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.

The Greek stock market has plunged 23% as trading resumed today after a five-week closure

News Now

  • Obama imposes tough climate rule
  • Climate rule: What they’re saying
  • Horse race: Fox News first GOP debate
  • Fox fight night: Pols positioning
  • Trump hires foreign workers
  • Iran deal: Getting intense
  • U.S. to defend new Syria force from Assad
  • Clinton document dump
  • Manhunt: Killer of Tennessee cop
  • WH will punish China: OPM digital theft
  • Another American: Another dead lion – illegal

Obama to Impose Tough Climate Rule (AP, Politico, me)

• At a WH event this afternoon, President Obama will announce even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants than previously expected, senior admin officials said Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming. Its success is pivotal to Obama’s climate legacy

•  A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, Obama said in a video on the WH Facebook page that the limits were backed up by decades of data showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma. Environmental groups cheered the toughened rule

• Opponents vowed to sue immediately. The National Mining Association lambasted the plan and planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have threatened not to comply. Multiple states’ AGs have pledged lawsuits, including those in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas (rule may not go anywhere fast)

• In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30% nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The final version will require a 25% cut. The final rule also give states an additional two years – until 2022 – to comply, yielding to complaints that the deadline was too soon

• But the admin will attempt to encourage states to take action earlier by offering credits to those that boost renewable sources like wind and solar in 2020 and 2021, officials said. Through the move, Obama is also working to increase his leverage and credibility with other nations whose commitments he wants for a global climate treaty to be finalized later this year in Paris
Climate Rule: What They’re Saying (Politico, me)
• “Some special interest critics will tell you that it can’t be done. They’ll say we have to focus on the economy at the expense of the environment. They’ll tell you EPA’s plan will turn the lights off and send utility bills through the roof,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy

• “But they are wrong,” she concluded, citing the EPA’s acid rain program in the 90’s as an example of a rule that kept electricity prices stable while improving the environment and health. “Over the next few days, we’ll hear the same tired plays from the same special interest playbook,” McCarthy said. Then it was off to the races

• “We believe it’s legally deficient on a number of fronts and believe it’s going to have a terrible impact on citizens across the country,” said West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey, one of several plaintiffs who won a Supreme Court victory this summer over an EPA mercury rule

• Washington should develop policies that are “good for our natural environment but

[also] policies that are good for our economy,” Sen Marco Rubio said. But “a lot of what these people are advocating for would … hurt our economy badly.” Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) dubbed the plan “irresponsible and overreaching.”

• High-level efforts to complete the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement ended without resolution Friday amid deep differences over trade in dairy, autos and pharmaceuticals, among other products. Officials said they would work further on a deal – without specifying a future meeting (WSJ)

Horse Race: Fox First GOP Debate (WSJ, Politico, me)
• Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rick Perry are fighting for the last two spots on the debate stage at Thursday’s Fox News debate after a new WSJ/NBC News poll Sunday. According to a Campaign Pro analysis, Christie and Kasich are tied for ninth, at 3.2%. Perry is outside of the top 10, in 11th place, at 2.6% (shows how ridiculous the criteria are)

• The new poll continues to show Donald Trump leading the field. Trump is at 19%, followed by Scott Walker at 15%, Jeb Bush 14% and Ben Carson 10%. The others now in the top 10 are Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio

• The top 10 isn’t fully set yet: Fox News will average the five most recent polls on Tuesday afternoon, the network has said. Monmouth University releases a new poll today and Fox News is expected to have a poll before the deadline as well (so basically Roger Ailes can pick and choose his polls depending on who he wants on stage lol)

• Candidates who don’t make the cut will be relegated to a separate forum to be held before the main event on Thursday, the Kiddies Table, as it’s becoming known – (may actually have a more serious debate on the issues – if one cares about that kind of thing, you know)

• Tonight, 7-9 pm EDT, C-Span Republican Candidates “Voters First Forum” in New Hampshire. Jack Heath of WGIR-AM radio in Manchester (highly talented and adroit host) will moderate. All candidates were invited. Sponsored by media outlets in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Going to be good
Fox Fight Night: Pols Position Themselves (CNN, me)
• “I don’t think I’m going to be throwing punches. I’m not looking to attack,” Donald Trump said of Thursday’s debate on ABC on Sunday. “Every attack I’ve made was a counterpunch. They attacked me first, and I hit them back – maybe harder than they hit me, but the fact is that I’ve been attacked pretty viciously by some of these guys.” (it’s all about Donald)

• “If I were in charge, I would probably break it into two days, and put half the candidates in one day and half in the other day, and I would randomly select who was in each day,” Ben Carson said on CNN on Sunday. (best idea so far) Rick Santorum said on ABC on Sunday that the reliance on national polls was “arbitrary.”

