TPM News

Early Monday morning, after President Trump reportedly spent the weekend watching the moving television appearances of the young survivors of last week’s deadly school shooting, the White House announced that Trump was encouraging senators to revive a stalled bill to modestly strengthen background checks for gun purchases.

“The President spoke to Senator Cornyn on Friday about the bi-partisan bill he and Sen. Murphy introduced to improve Federal Compliance with Criminal Background check Legislation,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”

Read More →

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin has dismissed a U.S. indictment that charged 13 Russians with interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as lacking evidence.

The indictment handed Friday by a federal grand jury alleges that a wealthy entrepreneur with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin funneled money to a so-called “troll farm,” which sent operatives to the United States, created fictitious social media accounts and used them to spread tendentious messages. The aim was either to influence voters or to undermine their faith in the U.S. political system.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that while the indictment focuses on “Russian nationals” it gives “no indication that the Russian government was involved in this in any way.” Peskov insisted that Moscow did not meddle in the U.S. election.

Read More →

Rick Gates, the deputy of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, will plead guilty to “fraud-related charges,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The Times cited interviews with unnamed people familiar with the case. One person with “direct knowledge of the new developments” said Gates’ revised plea would be presented in court “within the next few days”: “Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” the source said.

CBS News later reported later Sunday that, according to unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations, Gates was expected to plead guilty.

The network added, referring to Gates’ attorneys’ move to withdraw from the case: “The fact that three experienced trial attorneys wanted off the case suggested at the time that Gates may be pursuing a plea deal. The attorneys remain under a gag order by the court.”

CNN reported Thursday that Gates was nearing a plea deal with Mueller. Gates and Manafort both pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in October including conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and failing to file reports on foreign bank and financial accounts.

CNN reported last week that Mueller’s team was preparing new, tax-related charges against Gates, perhaps to increase the pressure on him to cooperate.

An unnamed person familiar with the talks between Mueller’s team and Tom Green, a defense attorney new to Gates’ team, told the Times that Gates could expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” for cooperating fully with the investigation, adding that Gates “understands that the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates – but it won’t be spelled out.”

Gates’ cooperation would aide Mueller’s team’s case against Manafort. One unnamed person familiar with the “pending guilty plea,” in the Times’ words, told the paper that Gates’ cooperation would be the “cherry on top” of the case against Manafort, should Manafort decide to pursue his not-guilty plea at trial.

Read More →

During a tense interview aired Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) again rejected many Floridians’ criticism that certain gun control laws would have prevented Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

He also defended his ties to the National Rifle Association, and blamed congressional inaction regarding such mass shootings on “people just mov[ing] on.”

Rubio hasn’t personally attempted to address mass shootings through legislation, he said, because “we don’t fully understand everything that could’ve been done to prevent this.”

Much of the mourning following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, which left 17 dead and more injured, transformed with surprising speed into passionate political advocacy. And, perhaps aside from President Donald Trump, more of that passion has been directed at Rubio, a large beneficiary of the gun lobby’s support, than anyone else.

“I see this reported, it’s unfair, I’ve never said we can’t do anything,” Rubio said, repeating a point he made on the Senate floor Thursday. He added: “What I have said is that the proposals out there would not have prevented it, and that’s a fact.”

WFOR’s Jim DeFede asked Rubio about his vote against legislation to ban magazines that hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition.

Rubio said there wasn’t any evidence the ban would prevent mass shootings, and added that “there are legitimate reasons why people want those–”

“What is a legitimate reason for an AR-15 to be able to have 30 or 50 rounds in a clip,” DeFede interjected.

“Well, first of all, they don’t have 50. The second reason is people that are in– whether it’s sport shooting, or, for example they are used in hunting, I heard somebody say yesterday that they’re not.”

“And so the rationale is that they use those, and if you have to reload every time, it would affect either the sport shooting aspect or the hunting aspect,” he continued. “Now, the details of that bill had other things in it that were beyond the magazine capacity.”

