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.

“It ain’t over till it’s over” – Yogi Berra, master Yankee catcher, dies at 90 (fantastic NYT obituary here)
 
News Now
  • Popemania hits: Francis lands in US
  • Pope’s Washington schedule
  • Clergy child sex abuse: Elephant in room
  • Senate starts shutdown scramble
  • Xi pushes China/US business
  • Clinton opposes Keystone pipeline – at last
  • FBI finds personal Clinton emails
  • Petraeus rips Obama’s Middle East strategy
  • Trump threatens suit against Club for Growth
  • Volkswagen’s emissions fraud: Now 11 million cars

 

Popemania Hits: Francis Lands in USA (NYT, AP, WaPo, TRNS, me)

• The pope of the poor arrived for his first ever visit to the world’s wealthiest superpower Tuesday. Pope Francis arrived from Cuba at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where President Obama and his wife and daughters paid him the rare honor of meeting him at the bottom of the stairs on the red-carpeted tarmac
 
• Emerging from the aircraft to loud cheers from a crowd of hundreds, the smiling 78-year-old pontiff removed his skullcap in the windy weather and made his way down the steps in his white robes. Eschewing a limo, the pope climbed into the back of a little Fiat sandwiched between huge black SUVs. He promptly rolled down the windows so the crowds could see him
 
• On the plane, Francis told reporters, “I am certain that I have never said anything beyond what is in the social doctrine of the church.” He said some may have misinterpreted his writings in a way that makes him sound “a little bit more left-leaning” but said that’s wrong.” “If I have to recite the Creed, I’m ready,” he joked (pre-emptive swipe at the right?)
 
• Several liberal House Democrats released short videos Tuesday beseeching Francis to address climate change, immigration and poverty in his speech to Congress. On the other side of the aisle, abortion opponents were hoping that Francis would help lift their bid to impose new limits on the procedure and cut off funding for Planned Parenthood
 
• Yet Francis may also make points that challenge both parties, particularly if he repeats his condemnation of what he sees as the excesses of globalization and capitalism. And he may discomfort both the WH and Congress if he urges them to do more to help the Syrian refugees flooding through Europe. He won’t address the Cuba embargo, he has said

• Interactive with maps: Pope Francis’s complete schedule for U.S. visit (NYT)

 

Pope’s Washington Schedule (NYT, TRNS, me)
• Francis is scheduled to attend an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the WH this morning, with about 15,000 people gathered. He’ll meet President Obama in the Oval Office alone for about 45 minutes, while VP Biden and SecState Kerry meet separately with the Vatican SecState (controversy is that gays and transgenders will be in the crowd) Vine: 5.10 am TODAY outside WH – it’s crazy crowds (Yahoo Politics)!
 
• After leaving the WH, Francis will lead a brief parade in his popemobile around the Ellipse and hold prayers at St Matthew’s Cathedral. This afternoon, he’s scheduled to celebrate Mass for about 30,000 people at the Basilica at Catholic University and canonize Rev Junipero Serro, a Spanish-born Franciscan friar (controversy: no second miracle and brutalization of American Indians)
 
• The centerpiece of the pope’s stay in DC will be his address to a joint session of Congress – a first in American history – on Thursday morning at 9.20 am ET at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), a Catholic (get out hankies)
 
• About 15,000 people have been invited to the West Lawn of the Capitol, where they’ll be able to watch the pope’s address on large TV screens and perhaps catch a glimpse of him waving from the speaker’s balcony

 

• The story going around – it’s on Drudge – that President Obama was late for Pope Francis’s arrival is incorrect. The arrival ceremony was scheduled for 4 pm, according to the official WH schedule, and the pope’s plane was going to land early, so it circled
 
Clergy Child Sex Abuse: Elephant in the Room (LAT, TRNS, me)
• Although Pope Francis has moved to prevent and punish clergy child sexual abuse, victims say the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. continues to fight proposed laws that would allow the prosecution of crimes committed long ago
 
• The pope has addressed the scandal publicly, promising “zero tolerance” for predatory priests. He recently created an advisory Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which includes two abuse victims, and at the commission’s request, created a tribunal to judge bishops accused of covering up or failing to act in cases of child sex abuse by priests
 
