Mornings on the Mall 02.08.18

Barbara Larrimore, Susan Ferrechio, Steve Kastenbaum, Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and guest host Hans Von Spakovsky joined WMAL on Thursday!

Mornings on the Mall

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hosts: Hans von Spakovsky and Vince Coglianese

Executive Producer: Heather Hunter

5am – A/B/C Q&A With Guest Host Hans von Spakovsky


  • Parents lobby for more recess in Virginia schools (Inside Nova) — Barbara Larrimore started pushing last year to earn more recess for kids in Prince William County schools, only to find that she would need some help in Richmond to make real progress. Now, as the General Assembly’s 2018 session heats up, she may very well have the support she needs to get students more exercise. Larrimore, a mother of three in Lake Ridge, has teamed up with another group of parents in Fairfax County to advocate for more recess time in Virginia schools, and they seem to be making some headway on the matter. Del. Karrie Delaney, D-67th District, and Sen. Chap Petersen, D-34th District, are backing similar bills aimed at giving local school boards the option to expand recess times for elementary schoolers, and both pieces of legislation are picking up steam in the legislative process. Petersen’s bill has unanimously passed the Senate, while a House subcommittee unanimously endorsed Delaney’s bill on Feb. 2 for consideration by the full education committee, with a hearing likely on Feb. 7. To parents like Larrimore, who believes Prince William’s 15 minutes of recess time each day is woefully inadequate for her kids at Lake Ridge Elementary School, the legislative action is quite welcome news. “Everybody I’ve talked to about this can think of an example of how it would help students,” Larrimore said in an interview. “I think people would love to see the dial swing to a more active school day for small kids.”

6am – A         Tony Dungy defends reporting after critics bemoan his Christian ‘nonsense’ (Washington Times) — ‘It was my opinion that Nick Foles would play well because his Christian faith.’ NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy found himself navigating a social media minefield this week after his commentary on the Christian faith of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Twitter followers were none too pleased with Mr. Dungy this week over his coverage of Super Bowl LII’s Most Valuable Player. The “Football Night in America” commentator riled followers by congratulating the Eagles before writing, “Nick Foles told me last week that he felt the Lord had him in Philadelphia for a special moment and he played like it tonight.” The next 48 hours included questions about Mr. Dungy’s Christian faith, his journalistic integrity, and the meaning of his original tweet. Mr. Dungy parried the inquiries in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “NBC pays me to express my opinion. And it was my opinion that Nick Foles would play well because his Christian faith would allow him to to play with confidence. And that he’s a good QB. I think I was right on both counts,” he wrote. “Why would you find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit could speak to Nick Foles just as much as a coach could speak to him? If he credited a coach for saying ‘Stay calm and be confident,’ that’s good. But if he tells me Christ says that to him I shouldn’t report it?”

Sports Writers Lashed Out At Tony Dungy For Celebrating Christianity, But The Coach Wasn’t Going To Back Down (Daily Caller) — Twitter users berated former NFL coach Tony Dungy for celebrating Christianity on Twitter and got more of a holy smack down than they bargained for. The Twitter users, including two sports writers, called Dungy out for a tweet congratulating the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday on their Super Bowl win. Quarterback Nick Foles “told me last week that he felt the Lord had him in Philadelphia for a special moment and he played like it tonight,” the tweet said. Negative response to the tweet sparked a firestorm on Twitter, with sports writers such as The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster and writer Stephanie Stradley, who criticized Dungy for talking about Christianity and the Holy Spirit amid sports analysis. Dungy, who works as an analyst for NBC Sports, did not back down, but instead doubled down on his previous comment Tuesday, saying that Foles’ Christian faith was part of what helped him to be a quality quarterback.

