Archives
  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Students from the Washington, D.C. area held a protest outside the White House Monday to call for lawmakers to reform gun laws after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. last week.In the protest, organized by a group called Teens for Gun Reform, 17 students lay on the ground for three minutes in front of the White House to symbolize the 17 people killed last week and how long it reportedly took the shooter to buy an AR-15 rifle, according to a press release.Protesters held signs that read "Protect Kids, Not Guns" and "How about our children's rights?" while someone read the names of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting over a bullhorn.Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were shot and killed by a former student last week, have called for a national march on Washington, D.C. on March 24 to call on lawmakers to take action to prevent future mass shootings. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump felt liberated Friday afternoon, sources close to him told ABC News, when the news broke that the special counsel probing interference in the 2016 presidential election unveiled a grand jury indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups accused of meddling “with U.S. elections and political processes.”“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” the president tweeted as he boarded Air Force One in Washington where the televisions were tuned into Fox News. Over the next 45 hours, the president would go on to tweet 11 times - blasting the Russia investigation and blaming Democrats for failing to stop Russian interference, which he once denied.Then came the bombshell at 11:08 p.m. Saturday. The president connected one of the deadliest mass school shootings in history to the Russia investigation.“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russia collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” Trump tweeted, following dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club. Aides have long cautioned Trump against tweeting about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, with one senior White House official conceding the weekend tweets were not helpful to the president.Even the presence of chief of staff John Kelly – known to bring some order to a chaotic White House but who has said his role isn't to stop the president from tweeting – didn’t seem to help contain what soon turned into a twitter tirade.“Trying to convince him not to tweet? People have been trying for three years – from his family to friends to aides. What makes them think this time would be any different?” said another White House official who expected Trump would ultimately link the deadly shooting to the Russia investigation.There was bi-partisan backlash. Members of his own party even said he went too far.“So many folks in the FBI are doing all they can to keep us safe, the reality of it is that they are two separate issues,” Republican Senator Tim Scott said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”“This is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on CNN.One survivor of the Florida high school shooting tweeted to the president: “Oh my god. 17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of you fake and meaningless “thoughts and prayers.”On Friday, shortly after arriving in Florida, Trump traveled to Broward County to visit first responders and victim’s families after last week's shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – a visit that appeared to have a more congratulatory feel focused on praising law enforcement officials.The Saturday Twitter barrage was just the beginning.President Trump then took another swipe at the ongoing Russia probes early Sunday morning, tweeting “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption, and chaos within the U.S. they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”Trump, who has been hesitant to enforce sanctions on Russia for cyber meddling, has yet to speak out against Russia or say what he will do to stop future Russian meddling.As White House spokesman Hogan Gidley was on Fox News claiming that the Democrats and the media have created more “chaos” than the Russia investigation, Trump’s own national security adviser was acknowledging Russian interf
    Read more...
  • Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty(WASHINGTON) -- The White House says President Donald Trump is “supportive of efforts” to update the nation’s background check system in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting last week that killed 17 people, many of them teenagers. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the president spoke with Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Friday about legislation he introduced last year following the Sutherland Springs mass shooting that took place in Cornyn's home state.“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” Sanders said. That bill, co-sponsored by leading gun control advocate Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who saw 20 children killed in his home state in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, calls for making updates to the background check system to ensure that states and federal agencies have up-to-date and accurate information on individuals prohibited from buying firearms.The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, referring to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is endorsed by major gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.While any action the administration takes in the wake of Florida is expected to stop short of any proposal that would amount to gun restrictions, sources tell ABC News that the president has repeatedly said “we have to do something” in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said late last week that “mental health and school safety” would be at the forefront of any policy prescriptions the administration may pursue. “The president wants to take leadership and actually fix this problem and create best practices across the country,” Shah said on FOX News late last week. This week, the president is set to turn his focus to the issue of school safety with a “listening session” on Wednesday with high school students and teachers. And on Thursday, he will meet with state and local officials on the issue.This is the fourth mass shooting that President Trump has had to respond to since becoming president, and in the wake of those other shootings, the administration has repeatedly pivoted away from having a conversation on gun control measures and has instead put the focus on mental health.Following the shooting in Sutherland Springs last year, the president said, "We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn't a guns situation. I mean, we could go into it, but it's a little bit soon to go into it." Since last week’s shooting, the president has not said it's too soon to talk about gun control but he has twice ignored questions about whether there should be changes to the nation’s gun laws.The only time the president has previously expressed an openness to some sort of regulation relating to guns was in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, when he said the administration would be "looking into" bump stocks regulation."We'll be looking into that over the next short period of time," the president said back in October. But ultimately, a bill that would have addressed the issue of bump stocks died in Congress. After passing the House, the measure stalled in the Senate.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) --  A driver of one of the press vans in the presidential motorcade was found Monday to be carrying a personal handgun.The gun was discovered in a bag belonging to the driver during a routine screening at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump has been spending the long weekend.According to a reporter who witnessed the incident, the driver said he had forgotten to leave the firearm in his personal car. The driver was detained for questioning by the Secret Service and was not allowed to enter the president’s property. The other van drivers were also removed from the motorcade and White House staffers drove the vans instead.One of the press vans, driven by a staffer, subsequently got into a fender bender with a government SUV in the parking lot of the president’s club.Secret Service has yet to respond to an ABC News' request for comment on the incident.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • PA Governor's Office(HARRISBURG, Penn.) -- In a decision that could have major ramifications for the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide today on a new congressional map after the governor and state legislature could not come to an agreement on a map last week. Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled state legislature had until Thursday at midnight last week to agree on a new congressional map, but were unable to submit a map satisfying both parties to the state’s high court in time.Numerous map submissions from both sides of the aisle were presented to the state Supreme Court, which ordered the state’s congressional boundaries redrawn late last month, but after Wolf vetoed a map submitted Republican leaders in the statehouse last Tuesday it became clear both sides were not going to reach an agreement by the February 16 deadline.Republicans in the state harshly criticized Wolf for rejecting the map they submitted, saying his decision “sets forth a nonsensical approach to governance.”“This entire exercise, while cloaked in ‘litigation,’ is and has been nothing more than the ultimate partisan gerrymander – one brought about by the Democrat Chief Executive of the Commonwealth acting in concert with politically-connected litigants in order to divest the General Assembly of its Constitutional authority to enact Congressional districts,” Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai and State Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati wrote in a statement last Tuesday. Wolf submitted his own map last week that he claimed “combined features of legislative submissions” and was “statistically more fair than the Republican leaders’ submission.”“From the outset, I have made clear I wanted a map that was fair and removed the partisanship that Pennsylvanians have been forced to live under since the 2012 elections,” Governor Wolf said in a statement Thursday. “This map takes features from Republican and Democratic submissions, while still meeting the court’s orders and opinion, to provide Pennsylvanians with a fair map.” Republicans currently hold 12 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, while Democrats control just five. One seat is currently vacant but will be filled following the March 13 special election to replace former Representative Tim Murphy, R-Penn., who resigned over a sex scandal last year. The new congressional map, expected to be announced in an order by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sometime today, could allow Democrats to pick up between 2 to 3 seats in the 2018 midterm elections.“If the Pennsylvania map changes, it’s hard to imagine how the Republicans hold control of the House so maybe that’s why we’re seeing the desperation we’re seeing,” Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan public policy institute, told ABC News.The suburban districts around the city of Philadelphia are expected to be heavily redrawn, which could affect the seats currently represented by Republican congressmen Pat Meehan and Ryan Costello.Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in both Meehan and Costello’s districts in the 2016 presidential election.
    Read more...