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

  • 305 more Clinton emails for review
  • GOP 2016ers divided: Trump’s immigration plan
  • Obama pushes for Cuba air-travel deal
  • Iran deal: Lobbying focuses on Democrats
  • IRS data breach: More taxpayers hit
  • Bangkok bomb kills 20+
  • South Sudan leader snubs peace deal
  • Planned Parenthood gains traction
305 More Clinton Emails for Review (AP, Politico, Gawker, me)
• In a court filing that was part of a filing against the State Dept, officials told a federal judge in DC they would be able to meet an existing schedule to release copies of Hillary Clinton’s emails because only about 5% of the messages reviewed so far contain possibly secret info that could hold them back for further analysis (would add up to about 1,500 – quite a lot…)
• The agency said those 305 emails with potentially classified data were among more than 1,500 docs analyzed so far. The filing came after Clinton said in an Iowa radio interview that during her stint as SecState, she had never sent or received any emails on her private server that had info clearly marked classified (and that language has morphed)
• “If I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of this would have been in the public arena,” she said in the interview Friday. But the AP and other news orgs had sought copies of Clinton’s emails under FOIA for years. (ouch) Clinton’s server was surrendered to the FBI last week, months after Clinton said it was her personal property and it wouldn’t be turned over

• Clinton said in March she had exchanged about 60,000 emails during her four years in the Obama admin, about half of which were personal and deleted (time management, much?). She turned over the others to State, which is reviewing them on a monthly basis. Clinton campaign officials didn’t respond Monday to an emailed request for commentLotsa Lawsuits

• The State acknowledgement that 305 Clinton emails were being reviewed for possible national security concerns came as part of legal sparring in a lawsuit against the agency by Jason Leopold, a reporter with Vice News. He sued to quickly produce Clinton emails and other docs sought under a FOIA request. There are several lawsuits against State for Clinton records
• Separate from the court case, State Dept spox John Kirby said 63 of Clinton’s emails that previously were unclassified have now been classified and censored – of the more than 3,000 emails released, a “small amount,” Kirby stressed, but reflecting “the care and the scrutiny with which we are scrutinizing this email traffic.” (i’ll bet)
• Also Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he has asked Clinton’s long-time lawyer, David Kendall, about whether he and other members of his law firm received national security clearances as part of their legal work for Clinton, also that he was concerned Kendall kept thumb drives of the emails not properly secured
• The website Gawker reported Monday that State backed down from its claim two years ago that it couldn’t find a single email between Clinton communications aide Philippe Reines and 34 news orgs. It was in response to a 2012 FOIA request. (Reines was well-known for telling reporters for “fu*k off” in emails)
• But in a court filing, State said it had found 5.5 gigabytes of emails from Reines’ account, amounting to 81,159 emails (golly). The agency said about 22% of the emails may involved contacts with the news outlets Gawker asked about. State didn’t explain the earlier claim that no responsive records could be found (a miracle)
• The Obama admin will propose as soon as today the first ever regulation to cut emissions of methane, by 40 to 45% over the next decade from 2012 levels, officials said. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming by the nation’s oil and natural gas industry (NYT, WSJ)
GOP 2016ers Divided on Trump’s Immigration Plan (AP, TRNS, me)
• Asked at the Iowa State Fair Monday if he supports building a wall along the U.S. Mexican border, as Donal Trump has proposed, Gov Scott Walker (R-Wis) gave a quick “yes,” but declined to address whether he supports deporting children of parents in the country illegally (umm – no-brainer, Scottie?)
• Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) said on CNN that a wall or fence along parts of the border was conceivable, but “not the entire border. Doesn’t make any sense.” Likewise, Christie is opposed to making Mexico pay for the construction: “Makes no sense.” “And this is not negotiation of a real estate deal, OK. This is international diplomacy and it’s different.”
• “The wall will work,” Trump said when he arrived by limo for jury duty in Manhattan and a passer-by at the courthouse asked about the idea. There weren’t enough trials in NYC Monday, and the jurors were all sent home in the afternoon

• Though he didn’t chime in specifically on Trump’s new proposal, former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) supports allowing people in the country illegally who haven’t committed major crimes, who work and follow a course such as learning English and paying fines, to stay in the U.S.• Raw vid: Donald Trump arrived in a limo for jury duty in Manhattan Monday. Trump fist-bumped bystanders and shook hands as he walked up the court steps (AP) (my own arrival for jury duty tomorrow in Maryland may be a little different. I shall refuse to fist-bump bystanders and supporters, come what may)

• Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also at the fair, called Trump’s proposal “gibberish.” “You’re not going to get 11 million people and drive them back out of this country,” he said. “That’s just not practical. That’s going to kill the Republican Party.”
• Though Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio) supports building a wall, he, like Bush supports maintaining birthright citizenship and allowing a pathway to legal status. “They are a very important part of most of our communities. For the bulk of them, they are God-fearing, good, hardworking people, and they are a part of our country now.” (not criminals and rapists?)