6am – B         New FBI Texts:

  • Senate Committee Releases Massive Trove Of Peter Strzok’s Text Messages. (Daily Caller) — The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday released nearly 400 pages of text messages exchanged between FBI agent Peter Strzok and bureau attorney Lisa Page. Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the committee, also released an interim report on the panel’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Also included in a batch of newly released documents are email exchanges between top FBI officials drafting the statement that former FBI Director James Comey gave when he exonerated Clinton in the probe. The text messages, 384 pages in all, span from Aug. 16, 2015, through July 23, 2017. The document dump does not include five months of messages that Strzok and Page exchanged between Dec. 13, 2016, and May 17, 2017, a crucial time period in the Russia investigation. The Justice Department has said that the FBI failed to preserve those messages because of a technical glitch which hit thousands of FBI employees’ phones.
  • New Strzok-Page texts call into question Obama’s 2016 statement on FBI probes. (Fox News) — In the new text message chain from Sept. 2, 2016, Page mentioned Obama in the context of a briefing for then-FBI director James Comey.

“Checkout my 9:30 mtg on the 7th,” Strzok texted Page.

“I can tell you why you’re having that meeting. It’s not what you think,” Page responded.

“TPs [talking points] for D [Comey]?” Strzok asked.

“Yes, bc potus wants to know everything we are doing,” Page said.

  • WHAT DID OBAMA KNOW? On April 10, 2016, Obama told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he did not have any involvement in ongoing FBI investigations.  “I do not talk to the attorney general about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations,” Obama said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.”
  • Trump tweets about “new FBI texts” during scheduled daily intelligence briefing. President Trump on Wednesday highlighted newly released texts from FBI agents that some say suggest President Obama wanted updates on the Hillary Clinton email investigation. “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!” Trump tweeted.
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on new Strzok-Page texts: “I think it just further shows that there is reason for all of us to have great cause for concern in this process and we hope that it is more thoroughly and fully looked at.”

6am – C         Tide Pods must be changed to be less delicious looking, lawmakers say. (Fox News) — Tide Pods must be changed to be less delicious looking, lawmakers say. Two New York lawmakers have asked the state to mandate child-resistant packaging for the colorful Tide Pods detergent packets, and to switch to a less appealing design, amid the ridiculous-yet-dangerous trend of people eating them and encouraging or daring others to do the same. State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, a Queens Democrat, unveiled their proposal Tuesday, noting several deaths around the country tied to the Tide Pods challenge. “We’re asking for all laundry detergent pods to be uniform in color,” Hoylman said. “All we have to make sure is that public safety trumps [Procter & Gamble’s] profits,” Simontas added. Eating Tide Pods started as a challenge on social media. Teenagers began posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the small, colorful detergent pods, and daring others to follow suit. Some social media users have posted videos of themselves cooking the pods before eating them. They say the pods also are a risk to young children and adults with dementia who might mistake them for something edible. “They’re squishy, they smell sweet and they look like gummy bears,” Hoylman explained.

6am – D         Former White House Aide Rob Porter Leaves The White House Over Abuse Scandal:

  • In new statement, Kelly says he was ‘shocked’ by Porter allegations and condemns abuse (Politico) — White House chief of staff John Kelly said late Wednesday that he was “shocked” by domestic abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter – more than 24 hours after being quoted on the record defending Porter in an initial report. “I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” Kelly said in a statement issued after-hours by the White House. Kelly continued, “I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation. I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition.” The statement followed the publication of photographs showing Porter’s first wife with a black eye, which she told the Daily Mail was the result of Porter punching her. A senior administration official told POLITICO earlier Wednesday that Kelly and other top White House officials were aware of the allegations, including the 2010 protective order, weeks and in some cases months before they were made public. The allegations held up Porter’s application for a security clearance, the official said, adding that Porter had been working with an interim clearance. Both of his ex-wives reportedly told the FBI about their experiences with Porter. In recent weeks, an ex-girlfriend of Porter’s — who also works in the Trump administration — contacted White House counsel Don McGahn and voiced her distress after discovering evidence of a romantic relationship between Porter and White House communications director Hope Hicks.
  • Former White House aide’s ex-wives detail abuse allegations (CNN) — Rob Porter, a top White House aide with regular access to President Donald Trump abruptly resigned on Wednesday amid abuse allegations from two ex-wives, who each detailed to CNN what they said were years of consistent abuse from Porter, including incidents of physical violence. Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, both said their ex-husband’s consistent abuse was the reason for their respective divorces. Porter denied the allegations in a statement issued in the wake of his resignation. The allegations were first reported earlier this week by the Daily Mail. “These outrageous allegations are simply false,” he said in his statement. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.” White House chief of staff John Kelly called Porter “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him.” “He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him,” Kelly said in a statement.
  • SiriusXM Progress channel host (((DeanObeidallah))) ‏@DeanObeidallah: 7h7 hours ago:John Kelly should be fired for defending rob porter after he learned that porter had physically abused his two ex-wives.  #FireJohnKelly

