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President Donald Trump said Wednesday that having more people armed at schools could prevent future mass shootings.

“I think it could very well solve your problem,” he said.

After hearing the devastating stories from parents and young people affected by gun massacres at schools, Trump pointed to the example of Stoneman Douglas football coach Aaron Feis, who was reportedly killed by the alleged gunman last week after Feis threw himself in front of students to protect them from the gunfire.

“If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives I suspect — but if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot and that would have been the end of it,” Trump said.

“Gun-free zone, to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘Let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us,” Trump said, wondering aloud about arming “20 percent of your teaching force.”

“You can’t have 100 security guards in Stoneman Douglas, that’s a big school,” he said. “It’s a massive school with a lot of acreage to cover, a lot of floor area, so that would be certainly a situation that is being discussed a lot by a lot of people.”

“You’d have a lot of people that’d be armed, that’d be ready, they are professionals, they may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force, and they are very adept at doing that. You’d have a lot of them and they would be spread evenly through the school.”

The President said he believed “that if these cowards knew that the school was well-guarded from the standpoint of having pretty much professionals with great training, I think they wouldn’t go into the school to start off with.”

“I think it could very well solve your problem,” he said.

“So we’ll be doing the background checks, we’ll be doing a lot of different things, but we’ll certainly be looking at ideas like that.”

Near the end of the listening session, the President said the White House would consider changes to the background check system and the age at which people can buy certain firearms, in addition to mental health measures and considering what institutions can do to intervene with troubled individuals.

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The father of a victim of the gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School grew emotional Wednesday as he told President Donald Trump and others at a White House listening session about his late daughter, Meadow Pollack.

“We’re here because my daughter has no voice,” Andrew Pollack said, flanked by his three sons. “She was murdered last week and she was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor. We as a country failed our children. This shouldn’t happen. We go to the airport, I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a school and shoot our children.”

“I’m very angry that this happened, because it keeps happening,” he added. “9/11 happened once and they fix everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me.”

“I’m not going to sleep until it’s fixed. And Mr. President, we’re going to fix it. Because I’m going to fix it. I’m not going to rest.”

He turned to his sons. “And look it, my boys need live with this. I want to see everyone. You guys look at this. Me, I’m a man, but to see your children go through this, bury their sister.”

“That’s why I keep saying this, because I want to sink in, not forget about this,” Pollack said. “We can’t forget about it, all these school shootings. It doesn’t make sense. Fix it. there should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it! And I’m pissed! Because my daughter, I’m not going to see again. She’s not here. She’s in North Lauderdale in whatever it is, King David cemetery. That’s where I go to see my kid.”

Watch below:

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Spilling out wrenching tales of lost lives and stolen security, students with quavering voices and parents shaking with anger appealed to President Donald Trump on Wednesday to set politics aside and protect American school children from the scourge of gun violence. Trump sat rapt and motionless, listening intently as raw emotions reverberated at the White House.

The administration is seeking to show resolve against gun violence in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead and has prompted a growing call for stronger gun control.

Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks,” adding that “we’re going to do plenty of other things.”

He was faced with grieving families looking for answers. Few had concrete suggestions, but a few spoke in favor of raising age limits for buying assault weapons.

Parkland student Samuel Zeif said he’s heard of 15-year-olds buying rifles. Cary Gruber, father of a Parkland student, implored Trump: “It’s not left and right,” adding: “if you can’t buy a beer, shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.”

A strong supporter of gun rights, Trump has nonetheless indicated in recent days that he is willing to consider ideas not in keeping with National Rifle Association orthodoxy, including age restrictions for buying assault-type weapons. Still, gun owners are a key part of his base of supporters.

Over 40 people assembled in the State Dining Room. Among the group were six students from Parkland, including the student body president, along with their parents. Also present were Darrell and Sandra Scott, whose daughter was killed in the Columbine, Colorado, shooting, and Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, who lost children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Students and parents from the Washington area also were present.

The student body president at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Julia Cordover, tearfully told Trump that she “was lucky enough to come home from school.”