• Carly Fiorina said of eliminating birthright citizenship: “It would take passing a constitutional amendment to get that changed. This is part of our 14th Amendment, and so honestly I think we should put all of our energies, all of our political will over finally getting the border secured and fixing the legal immigration system.” (wall?)• In a late July WSJ/NBC News poll, 64% of Americans said they support either a path to permanent legal status or citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. According to the poll, a small majority of Republicans fall into the same category

• Scott Walker will blast GOP leaders in DC in a speech today in Minnesota. “Republican leaders in Washington told us during the campaign last year that we needed a Republican Senate to repeal Obamacare. Well, Republicans have been in charge of both houses of Congress since January and there still isn’t a bill on the president’s desk to repeal Obamacare. (Politico)
Obama Pushes for Cuba Air-Travel Deal (WSJ, me)
• The Obama admin is working to reach a deal with Cuba by year’s end that would allow travelers to fly on scheduled commercial flights between the countries and allow airlines to establish regular service, chipping away at a travel ban without requiring Congress to lift it
• The Obama admin is also exploring further steps to loosen travel restrictions for Americans to the island nation despite the decades-old congressional ban, officials said (marco rubio will have a fit)
• Only Congress can lift the long-standing U.S. travel and trade embargoes imposed in the 1960s after the rise of Fidel Castro to power. But President Obama has executive authority to grant exceptions to them. He announced some in December – such as allowing Americans to use credit and debit cards in Cuba and expanding commercial sale and exports
• Another possibility is to allow individual travelers to visit Cuba independently of a tour group, so long as they say their trip is intended to pursue cultural exchange, a practice known as “people-to-people” travel. By loosening restrictions on those authorized categories of travel, the admin in effect can chip away at the travel ban
• Obama hopes that the re-establishment of U.S. relations with Cuba becomes so integral to American travelers and business leaders that it would be too politically risky for any president to revoke. Sens Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt) have introduced a bill to lift the travel ban and want the admin to do more to loosen restrictions on travel to Cuba
• A Kentucky federal judge on Monday essentially stayed his decision that Rowan County clerk Kim Davis must issue marriage licenses to gay couples. He said she isn’t entitled to any more delays, but because “emotions are running high on both sides of this debate” she has room to continue denying licenses (pretty bizarre) (AP, me)
Iran Deal: Lobbying Focuses on Democrats (NYT, Hill, Reuters, me)
• President Obama has been making calls during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to Democratic members of Congress. “If you support the deal, we’d like you to make that clear,” he tells the lawmakers, according to an anonymous WH official. “And if you still have concerns, we want to be able to answer those questions.”
• The personal appeals by Obama are part of an orchestrated lobbying effort by the WH, supported by a coalition of antiwar and progressive organizations, aimed at persuading Democrats who are undecided about the nuclear deal, to vote against a GOP bid to block it. The coalition meets weekly in the DC office of the Ploughshares Fund, devoted to eradicating nuclear weapons
• They’re up against an equally determined and well-financed effort by opponents of the deal, led by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee ,working with some Jewish advocacy groups and conservative-backed organizations, including the American Security Initiative, which are pressing Democrats to reject the accord
• Meanwhile, 340 rabbis sent a letter to Congress on Monday declaring their support for the deal and urging lawmakers to endorse it. The group in a statement described the signatories as “from all streams of Judaism.” The letter said, “We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”
• Iran will remain closed to U.S. influence after the deal, Ayatollah Khameini said Monday. “They thought this deal – and it is not clear if it will be passed in Iran or in America – will open up Iran to their influence,” Khameini was quoted as saying to the press. “We blocked this path and will definitely block it in the future.”
• Sen Bob Corker (R-Tenn). chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a WaPo op-ed late Monday: “Rather than end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrlalizes the program of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. … Congress should reject this deal and send it back to the president.” (WaPo)
IRS Data Breach: More Taxpayers Hit (AP, WSJ, me)
• An additional 220,000 potential victims had info stolen from an IRS website as part of a sophisticated scheme to use stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds, the IRS said Monday. The revelation more than doubles the total number of potential victims, to 334,000. The agency first disclosed the breach in May
• The thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the info, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security no, DoB, tax filing status and street address, the IRS said. Even security questions
• The personal info was presumably stolen from other sources. The IRS believes the thieves were accessing the IRS website to get even more info about the taxpayers, which could help them claim fraudulent tax refunds in the future (but why are we only hearing about the new victims now? didn’t they know? or didn’t they tell?)
• The IRS said it’s notifying all potential victims and offering free credit monitoring services. The IRS is also offering to enroll potential victims in a program that assigns then a special ID number that they must use to file their tax returns. The IRS said it’s “moving aggressively to protect taxpayers whose account info may have been accessed.” (not very, apparently)
• In all. the crooks used personal info from about 610,000 taxpayers in an effort to access old tax returns. They were successful in getting info from about 334,000 taxpayers. Monday, the IRS didn’t identify a potential source of the crime. But in May, officials said IRS investigators believe the thieves are part of an operations based in Russia (why not on Monday – this is odd…)
• The Office of Personnel Management is facing its seventh lawsuit. A firm filed suit against the govt Friday, claiming OPM failed to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, which requires federal agencies to establish appropriate safeguards to protect confidential records. Filed on behalf of 21.5 million people whose data was compromised (Hill)
Bangkok Bomb Kills 20+ (BBC, me)
• A bomb exploded close to a shrine in the center of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, on Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 120. The Erawan Shrine, which was crowded at the time, is a major tourist attraction and foreigners, including Chinese, are among the casualties. A man was seen leaving the vicinity of the bomb site without a backpack he had earlier
• PM Prayuth Chan-ocha said the bombing was the “worst ever attack” on the country. He said the perpetrators hadn’t been identified, but that police were investigating one suspect seen on security footage at the shrine. Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said the bombers had “targeted foreigners…to damage tourism and the economy. We will hunt them down.”
• It’s a very well-known shrine, dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, but is also visited by thousands of Buddhists each day. It’s next to a five-star hotel and there are three major shopping centers nearby. People around it were hit by the full force of the blast
• Who? Possibly Malay-Muslim insurgents in the south who’ve been fighting Thai rule – never targeted Bangkok. Possibly Muslim Uighurs. Last month more than 100 Uighurs were deported from Thailand to China – the deportation was widely condemned. Also, possibly could be tension within the military govt itself due to a promotion list out next month – all speculation
• A suspected grenade has been thrown from the Sathorn pier in Bangkok today, bouncing into the water. Police were reported on the scene and there were no reports of injuries (Bangkok Post)
South Sudan Leader Snubs Peace Deal (Reuters, NYT, BBC, TRNS, me)
• South Sudan President Salva Kiir failed to sign a peace deal proposed by regional leaders on Monday, saying he had “reservations” and required another two weeks, the mediator of the crisis said. Some South Sudanese women who participated in the negotiations were seen crying after Kiir said he wouldn’t sign. Others banged tables in disappointment
• South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, descended into chaos in December 2013 when a political row between Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar spiraled into armed conflict that reopened ethnic fault lines
• During his trip to Africa last month, President Obama convened a meeting of the region’s leaders to help press for an end to the fighting. He and the other leaders agreed to push the warring factions to sign a peace agreement by Monday and threatened both sides with sanctions or other measures if they didn’t comply
• Numerous rounds of negotiations have failed to end fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million, with both sides engaging in a war of attrition despite signing ceasefire deals. State Dept spox John Kirby said Monday the U.S. would “consider ways to raise the cost for intransigence” if Kiir didn’t accept the accord soon
• Rebel leader Machar signed the agreement and said he was satisfied with it. “We do not have reservations on the ceasefire. We have no reason to continue fighting,” he told a presser. “There is no reason why he
[Kiir] requested for more time. He has got a good agreement.”
• The Obama admin on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final approval it needs to drill into potential oil reserves beneath the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, now that the proper safety equipment – a “capping stick” – is on hand, designed to shut in a well during a blowout (Hill)


