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

  • CNN wants combat in tonight’s GOP debate
  • Biden: Trump’s message “sick”
  • Senate Dems block vote to reject Iran deal: Again
  • Obama to warn biz leaders on govt shutdown
  • Obama admin to Congress: Shift wildfire funding
  • Will Oklahoma execute innocent man today?
  • Russian moves in Syria flummox US
  • Crucial Fed meeting today: Interest rates?

CNN Wants Combat in Tonight’s GOP Debate (NYT, me)

• The Republican presidential hopefuls have sneered at and clashed with each other since the last debate, with distant taunts and tweeted insults. Now CNN/Salem Media, who host the second clash at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley Calif tonight, want to get the candidates to engage with one another in person and on camera

• Very different from the Fox News debate, which relied on three moderators to ask tough questions. “Let’s draw the contrasts between the candidates, and have them fight it out over these policies,” said Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, who is moderating. (format favors the loud mouth and bully – hmm – who?)

• “Our whole approach is sparking a debate,” said Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, who, along with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, will also be onstage asking questions. “Let the debate be a debate.” (risk is they’re all measuring themselves against Trump – so he’ll still be the centerpiece) – debate schedule here

• “Jake Tapper is going to do whatever he can to get the candidates to go after each other,” said a strategist advising one of the candidates. “If somebody is knocked out, CNN will be happy. In the first debate, the moderators controlled the candidates; in this debate, the candidates will have to moderate themselves.”

• Unlike the first debate, the stage tonight is intimate, with an audience of roughly 400, sitting just feet from the candidates. And CNN will ask the audience not to cheer or boo during the actual debate (Trump won’t go for that – he desperately wants an adoring audience – and will the audience obey CNN? grab the popcorn)

• A new NYT/CBS News poll finds 39% of Republican primary and caucus voters view Donald Trump as their best shot at winning the presidency, compared with 26% in August. Only 15% said they wouldn’t back him. Ben Carson rose to 23%; he had 6% early last month (NYT)


Biden: Trump’s Message “Sick” (Reuters, AP, me)
• VP Joe Biden lashed out at GOP front-runner Donald Trump on immigration on Tuesday. “This isn’t about Democrat – Republican. It’s about a sick message. This message has been tried on America many times before. We always, always, always, always overcome,” Biden said
• Biden told his guests that he had seen Trump talking on TV just before speaking to the poolside cocktail party, and decided to cast aside remarks his staff had prepared recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month. He accused Trump of reverting to “xenophobia” to win the 2016 nomination
• Biden, a Catholic, said: “Watch the response that Pope Francis gets.” He called the pontiff “the single most popular man in the world.” As Biden closed his remarks, participants yelled “Run, Joe Run.” “Oh, no, no, no, no,” Biden said, brushing their cheers aside – and offering no clues about his plans (Bidenworld says he may not decide until late Oct/early Nov)
• In what was billed as a major national security address on Tuesday, Trump gave a 14-minute speech that appealed to veterans and railed against illegal immigration. He made glancing references to Iran and never mentioned ISIS, and didn’t say how he’d pay for his plans (unusual for him to give short speech – usually rambles, meanders – is he learning? hmm. intriguing)
• “We have illegal immigrants that are treated better by far than our veterans,” Trump declared. “It’s not going to happen anymore.” “There’s tremendous crime, there’s tremendous drugs pouring across the border. We’re going to build a wall.”


• A South Carolina judge is set to hear arguments today on whether to release 911 calls and other documents in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church. News organizations are challenging a judge’s order preventing attorneys from discussing the case and preventing the release of calls and docs (AP)
Senate Dems Block Vote to Reject Iran Deal: Again (NYT, Politico, TRNS, me)
• Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked another vote on a resolution disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal – if it feels like Groundhog Day – that’s because it was. There was a vote last week
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) had called for a second vote despite howls from Democrats that it was a waste of time. Sure enough, 42 Democrats – the same number as last week – teamed to prevent the resolution from advancing
• Not one to give up, McConnell announced plans to force a vote on an amendment that would bar President Obama from lifting economic sanctions against Iran unless Tehran released American prisoners and recognized Israel as a state – idea is to punish and embarrass Democrats. The vote could take place Thursday morning
• Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) called the new twist by McConnell a “charade.” “The Republicans have lost. They lost this measure. And we should move on to something else,” Reid said