• Rick Perry said on Fox on Sunday, “I full well expect to be on the stage,” but he quickly added: “This is not a one-shot pony here, we’ve got a full campaign in front of us.” Chris Christie said on CNN Sunday, “Once you get on the stage it’s not going to matter whether you’re number one or five or 10.” (good point)

• Lindsey Graham said on NBC on Saturday, “When I’m in the first debate, which is the ‘Happy Hour debate,’ at five o’clock, start drinking. By nine o’clock, Donald may make sense to you, if you drink enough.” (he’s proving to be the best value GOP candidate for laughs – and not bad on substance, either)

• At the start of a session about strategy at a donor retreat for the very rich, billionaire Charles Koch on Sunday compared the efforts of his political network to the fight for civil rights and other “freedom movements.” The network aims to spend $889 million on issue advocacy, higher education grants and political activity by the end of next year (WaPo)

Trump Hires Foreign Workers (Reuters, me)
• Donald Trump is staking his run for president in part on a vow to protect American jobs. But this month, one of his companies, the elite Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida, applied to import 70 foreign workers to serve as cooks, wait staff and cleaners (none of those in the U.S.?). A Reuters analysis of U.S. Govt data reveals that this is business as usual

• Trump owns companies that have sought to import at least 1,100 foreign workers on temporary visas since 2000, according to Labor Dept data. Most of the applications were approved. The candidate’s foreign talent hunt included apps for an assistant golf course superintendent, an assistant hotel manager and a banquet manager

• No comment from the Trump campaign or a lawyer from Trump. “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” Trump boasted in announcing his candidacy 16 June. “I will bring back our jobs from China, Mexico and other places. I will bring back jobs and our money.”

• Trump generated notoriety and buzz by singling out Mexican immigrants in the U.S. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in the speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” – (he’s now No. 1 in the GOP polls… golf course superintendent – none of those in the U.S.?)


• The temporary work program through which Trump’s companies have sought the most workers, H-2B, brings in mostly workers from Mexico – more than 80% of admissions in 2013. Trump companies have sought at least 850 H-2B visa workers (breaking: assistant hotel managers don’t exist in the U.S.)

• The H-2B program, which received little govt oversight, is used by companies in sectors ranging from hospitality to forestry to hire foreign workers for temporary jobs. Companies must prove that the jobs are seasonal – and that they tried and failed to hire Americans (stop press: no banquet managers in the U.S.)

• U.S. govt watchdogs have criticized the H-2B and H-2A programs for years. in 2003, the Labor Dept IG said: “Abuses of these programs may result in economic harm to American workers and businesses, exploitation of foreign workers, and security risks associated with aliens who are admitted to this country by fraudulent means.”

• This year, the GAO published a report saying that workers in the country on H-2A and H-2B visas have experienced abuse, including being charged illegal recruiting fees, substandard housing and low pay. The Mar-a-Lago has sought the most foreign workers of the nine Trump businesses: 787 workers since 4006, according to the data
• Senate Republicans are likely to lose a procedural vote today on halting federal aid to Planned Parenthood. The effort follows the release of undercover, heavily edited videos by an anti-abortion group that aim to show that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissue, which is illegal, though donation of fetal tissue is legal (Reuters, me)
Iran Deal: Getting Intense (WSJ, Hill, Politico, Politico, TRNS, me)
• President Obama is intensifying his public campaign to win support for the nuclear deal with Iran. He’ll deliver a speech on Wednesday at American University in DC outlining his case in favor of the deal. The WH chose American because it’s where President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech about using diplomacy to confront the threat of nuclear war

• SecState John Kerry, in Egypt at the beginning of a Middle East tour, on Sunday said, “There can be absolutely no question that if the Vienna plan is fully implemented, it will make Egypt and all the countries of this region safer than they otherwise would be or were.”

• Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is under intense pressure to vote “no” on the nuclear deal. More than 10,000 people have flooded his office phone line in the past two weeks, organized by a group looking to kill the deal. “I haven’t made up my mind,” Schumer said. “There are expectations all over the lot.”