Planned Parenthood: Gains Traction (WSJ, me)
• Planned Parenthood appears to be gaining traction in its efforts to push back against videos targeting it, and state efforts to cut its funding. The Center for Medical Progress, which released undercover videos it says show PP profits from the sale of fetal tissue to medial researchers, is now under investigation in two states over the videos
• In addition, the Obama admin warned Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana that they might be in violation of federal law after moving to choke off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood
• At the same time, Planned Parenthood has been cleared of the group’s allegations in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota, four of the dozen or so states investigating its fetal tissue program. PP says only California, Oregon and Washington have programs where women can donate remains following an abortion, and all of those programs follow the law
• Abortion rights supporters have also alleged the antiabortion group lied to the IRS about its purpose when it applied for tax-exempt status. An IRS spox sad federal law prohibits the agency from discussing any kind of investigation. The Center for Medical Progress didn’t return calls seeking comment on this story

• Monday, Planned Parenthood filed a request for an emergency injunction in a Florida court after the state health agency order it to stop performing abortions that the state alleges occurred in the second trimester without a proper license. PP says it has followed state law and asked the court to find the action by the state health care agency illegal

• Leonard Robinson, a Maryland businessman, who thrilled thousands of sick children with his impersonation of Batman over more than a decade, was hit by a car and killed on Sunday on a highway in western Maryland. He made a fortune with a cleaning business and devoted his life and money to making children happy: Vid of how he became famous: Holy traffic stop! Batman (NYT)

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___________________Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Luke Vargas and Sydnee Fried contributed to this report

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