• Flash floods have killed at least 16 people in Utah, with one person still missing. Twelve of 16 people in two vehicles swept away Monday by a wall of water in Hildale were killed. Three children survived. Hildale once served as a home base for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, believed to have up to 70 wives (BBC)
Obama to Warn Biz Leaders on Govt Shutdown (Hill, Hill, Hill, me)
• President Obama will take questions today at a meeting of the Business Roundtable, where he’ll call on Congress to pass govt funding bills that raise spending caps. “Republicans need to do the job voters asked them to do” and prevent a govt shutdown, WH spox Josh Earnest said Tuesday
• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) on Tuesday pressured Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to start negotiating a budget deal. “We have a looming govt shutdown. The Republican leader has already wasted far too much time dithering and doing nothing on that,” Reid said
• Lawmakers have until 30 Sept to pass legislation to fund the govt, with a short-term spending bill widely expected. Reid noted that leaves nine days the Senate is expected to be in session until the end of the month. Top Senate Democrats have called for months for negotiations and say a deal must equally increase defense and nondefense spending – GOP says no
• Reid added that the budget must be “clean” and that Democrats won’t support policy riders, most notably a House-led push to defund Planned Parenthood. “That’s a nonstarter and the Republican leader rightfully acknowledged that,” Reid said. The WH has said it’s open to a short-term funding bill
• But – but – thirty one House Republicans have backed blocking any spending bill that funds Planned Parenthood because of heavily edited, misleading undercover videos that have been released by an anti abortion group alleging PP sells fetal tissue for profit. PP says it does not. The House Oversight Committee has now subpoenaed the unedited footage
• Jon Stewart and 100 first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks will rally on Capitol Hill today to call on Congress to extend healthcare and compensation benefits for victims of the attacks. Two programs that provide care are set to expire soon (Hill)
Obama Admin to Congress: Shift Wildfire Funding (Hill, TRNS, me)
• Top Obama admin officials are calling on Congress to change the way the govt allocates funds for fighting wildfires as western states deal with one of the most destructive seasons on record (seems like a loopy system – read on)
• In a letter to Sen Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Agriculture Sec Tom Vilsack, Interior Sec Sally Jewell and OMB Director Shaun Donovan said this year’s fire season is proving to be “disastrous” with more than 8.5 million acres burned
• Currently, Congress doesn’t treat wildfires as natural disasters in which lawmakers can suddenly allocate emergency funding (huh?). Instead, the Forest Service has to rely on money Congress appropriates in advance, when it can’t foresee forest fires. Jewell told reporters the system was “crazy.”
• As a result, the Forest Service has been forced to transfer money that was intended for efforts to prevent wildfires (!) and for forest restoration projects in order to fight fires. Monday, the Forest Service told Congress that it has to transfer another $250 million, bringing the total amount transferred this year to $700 million
• The Obama admin wants Congress to prevent those transfers by allowing the Forest Service access to a disaster fund. In August, the Forest Service released a report that warned that the govt might have to spend $2 billion a year suppressing wildfires within the next decade (stunning numbers)


• California authorities say 585 homes were known to be destroyed in the wildfires and the number was expected to increase. Another 9,000 structures remained threatened. The Lake County fire and another blaze about 120 miles southeast have displaced 23,000 people – worst of about a dozen burning in the state (AP)


Will Oklahoma Execute Innocent Man Today? (AP, Fox 25, Guardian, Intercept, me)
• A death row inmate maintained his innocence Tuesday on the eve of his execution in Oklahoma, while his lawyers went to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals with what they said was new evidence supporting claims that he was framed (this sounds horrifyingly legit)
• Richard Glossip, 52, is scheduled to be executed this afternoon. He was convicted of ordering the 1997 beating death of Barry Van Treese, who owned the motel where Glossip worked. Glossip’s lawyers say they have uncovered new details, including a signed affidavit from an inmate who served time with Justin Sneed, who was convicted of fatally beating Van Treese
• Sneed was the prosecution’s key witness and testified that Glossip masterminded the killing because he was afraid Van Treese was about to fire him for embezzling money and poorly managing the motel. Sneed was sentenced to life in exchange for his testimony


• Fellow inmate Michael Scott said he heard Sneed say “he set Richard Glossip up, and that Richard Glossip didn’t do anything.” A separate affidavit from a San Francisco law professor says Sneed gave eight different versions of the murder, four of them under interrogation
• Gov Mary Fallin (R) turned down an appeal Tuesday. Among Glossip’s supporters is actress Susan Sarandon, who played a nun in the film “Dead Man Walking.” The woman Sarandon portrayed, anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean, serves as Glossip’s spiritual adviser and plans to attend his execution
• Oklahoma County DA David Prater, who didn’t try the case, said he’s reviewed boxes of evidence and is convinced of Glossip’s guilt. He denounced claims that Glossip is innocent as a “bullshit PR campaign.” Fox 25 in Oklahoma on Tuesday discovered that an entire box of evidence was destroyed in 1999
• Glossip’s execution is scheduled for 3 pm today. Dept of Corrections spox Terri Watkins said the time was moved from 6 pm so the process didn’t disrupt a shift change and meal time at the prison, and so that the media and execution witnesses would be off the prison grounds before dark (could you try to be more callous, Terri? work on it a little bit?)


