thinks what he says – but this kind of fear-mongering is infectious and it needs to be exposed. The differences between us – as well as our similarities – are what make us great as people, as Americans, as humanity. Let’s hang on to that – vj
Politicians Appalled by Trump (Hill, Hill, NYT, me)
• Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), up for re-election and whose husband is a military veteran, called Capt Khan a “true American hero.” “I am appalled that Donald Trump would disparage them and that he had the gall to compare his own sacrifices to those of a Gold Star family,” she said

• Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said “‘unacceptable’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.” “This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen.” (but he’s only a Muslim)

• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said in a statement, “This shouldn’t be hard. Donald Trump is a sexist and racist man who insults Gold Star parents, stokes fear of Muslims and sows hatred of Latinos. He should not be president and Republican leaders have a moral responsibility to say so.” (but they won’t – because what would happen if they did?)
• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) tweeted Sunday, “This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
• Contrast: 2005 – Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey died in Iraq in 2004 and she camped out on the edge of President George W. Bush’s ranch asking for a meeting. Bush said: “Part of my duty as the president is to meet with those who’ve lost a loved one. And so, you know, listen. I sympathize with Mrs Sheehan … She has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America.”

• Sunday’s New York Post cover: “THE OGLE OFFICE” – “Exclusive photos – You’ve never seen a first lady like this” – with nude pics of then-brunette Melania Trump from a photo shoot she did in New York in 1995 for a now defunct French men’s magazine, Max. Here’s the front page picture – the original

Trump Wrong on Ukraine, Debates (Time, Politico, AP, Hill, me)
• Donald Trump said on ABC on Sunday: “He’s [Putin] not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.” Trump was addressing comments he’s made about Russia’s annexation of Crimea and lifting sanctions subsequently imposed on Russia (stunning)
• “Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” George Stephanopoulos said to Trump in response, referring to Crimea. “OK, well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this.” (belies belief)
• “While Trump hasn’t mastered basic facts about the world, he has mastered Putin’s talking points on Crimea,” said Hillary Clinton senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan in a statement. “This is scary stuff. But it shouldn’t surprise us. This comes on the heels of his tacit invitation to the Russians to invade our NATO allies in Eastern Europe.”

• What does this mean? First, he’s wrong that Putin’s not going in. “He’s there in a certain way” – means Trump doesn’t know what’s going on and is frantically covering for himself. “But I’m not there” – that’s the weirdest, most narcissist statement he’s ever made and nobody is picking up on it. Why would he be there??? “You have Obama there” – umm Obama is not in Crimea… vj


Trump’s Debate Conspiracy

• Donald Trump and RNC officials have whined that two of the three scheduled presidential and one VP debates overlap with NFL games. Trump started a conspiracy Friday in a tweet: “As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!” (will he show up for all three? place your bets)

• Response: “The Commission on Presidential Debates started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates. … A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.” In 2012, each of the debates fell on football game days

• “As a point of reference, in a four-year period, there are four general election debates – three presidential and one vice-presidential – and approx 1,000 NFL games,” the commission said. Trump also claimed he was told in a letter from the NFL. NFL spox Brian McCarthy tweeted Saturday, “We did not send a letter to Mr Trump.” The Trump campaign is busy walking it back…

• Hillary Clinton told reporters on Sunday, “I’m going to be there, that’s all I have to say.” VP nominee Tim Kaine said he was “mystified” by what he called Trump’s “bizarre” allegations. “Is Donald Trump complaining that the framers of the constitution put the election in the NFL season?” he asked during a campaign stop at a dairy barn in Ohio (will Trump debate all 3?)