The senator pointed, as he did several times, to a 2015 Washington Post fact check that concluded: “It is possible that some gun-control proposals, such as a ban on large-capacity magazines, would reduce the number of dead in a future shooting, though the evidence for that is heavily disputed. But Rubio was speaking in the past, about specific incidents. He earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark.”

Asked about a ban on guns like the AR-15, the semi-automatic assault rifle alleged to have been used in Parkland, Rubio said: “Number one, the law would not prevent these mass shootings. Number two, there are millions of them in the street already. They’re here to stay. The genie’s out of the bottle.”

He added: “That said, do I believe it should be harder to get one? Do I believe it should be impossible for someone to get one if they are under the condition that the shooter was in Parkland? Absolutely. And one of the problems we have there is we don’t have the complete mental health picture in the background check system.”

Rubio brought up that same point later in the interview: “I don’t think people like this guy or people like him should have any gun. Not an AR-15, any gun. We need to create a system that keeps them from getting it. We don’t have one now that does that. That’s what I’m in favor of.”

“So who’s going to take the lead on that?” DeFede pressed. “Are you?

“I’m prepared to take the lead, and others are–” Rubio began.

DeFede tried again: “Am I going to see a Rubio bill about this?”

“You should,” Rubio said. “You should.”

“But will I?”

“What I’m trying to tell you is that I don’t have that bill yet. Because we don’t fully understand everything that could’ve been done to prevent this,” he said, adding that it was “not a simple thing like there’s one idea and if you do this one thing, this’ll never happen again.”

“We need to take the time — and not forever — but we need to take time to understand what that is,” he said.

Rubio said later that Congress needed to “come up with ideas — not just one, but many, that solve this,” noting that the Senate had tried to address gun control in 2013 and failed.

“Okay, that’s five years ago, and how many mass shootings have we had since then?” DeFede asked.

“Several,” Rubio said. “And why hasn’t it? I don’t know the answer. Part of it, I think, is people just move on. The news moves on, society moves on, and politicians move on.”

Multiple times in the interview, DeFede Brought up the NRA, at one point saying Rubio’s constituents believed he wouldn’t make progress on gun legislation “in part because you don’t want to anger the NRA.”

“First of all, they support my agenda, I don’t support theirs,” he replied. “These are the things I stand for and I always have. So it is logical in American politics that if you believe in a certain set of ideas, the people who support the ideas will advocate on your behalf, and by the way, the people that are against it would advocate against you.”

There is one gun control measure Rubio told DeFede he supports, one he wouldn’t have to vote on it either way: a state level proposal to allow police, with a judge’s order, to remove guns from the homes of individuals suspected of being mentally unfit to handle them.

“That is an example of a state law, that in this case, if it has been used could have prevented this,” the senator said.

Watch the televised portions of the interview here.

Read More →

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A spokeswoman for Poland’s prime minister sought Sunday to downplay his words equating Polish collaborators in the Holocaust to alleged “Jewish perpetrators” by saying the remark was an invitation to a frank debate about World War II crimes against Jews.

Israeli politicians accused Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of anti-Semitism after his comment Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, raising the temperature of a diplomatic dispute over Poland’s new law banning some statements about the Holocaust.

Morawiecki and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had their second telephone conversation in three weeks Sunday and agreed to work together to soothe the intense feelings about World War II history in both countries.

Netanyahu’s office said he told Morawiecki that “a comparison between the activities of Poles and the activities of Jews during the Holocaust is unfounded.”

In a sign of the tensions between the two nations, someone painted black swastikas, expletives and the word “murderer” on the entrance to Poland’s Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israeli police said Sunday. They have launched an investigation.

Morawiecki made the comment as he was responding to an Israeli journalist’s question about the new Polish law, which criminalizes falsely blaming Poles for Holocaust crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany during its occupation of Poland. The journalist said his parents’ families were reported to the Nazis by Polish neighbors and asked if he would be charged if he had related the story in Poland.

