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Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday that the mass shooting in Las Vegas the previous night had claimed the lives of 58 people, and perhaps an additional person, as the casualties from the mass shooting continued to mount.

“Right now we’re using the number of 58. I just was informed that it may be 59, of an individual that may have expired at Sunrise Hospital,” Lombardo said at a press briefing.

The number of injured also increased to 515, he said.

“In normal fashion I do not want to give you bad information,” he added. “So please do not press me on that number until we get further into this investigation.”

And as you can tell, as the hours go by, that number continues to increase,” he said.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday pledged the federal government’s full support following the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas.

Police say at least 50 people were killed and hundreds more wounded after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Sessions said in a statement that he had offered Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo “the full support of the FBI, the ATF, and the entire Department of Justice as he takes the lead in investigating this incident.”

Lombardo, as Clark County Sheriff, leads the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Read Sessions’ full statement below:

“I met with FBI Director Wray this morning. The investigation into the horrific shooting last night in Las Vegas is ongoing.

“I also spoke to Las Vegas Metropolitan Sheriff Joe Lombardo today. I expressed my gratitude for the courageous work of his officers through the night and offered him the full support of the FBI, the ATF, and the entire Department of Justice as he takes the lead investigating this incident.

“To the many families whose lives have been changed forever by this heinous act, we offer you our prayers and our promise that we will do everything in our power to get justice for your loved ones.”

This post has been updated.

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An officer in the Mesquite, Nevada police department on Monday answered questions about the home and community of 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, who lived in Mesquite prior to traveling to Las Vegas and allegedly carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Paddock allegedly killed at least 50 people and wounded hundreds more by shooting into a crowd of outdoor concert-goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, according to police. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday morning in a press conference that “[w]e believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” referring to the forcible police entry into Paddock’s hotel room.

“I believe there were some weapons found and maybe some ammunition,” Mesquite police officer Quinn Averett told reporters at a press conference, asked about a house identified as Paddock’s that police had obtained a warrant to search following the shooting.

Averett described the house as “a newer home, it’s a new subdivision and it’s a nice, clean, home.” He said the Mesquite Police Department had never had any recorded interactions with Paddock.

“There’s nothing out of the ordinary,” he said of the structure, adding that it was empty when police searched it.

“Can you describe that neighborhood for us? Is it a cul-de-sac, is it a street corner?” a reporter asked.

“It’s a retirement community area,” Averett said. “I believe 55 and older. It’s a newer part of the community, so all the homes there are fairly new. It’s really quiet. It is a cul-de-sac. It’s just a regular neighborhood.

Averett said a woman who the Clark County Sheriff’s Office had earlier identified as a person of interest had lived in the home. Clark County Sheriff Lombardo said earlier Monday of that person, Marilou Danley: “We have located her out of the country. She was not with him when he checked in. We have discovered he was utilizing some of her identification. And we have conversation with her, and we believed her, at this time, not to be involved.”

“The female that was named by Las Vegas — does show that she’s lived in this home as well,” Averett said, asked about “the person of interest, the female who was named by Las Vegas.”

Averett directed several questions to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Force, and said the Mesquite Police Department was assisting with their investigation.

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) called on Congress to “get off its ass and do something” to prevent further mass shootings after a gunman took the lives of at least 50 people in the deadliest shooting in American history Sunday night.

Murphy advocated strongly for gun control measures after a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 in his state took the lives of 20 children and six adult staff.

“This must stop,” Murphy said in a statement. “It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference.”

In a tweet, Murphy said his “heart with with Las Vegas this morning.”

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday morning that the suspected shooter — 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, a white male from Mesquite, Nevada — took his own life before police forcibly entered his 32nd floor hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Paddock allegedly killed more than 50 people, making the shooting the deadliest in American history.

Read Murphy’s full statement below:

“My heart goes out to the victims, their families, the first responders, and the entire Las Vegas community. Nowhere but America do horrific large-scale mass shootings happen with this degree of regularity. Last night’s massacre may go down as the deadliest in our nation’s history, but already this year there have been more mass shootings than days in the year.

“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”

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The suspected perpetrator of a mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night fatally shot himself before police forcibly entered his hotel room, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday morning.

“We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” Lombardo said at a press briefing Monday morning, asked about the scene in the shooter’s hotel room when police forcibly entered.