• Eeeek: It’s the 3 am phone call – Marge and Homer Simpson make up their minds who to vote for – watch if you dare

Clinton: Russian Intel Hacked DNC (Reuters, me)

• Hillary Clinton said on Fox News Sunday: “We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the Democratic National Committee and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin.” (stunning that she appeared on Fox – hold a presser, Hillary)

• The U.S. hasn’t publicly accused Russia of being behind the hack of Democratic Party computers. Cyber security experts and U.S. officials, however, said they believed Russia engineered the release of the emails to influence the 8 November presidential election (Trump is likely to lift sanctions – said so; Clinton very likely to keep them on – Putin needs them lifted)

• Asked if she believed Putin wanted Trump to win the WH, Clinton said she wasn’t going to jump to that conclusion. “For Trump to both encourage that [Russian interference] and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election I think raises national security issues,” she said

• Trump last week invited Russia to dig up tens of thousands of “missing” emails from Clinton’s time at the State Dept. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump told reporters (with a straight face.) The GOP nominee for president later said he was being “sarcastic” – (though his campaign gave that explanation later)

• Computer systems used by Clinton’s presidential campaign were hacked in an attempt that appears to have come from Russia’s intelligence services, a federal law enforcement official said on Friday. Clinton’s campaign said in a statement that intruders gained access to an analytics program but didn’t believe the campaign’s internal computer systems were compromised

• Here we go: FiveThirtyEight starts the general election race with Hillary Clinton at 51% and Donald Trump at 49% – polls only. Polls plus, which includes the economy and historical data, has Clinton at 60.9% and Trump at 39.1% (historical data doesn’t seem to mean much this year)

Obama Addresses Veterans Today (AP, me)
• In a valedictory address to veterans, President Obama will argue that getting ex-military members the health care and benefits they’ve earned is a national promise that “can’t be broken.” And he’ll tout admin progress on reducing homelessness among veterans by 47% (how come i keep seeing homeless vets on the street, then? are they really vets? they’re missing people)
• Obama will also announce that the admin is halfway towards building a massive database on veterans’ health when he addresses the national convention of the Disabled American Veterans service organization today in Atlanta
• Outrage over lengthy wait-times for veterans led to the resignation of Obama’s first VA secretary, retired Army Gen Eric Shinseki. Care for America’s veterans is a top issue in the presidential campaign. Both candidates promise to overhaul the VA dept, including its health care delivery (Trump will attack Obama for the speech)
• Obama is expected to talk about how a backlog of disability claims that neared 610,000 three-and-a-half years ago has now dropped below 80,000. The VA set a record by processing 1.4 million benefits claims for veterans last year, and this year it has processed more than 1 million
• But the focus on speeding up claims processing took away from the handling of appeals. More than 450,000 appeals are pending, with veterans waiting an average of three years for a decision. The WH said the situation was “unacceptable.” (unacceptable? you can be dead in three years – three years isn’t unacceptable. it’s outrageous)

• Courts on Friday dealt setbacks in three states to Republican efforts that critics contend restrict voting rights – blocking a North Carolina law requiring photo ID, loosening a similar measure in Wisconsin and halting strict citizenship requirements in Kansas. Appeals are likely (AP)

Balloon Pilot Had DWI (AP, WSJ, me)

• Skip Nichols, the pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas and killed all 16 people aboard had been arrested in Missouri for driving while intoxicated in 2000, police said. His roommate, Alan Lirette, said that “he’s a great pilot.”
• The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported in 2008 that the Better Business Bureau in St Louis, Mo, had warned consumers about doing business with Nichols, the third time since 2000. The paper quoted the BBB as saying Nichols was on probation for distribution, delivery or manufacturing a controlled substance
• The NTSB said the balloon, which was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture in Central Texas early Saturday morning. The crash sent flames soaring high into the sky and left mangled bodies strewn on the ground. NTSB recovered 14 personal electronic devices from the crash site
• Two years ago, the NTSB recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration that it regulate hot air balloon flights in the U.S. more, saying they should be subject to the same oversight as tour planes and helicopters. The FAA rejected those recommendations. The FAA responded to the NTSB last November that regulations were unnecessary because the risks were too low.

•  The NTSB has based its warning on three prior balloon accidents that it had investigated. After the reply from Michael Huerta of the FAA, the NTSB classified the FAA’s response as “open-unacceptable” – ie not satisfied with the response. Sumwalt said to AP just before leaving for Texas: “I think the fact that it is open-unacceptable pretty much speaks for itself.” (wow)

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Victoria Jones – Editor
News is news
Comments are my own