• Yukiya Amano, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors’ role in implementing the deal has become a flashpoint on Capitol Hill, will privately brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday

• The director-general’s visit to DC comes amid questions from many in Congress over separate agreements between Iran and the IAEA that are linked to the overall deal. Critics of the talks with Iran have cast the agreements as “secret side deals” and have demanded that their contents be revealed

• In Doha, SecState John Kerry met the Emir of Qatar this morning ahead of a separate meeting with FMs from the Gulf Cooperation Council. He’s expected to hold a presser later today. He’s also expected to meet with Russia’s FM Sergei Lavrov (al Jazeera)
U.S. to Defend New Syria Force from Assad (WSJ, me)
• President Obama has authorized using air power to defend a new U.S.-backed fighting force in Syria if it’s attacked by Syrian govt forces or other groups, raising the risk of the American military coming into direct conflict with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad

• U.S. officials said the decision ended a months-long debate over the role the American military should play in supporting its few allies on the battlefield in Syria. Admin officials had been deeply concerned that defending the Pentagon-backed force could inadvertently open the first open conflict with the Assad govt, which has denounced the U.S. program

• U.S. military officials played down the chances of a direct confrontation, at least in the near term. The newly trained force has committed to fighting ISIS, not the regime, and won’t be fielded in areas the regime controls. U.S. officials say they believe the regime won’t challenge the new force (got its own probs – said to only control 1/6 of the country now)


• The decision comes as the U.S. and Turkey discussed joints ops to clear a zone along the Turkish-Syrian border of ISIS militants. The U.S. and Turkey plan to send rebels they’re training into the zone as well as into other areas in northern Syria where ISIS holds territory

• Officials said another impetus for the decision was the recent insertion of the first group of Pentagon-trained fighters into northern Syria, where last week they were ambushed by al Qaeda linked fighters. The Pentagon was caught off guard by the Nusra Front’s assault on the force

• The Pentagon has struggled to recruit and vet rebels for the new program which it launched last year, in part because the U.S. is asking them to fight ISIS instead of Assad. Most rebels see the govt as their main enemy. U.S. military officials say fewer than 60 rebels have completed the training program and re-entered the fight; the Pentagon had hoped to train 3,000 by year’s end
• Hillary Clinton will begin a $2 million TV ad buy Tuesday in Iowa and New Hampshire, to define her candidacy ahead of a rush to GOP attack ads. The twin 60 second spots, “Family Strong” and “Dorothy” are biographical ads that depict Clinton as a fighter who will fight for voters (a bit syrupy) (NYT)
Clinton Document Dump (WSJ, WaPo, TRNS, me)
• Hillary Clinton released a flurry of docs Friday. The financial docs showed that Clinton and her husband earned $139 million in adjusted gross income over the past seven years, including $28 million last year, when they paid an effective tax rate of 35% – taxed as wages not investment income

• According to a Clinton aide, the disclosures were designed to demonstrate the campaign’s commitment to transparency, at a time when Clinton has faced criticism over secrecy. Clinton aides made a point of declaring that Clinton has now released more financial info than former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla)

• In a public letter, Clinton’s physician declared Clinton, 67, to be in “excellent physical condition,” saying she had overcome a blood clot discovered in her head after she suffered a concussion in late 2012. Clinton has a thyroid condition and seasonal allergies but is “fit to serve as president of the United States,” Dr Lisa Bardack said

• The State Dept released more than 1,000 emails from former SecState Hillary Clinton’s time in office on Friday. They show her and her staff engaged in the typical image making, policy making and political spinning of a major cabinet official with an eye on the presidency. No major bombshells in this batch (wonder if State’s holding the juicy ones back)

• State Dept investigators concluded this year that Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, was overpaid by nearly $10,000 because of violations of rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure as an official in the dept. Abedin has formally contested the ruling. Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is investigating

• VP Joe Biden and his associates have begun to actively explore a possible presidential campaign. He is said to be deeply moved by now deceased son Beau Biden’s desire for him to run, according to a bitchy column by NYT’s Maureen Dowd. VP also views some vulnerabilities with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He’s expected to decide by early September (NYT)

Manhunt for Killer of Tennessee Cop (Reuters, NYT, me)
• A manhunt was underway Sunday in Tennessee for a parolee suspected of fatally shooting a Memphis police officer who apparently interrupted a drug transaction when he stopped to investigate an illegally parked car, police said. He is the third Memphis police officer to be shot and killed during the past four years