• Juneau Bishop Edward Burns, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, said they have followed the pope’s directive to expand abuse prevention and outreach. “We are striving to do everything we can to reach out to those who have been abused,” Burns said
 
• Burns said the church doesn’t categorically oppose extending statues of limitations for filing child sex abuse cases. But he said the limits exist for a reason – because evidence and witnesses disappear over time – and any extensions should apply to cases brought against all institutions, not just the church (weak reason)
 
• The pope isn’t scheduled to meet with U.S. victims of clergy sex abuse, although such a meeting likely wouldn’t be announced in advance out of respect for victims’ privacy, Burns said. Anne Barrett-Doyle, co-director of Bishop Accountability, which maintains the largest database of clergy sex abuse records outside the Vatican, said: “Rumor has it he will meet with victims.”

 

• EU leaders meeting in Brussels today are set to approve a plan to relocate 120,000 refugees across the continent, despite fierce opposition from some members. President Obama said all European states should accept their “fair share” of asylum seekers, after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (BBC)
 
Senate Starts Shutdown Scramble (Politico, TRNS, me)
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) made his first – risky – moves Tuesday to avoid a lapse in federal funding on 1 Oct. He set up a Thursday vote that would fund the govt through 11 Dec while gutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and boosting defense spending by $13 billion – conservatives want that (won’t get it…)

 

• That legislation will fail due to Democratic opposition, allowing McConnell to argue that Senate Republicans tried the hard-line tactic proposed by Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), but it couldn’t pass. McConnell could then turn to a “clean” funding bill that Democrats have promised to support (if it’s clean – “no riders”)
 
• There’s a growing consensus that the GOP-controlled Senate, which wanted to wait to see what kind of funding bill the House could pass, will have to move first on averting a govt shutdown. The House isn’t in session until Thursday, when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will huddle with his caucus to decide on a Senate bill or a more aggressive plan
 
• A clean CR will draw heavy fire from conservatives who are urging a confrontation over Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos disclosed officials allegedly discussing sale of fetal body parts (videos were doctored). But McConnell has long assumed that most of the hard-liners would have opposed his plan, anyway
 
• By moving first, the Senate has more time to clear the procedural hoops in the chamber – allotting only a few days before a shutdown to throw the funding hot potato into the House’s lap. The move would put the onus on the House to prevent a federal shutdown. It would also make it harder for Cruz and his krew to gum up the works (best laid plans…)
 
• But there’s no guarantee the House will accept what the Senate sends over. Or that Cruz won’t fight McConnell tooth and nail. Republicans don’t know exactly how it will all unfold. In the House, it’s possible that only an imminent deadline and Democratic support can avert a shutdown under the watch of the embattled speaker (grab the popcorn)

 

• A total of 17.6 million people have gained coverage under Obamacare, according to a revised govt estimate released Tuesday. The newest figure, based on national survey data, shows that 1.2 million more people had signed up for healthcare over the last five years than previously thought (Hill)
 
Xi Pushes China/US Business (AP, me)
• When Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a meeting in Seattle today of some of the top names in Chinese and American business, they may be most interested in what he says about progress towards a treaty between the nations that would provide a framework for broader investment in each other’s economy
 
• Apple Chief Exec Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett and Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba are among the 30 top execs attending a closed-door discussion being moderated by former U.S. Treasury Sec Henry Paulson
 
• All of the American CEOs participating signed a letter to President Obama and Xi urging them to support an agreement. A deal with China would open up more of that nation’s massive market to American companies, provide clearer rules for Chinese investment in the U.S., and create jobs on both sides, supporters say
 
• Xi arrived in Seattle Tuesday for three days before he travels to DC later this week. Notable absences at today discussion were reps from Twitter, Facebook and Google. Those companies’ websites are blocked in China
 
• At his speech Tuesday evening, Xi said China and the U.S. could work together to address cybercrime, a problem that has sparked mutual tension. He said China was a staunch defender of cyber security, but it had also been a victim of hacking. American officials say hacking attacks originating from China are approaching epidemic levels

 

• Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli said Tuesday that his company will lower the price of Daraprim, which had jumped 5000% in a day, after his company raised the price when he bought the drug. He cited “anger” from consumers. Shkreli called a reporter “irrelevant” and a “moron” on Twitter on Monday when he asked Shkreli to explain the price hike (WaPo)
 
Clinton Opposes Keystone Pipeline (WaPo, Politico, TRNS, me)
• Hillary Clinton came out against the Keystone oil pipeline Tuesday, saying it was time to state her opinion because the review process was taking too long. “I oppose it,” she said in response to a question from a supporter in Iowa, “because I don’t think it’s in the best interests of what we need to do to combat climate change.”
 