“Of course it’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators,” Morawiecki said in response.

The spokeswoman for Poland’s conservative ruling party, Beata Mazurek, insisted that Morawiecki “told the truth that is difficult for the Israeli side to accept.”

“There is no need to apologize for telling the truth,” Mazurek said.

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, issued a statement demanding an “immediate retraction and apology” from Poland. Lauder said that putting Jews in the same category as the other nationalities was “nothing short of an attempt to falsify history that rings of the very worst forms of anti-Semitism and Holocaust obfuscation.”

Morawiecki spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska said the prime minister’s comment “should be interpreted as a sincere call for open discussion of crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust, regardless of the nationality of those involved in each crime.”

In a statement provided in Polish and English, the spokeswoman said Morawiecki’s response to the journalist’s question was “by no means intended to deny the Holocaust.”

Morawiecki “has repeatedly and categorically opposed denial of the Holocaust — the murder of European Jewry — as well as anti-Semitism in all its forms,” the statement said.

It also noted that the brutal occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany during the war “allowed the Nazi German murder of Jews to take place in the way that it did.”

The spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda said the strong reaction in Israel “should not be ignored” but also attributed it partly to internal political tensions in that country. The spokesman, Krzysztof Lapinski, said Morawiecki’s reply was in Poland’s interest and meant to explain the new law.

Poland’s conservative government has said the law is needed to protect Poland from being slandered for crimes committed by Nazi Germans that took place during the 1939-45 occupation and to make the wartime suffering of Poles clear to the world. Poland lost six million citizens during the war, half of them Jews.

Read More →

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The warnings around Nikolas Cruz seemed to flash like neon signs: expelled from school, fighting with classmates, a fascination with weapons and hurting animals, disturbing images and comments posted to social media, previous mental health treatment.

In Florida, that wasn’t enough for relatives, authorities or his school to request a judicial order barring him from possessing guns.

Only five states have laws allowing family members, guardians or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence. Supporters of the measures, deemed “red flag laws” or gun violence restraining orders, say they can save lives by stopping some shootings and suicides.

Florida, where Cruz is accused of using an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people at his former high school, does not have such a law. He was able to legally own the semi-automatic rifle even though his mother, classmates and teachers had at times described him as dangerous and threatening.

Red flag legislation was introduced last fall in Florida by Democratic lawmakers, but its fate is uncertain in a state Legislature controlled by Republicans who generally favor expanding gun rights. After Wednesday’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, a suburb north of Miami, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said he will work to make sure people with mental illnesses don’t have access to guns but offered no specifics.

In 2014, California became the first state to let family members ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat. It was passed after a mentally ill man, Elliot Rodger, killed six University of California, Santa Barbara, students and wounded 13 other people near the campus before killing himself.

The law also allows police to petition for the protective orders, which can require firearms to be removed for up to one year. Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington are the other states with some version of a red flag law.

More than a dozen others, including Hawaii, New Jersey and Missouri, are considering bills that would allow family members or police to petition the courts if they want weapons taken from an individual showing signs of mental distress or violence.

The Florida shooting also has revived debate about whether teachers and school administrators should have that authority as well, given that people at Cruz’s high school witnessed much of his erratic behavior.

California lawmakers voted to expand their law in 2016 so that high school and college personnel, co-workers and mental health professionals can seek the restraining orders, but Gov. Jerry Brown called the effort premature and vetoed it.

State Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat, said he plans to reintroduce the bill.

“We need to make sure that when people see signs, they have every ability to do something about getting guns out of the hands of mentally ill and dangerous people,” Ting told The Associated Press.

Circumstances similar to those in Florida played out seven years ago in the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman. Jared Loughner had become increasingly disruptive and erratic at his community college in the months leading up to the shooting, frightening students and causing teachers to request campus police officers be on hand during his classes. Eventually, the school threatened him with suspension.

Soon after, he went to a gun store and legally bought the weapon he used in the attack outside a grocery store where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was meeting constituents. Loughner shot Giffords in the head and killed six people.