• The slain policeman, Sean Bolton, 33. was confronted by the gunman and shot multiple times during a brief scuffle after the officer pulled up to the parked car and shined his spotlight on the vehicle, Memphis police said in a statement

• The gunman and another man who was in the driver’s seat of the car then fled on foot, and a citizen who found Bolton shot a short time later called for help on the officer’s radio. Fellow officers arriving on the scene discovered a small bag of marijuana and digital scales in the suspects’ car, surmising that Bolton had encountered the two men dealing drugs

• Bolton, a Marine Corps veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq and joined the Memphis police force in October 2010, was pronounced dead at a hospital. The driver of the parked car later turned himself in to authorities and has since been released without charge, police said

• A warrant was issued for the arrest of the suspected gunman, Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, charging him with first degree murder. The police statement said Wilbourn was on supervised release from prison, where he had been serving a 10-year sentence for bank robbery
WH Will Punish China for OPM Digital Theft (Hill, NYT, me)
• In a sudden reversal for the WH, the Obama admin has decided it will retaliate against China for orchestrating the devastating digital theft of over 22 million Americans’ personal info, NYT reported. Previously, the WH had indicated it might not even publicly blame China for the cyberattacks on the Office of Personnel Management

• “One of the conclusions we’ve reached is that we need to be a bit more public about our responses, and one reason is deterrence,” one senior admin official involved in the debate said. “We need to disrupt and deter what our adversaries are doing in cyberspace, and that means you need a full range of tools to tailor a response.”

• President Obama has been under mounting pressure to respond to the attacks. But the substance of the WH’s ultimate response is still in question. The admin apparently initially explored economic sanctions, similar to those levied on North Korea after Pyongyang was blamed for the attack on Sony Pictures

• “The analogy simply didn’t work,” a senior official said, because Beijing has leverage to impose counter-sanctions against major American businesses operating in China

• The DoJ is also reportedly exploring criminal charges against individuals or organizations behind the OPM hacks. In May 2014, the DoJ indicted five members of the Chinese military for hacking the U.S. But those charges were for commercial espionage, not govt intelligence espionage

• Pic: Images of endangered animals were projected onto the Empire State Building at night over the weekend to raise awareness about the plight of endangered species

Another American: Another Dead Lion – Illegal? (AP, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• Now there are two: Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused Dr Jan Casimir Seski of Murraysville PA of shooting a lion with a bow and arrow in April near Hwange National Park on land where it was not allowed. Landowner Headman Sibanda was arrested and is assisting police (what’s up with medical guys doing this?)

• Seski is a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Also an active big-game hunter, according to bow-hunting sites where kill shots identify “Dr Jan Seski” standing next to slain animals including elephants, a hippo, an ostrich and various antelopes (hippo – really??)

• “This Zimbabwe elephant is the sixth African elephant shot by Dr Jan Seski,” Alaska Bowhunting Supply claims in a September 2014 caption, below a pic of the doctor posing above the dead animal’s trunk and tusks (six – and they’re endangered – that has to be a crime somewhere)

• Inevitable: An animal psychic, Karen Anderson, claims to have connected with Cecil (course she does), who told her: “Let not the actions of these few men defeat us or allow darkness to enter our hearts. If we do then we become one of them. Raise your vibration and allow this energy to move us forward.” (no he said Grrrr Rrrrr) (Vox, me)
• “The arrow was shot quartering into the elephant, penetrated a rib and one lung, lacerated the heart and liver, and was recovered in the gut. The elephant went a short distance and died.” (oh God)  “With results like this, no wonder Jan is a firm supporter of our Ultra-Magnum Arrow System.” (feel nauseous) No comment from Alaska Bowhunting Supply on Sunday to AP (I’ll bet)

• Zimbabwean authorities seek the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, alleging he lacked authorization to kill Cecil the lion. The WH says it will respond to the petition calling for Palmr’s extradition – over 226,000 signatures now. Zimbabwe has suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the Hwange area

• In DC, Sen Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Trophies Act, which would expand import bans to species proposed for listing as threatened or endangered, as well as those already listed as endangered
• RIP Liverpool icon, British pop star and TV personality Cilla Black, who has died aged 72. Discovered working in the cloakroom of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, her musical talent was spotted by the Beatles and she was signed by manager Brian Epstein. She had a string of hits starting in 1964 with “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “You’re My World

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Victoria Jones

TRNS’ Justin Duckham, Nicholas Salazar, William McDonald and Anna Merod contributed to this report

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