• The State Dept is responsible for issuing a cross-border permit for pipelines and the project application was pending throughout Clinton’s tenure as secstate. But her opposition comes just as Pope Francis arrives in the U.S., carrying among other things his message that climate change is an important issue to address (that’s the reason + meeting with Des Moines Register)
 
• Her opposition also puts her alongside her leading primary opponent, Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and in line with senior campaign aide John Podesta, an outspoken foe of the pipeline project. The TransCanada pipeline would carry 800,000 barrels a day of think bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to the gulf coast in Texas
 
• “It’s about time,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action, the political arm of the environmental group. “Now we need Pres Obama to finally deny the Keystone XL pipeline permit. And we need Sec Clinton to use her Keystone XL test to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” (there was no reason for her to wait on this if she fervently believed – was caution)
 
• A January CBS News poll found 60% of Americans in favor of building the pipeline while 28% were opposed. The oil industry has successfully portrayed the project as an important creator of jobs, though most of those jobs would last a year or two while the permanent number would be fewer than 40

 

• A federal judge on Tuesday scolded Obama admin lawyers for dragging their feet in handing over emails from Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills from their time at State. There are more than 30 lawsuits against State for FOIA requests for emails. “Everyone works weekends and nights,” on the issue, a govt lawyer told the judge (Hill, me)

 

FBI Finds Personal Clinton Emails (Bloomberg, NYT, Politico, me)
• FBI investigators have recovered work-related and personal emails that Hillary Clinton said had been deleted from the server that housed the personal account she used exclusively when she was secretary of state, according to two anonymous govt officials, Bloomberg News reported (here we gooo + more Benghazi emails have shown up – not been turned over)
 
• The FBI is looking into how classified info was handled in connection with the account. It wasn’t clear whether the entire trove of roughly 60,000 emails had been found on the server, but one official said it hadn’t been very hard for the FBI to recover the messages
 
• Clinton and her lawyer have said that the server’s contents were deleted last year after her aides determined which were personal and which were work-related and should be provided to the State Dept. In March, a House committee asked Clinton to give the server to a third party to determine whether she had turned over all of the work-related emails
 
• Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, said in response to the request that there was no reason to hand over the server because there was nothing on it. He said that after Clinton’s aides had reviewed the emails, a setting on the server was changed so that only emails sent in the previous 60 days would be retained (why would you even do that?)
 
• But in August, Clinton authorized her aides to hand the server to investigators. Computer forensic experts have said that if the change in the server was the only measure taken, it would be fairly easy for FBI agents who specialize in recovering deleted info from computers to retrieve the messages
 
Chastened Petraeus Rips Obama’s Middle East Strategy (Politico, Hill, me)
• Retired Army Gen David Petraeus returned to the public spotlight Tuesday. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he made a “serious mistake” when he shared classified into with his mistress – a security breach that led to his sentencing earlier this year to two years of federal probation and a $100,000 fine
 
• Then: “If America is ineffective or absent in the face of the most egregious violations of the most basic principles of the international order that we have championed, our commitment to that order is inevitably questioned and further challenges to it are invited. When the U.S. does not take the initiative, others will fill the vacuum, often in ways that are harmful to our interests.”
 
