The Note: Ferguson Under Fire

The Note 11/25/2014

The Note: Ferguson Under Fire

By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe )


  • FERGUSON LATEST: Live Updates as Ferguson reacts to grand jury's decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson: And more from the unrest overnight, which St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said was "worse than the worst night we ever had in August" And details from the evidence the grand jury heard:
  • OBAMA URGES CALM: President Obama last night urged the public to accept the grand jury's decision not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager this past summer, saying that "it's an outcome that, either way, was going to be subject to intense disagreement," ABC'S DEVIN DWYER and MEGHAN KENEALLY report. "We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make," he said…"Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer," he said. At the same time, the president also appealed to law enforcement officials in Ferguson to "show care and restraint." "The situation in Ferguson speaks to the broader challenges we still face as a nation," Obama said, noting that "a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.
  • WILL HE GO? ABC'S MARY BRUCE reports the president is still considering a visit to Ferguson, but it won't be today, according to the White House. Reminder, the president will be nearby in Chicago this afternoon highlighting his executive action on immigration. Last night, the president was asked if he will pay a visit to Ferguson. "Well, let's take a look and see how things are going. Eric Holder has been there. We've had a whole team from the Justice Department there, and I think that they have done some very good work. As I said, the vast majority of the community has been working very hard to try to make sure that this becomes an opportunity for us to seize the moment and turn this into a positive situation," the president answered. "But I think that we have to make sure that we focus at least as much attention on all those positive activities that are taking place as we do on a handful of folks who end up using this as an excuse to misbehave or to break the law or to engage in violence."
  • DOJ INVESTIGATION CONTINUES: Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement, according to ABC's MIKE LEVINE saying in part: "While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department's investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing…the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions…In addition, the Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department…Those who decide to participate in demonstrations should remember the wishes of Michael Brown's parents, who have asked that remembrances of their son be conducted peacefully. It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting." WATCH ABC's PIERRE THOMAS' reporting on GOOD MORNING AMERICA on this investigation:
  • MISSOURI SENATORS REACT: ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes both Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Roy Blunt released statements after the grand jury's decision. McCaskill: "There will be many people who are disappointed in today's decision, even though it is a result of a deliberate legal process that's being independently checked by Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department. While we await the conclusion of that independent investigation-and continue working together for solutions to systemic issues highlighted by this tragedy-I'm praying that the good people of St. Louis and local law enforcement will remain peaceful and respectful of one another." Blunt: "Michael Brown's death was a tragic loss for his family and for the community…We must balance the rights of Americans to exercise their free speech alongside the rights of people to live peacefully and safely in their communities. …Law enforcement officials have been candid in identifying ways officers could have handled the situation in Ferguson better, and I trust those recommendations will be helpful as we continue to count on them to protect us."
  • IN OTHER (BIG) NEWS: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's resignation Monday morning sparked speculation about President Obama's next potential nominee, who will have to lead the Defense Department in its fight against ISIS. ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and KIRSTEN APPLETON take a look at some potential nominees. ABC'S LUIS MARTINEZ reports it will take a while before the potential nominee gets into the job because the choice will likely have to go to the new Congress. The expectation in the building is it could be as late as February before the new Defense Secretary takes over.
  • THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY: In Chicago, the president is expected to highlight the economic impact of his executive actions, ABC'S MARY BRUCE reports. An administration official notes that immigrants and their children start one-third of all new businesses in the US. The president will also likely hit on the fact that immigrants give the U.S. a strong entrepreneurial advantage. And once again, he will call on Congress to "finish this job" and pass a bill.
  • DNC NARROWS TO THREE: Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced the finalist cities under consideration to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention: Columbus, Philadelphia, and New York-specifically Brooklyn. From the statement: "The announcement comes after a round of site visits by the DNC's Technical Advisory Group to five cities…In addition, the DNC announced the potential weeks for the 2016 convention that will be under consideration: Weeks of July 18, July 25, and August 22. The DNC will announce a final city and date early next year."


