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: Obama sells deal at AU today

Iran deal: The WH’s big push

FBI probes Hillary Clinton’s email system

Fox News debate: Who’s in / who’s out

Senate cyber bill: Stuck?

Planned Parenthood: New video/states respond

Bush: “misspoke” on women’s health funding…

Baltimore brings in the feds: Shooting deaths

Poll: H Clinton weaker with white women

Iran: Obama Sells Deal at AU Today (NYT, WaPo, TRNS, me)

• An eloquent young president, elected with only brief experience in the Senate, is facing a nuclear weapons threat abroad and a chorus of criticism at home. So he chooses to make the short trip to American University to give a speech urging Americans to take a chance for peace and explore a weapons agreement with a country no one trusts

• In it, he calls for a “practical, more attainable peace” that is “the necessary rational end of rational men.” The president was John F. Kennedy, the year was 1963, and his purpose was to reach a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union just six months after the Cuban missile crisis

• There will be echoes of that Kennedy moment in a speech at AU in Washington today, when President Obama will seek to explain and defend the Iran nuclear deal reached last month, which would lift some sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon

• A WH official said Obama would call the congressional vote on the deal “the most consequential foreign policy debate since the decision to go to war in Iraq.” Obama will link the two, asserting that “the same people who supported war in Iraq are opposing diplomacy with Iran and that it would be an historic mistake to squander this opportunity.”

Iran Deal: The WH’s Big Push

• Obama will decamp to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend for his own two-week vacation – Congress will be gone for five weeks – and will have limited personal contact with wavering lawmakers, but “anyone who wants a phone call will get one,” one anonymous admin official said, of Obama and other senior admin officials

• Officials said Obama’s address today would be followed by a series of news media interviews that would be shown next week. And the admin intends to dispatch cabinet members, including Energy Sec Ernest Moniz, who helped negotiate the accord, to travel the country outlining its provisions

• The effort gained some momentum Tuesday as three key Democratic senators – Barbara Boxer (Calif), Tim Kaine (Va) and Bill Nelson (Fla) – declared their backing. But the highest-ranking Jewish Democrat in the House, Rep Steve Israel (NY) came out against the deal, also Democratic Reps Nita Lowey (NY) and Ted Deutch (Fla)

• Tuesday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told thousands of American Jews in a webcast, “As a result of this deal, there will be more terrorism, there will be more attacks and more people will die.”  He said, “This is the time to oppose this dangerous deal.”

• Obama and VP Joe Biden met privately Tuesday at the WH for about two hours with some 20 leaders of Jewish groups to try to allay concerns about the deal. Obama said that if the deal were to fall apart, he would likely face calls within three to six months to use military strikes to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon

• Raw vid: Chinese officials crack down on crosses – authorities in parts of China are believed to be under a two-month deadline to remove crosses from the spires, vaults, roofs and wall arches of the 4,000 or so churches that dot the landscape (very disturbing Christian persecution) (AP, me)

FBI Probes Hillary Clinton’s Email System: Security (WaPo, Reuters, me)

• The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary Clinton’s private email setup, contacting in the last week a Denver-based technology firm, Platte River Networks, that helped manage the unusual system, WaPo reports, citing two govt officials. At this point, the FBI probe is preliminary (drip drip drip)

• The FBI last week also contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work emails Clinton sent during her time as SecState (see Clinton story below on drop in polling support with white women: Chappaqua, we have a problem)

• Clinton’s use of her private email account linked to a server in her New York home for her work came to light in March and drew fire from political opponents who accused the Democratic presidential candidate of sidestepping transparency and record-keeping laws. She has said she used it for convenience

• At least four emails from the account used by Clinton while she was SecState contained classified info, according to a govt watchdog. Clinton has said she didn’t send or receive any secret info using that account. Nick Merrill, Clinton’s spox, declined to respond to detailed questions about the setup of the server or the FBI’s actions

• The server installed in her Chappaqua home as she was preparing to take office as SecState was originally used by her first campaign for the presidency in 2008. A staffer who was on the payroll of her political action committee set it up in her home. It wasn’t always reliable and crashed for days after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (dear oh dear)

Fox Debate: Who’s In / Who’s Out (NYT, WaPo, Politico, me)

• Gov John Kasich (Ohio) is in (temper) and former Gov Rick Perry (Texas) is out of Fox News’s Republican debate at 9 pm EDT Thursday night in Cleveland. The network announced the 10 candidates who will have a lectern spot for the main forum, which is expected to give an invaluable platform to the candidates involved

• The remaining seven will be part of an earlier forum, the “kiddies table,” airing at 5 pm that day. Fox News’s “decision desk,” which does its election night calls, sifted through five national polls, including the network’s own survey released late Monday, to select the top 10 candidates for the debate

• The process has been fraught with complaints. The current rules mean that a sitting governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and a sitting senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, will be relegated to the second-tier event, along with the only woman running

• Interactive: The Roster – Contenders in the first GOP Debate (NYT)

• Some critics complained that the national polls used to select the debate participants had too small a sample size, with too wide a margin of error, to adequately assess a candidate’s standing. “I don’t know why they didn’t just do one large poll of national voters,” said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush (more fun?)