She added: “I am confident you will do the right thing.”

Not all the students impacted by the shooting came to the White House.

David Hogg, who has been one of the students actively calling for gun control was invited but declined, said his mother Rebecca Boldrick.

“His point was (Trump needs) to come to Parkland, we’re not going there,” she said.

Television personality Geraldo Rivera had dinner with Trump at his private Palm Beach club over the weekend and described Trump as “deeply affected” by his visit Friday with Parkland survivors. In an email, Rivera said he and Trump discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons.

Trump “suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks,” Rivera said.

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment. Trump embraced gun rights on his campaign, though he supported some gun control before he became a candidate, backing an assault weapons ban and a longer waiting period to purchase a gun in a 2000 book.

Throughout the day Wednesday, television news showed footage of student survivors of the violence marching on the Florida state Capitol, calling for tougher laws. The protests came closer to Trump, too, with hundreds of students from suburban Maryland attending a rally at the Capitol and then marching to the White House.

Daniel Gelillo, a senior at Richard Montgomery High who helped organize the protest, said students were hoping to pressure lawmakers to act. He said that “up ’til now nothing has quite fazed them.”

On Tuesday, Trump directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. The White House has also said Trump was looking at a bill that would strengthen federal gun background checks.

But those moves have drawn criticism as being inadequate, with Democrats questioning whether the Justice Department even has authority to regulate bump stocks and arguing that the background check legislation would not go far enough.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lacks authority under current law to ban bump stocks.

“If ATF tries to ban these devices after admitting repeatedly that it lacks the authority to do so, that process could be tied up in court for years, and that would mean bump stocks would continue to be sold,” said Feinstein, of California, calling legislation the only answer.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about how it might implement Trump’s order or how an ongoing bump stock review would be affected. ATF reviewed the devices and approved them in 2010, finding they did not amount to machine guns that are regulated under the National Firearms Act that dates to the 1930s.

As calls for ATF to ban bump stocks mounted after the Las Vegas shooting, the agency initially said it could only reconsider their lawfulness if Congress amended existing laws or passed new legislation. An effort to pass legislation last year fizzled out.

On background checks, Trump has suggested he is open to a bipartisan bill developed in response to a mass shooting at a Texas church. It would penalize federal agencies that don’t properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the bill is “a small step,” stressing that Democrats want to see universal background check legislation.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said Wednesday that he’ll probably reintroduce bipartisan legislation that would require background checks for all gun purchases online and at gun shows. He said he planned to discuss the idea with Trump.

That bill first emerged with backing from Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia following the 2012 slaying of 26 children and adults in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. It failed then and at least one more time since.

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Former Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand swatted away rumors on Wednesday that she’d left the position over concerns about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“Anyone who actually knows me knows that had nothing to do with my departure,” she told Fox News in an interview, adding: “I never had any reason to think that the Mueller probe would come to me, and even if it had, it has nothing to do with why I left the department.”

Brand left the Justice Department to take a job as Walmart’s executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary, Fox News noted.

“These kind of jobs come along maybe once in a career, and when they come along it might not be the perfect timing for you, but you have to take the opportunity when it comes,” Brand said, adding: “This was about seizing an opportunity, not about leaving DOJ.”

Brand, whose departure was first reported by the New York Times earlier this month, would have been next in line behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee Mueller’s investigation, should Rosenstein have recused himself from the duty — or if Trump fired him.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation a year ago, despite President Donald Trump’s reported efforts to keep him on the case.

Brand’s departure led to speculation and reporting, the latter based on unnamed sources, that she had left the DOJ to avoid involvement in the Mueller probe.

Asked by Fox News about the tension between the White House and the Justice Department, Brand said: “I think that the overwhelming majority of the DOJ workforce does a pretty good job of tuning that out.”

On Wednesday, the President kept grinding his ax with the institution.

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White nationalist Jared Taylor and his organization American Renaissance are suing Twitter for permanently suspending their accounts, accusing the social media giant of “the silencing of dissident voices.”