• President Obama said Tuesday, during a meeting with Spanish King Felipe VI: “I discussed the fact that the U.S. feels that it is important for us to also take our share of Syrian refugees as part of this overall humanitarian effort.” Tuesday, Hungary sealed off its border with Serbia and began detaining refugees under a new strict law (WSJ)


Russian Moves in Syria Flummox US (AP, NYT, TRNS, CNN, me)
• SecState John Kerry on Tuesday made his third phone call to Russian FM Sergei Lavrov in the last 10 days, the State Dept said, seeking to clarify the intent of Moscow’s military buildup in Syria, and warning that ongoing aid to President Assad will only prolong the conflict (they’re baffled)
• Kerry’s call came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his military assistance to Assad’s govt and said it’s impossible to defeat ISIS without cooperating with Damascus and urged other countries to join the cause
• Kerry will travel later this week for talks to include the situation in Syria with British foreign secretary Phillip Hammond and the FM of the UAE, State said. Assad today is blaming Western nations for the refugee crisis because “it supported terrorism.” (sure, Europe barrel bombed them…)
• At the WH, spox Josh Earnest said President Obama might reach out to Putin by phone in the coming days and wouldn’t rule out a meeting of the two leaders later this month at the UN General Assembly. However, admin officials made clear that Kerry was in the lead on conversations with Russia about Syria
• The Obama admin has been perplexed by Russia’s ramped up support for Assad, which includes about a half dozen battle tanks delivered in recent days. Earnest told reporters that “the decision making process in that country
[Russia] is rather opaque,” adding that Moscow has long used Syria as a “client state.”


• Following reports in NYT and Daily Beast that the Pentagon’s IG has opened an investigation into a complaint made by intel analysts at CENTCOM that senior military officers have manipulated the conclusions of their reports on the war against ISIS to paint a rosier picture, Gen Lloyd Austin, the commander of CENTCOM, will testify today before the Senate Intelligence Committee – lively one (NYT)
Crucial Fed Meeting Today: Interest Rates? (Fortune, Bloomberg, WaPo, Fortune, Quartz, me)
• The Federal Reserve’s two-day September meeting begins today. Fed officials will decide to either raise interest rates for the first time in years, or delay the move for several more months. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said she expects the central bank will take that step this year. Backdrop: possible govt shutdown and debt ceiling limit looming (soo – up for grabs)
• Bloomberg argues in favor, saying raising interest rates would generate at least a trillion dollars annually, if not more, for fixed-income investors and a possible boost of 6% to GDP. The average American wouldn’t likely suffer because credit card interest rates average 13% and, given a likely flattening of the yield curve, mortgage rates would barely increase
• Larry Summers in WaPo argues against, saying that monetary policy should seek to avoid major surprises. Now, the fed funds market is assigning only a 28% chance to a Sept tightening. In the last 20 years, the Fed has never tightened without guiding the futures market to at least 1 70% chance of a tightening – would be a huge shock at a highly uncertain time
• Meanwhile, a Bank of America report last Wednesday stated that the Fed has never raised interest rates during times when the market has been as rocky as it has been lately. And China’s slowdown is also worrying some central bank officials. U.S. stocks were up an average of about 1.2% Tuesday – Asia stocks are up this morning
• In the last decade, pretty much every rule, technique and guideline the Fed once relied on has been drastically rewritten, revamped or removed. One analyst said, when the Fed tries to raise interest rates: “Their actions will entail the largest monetary policy experiment in human history.” Nobody has a clue. Just the way the Fed likes it


• A s#itstorm has hit Dallas. 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a fan of robotics club in school, brought in a homemade clock he’d made from scratch. Oh no! The teacher naturally thought it was a bomb. Led out of school in handcuffs. Authorities still investigating. White kid makes clock = genius / Muslim kid makes clock = terrorist – #IStandWithAhmed

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ William McDonald, Ebony Romero and Washington Desk contributed to this report


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