• Jeff Miller, an adviser to Perry, said the former governor is “going to have a very thoughtful conversation about the country and what he thinks ought to be done for the opportunity for this country.” Plus: “There’s a good chance that 9 pm debate stage is going to be turned into a circus.” (one can only hope…)

• (1) Donald Trump 23.4; (2) Jeb Bush 12; (3) Scott Walker 10.2; (4) Mike Huckabee 6.6; (5) Dr Ben Carson 5.8; (6) Ted Cruz 5.4; (7) Marco Rubio 5.4; (8) Rand Paul 4.8; (9) Chris Christie 3.4; (10) John Kasich 3.2 / Kiddies Table: Rick Perry 1.8; Rick Santorum 1.4; Bobby Jindal 1.4; Carly Fiorina 1.3; Lindsey Graham 0.7; George Pataki 0.6;  Jim Gilmore 0.2

Senate Cyber Bill: Stuck? (Hill, Hill, me)

• The Senate may be on the verge of punting again on a long-stalled cybersecurity bill that supporters say is needed to bolster the nation’s failing digital defenses. According to several people with knowledge, senators are struggling to reach a deal to restrict floor debate and move CISA before the Senate’s month-long recess

• While Democrats had apparently settled on a list of roughly a dozen amendments to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, S.754, Republicans were still working Tuesday evening to determine which amendments they wanted to see the light of day. We may know early today. The WH on Tuesday endorsed the bill

• Meanwhile, Sen Ron Wyden (D-Ore), a chief privacy advocate, said Tuesday, that the bill didn’t go far enough, adding: “Dozens of cybersecurity experts have said that it wouldn’t do much to stop sophisticated large-scale attacks like the horrendous attack at the Office of Personnel Management.” (sooo – what’s the point, then?)

• Gumming up work dept: Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky) wants to tie a number of divisive / unrelated issues to the bill – including a measure to limit federal funding for immigration “sanctuary cities” and an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve. “I can’t imagine why that has anything to do with this bill,” remarked Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev)

• Reid accused counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) of playing politics (natch) with the issue. “It appears to me this is an effort just to stall so Sen McConnell can come out and say, ‘See, they killed cyber.'” Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “Obviously nothing happens around here without cooperation – we’re looking for that.” (g’ luck)

• Veep Joe Biden gave his first comments on the – new – wild speculation that he’ll run for president. Asked as he left the Oval Office if he’s going to run, he quipped to WSJ’s Carol Lee, “Only if you’re my running mate.” And that’s all, folks

Planned Parenthood: New Video/States Respond  (AP, CNN, me)

• A day after a vote to defund Planned Parenthood failed in the Senate, an antiabortion group, Center for Medical Progress, continued its attack on the organization, releasing the fifth edited video, showing footage of fetal organs being examined in a lab and a leader of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast discussing the cost of providing them to a company

• In response to the video, Gov Greg Abbott (R-Texas) said the state would aggressively investigate the matter and “must use all available legal remedies.” Gov Bobby Jindal (R-La) announced that the state would terminate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood due to the videos

• Massachusetts AG Maura Healey (D) said in a statement that a thorough week-long review found that Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts’ health care centers were in compliance with state and federal laws. “No evidence” that they are “involved in any way in the buying or selling of tissue. As such, our review is complete.”


• In mid-July, Gov Mike Pence (R-Ind) ordered his state health dept to do an investigation of Planned Parenthood to see whether clinics were violating the law by selling or disposing of fetal tissue illegally. “The investigation has concluded there was no evidence of this type of activity at these sites,” the Indiana dept of health said in a statement

• The latest video, like previous ones, is highly edited. It shows Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast discussing providing fetal tissues to actors who were posing as reps of a human biologics company. At the end of the video, it shows graphic footage of the lab, including organs

• “The latest tape has at least 20 substantial and unexplained edits,” said Dawn Laguens, PP’s executive VP. “Previous tapes released by this extremist group were heavily edited in order to distort what people on the tapes actually said. These videos are intended to shock and deceive the public.”

