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

  • Clinton to hand over email server to DoJ
  • Iran: Kerry/Schumer on opposite sides
  • Ferguson: Who are Oath Keepers?
  • Cuba dissidents won’t attend US embassy event
  • Bush attacks Clinton over Iraq
  • Texas cop fired: Fatal shooting of black teen
  • Trump tries out positions
  • EPA under fire: Massive waste spill
  • Millennials: Different – politically
Clinton to Turn Over Email Server to Justice Dept (NYT, WSJ, me)
• Hillary Clinton is turning over to the Justice Dept the private computer she used to handle her emails when she served as SecState, an unexpected move and an attempt to quash concerns that her unorthodox approach included insufficient safeguards to protect govt secrets. She’ll also turn over a thumb drive that contained copies of the emails (stunning turnaround)

• Tuesday, the IG for the intelligence community told members of Congress that Clinton had “top secret” info – the highest classification of govt intelligence – in two emails among the 40 from the private account that the State Dept has allowed him to review. Clinton decided to hand over the server and thumb drive to authorities after the FBI began investigating the matter

• State has declined to give the IG, I. Charles McCullough III, access to the entire trove of about 30,000 emails that Clinton handed over to the dept last year. Clinton deemed those emails work-related and said she deleted an additional 30,000 messages that were personal and related to wedding plans and yoga routines etc (two out of 40 – doesn’t look good)

• Clinton has been widely criticized – and hurt in polls – for creating an email system that she said was more convenient for her, but that also helped shield her correspondence form Congress and the news media. “I am confident that I never sent or received any info that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” she said (carefully) in July

• The House Benghazi Committee asked Clinton earlier this year to turn over her server to a third party. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, told the committee then there was no reason to do so because the emails had been deleted from the server. McCullough alerted the FBI in July that classified info was on the account (heating up at bad time for her)

• President Obama wrote today that voting rights must be “vigorously defended” and called on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act in the wake of a SCOTUS ruling that invalidated part of the historic 1965 law. Obama made his comments in a letter to the editor published in NYT today
Iran: Kerry/Schumer on Opposite Sides (Politico, Reuters, WaPo, NYT, me)
• SecState John Kerry warned on Tuesday, “If we turn around and nix the deal and them tell them
[allies], ‘You’re going to have to obey our rules and sanctions anyway,’ that is a recipe, very quickly … for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world.” (this is a new argument for the nuclear deal)

• Kerry said, “If everybody thinks ‘Oh now, we’re just tough…. we can force people. … America is strong enough, our banks are tough enough, we can just bring the hammer down and force people to do what we want to do. Are you kidding me?”

• With liberal groups furious over his opposition to the nuclear deal, Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been quietly reaching out to dozens of his colleagues to explain his decision and walk through his position. However, he’s not lobbying his colleagues to vote against the agreement, several undecided senators said

• Meanwhile, three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same. The letter said gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, “would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.”

• Separately, Gary Samore, a former nuclear adviser to President Obama, has resigned as president of United Against Nuclear Iran. After reviewing the deal in detail, “I think President Obama’s strategy succeeded,” he said. (funny) Former Sen Joseph Lieberman (Ct) took over (of course he did)

• Seven people were injured after a U.S. military helicopter crashed today off the coast of Japan’s Okinawa island. All 17 crew members have been rescued, the Japanese Coast Guard said (CNN)


Ferguson: Who Are “Oath Keepers?” (WaPo, Hill, TPM, NBC News, Reuters, AP, me)

• About 100 protesters gathered along West Florissant Ave in Ferguson, Missouri, late Tuesday in a demonstration that was decidedly smaller and calmer than others on recent nights. Attendees mostly mingled quietly along the side of the road. It was the fifth night of protests since the anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown

Raw surveillance vid appears to show suspect Tyrone Harris, 18, with a gun. Harris was shot late Sunday by St Louis County police officers after they say he pulled a gun on an unmarked police car and began firing at the officers. His family have raised doubts about the police version (certainly looks like a gun – though doesn’t show him firing)

• Meanwhile, four white men carrying military-style rifles and sidearms added a creepy element when they began patrolling the streets before dawn Tuesday, which police quickly labeled  “unnecessary and inflammatory.” The men said they were part of a group called “Oath Keepers”

• They said they were in Ferguson to protect someone who worked for the right-wing web site, which is affiliated with the (nut-case) conspiracy theorist and self-described “thought criminal against Big Brother” Alex Jones. Black Lives Matter activists and reporters immediately took note


• Oath Keepers describe themselves as a group focused on fulfilling “the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The site notes they’re composed of members who have, or have previously had, some sort of connection to law enforcement or the military

• The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as a “fiercely antigovt, militaristic group.” “Just as central is the group’s list of 10 ‘Orders We Will Not Obey,’ a compendium of much-feared but entirely imaginary threats from the govt – orders, for instance to force Americans into concentration camps, confiscate their guns, or cooperate with foreign troops in the U.S.” (usual wingnut stuff)

• The group was founded by Yale Law School graduate Stewart Rhodes, who has called for Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) to be hanged for treason.  After last month’s shooting in Chattanooga, Rhodes urged: “Go armed, at all times, as free men and women, and be ready to do sudden battle, anywhere, anytime, and with utter recklessness. That IS the price of freedom.” (recklessness?)