The suit, filed Wednesday in California Superior Court’s San Francisco District, alleges that Twitter is engaging in viewpoint discrimination against the site for its racist views, in violation of the state constitution.

A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Taylor and American Renaissance were banned in December 2017 as part of a crackdown by Twitter against users affiliated with hate groups “on and off the platform.” Those who made “specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people” were banned, as were those whose profiles include “hateful imagery and display names.”

The move came in the wake of the deadly August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina, which was organized largely on Twitter and other social media platforms by users who bragged about committing violence. Taylor and his group are part of an older guard of suit-and-tie-wearing white nationalists who are careful to couch their views on the racial inferiority of blacks and desire for a white homeland in academic language.

Taylor has retained Las Vegas-based attorney Marc Randazza, who is known for his defense of other controversial clients like conspiracy peddler Mike Cernovich and trolls on the platform 8chan. Randazza is currently representing Andrew Anglin, publisher of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, in a federal lawsuit in which Anglin is accused of orchestrating an anti-Semitic harassment campaign against a Montana Jewish woman.

Michigan State University law professor Adam Candeub and Washington, DC attorney Noah Peters are also representing Taylor. In a Wednesday op-ed in the Daily Caller, Peters wrote that the suit “is not about whether Taylor is right or wrong” about race but about ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their views, have access to free speech.

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The Republican National Committee is paying President Donald Trump’s former bodyguard and director of Oval Office operations, Keith Schiller, $15,000 a month, CNBC reported Wednesday.

Just weeks after leaving the White House, CNBC reported, the RNC hired Schiller’s private security firm, KS Global Group, to provide “security services.”

One unnamed RNC official told CNBC that Schiller is providing consulting services for site selection for the party’s 2020 convention. CNBC noted Schiller’s firm made $10,000 a month during the campaign, starting in July 2016.

Schiller’s “site selection consulting” fees are paid out of the RNC’s convention fund, not its campaign fund, the report noted. The RNC has paid Schiller’s firm $75,000 since October, CNBC reported, citing disclosure reports.

Trump kept Schiller, who coordinated his campaign’s security, around even after he won the 2016 presidential election. Schiller played a high-profile role in the administration, most notably when he hand-delivered former FBI Director James Comey’s termination letter to the Justice Department.

Investigators with the House Intelligence Committee interviewed Schiller in November.

Schiller’s security force often faced criticism for excess force and lack of coordination with the Secret Service and other governmental agencies.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team filed new charges in the case against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, though the filing is under seal, leaving the details unclear, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The sealed charges did not appear in the online docket for the case, but the paper docket at the courthouse in Washington, D.C. showed that filing was a new charging document, according to Politico. It’s not clear when Mueller’s team filed the new charging document or what the document contains.

The filing came after Mueller’s team told the court that they had new evidence about bank fraud committed by Manafort.

The new charging document also comes as Gates has been working to change his legal team, sparking speculation that he is working on a plea deal with Mueller’s team. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Gates plans to plead guilty soon and to cooperate with prosecutors as they pursue Manafort.

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Conservative musician Ted Nugent, who sits on the National Rifle Association’s board, on Tuesday shared an article that peddled the far-right conspiracy theory that a student survivor of last week’s deadly Florida school shooting is actually a paid actor.

Nugent promoted the article without further commentary on his personal Facebook page. He also liked a comment from a Facebook user who claimed that the student named in the article, David Hogg, is “26 years old and is a paid crisis actor” and that “news organizations hire him to be a scripted witness or survivor.” Hogg is 17 years old.

Posted by Ted Nugent on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hogg and other students who survived the shooting where 17 people died last week have publicly advocated for tighter gun laws. On Wednesday, a group of students marched on Tallahassee to make the same point at the state legislature.

Far-right outlets like InfoWars and Gateway Pundit have pushed the conspiracy theory that student survivors are speaking out because far-left, anti-gun groups paid them to do so. The article Nugent promoted was originally published on Natural News, a website that “strongly criticizes drugs-and-surgery medicine” and “vaccines” and actively touts its connection to InfoWars and “other alternative news organizations.”