Bush: “Misspoke” on Women’s Health Funding Gaffe (Hill, me)

• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) says he “misspoke” when he said Tuesday, “You could take dollar for dollar – although I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues – but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine community health organizations that exist to provide quality care for women.”

• Bush was questioning the level of federal funding for women’s health services in the context of funding for Planned Parenthood, which receives $500,000 a year in federal funding. He was speaking at the Southern Baptist Forum. Planned Parenthood spends less than 3% of its funding on abortions – no federal funding goes to abortions

• Even his attempt to clarify caused confusion, with a statement circulated over email to reporters initially omitting the line that said he had misspoken. The campaign then appeared to pull down the statement. Then, minutes later, sent a second version to reporters that included the line

• Bush also said Planned Parenthood should be defunded and “the U.S. govt, or any govt, shouldn’t fund abortions.” The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when it’s necessary to save a mother’s life (so he just came out against saving a mother’s life? Or he “misspoke” again…)

• BTW, there’s 158 million women in the United States. That would work out at – if this actually was the funding, as Bush initially said – $3.15 per woman, per year. Would be interested to get a definition of what he means by “fully funded,” as he said in his corrective statement women’s health organizations need to be

• Ewww vid: Chris Christie in town hall: “I’m a Catholic but I’ve used birth control – and not just the rhythm method, OK? So, you know, my church has a teaching against birth control, um, does that make me an awful Catholic because I believe and practiced that function during part of my life? I don’t think so.” (TMI, Chris, waaay TMI)

Baltimore Brings in the Feds (CSM, AP, me)

• Baltimore’s crime rate has soared since an unarmed black man named Freddie Gray died in police custody in May, sparking riots across the city. In hopes to quell the violence, ten federal agents will join Baltimore’s local police force, to create the B-FED Task Force

• Special agents from the FBI, the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals’ Service and the U.S. Secret Service will work with local officers in what Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis describes as a “flipping of the script of sorts.”

• Baltimore has been dealing with an exceptional rise in violence this year. A total of 191 people have been killed so far, and at least 116 of them died between May and July following the Freddie Gray riots. The city had never before seen more than 40 killings within the span of two months

• AP, crime experts and residents of Baltimore’s most dangerous neighborhoods point to: “mistrust of the police; generalized anger and hopelessness over a lack of opportunities for young black men; and competition among dealers of illegal drugs, bolstered by the looting of prescription pills from pharmacies during the riot.”

• In New York, fatal shootings are up 20% this year and Milwaukee has seen triple-digit increases

• President Obama celebrated his 54th birthday Tuesday evening at Rose’s Luxury, DC’s hottest restaurant. Sigh of envy. People start queuing at around 2.30 pm for a 5.30 pm table. No reservations. Obama and his guests skipped the line… Rose’s Luxury was named best new restaurant in America last year by Bon Appetit magazine

Poll: Hillary Clinton Weaker With White Women (WSJ, me)

• A new WSJ/NBC News poll shows that Hillary Clinton is losing ground with white women and many other important slices of the electorate, amid a spate of reports about her email practices, speaking fees and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation – (may be OK in the primary, but a potential problem in the general)

• In June, 44% of white women had a favorable view of Clinton, compared to 43% who didn’t. In July, only 34% of white women saw her in a positive light, compared to 53% who had a negative impression of her, the poll found (and I don’t get these new ads of hers about her mother. says to me she doesn’t want to talk about herself. weird)

• It’s worrying for Team Clinton. She’s unlikely to match the African-American turnout that propelled President Obama to two presidential victories, so she has to make up the difference somewhere else. Women eager to see a woman in the WH is a logical group to target

• In the first three months of the year, suburban women by a margin of 18 points had a positive view of Clinton. In July, by a five-point margin, suburban women had a negative view of Clinton – dramatic downturn

• Her numbers are even down with African-Americans. In June, African-Americans had a positive view of her by a margin of 81% to 3%. In July, the comparable numbers were 66% positive, 15% negative. If African-American voters feel less enthused about Clinton, the largely Democratic bloc may be less inclined to vote – problems for the Democratic Party

• Vid: Kermit and Miss Piggy have split. Absolutely devastating. They released the same statements on their Twitter accounts saying they had been “squabbling.” They will go ahead with a new series of The Muppets aimed at adults – see promo video. (Think it might be a little bit tense on the set…) (BBC, me)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ William McDonald contributed to this report

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