• The Oath Keepers showed up in Ferguson back in November, following a grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, at what they said was the request of business owners. Rhodes told media they left their posts once they were threatened with arrest for operating without a license (what about do battle, anytime, anywhere??)

Cuba Dissidents Shut Out: US Embassy Event (AP, Politico, me)

• The Obama admin doesn’t plan to invite Cuban dissidents to SecState John Kerry’s historic flag-raising at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Friday, AP reports. Instead, Kerry intends to meet more quietly with prominent activists later in the day at the U.S. chief of mission’s home

• The dissidents’ presence at the embassy would have risked setting back the new spirit of cooperation the U.S. hopes to engender with the communist Cuban govt, according to anonymous U.S. officials. But not meeting them at all would send an equally bad signal. Cuban authorities arrested dozens of dissidents during a march in Havana over the weekend

• Republican presidential candidate Sen Marco Rubio (Fla) urged Kerry in a letter, “During your visit, you should meet with the courageous leaders who are fighting to bring freedom to Cuba and invite them to the ceremony you will be presiding over at the new American embassy.” Some members of Congress plan to weigh in during a presser today

• State Dept spox John Kirby said Monday that the U.S.. is “deeply concerned by this roundup of peaceful activists” and insisted that America will “continue to voice our support for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba.”

• Kerry, Obama and other U.S. officials have repeatedly said they’re not blind to Cuba’s human rights transgressions; they argue that the U.S. will have more influence on Cuban behavior if it engages with the communist leadership there than if it continues with an isolationist policy that didn’t work for five decades
Bush Attacks Clinton Over Iraq (NYT, Reuters, Hill, TRNS, me)
• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla), who’s running for president, issued a blistering attack Tuesday night in California on the Obama admin’s handling of Iraq and terrorism issues. “That premature withdrawal [from Iraq] was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,” Bush declared (fatal error to invade in first place?)

• “Where was SecState Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away,” Bush said

• Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior policy adviser, accused Bush of a “bold attempt to rewrite history and reassign responsibility” on the Middle East. “We’ve seen similar things from other Republican candidates – they cannot be allowed to escape responsibility for the real mistake here. They might hope we all forget but the American people remember.” (trying to forget)

• “It’s wrong to assert that ISIS arose from the vacuum after American troops left,” Sullivan said. “ISIS grew out of al Qaeda in Iraq, and where did AQI come from? It didn’t exist before the invasion. It emerged in no small part as a result of President Bush’s failed strategy, and gained strength by signing up former Sunni military officers, from the very army the Bush admin disbanded.”

• “We do not need, and our friends do not ask for, a major commitment of American combat forces,” Bush said. He called for support of Sunni allies and for increasing the Pentagon budget, both policies of the Obama admin – but which have faced opposition from some Republicans in Congress who have sought to freeze military spending to cut back govt size
Texas Cop Fired: Fatal Shooting of Christian Taylor (NYT, Reuters, me)
• A white officer who fatally shot a black Texas teenager last week at a Dallas-area car dealership has been fired after making a series of troubling decisions, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said Tuesday. Christian Taylor, 19, was shot multiple times by officer Brad Miller, 49, who was still undergoing training with the dept

• Taylor was a college football player seen on security surveillance tape vandalizing cars. At a presser, Johnson said Miller made bad decisions in communicating with other officers and initially approaching Taylor on his own without a plan for an arrest. There were five other officers at the scene

• The announcement represented a shift in the official police narrative of events. Previously, Johnson told reporters that Miller and his training officer had a confrontation with Taylor inside the dealership as they tried to arrest him and that led Miller to fire his weapon. The chief had declined to describe that event

• But in Tuesday’s presser, Johnson offered a detailed account of the confrontation, saying that Taylor never made physical contact with any of the officers at the scene and indicating that Miller’s own actions had escalated the confrontation (no one has yet explained why Taylor was behaving so erratically, jumping on cars etc)

• The chief also said the officers had said they saw a bulge in Taylor’s pocket. It turned out to be a wallet and a cellphone (OMG). Johnson said he’d spoken with the Taylor family. “I certainly expressed regret that their son had been killed,” Johnson said. Taylor’s brother, Adrian, said it was “a step in the right direction.”