ABC's RICK KLEIN: President Obama appealed to the nation for calm. Calm the nation was not, at least if its cable television images are any guide. The looting and the fires and the clashes had already begun by the time the president advised the American people that "there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and there are ways of channeling your concerns destructively." Racially charged incidents have had a way of bringing out the president's own competing urges. His brief statement Monday night featured the word "but" nine times, as if he was arguing cases against himself. The next choice for the president: Does he visit Ferguson? He'll be in the Midwest, in Chicago, on Tuesday…

ABC'S TOM SHINE: One solution to insane generic drug price increases-"let some competition in from over the border," says Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The New York Times says Klobuchar and John McCain will soon "revive stalled legislation to allow some prescription imports from Canada." The article also says Maine is testing a new law that permits its residents to buy drugs from Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact according to the Times, "companies have been set up in Canada and Britain specifically to sell prescription drugs to Mainers," part of an effort to counter what one economist calls, "The wild, wild, west of drug pricing."

ABC'S LIZ KREUTZ: Speaking at the Child Mind Institute's 5 th anniversary gala, Hillary Clinton last night told a seated crowd at the Cipriani restaurant in midtown Manhattan that there is still too much of a stigma around the care and treatment for mental health patients and that while it has "never really been a priority on a national agenda" - it needs to be. "Sadly it is not yet firmly embedded in our national understanding… so that we all recognize the work that must be done and the fact that we still face stigmas around the treatment and care of children who have these mental health challenges," Clinton, who was honored with the group's Child Advocacy Award, said. "We have to fight to remove the stigmas," she continued, "And ask ourselves what more we, the cities, states and our nation needs to do to." These remarks came the same night the grand jury in Ferguson announced they would not indict officer Darren Wilson for the shooting and killing of teenager, Michael Brown. Clinton, who was seen seated during the dinner at the same table as the Olsen twins, did not comment on the situation and slipped out of the restaurant before the decision was announced.


THE FORGOTTEN FIRST PRESIDENT: Who was the first president of the United States? According to some, it wasn't George Washington. Pass the gravy and get ready for a history lesson. It was actually John Hanson, a founding father whose name is largely forgotten in the pages of American history - until now. ABC'S RICK KLEIN traveled to Frederick, Maryland - home to Hanson, who was the first elected president of the Continental Congress in 1781 - and he also helped establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. WATCH this episode of Top Line:


IN FERGUSON: BUSINESSES BURN, POLICE CARS TORCHED AS VIOLENCE 'MUCH WORSE' THAN AUGUST by THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: At least 61 people were arrested, said St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman. Charges ranged from burglary to trespassing to receiving stolen property…(Belmar) said he was grateful nobody was killed but disappointed at the amount of damage in the Ferguson area…He said that there was basically "nothing left" along West Florissant between Solway Avenue and Chambers Road. "Frankly, I'm heartbroken about that," he said. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said, "We talked about peaceful protest, and that did not happen tonight. We definitely have done something here that's going to impact our community for a long time…that's not how we create change."

HOW OBAMA DUMPED HAGEL by Glenn Thrush of Politico: When President Obama first summoned Chuck Hagel to the Oval Office in October, he wanted to know how his Pentagon chief planned to cope with the dangerous new threat posed by the Islamic State that had drawn the reluctant president back into war in the Middle East, not to mention getting a sense of Hagel's other plans for the final two years of Obama's presidency. But after several lackluster, low-energy sessions, Obama was so unimpressed by the performance of his laconic, self-effacing defense secretary that he decided Hagel "just wasn't the man for the job," according to a senior administration official. That set in motion the decision that led to Hagel's decorous dumping on Monday by a president who almost never fires anybody-and never admits it when he does.



DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL TO STEP DOWN. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ, JEFF ZELENY, and MARTHA RADDATZ report. Flanked by Hagel and Vice President Biden, President Obama announced the Secretary's departure Monday morning from the White House's State Dining Room. According to a senior administration official, "Secretary Hagel began speaking with the President about departing the Administration given the natural post-midterms transition time" in October. It didn't come as a big surprise, one longtime associate of Hagel tells ABC News. "He took the job to end the war-not start another one," this associate of Hagel's told ABC. The senior administration official indicated that a successor "will be named in short order." Hagel will remain on until the successor has been confirmed.

HOW CHUCK HAGEL'S RESIGNATION MIGHT AFFECT ISIS FIGHT. Chuck Hagel's departure as Defense Secretary will probably have a minimal impact on the administration's three part strategy to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria that is expected to take years. Hagel had raised questions about the strategy's lack of focus on the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad, but not about the president's decision that American troops sent to Iraq will not serve as combat troops. Online supporters of the Islamic terror group ISIS have taken to Twitter to cheer the resignation of Chuck Hagel, claiming it was ISIS that forced him out. Regardless of how ISIS supporters may want to interpret Hagel's resignation, it does not mean the administration's strategy to combat ISIS is about to change, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ reports.