Natural News’ article about Hogg, headlined “It’s all THEATER: Florida high school shooting survivor caught on video rehearsing scripted lines, coached by camera man,” also promotes that theory. The article claims that surviving students’ testimonials were “all scripted, in other words, to push a gun control narrative rooted in emotional reaction rather than constructive solutions.”

The baseless theory has gained a foothold in more mainstream GOP circles as well: An aide for a Republican state lawmaker in Florida was fired Tuesday evening after he told a reporter that Hogg and another vocal student, Emma Gonzalez, were both actors. President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also liked tweets that promoted the conspiracy.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday tweeted, however, that the theory is “the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer representing first lady Melania Trump’s parents says they’re living legally in the U.S.

The lawyer says Slovenian nationals Viktor and Amalija Knavs “are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents.”

Michael Wildes is declining further comment, including discussing when the couple would be eligible for citizenship or how their green cards were obtained.

President Donald Trump has pushed to limit immigrants’ ability to sponsor relatives to join them in the U.S. He’s endorsed legislation that would prevent immigrants from sponsoring their parents and only allow them to sponsor spouses and minor children.

A spokeswoman for the first lady says the Knavs “are not part of this administration and deserve their privacy.”

The Washington Post first reported on the Knavs.

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For the first time, the Southern Poverty Law Center included two male supremacist groups in its annual “Year in Extremism” report, released Wednesday.

The report, which tracks groups that target specific populations based on their identities, race or religion, also found that the Trump administration has “buoyed white supremacists” by appointing far-right advisers.

Houston-based A Voice for Men and Washington, D.C.-based Return of Kings were among the 954 hate groups included in the 2017 report. The male supremacist groups believe it’s natural and desirable for men to have more power than women, and lament what they see as the oppression of men by modern society. A recent post on A Voice for Men argued that many women who experience violence at the hands of men in their lives “ask for it.”

In a call with reporters, Heidi Beirich, head of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, likened the men’s rights groups’ rhetoric about women to the way the white nationalist organization American Renaissance categorically describes the inferiority of black people.

“These men right’s groups talk in the same way about women,” Beirich said. “They demonize them as an entire population, so they use slurs like, ‘They’re whores, they’re destroying men, they’re bitches, they’re evil.’ It’s the same kind of language directed at demonizing all women and trying to make women look essentially like a lesser form of humanity.”

In recent years there has been frequent overlap between the “men’s rights” community and the broader amalgamation of racists and online trolls known as the “alt-right.”

Beirich said the SPLC has been tracking the men’s rights movement since 2012 and this year determined that these two organizations met the criteria required to be added to their annual count.

The groups make up a tiny fraction of the overall 2017 report, which found a 4 percent rise in hate groups nationwide since 2016. The biggest upticks were among black nationalist and neo-Nazi group chapters, which saw their ranks swell from 193 to 233 and 99 to 121, respectively. Separately, the SPLC identified 689 anti-government or “Patriot” groups, up from 623 in 2016.

The report found that the Trump administration has “thrilled and comforted” white supremacists by appointing advisers with ties to the “alt-right” like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, and by enacting immigration policies that target Muslims and Latinos. White supremacist websites like the Daily Stormer and Stormfront have also helped proliferate hateful ideas to thousands of predominantly young men who are not formerly affiliated with any particular hate group, per the SPLC report.

One such person was Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who, police say, murdered 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida last week. Though Cruz was not a member of any group, he was steeped in white nationalist and anti-Islam ideology, authoring dozens of hateful social media posts.

Like many of the people who commit acts of mass violence, Cruz also had a history of misogynistic behavior and violence against women. The New York Times reported he was abusive towards his ex-girlfriend and behaved threateningly towards other female students.

Gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety found that in 57 percent of mass shooting cases between 2009 and 2015, a spouse, former spouse or other family member was among the victims. Everytown’s analysis, based on FBI data, also found that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.

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