Police audio from break-in at Arlington dealership (SoundCloud)

Trump Tries Out Positions (NYT, Hill, me)
• Well, sort of. One or two. Actually, he slammed Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server: “She committed a crime, [but] Democrats are all the prosecutors.” (sooo no due process in a Trump admin, then… just guilty)

• And he ridiculed Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) for allowing Black Lives Matter activists to storm the stage at an event on Saturday and seize the mic. “That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will. It was a disgrace. I felt badly for him, but it showed that he was weak.” (or that he actually gave a bleep?)

• He spoke about Planned Parenthood on CNN. “I would look at the individual things that they do, and maybe some of the things are good – I know a lot of the things are bad. But certainly the abortion aspect of it should not be funded by govt, absolutely.” (Hyde Amendment – doesn’t know what he’s talking about. and, what other “things are bad?” pap smears?)

• On Fox and Friends, there was absolutely no discussion – zero – pretending it never happened – of his menstruation war of words with Fox News’ very own Megyn Kelly. Guess he won that little spat with Fox “News,” which revealed itself as Trump’s lackey Tuesday, on Fox and Friends and Hannity. Not a single tough question. Pure pablum

• On CNN, Trump urged a simpler tax code: “Put H&R Block out of business.”  At one point: “I do whine because I want to win, and I’m not happy about not winning, and I am a whiner, and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

EPA Under Fire Over Waste Spill (Hill, AP, me)

• EPA chief Gina McCarthy sought to assure the public Tuesday that officials are taking seriously the gold mine waste spill the agency caused in a Colorado river which turned it shocking orange-yellow. McCarthy said the spill into the Animus River last week was “a tragic and very unfortunate incident” and the EPA is taking full responsibility for cleanup and recovery

• The incident has been a major embarrassment and problem for the EPA. Politicians and leaders from around the country have called on the agency to be more transparent about what caused the spill and what risks local and downstream residents face. Colorado and New Mexico made disaster declarations for parts of the Animus and San Juan Rivers

• The spill happened when EPA-contracted workers moved soil to start inspecting the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, in an effort to potentially in the future clean the high levels of contamination that had been left behind. The crews inadvertently breached a seal on the mining waste, sending it into the river and causing closures and restrictions downstream


• McCarthy said there’s been no evidence that the 3 million-gallon spill – which dissolved metals like cadmium, copper, zinc, arsenic and manganese – has compromised anyone’s health. But she gave little assurance to residents and local and state officials, who think the agency is taking too long to release information about risks

• “Our commitment is to get this right and to make sure that we’re protecting public health,” McCarthy said. The Navajos, whose nation covers parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, shot down water intake systems and stopped diverting water from the San Juan River

• Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said that regional EPA officials told him the cleanup could take decades. “Decades. This is totally, completely unsettling. This is a huge issue. This river, the San Juan, is our lifeline, not only in a spiritual sense but also it’s an economic base that sustains the people that live along the river.”

Millennials: Different – Politically (WSJ, me)

• Millennials, defined as those between 18 and 34, aren’t just younger than other Americans. They’re different. A new WSJ/NBC News poll shows how, at a time that the 2016 campaign marks the first time that millennials will equal baby boomers as a share of eligible voters

View of President Obama: Millennials are the only age bracket that has a net positive view of Obama – and by a wide margin: 51% of millennials said they have a positive view, 31% negative. Those aged 35-49 = 40%/45%, those aged 50-64, it’s 41%/49%. Those 65 and over, the mix is 44%/48%

Nuclear agreement with Iran: Among all Americans, opinion is evenly divided: 35% support / 33% opposed, 32% don’t know enough. Among millennials, 40% support, 19% oppose and 41% have no opinion. Important: Millennials are all born after the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis – probably not a coincidence

Views on role of govt: By 60% to 37%, millennials say that govt should do more to solve problems, rather than leaving them to businesses and individuals. Every other age group is essentially split on the question

• What’s the political meaning of this? For Democrats, the numbers explain why young voters formed a vital core of support for Obama, and could for Hillary Clinton or another Dem nominee – if they can motivate them to vote. For Republicans, it’s rougher, but millennials generally aren’t thrilled with the economy, so there’s an opening there

A phenomenal Perseid meteor shower peaks this week – tonight / tomorrow morning super early, in particular. Here’s how to watch (WaPo, TRNS)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ James Cullum and Sydnee Fried contributed to this report

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