6am – E         Uranium One News

  • FBI informant on Uranium One Breaks Silence Today Testified to three committees on Capitol Hill (Sara A. Carter) — An informant who spent years gathering information on the Russian energy and uranium market industry for the FBI, met staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight, and House Intelligence Committees on Wednesday. He gave explosive testimony on his years as an undercover informant providing information to the FBI on Russian criminal networks operating in the United States. He also contends in his testimony, and written briefs, to the FBI that Russia attempted to hide its ongoing aid to help sustain Iran’s nuclear industry, at the time the Obama administration approved the sale of 20 percent of U.S. uranium mining rights to Russia. William D. Campbell, an American businessman, provided extensive information on other counterintelligence issues to the FBI for decades and he had also provided information to the CIA on various issues during his time overseas. “For several years my relationship with the CIA consisted of being debriefed after foreign travel,” Campbell noted in his testimony, which was obtained by this reporter. “Gradually, the relationship evolved into the CIA tasking me to travel to specific countries to obtain specific information. In the 1990’s I developed a working relationship with Kazakhstan and Russia in their nuclear energy industries. When I told the CIA of this development, I was turned over to FBI counterintelligence agents.” The informant’s attorney, Victoria Toensing partner at the firm DiGenova & Toensing, said the following: “Mr. Campbell testified for over four hours until he answered every question from three Congressional committees; the Senate Judiciary, House Oversight and House Intelligence committees.

6am – F         Entertainment News:

  • Quincy Jones says he dated Ivanka Trump, knows who killed Kennedy (Fox News) — Recording legend Quincy Jones claimed that he once dated Ivanka Trump, who is 48 years his junior, in a lengthy, outrageous interview with Vulture Magazine. Of course, the record producer also claimed that Jimi Hendrix was afraid to play with his band, The Beatles were “the worst musicians in the world,” and that he knows who really killed John F. Kennedy. But let’s start with Ivanka. The winner of 28 Grammys told Vulture he and the first daughter dated in 2006, “I used to date Ivanka, you know.” “Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada, said, ‘Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.’ I said, ‘No problem. She’s a fine motherf–-er.’” “She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life,” Jones continued. “Wrong father, though.” Jones did not hold back on his views about her dad, either. “I used to hang out with him,” Jones stated. “He’s a crazy motherf–-er. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him.” Fox News reached out to the White House but did not receive comment at the time of this story’s publication. But the Trumps were not the only famous names caught in Jones’ crossfire. The Grammy winner commented on Michael Jackson’s multiple plastic surgery procedures. “He’d always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. Bulls—,” said Jones. He also accused the deceased pop star of stealing songs, calling him “Machiavellian” as well as “greedy.” “I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs,” said Jones. Jones said he knew who killed President Kennedy, alleging that it was mobster Sam Giancana. “The connection was there between Sinatra and the Mafia and Kennedy. Joe Kennedy — he was a bad man — he came to Frank to have him talk to Giancana about getting votes,” Jones claimed.
  • Salon sent out absurd tweet and we discussed it

Salon‏Verified account @Salon: “Black Panther” is the first blockbuster-format release featuring a black hero front and center

  • Alex Griswold’s Legendary Response

Alex Griswold @HashtagGriswold: This tweet basically just erased the entire existence of Will Smith

7am – A         INTERVIEW – BARBARA LARRIMORE – mom and activist for recess in Virginia – explained her attempts to lobby the legislature to increase the amount of time for recess for children in Virginia.