In the absence of red flag laws, the main recourse available to family members is to have their troubled loved one committed to a psychiatric institution. Federal law permanently bans anyone who has been involuntary committed from owning guns, but such actions are more difficult to carry out than red flag laws, which are intended to be quick and temporary and have a lower standard of proof.

Without a commitment, formal adjudication of serious mental illness or a felony conviction, many people can pass background checks and possess guns they already own.

The red flag laws act as a sort of timeout so someone in psychological distress can get counseling while their fitness to possess a gun is evaluated, said Laura Cutilletta, legal director of the Giffords Law Center.

“It’s a way to allow for temporary removal of firearms in a situation just like this: where somebody has made threats, where they have been expelled from school because of those threats, they’re in counseling, and parents or the school or whoever it is understands that this person poses a threat,” she said.

Many gun-rights activists oppose the laws. They say they can be used to unfairly take away rights from people who have not been convicted of crimes or professionally evaluated for mental illness.

The National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm has said such laws allow courts to remove Second Amendment rights “based on third-party allegations and evidentiary standards” that are lower than what’s required in criminal proceedings.

Connecticut led the way with a 1999 law, passed after an employee shot and killed four executives at the state Lottery headquarters. It allows police to remove guns based on probable cause that a person poses a “risk of imminent personal injury.”

In a study published last year, researchers at Duke, Yale, Connecticut and Virginia estimated that dozens of suicides have been prevented by the law, roughly one for every 10 gun seizures carried out. They said such laws “could significantly mitigate the risk” posed by the small number of legal gun owners who might suddenly pose a significant danger.


Foley reported from Iowa City, Iowa.


Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Sacramento, Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, and Lisa Marie Pane in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Read More →

A group survivors of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida appeared on several nationally-broadcast talk shows Sunday with a message for lawmakers: “You’re either with us or against us.”

Those were the words of Cameron Kasky, a junior at Stoneman Douglas who told CNN’s Dana Bash (and several other anchors) that students nationwide would participant in a “March For Our Lives” on March 24th, with a goal of preventing mass shootings and placing a “badge of shame” on lawmakers who accept money from the National Rifle Association.

We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Kasky said, adding: “On March 24th, you are going to be seeing students in every single major city marching, and we have our lives on the line here. And at the end of the day that is going to be what’s bringing us to victory, and to making some sort of right out of this tragedy.”

“This is about us begging for our lives,” he continued. “This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA and using us as collateral.”

“This is a student-led grassroots movement,” Stoneman Douglas senior David Hogg told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “This is not a debate, this is a discussion between Americans, because we’ve had too many debates before and we’ve gotten nowhere. We need a discussion where we hear both sides.”

“From the Republicans, they can talk about mental healthcare,” he continued. “And from the Democrats, they can talk about gun control.”

“But what we need to do here is come together not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans, and work together to solve this issue through love and compassion, because this event occurred on Valentine’s Day, sadly, and sadly 17 people had to take a bullet to the heart and so did our community. This is a time for change and we can’t let this ever happen again.”

Asked why this school shooting would lead to a different result than others have in recent years — namely, an unchanged status quo — Hogg responded in part: “I think this time is different because immediately — the same day as the shooting — I immediately went on Fox News, in fact, and talked about how this needed to be different, how this could not be just another mass shooting.”  

CBS’ Nancy Cordes asked him to respond to a tweet from President Donald Trump blaming Democrats — inaccurately — for failing to pass legislation to prevent gun massacres.

“President Trump, you control the House of Representatives, you control the Senate, and you control the executive,” Hogg said. “You haven’t taken a single bill for mental health care or gun control and passed it, and that’s pathetic. We’ve seen a government shut down. We’ve seen tax reform. But nothing to save our children’s lives. Are you kidding me? You think now is the time to focus on the past and not the future to prevent the deaths of thousands of other children? You sicken me.”

A website for the march reads in part: “March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.”