Asked about what his officers found in the shooter’s hotel room, Lombardo said: “We are still going through the search warrant actively at this time, but it’s in excess of 10 rifles.”

Lombardo identified the shooting suspect as 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, a white male from Mesquite, Nevada. At the press conference, Lombardo said Paddock “received a citation several years ago, and that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.”

Paddock is alleged to have shot into a crowd of concert goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. He killed at least 50 people, according to police, making Sunday night’s shooting the deadliest in American history. In June 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday afternoon, following his use of private and military planes for official travel.

Politico first uncovered Price’s use of private chartered flights in an investigation last week, and has since uncovered a total of more than $1 million in private and military flights taken by Price on the taxpayers’ dime.

As controversy brewed over the hefty bill, President Donald Trump slowly distanced himself from Price. “We’ll see” about his future in the Trump administration, the President said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Trump said he would make an announcement regarding Price “today,” and said I think he’s a fine person,” but “I certainly don’t like the optics.”

On Sept. 19, Politico reported on five private charter flights scheduled for Price between Sept. 13 and 15. Within days, the publication reported many more such flights. Congressional Democrats demanded answers, and the HHS inspector general and House Oversight Committee announced that they would look into the matter.

Price said in a press release Thursday that he would cease his use of private jet travel and reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the cost of “my seat” on the flights, though it was presumably on Price’s order that the flights were booked in the first place. An HHS spokesperson told TPM that Price had committed to paying $51,887.31 for “his seats.”

The same spokesperson did not respond to TPM’s questions Friday on whether Price still intended to make good on his commitment to the treasury.

Two other administration officials have recently been revealed to have used private charter flights and military flights using taxpayer money: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

Before his nomination as health secretary, Price was known for his drive to deregulate the medical field. At the time of his nomination, he was a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The group has said it aims “to fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine,” and it publishes a journal that has included articles on the mythic links between vaccines and autism, and abortion and breast cancer, among other things.

During his nomination hearings, Price was embroiled in another scandal involving the misuse of his position as a public servant: Price received a discount on thousands of dollars worth of shares in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian firm attempting to break into the American market, leading to a potential conflict of interest given then-Rep. Price’s ability to influence the regulatory process.

The White House said in a statement that Trump would name Don J. Wright the acting secretary for HHS.

In his resignation letter, Price did not apologize for his use of private air travel. Instead, he said “I regret that the recent events have created a distraction” from his policy priorities.

“Success on these issues is more important than any one person,” Price wrote. “In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services effective 11:59 PM on Friday, September 29, 2017.”

Read Tom Price’s full resignation letter below:

Dear Mr. President:

It is an honor and privilege to serve you as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Under your leadership, the Department of working aggressively to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. This includes working to reform a broken health care system, empower patients, reduce regulatory burdens, ensure global health security, and tackle clinical priorities such as the opioid epidemic, serious mental illness and childhood obesity.

I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.

Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services effective 11:59 PM on Friday, September 29, 2017.

You may rest assured that I will continue to support your critical priorities going ahead because failure is not an option for the American people.

Yours truly,

Thomas E. Price, M.D.

This post has been updated.

 

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The Department of Justice government obtained warrants in February to seize the complete information on three anti-Trump Facebook users’ accounts. One group on the social media site included in the three warrants could expose the information of thousands of other Facebook users who interacted with it.

The warrants — for Lacy MacAuley, Legba Carrefour and the DisruptJ20 Facebook page, run by Emmelia Talarico — were initially placed under a gag order, LawNewz first reported Thursday. But after Facebook successfully fought to have the gag removed in mid-September, the ACLU of Washington, D.C. filed a motion to quash, or limit, the warrants on behalf of the three users.

According to ACLU lawyer Scott Michelman’s filing Thursday, the government’s warrants aim to seize all information associated with the three accounts, including individuals’ information who interacted with the DisruptJ20 Facebook page. The warrants came as part of an investigation into alleged rioting on Inauguration Day.

Michelman said the request was overly broad and could lead to so-called “exploratory rummaging” through the electronic information of Facebook users who had nothing to do with the alleged rioting.

“The warrants make no provision for avoiding or minimizing invasions into personal and associational/expressive information, for preventing such information from being shared widely within the government, or for destroying irrelevant material when the investigation is concluded,” Michelman wrote.