7am – B         PELOSI / DREAMERS

  • Nancy Pelosi’s all-day marathon speech sets record as longest continuous speech since at least 1909. (USA Today) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s all-day speech broke a record for longest-continuous speech in House history.  The California Democrat spoke for more than 8 hours before yielding the floor. It was the longest continuous speech since at least 1909. And she did it all while wearing 4-inch high-heels.  Pelosi got the news of her new record while continuing to tell stories of DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they children. Her all-day remarks are aimed at protesting a budget deal that doesn’t include protections for the group.  While laughing, Pelosi announced that she’d broken a record and said she wondered what the last record-breaking speech was about. A round of applause broke out from her colleagues.
  • Pelosi: My Grandson Wishes He Were Hispanic
  • Nancy Pelosi, at seven hours into speaking on the floor of the house, has now pulled out a Bible and is reading from the Gospel of Matthew.


  • Trump, Wentz Among Speakers at National Prayer Breakfast This Morning.  (CBN) — People from around the world are gathering in Washington, DC Thursday for the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast. More than 3,500 hundred attendees will gather at the Washington Hilton for the tradition. Among them, President Donald Trump and members of Congress. President Trump will speak at 8:00 a.m. EST. Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has spoken at the morning breakfast.
  • Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago: Will be heading over shortly to make remarks at The National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Great religious and political leaders, and many friends, including T.V. producer Mark Burnett of our wonderful 14 season Apprentice triumph, will be there. Looking forward to seeing all!
  • Eagles’ Carson Wentz To Speak At National Prayer Breakfast. (Daily Caller) — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will speak at the National Prayer Breakfast dinner Thursday in Washington, D.C., in place of Vice President Mike Pence. The Super Bowl LII champion will fill in for Pence who will lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea Friday.

7am – D         INTERVIEW – SUSAN FERRECHIO – chief congressional correspondent for the Washington – discussed Capitol Hill budget battles, the potential government shutdown, and Nancy Pelosi’s eight hour speech on the floor of the House of Representatives

  • House Freedom Caucus opposes GOP budget proposal. (The Hill)
  • Senators reach bipartisan accord on long-term spending deal. (Washington Examiner)
  • Congress to push for $20 billion in infrastructure spending as part funding, debt ceiling deal. (Washington Examiner)
  • Nancy Pelosi won’t support budget caps agreement, insists on DACA fix
  • Nancy Pelosi’s all-day marathon speech sets record as longest continuous speech since at least 1909. (USA Today)

7am – E         Gerber Baby Campaign Marks Historic First With Down Syndrome Cover Child. (Daily Caller) — Gerber Baby company chose the new face for its 2018 campaign and, in a historic first, a child with Down syndrome will star as the face of the company. “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Gerber president Bill Partyka, according to TODAY. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.” He added that Lucas’s smile stole the hearts of the Gerber campaign team. “We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited,” father Jason Warren told the Today Show. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.” “He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” said his mother, Cortney Warren. “We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability,” she added. There were more than 140,000 entries for the 2018 Gerber baby slot. “We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” said Katie Driscoll, founder and president of Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit organization that encourages the integration of individuals with disabilities into advertising and the media. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 214 in December, effectively banning doctors from aborting babies testing positive for Down Syndrome, making Ohio the fourth state to ban Down syndrome abortions. The bill will take effect in late March. Utah lawmakers also moved to push forward a bill banning abortion for unborn babies with Down syndrome, voting to advance the measure to the House floor in the last week of January. As of 2015, France had a 77 percent termination rate and Denmark had a 98 percent termination rate for unborn Down syndrome babies. In the United Kingdom, 90 percent of pregnant women with a positive Down syndrome test receive an abortion, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

8am – A         INTERVIEW – STEVE KASTENBAUM – correspondent in South Korea – previewed the Olympics on Friday

  • Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have started. While the Opening Ceremony is on Friday, February 9, action begins a couple days earlier.
  • PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — By the time the 23rd Olympic Winter Games get around to their Opening Ceremony on Friday, hundreds of athletes will already have been in action for a day and a half, starting Wednesday night with a new version of the ice chess otherwise known as curling.
  • North Korea says no U.S. talks planned at Olympics, Pence vows continued pressure. SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) – North Korea has no intention of meeting U.S. officials during the Winter Olympics that start in South Korea on Friday, state media said, dampening hopes the Games will help resolve a tense standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

8am – B         CRITICS PAN CLINT EASTWOOD’S NEW FILM: Eastwood’s train attack heroes film takes a beating from critics. (AFP) — They were hailed as all-American heroes when they pummelled a heavily-armed jihadist with their bare hands to foil the Thalys train terror attack in France in 2015. But the three childhood friends who play themselves in Clint Eastwood’s Hollywood reconstruction of the drama took a battering from critics when the film opened in France on Wednesday. “We thought the projectionist had put on the wrong film for the first quarter of an hour,” said the Parisien newspaper, which bemoaned how the veteran director took an hour and 15 minutes to recount the friends’ “tedious” childhoods as devout Catholics in California. Only in the final “incredible, hyper-tense 10 minutes” does “The 15:17 to Paris” take off, said critic Renaud Baronian when Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler overpower a Moroccan jihadist armed with an AK-47 on the Paris-bound train from Amsterdam carrying more than 500 passengers. Others were slightly less damning, with one critic lamenting that “an incredible story does not make a good film” and that “the movie gets stuck in the station,” while Culturebox said with biting irony that “it was not going to revolutionise cinema.” The Figaro newspaper, however, praised it, although it admitted it “does not play the suspense card”. Warner Brothers had not shown the film to critics in advance, as is the usual practice, “which is generally a sign that it is a bad film,” Nick James, editor of Britain’s Sight & Sound magazine, told AFP. – ‘We wanted to be exact’ – The movie’s trio of friends were reunited with members of the emergency services crews who tended the injured after the attack at a special screening in Paris last week. Some of them were also recruited by Eastwood, 84, to play themselves in the drama. “I hope you like the film. We wanted to be exact about what happened,” said Skarlatos, 25, an Oregon National Guardsman who served in Afghanistan.

8am – C         Entrepreneurial Girl Scout has leaders grappling with a new frontier of cookie sales: outside the pot shop. (LA Times) — The identity of the entrepreneurial Girl Scout who said she sold 312 boxes of Girl Scout cookies outside a San Diego marijuana shop this weekend remains a mystery to the organization, and that has left it unsure of its next steps as the story continues to garner national headlines like this one from Jezebel: A spokeswoman for Girl Scouts San Diego told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday that the regional council of the national organization is not investigating the matter, but would discuss it with the girl and her family if they ever find out who she is because there are very particular rules about when and where Girl Scouts can sell their popular cookies each year — and “consequences” for repeated infractions. Girl Scouts San Diego said it does not really know how to address the viral story of this Girl Scout selling cookies outside of a marijuana dispensary. “It’s not a cut-and-dried situation when we don’t know who the girl is and we don’t know what the situation is,” said Maryl Doyle, director of communications for Girl Scouts San Diego. It remains unclear whether this Girl Scout and her father broke any of the organization’s rules when they sold so many cookies in front of Urbn Leaf over the weekend in the Bay Park neighborhood of San Diego, with the help of some social-media promotion from the marijuana dispensary.

8am – D         INTERVIEW – Congressman Mac Thornberry – (R-TX) –  Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee – discussed the looming government shutdown and how it could impact military spending

  • Senate Budget Deal and military spending: Senate leaders unveiled the deal Wednesday after months of negotiations — and after Senate Democrats agreed to set aside immigration policy demands. The plan still faces headwinds — particularly in the House, where conservative Republicans are balking at the increased spending and liberal Democrats want further assurances on immigration. The announcement came as Congress faces yet another government shutdown deadline of Thursday at midnight.


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