“This is a case of simple– Please stop!” Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Stoneman who delivered a powerful speech on the politics of gun legislation Saturday, said. “Please stop allowing us to be gunned down in our hallways.”

“People are telling us that we should run for president. We want an education. At this point we are trying so desperately hard to communicate what we are feeling and so many people are listening to us.”

She told ABC’s Martha Raddatz: “The people who are out there, the kids who need to take part in this, are everyday kids just like us. They are students who need to understand that this can very quickly happen to them, and we’re doing everything within our power to prevent it from happening to them, but they need to join us and they need to help us get our message across.”

“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said of politicians currently accepting donations from the National Rifle Association, including President Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The students brought their advocacy to online outlets like NowThis, as well:

Read More →

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of angry students, parents, teachers and neighbors of a Florida high school where 17 people were killed demanded Saturday that immediate action be taken on gun-control legislation, insisting they would not relent until their demands were met.

The rallies in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg gave a political outlet to the growing feelings of rage and mourning sparked by the carnage. Authorities say a former student who had been expelled, had mental health issues and been reported to law enforcement, used a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle to kill students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“Because of these gun laws, people that I know, people that I love, have died, and I will never be able to see them again,” Delaney Tarr, a student at the school, told the crowd swamping the steps and courtyard at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Parkland.

The crowd chanted: “Vote them out!” and held signs calling for action. Some read: “#Never Again,” ”#Do something now” and “Don’t Let My Friends Die.”

Student Emma Gonzalez told the crowd politicians should stop taking donations from the National Rifle Association. “Shame on you,” she yelled, and the crowd repeated her.

“A lot of people are saying that these kids are activists, these kids need to be politicians,” she later told a reporter. “But a lot of us are just other students who figured there’s strength in numbers. And we want to be sure that we end up having our message sent across. And then we can get back to our normal everyday lives, you know.”

Laurie Woodward Garcia, the mother of a 14-year-old girl, echoed many in the crowd, who said they believed that this shooting would lead to change, though so many others had not.

“If there’s something that we can unite on as Democrats and Republicans and Independents, it’s our children. So it will happen,” she said.

In St. Petersburg, on Florida’s Gulf Coast 250 miles (400 miles) northwest of Parkland, hundreds of people gathered Saturday night in a park, where they lit candles in memory of the victims and called for legislative action on the state and federal level to end gun violence.

The rallies came as new details emerged about the suspect, Nikolas Cruz.

From a mosaic of public records, interviews with friends and family and online interactions, it appears Cruz was unstable and violent to himself and those around him — and that when notified about his threatening behavior, law enforcement did little to stop it.

Cruz’s mother died in November and his father died years ago.

He reportedly left a suburban Palm Beach County mobile home where he had been staying after his mother’s death because his benefactor gave him an ultimatum: you or the gun.

The Palm Beach Post reports Rocxanne Deschamps said, “He bought a gun and wanted to bring it into my house” in public comments that have since been removed from her Facebook page.

Chad Bennett, a friend of Deschamps’, said Cruz “chose the gun and he left.”

He then went to live with another family.

Earlier, Florida’s child welfare agency investigated after Cruz cut himself in an online video, but found him stable, according to state records.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Florida’s Department of Children and Families investigated when Cruz posted a video on the social media network Snapchat showing him cutting his arms in 2016. The agency was called to investigate. Cruz, then 18, was listed as an “alleged victim” of medical neglect and inadequate supervision; his adoptive mother, then-68-year-old Lynda Cruz, the “alleged perpetrator.”

“Mr. Cruz was on Snapchat cutting both of his arms,” the Florida DCF abuse hotline was told in August 2016, the paper reported. “Mr. Cruz has fresh cuts on both his arms. Mr. Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”

According to the paper, DCF’s investigation was completed that Nov. 12. The agency concluded Cruz had not been mistreated by his mother, was receiving adequate care from a mental health counselor and was attending school.