HAGEL DEPARTURE LEAVES OBAMA CABINET LESS COLORFUL. With the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, President Obama's cabinet just got a lot less colorful, ABC's DEVIN DWYER notes. The former senator from Nebraska and Vietnam war veteran has long won the fascination of the blogosphere and social media users for his patterned socks, bright sweaters, colorful polo shirts and casual shoes, all worn while on the job. He famously wore a bright pink button down beneath a beige blazer for a meeting with the president in the Situation Room.

JOHN MCCAIN 'STRONGLY ENCOURAGING' LINDSEY GRAHAM TO CONSIDER 2016 RUN. ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and JEFF ZELENY report Sen. John McCain is prodding one of his closest allies in the Senate to consider a run for the White House - Sen. Lindsey Graham. "I think he is looking at it, and I am strongly encouraging him to take a look at it," McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC News. "I know of no one who is better versed and more important on national security policy and defense than Lindsey Graham, and I don't think these challenges to our security are going away." In an interview with The Weekly Standard last month, Graham, R-S.C., said he might consider a presidential bid after this year's midterm elections if other candidates aren't promoting an aggressive foreign policy agenda.

REP.-ELECT DEBBIE DINGELL ON WHAT HER HUSBAND JOHN IS NOT TELLING HER. Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, is no stranger to the halls of the Congress. Her husband, the 88-year-old dean of the House, Rep. John Dingell, has served on the Hill since 1955. But now, Rep.-Elect Dingell, 61, is set to take on the U.S. Congress herself - representing her retiring husband's old district in the 114th Congress. ABC's ERIN DOOLEY reports that on the campaign trail, the two were careful to maintain a "concrete wall."

COLUMN: HOW TO FIX AMERICA'S STILL-EXISTING SEXISM DYNAMIC. For how far men and women have come through the years, we are still a culture where many are trapped in old models and ways. The tragic circumstances surrounding cultural icon Bill Cosby and those who have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual abuse puts such a highlight on the sexism dynamic which still is rooted in our culture, says ABC's MATTHEW DOWD.


TOP 5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THIS YEAR'S MEDAL OF FREEDOM CEREMONY. President Obama honored 19 impressive individuals with the nation's highest civilian honor. According to ABC's MARY BRUCE, the president heaped praise on the recipients, highlighting their distinguished and varied accomplishments. He also revealed some interesting anecdotes about the trailblazers.


New Quinnipiac University poll out this morning: American voters are divided on whether President Barack Obama should take action to address the immigration issue if Congress fails to act, as 45 percent say the president should issue an executive order while 48 percent say he should not…American voters give Obama a negative 39 - 54 percent approval rating, close to his lowest-ever 38 - 57 percent score in a December 10, 2013, Quinnipiac University poll…Offered three choices on what to do about illegal immigrants 48 percent of American voters say they should be allowed to stay, with a path to citizenship, down from 57 percent November 13, 2013, and the lowest this number ever has been, 11 percent say immigrants should be allowed to stay, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship, consistent with previous surveys, 35 percent say illegal immigrants should be required to leave the U.S., up from 26 percent 12 months ago and higher than this number ever has been.

Americans United for Change out with a new Immigration Web Video: "Pass A Bill" "It's a montage of Congressional Republicans on cable news excitedly weighing their options for responding to the Executive Immigration Action including censuring the President, suing the President, launching an investigation, and blocking nominees. But for some reason the most simple and responsible option keeps slipping their minds: passing the bipartisan Senate bill, or any immigration bill for that matter." It's backed by paid ads on Facebook and Twitter.


@GStephanopoulos In St. Louis this morn for @GMA after grand jury decision in #Ferguson -violent night here. Shots fired, buildings burned, Natl Guard here.

@RealClearScott · Often overlooked amid the GOP's rebranding effort, Christian conservatives aim to find their horse in 2016: …

@CahnEmily The Anti-Cantor: @DaveBratVA7th On Bringing Rationality to Washington

@MattFriedmanSL Christie administration gave key @govchristie ally's son a job, apparently without giving others a chance to apply …

@TheStalwart BEEEAAAT. GDP rises 3.9%