• On Syria, Petraeus said the U.S. must commit to protect civilians and rebel forces from President Assad, explaining that Assad’s attacks on civilians have been a driver of the radicalization fueling ISIS and the current refugee crisis. Also, the U.S. must make Assad stop the use of barrel bombs, even if it means stopping his air force from flying
 
• Petraeus called for the “establishment of enclaves” in Syria “protected by coalition airpower” where a moderate force of Sunni rebels could be supported and where displaced persons could take refuge. He said the crisis in Syria was “spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world.” (he’s not wrong)
 
• On Iraq, Petraeus, who was the architect of the so-called surge in Iraq that helped stabilize the country, said the U.S. must step up its support for Iraqi Security Forces, Sunni tribal forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. He said U.S. advisers should be embedded in Iraqi units down to the brigade HQ level

 

• Retired Marine Gen John Allen, who was picked by President Obama last year to lead a global coalition fight against ISIS, will step down from his post in early Nov. Allen is said to be frustrated with the way the WH is micromanaging the war effort. The decision comes mainly from the health of his wife, however (Politico, me)
 
Trump Threatens Suit Against Club for Growth (NYT, TPM, Politico, Hill, me)
• Donald Trump is hitting back at the Club for Growth, threatening to sue the conservative organization unless it stops running ads asserting that he wants to raise taxes. Trump’s lawyer wrote to the group’s president David McIntosh, accusing it of trying to damage Trump’s reputation by lying about his policies (pretty sure you can say almost anything in a political campaign)
 
• The threat comes a week after the group started a $1 million ad campaign that portrays Trump as a disingenuous politician who intends to impose a huge tax increase if he becomes president. The two ads highlight Trump’s past statements that he identifies as a Democrat and that he has supported using eminent domain to take private property (ouch ouch)
 
• Trump’s lawyer’s letter says he would be releasing his tax plan this week (hastily finalized…). It reminds McIntosh that he had previously solicited Trump for a $1 million donation in exchange for political support – says he refused. “I am not surprised the dishonest, irrelevant and totally failing Club for Growth has resorted to attacking the definitive front-runner.” (pow)
 
• The Club for Growth promptly shot back that Trump actually “asked for that mtg & then asked for races he could support. Thought he could buy us off. Worst Kind of Politician.” (zap)
 
• McIntosh said in a statement, “Tough guy Donald Trump starts whining when his liberal record is revealed. Trump had advocated higher taxes numerous times over the years, just like he’s advocated for universal health care. … They will continue to run. We suggest that Donald grow up, stop whining, and try to defend his liberal record.” (ooh calling him Donald – knock-out)
 
 

• This is very good: An animation of the GOP primary campaign as a literal horse race – watch the Trump and Fiorina horsies surge and Walker’s drop out – fascinating (Slate)

 
Volkswagen’s Emissions Fraud: Now 11 Million Cars (Slate, NYT, NYT, AP, me)
• Volkswagen’s consumer and pollution fraud crisis expanded to astounding levels Tuesday when VW announced that 11 million of its cars were fitted with diesel engines that had been designed to cheat emissions standards. On Friday came the stunning news that nearly 500,000 VW cars told in the U.S. had been outfitted with these engines and need recalling
 
• The company said it plans to set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to confront the problem. NYT reported the company made 12.7 billion euros in profit last year. Its stock tanked by around 20% for a second straight day on Tuesday
 
• Cars affected in the U.S. include Golf, Passat, Jetta and Beetle models from 2009-2015 equipped with 2-liter diesel engines. The engines had software that would recognize emissions evaluations and turn on an emission control system during the regulatory tests, but kept them off during driving, spewing smog-causing nitrogen oxide (ingeniously appalling)
 
• VW didn’t immediately say where else the other cars have been sold – many thought to be in Europe. VW admitted the fraud only when the EPA took the extraordinary action of threatening to withhold approval for the company’s 2016 VW and Audi diesel models, according to letters sent to company officials by the EPA and Calif regulators
 
• VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized Tuesday. “I am endlessly sorry that we have disappointed this trust. I apologize in every way to our customers, to authorities and the whole public for the wrongdoing.” VW has yet to explain who installed the software, under what direction, and why (why – exactly – what to gain? So strange)
 
• “They’re not valid in God’s eyes, for one,” Kentucky clerk Kim Davis said of licenses her staff has begun issuing. “I have given no authority to write a marriage license. They did not have my permission, they did not have my authorization.” She has removed the county’s and her names from the licenses. The ACLU has filed to hold her in contempt and four couples want their licenses reissued (USA Today, NYDN, me)

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ William McDonald, Luke Vargas, Justin Duckham and Nicholas Salazar contributed to this report

 

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