Mental health center staff “came out and assessed the (victim and) found him to be stable enough not to be hospitalized,” the DCF report said.

At school, Cruz routinely fought with teachers, was accused of swearing at staff and was referred for a “threat assessment” in January 2017, two months after the DCF investigation concluded, The New York Times reported Saturday, citing school disciplinary records it obtained.

The records show he was suspended several times in the 2016-17 school year and was frequently absent. They also show Cruz attended at least six schools, including a school for students with emotional problems, the newspaper said.

Cruz had been diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder that often leads to social awkwardness and isolation, and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

The FBI said a person close to Cruz called the FBI’s tip line and provided information about Cruz’s weapons and his erratic behavior. The caller was concerned Cruz could attack a school. The agency acknowledged the tip should have been shared with the FBI’s Miami office and investigated, but it was not.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said his office had received more than 20 calls about Cruz in the past few years.


Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Florida.


Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here:

Read More →

On Twitter Saturday night and Sunday morning, President Donald Trump flooded the zone with his takes on a variety of topics, all seemingly sharing one message: It’s not my fault.

The past week was a taxing one for the President, politically: A mass shooting in Florida increased the pressure on Congress to enact gun control legislation. Robert Mueller indicted 14 people, Russian and American, and additional entities on various charges in the course of his special counsel investigation — one that the administration has maintained is a “witch hunt” based on a “hoax.” And the New Yorker magazine detailed another extramarital affair the President reportedly paid to keep quiet.

Trump’s tweets deflected responsibility in bursts.

Despite congressional Republicans constituting the only obstacle to new gun control legislation, the President blamed Democrats for just that.

He said the FBI’s focus on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — one in which his administration has repeatedly attempted to interfere — distracted the bureau from the threat posed by the gunman who ultimately committed a shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday.

The bureau admitted that a lapse in protocol occurred when a tip about the gunman was not flagged to the relevant local authorities. The bureau did not say it had been distracted by the Russia probe. Trump’s tweet echoed a widespread sentiment among the far-right

Trump nitpicked with his own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, who said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that Robert Mueller’s recent indictments provided “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian meddling in the election — but did not say that that such meddling didn’t affect the election. In announcing the indictment against 13 people for various charges Friday Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said only that there was no allegation “in the indictment” of any effect on the outcome of the election.

At 7:02 a.m. he attacked former President Barack Obama for a cash payment to Iran that Obama administration officials have consistently defended. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who’s facing his own troubles at home — attacked Iran and the Iran deal at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

And he seized on a comment made by the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who told NBC News on Friday that the Obama administration should have provided a “more forceful deterrent” to foreign cyber attacks following the 2014 Sony hack.

Trump is incorrect in saying “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election.” At times he has specified that his campaign did not collude with Russia. But he has also frequently tossed nuance aside and called the entire Mueller investigation a “witch hunt,” or declared that “Russia is fake news.”

According to the White House press secretary’s schedule, the President had no public events Sunday. But on Twitter, as the day began, he had more to say.

Read More →

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday said he would conduct a review of the FBI’s failure to investigate a tip it received in January warning the bureau about the behavior of the 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people in a Florida school shooting Wednesday.

In a statement, Sessions said he would make the review of the FBI and the Department of Justice’s practices “a top priority.”

“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures,” he said. “The FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better.”

The FBI released a statement on Friday acknowledging the bureau had failed to follow up on a tip from a person close with the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz. According to a statement from the agency, the person informed the FBI in January of Cruz’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday called the inaction from the FBI unacceptable and demanded that FBI Director Chris Wray resign.

Read the full statement from Sessions below

“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures.

“The FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better. I have ordered the Deputy Attorney General to conduct an immediate review of our process here at the Department of Justice and FBI to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us. This includes more than just an error review but also a review of how we respond. This will include possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement.

“We will make this a top priority. It has never been more important to encourage every person in every community to spot the warning signs and alert law enforcement. Do not assume someone else will step up–all of us must be vigilant. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Read More →