He added: “Government agents would gain access to the Intervenors’ communications with friends and family members, and pictures and names of their family members, including the pictures and names of minor children and pictures of an Intervenor’s child relatives in the bath,” among other extremely sensitive information, such as “political activities and associations.”

DisruptJ20, which served as a hub of sorts for anti-Trump inauguration event planning, hosted information on its Facebook page unrelated to any smashed windows or rioting, Michelman argued, “such as a peaceful dance-party protest to call attention to the anti-LGBTQ stance of the incoming Vice President.”

The government charged more than 200 people with various crimes following the inaugural protests in Washington, D.C., during which some protesters broke windows and lit fires in the street. Those charged included journalists, legal observers and bystanders. Judge Lynn Leibovitz recently refused to drop any charges against the nearly 200 individuals remaining to be tried.

Prosecutors also requested information from disruptj20.org,’s web host, DreamHost, on the protest website’s more than 1 million visitors. After DreamHost objected to the warrant, the government trimmed its request somewhat, and Judge Robert Morin ultimately ruled that DreamHost must turn over large amounts of users’ data, though he said the data would be handled under the court’s supervision

In his filing Thursday, Michelman was blunt: “The enforcement of these warrants would reach deeply into individuals’ private lives and protected associational and political activity.”

Read the ACLU’s filing below:

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President Donald Trump said Friday that he would make a decision on the future of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price “probably today.”

Price is mired in a scandal over the cost of his travel on private charter planes and military flights. Taxpayers’ bill has now exceeded $1 million, by Politico’s latest count.

On Thursday, an unnamed HHS spokesperson told TPM Price would reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $51,887.31 for the flights, which Price later called “unprecedented.”

I think he’s a fine person,” Trump told reporters on Friday, on his way to Marine One. “I certainly don’t like the optics.”

Trump noted, despite other reports that have found other Cabinet secretaries using thousands of taxpayer dollars for private charter flights: “We have great secretaries and we have some that actually own their own planes, as you know, and that solves that.”

Indeed, Trump’s Cabinet is the richest in American history. Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ office has confirmed that she uses her own private plane for work trips, but pays for it herself.

“I felt very badly because Secretary Price is a good man,” Trump said. “But we are looking into it, and we’re looking into it very strongly.”

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During brief remarks Friday on the continuing aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump maintained his laser focus on the island’s debt. He also defended the federal effort to bring aid to the territory, pointing out how Puerto Rico being surrounded by “big water, ocean water” presents unique challenges.

Though the island is still reeling from the hurricane, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm over a week ago, Trump has spent an inordinate amount of his attention following the storm on the private interests set to profit, or at least recover their losses, following the disaster.

“This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water,” Trump said at the start of a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers on his proposed tax overhaul. “We’re closely coordinated with the territory and local governments which are totally, and unfortunately, unable to handle this crisis on their own — just totally unable to.”

Trump said the island’s electrical grid and other infrastructure “were at their life’s end prior to the hurricanes, and now virtually everything has been wiped out and we will have to really start all over again. We are literally starting from scratch.”

“Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort — it will end up being one of the biggest ever — will be funded and organized,” he said, “and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island. 

In 2016, former President Barack Obama signed into law Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which in turn established a presidentially-appointed financial oversight board that took control of the island’s finances. Puerto Rico has struggled with tens of billions of dollars in outstanding debts to bondholders, in addition to a deep recession.

Trump has obsessed over money following the devastating hurricane: Before he authorized a waiver for the Jones Act, which restricts shipping between American ports to ships built, owned and operated by Americans, he said of the waiver: “We’re thinking about that, but we have a lot of shippers — a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.”

He’s also tweeted multiple times in recent days, as the crisis continues on the island, about Puerto Rico’s debt. On Friday, he wrote on twitter that “[b]ig decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!”

“There is no electricity,” Trump told the manufacturers’ association Friday, before moving on to promoting his tax plan. “The plants are gone. They’re gone. It’s not like, let’s send a crew in to fix them. You have to build brand new electric. Sewage systems, wiped out. There’s never been anything like this. So there remains a lot of work to do.”

Later in the speech, he made a point to return to discussing Puerto Rico, but only while bragging about the nation’s GDP growth: “Unfortunately, having the hurricanes hit Texas, and Florida, and Louisiana, and, obviously, other locations — especially where we are right now with the kind of money we’re spending on Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands — it’s going to be a little bit of a hit. But we are doing extremely well even this quarter, despite the hurricanes.”

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