Gun control groups seek to harness Parkland momentum for midterms

A small group of teenagers from Parkland, Florida, with no organizing experience or money has single-handedly energized the national movement for gun control after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at their high school. Now long-established anti-gun groups with funds and influence are planning to harness that momentum in the months leading up to the midterm elections.

National organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence say they have seen their membership and mailing lists skyrocket by double-digit percentages since the shooting.

Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to demonstrate in Washington and around the country in support of their cause, the groups are planning to seize the moment by registering participants to vote and encouraging them to elect like-minded lawmakers in November.

“This is about developing a grass-roots army and once these people train their Continue reading “Gun control groups seek to harness Parkland momentum for midterms”

Trump: Cohn ‘may be a globalist, but I still like him’

President Donald Trump said Thursday he suspected departing aide Gary Cohn would be back, saying the National Economic Council director "may be a globalist, but I still like him."

"This is Gary Cohn’s last meeting in the Cabinet,” Trump said at the beginning of the meeting, which was partly televised. “He’s been terrific. He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He is seriously a globalist. There’s no question. In his own way, but you know what, he’s a nationalist. He loves our country.”

Cohn announced his resignation on Tuesday, after unsuccessfully urging the president not to impose steep new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

“I have a feeling you’ll be back. I don’t know if I can put him in the same position though,” the president said of Cohn, drawing laughter. “He’s not quite as strong on those tariffs. But, seriously, on behalf Continue reading “Trump: Cohn ‘may be a globalist, but I still like him’”

Rep. Himes calls Trump’s tariff plan ‘backward-looking’

A pro-trade Democrat on Thursday called Donald Trump’s proposal to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports "backward-looking," saying it could hurt the president’s message to young voters in the midterms later this year.

“These tariffs are about helping a steel industry, and that’s an attractive but backward-looking, in my opinion, and not terribly accurate or economically powerful message," said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) at a panel convened by POLITICO on the millennial economic future. Topics ranged from student loan debt forgiveness to the new tariff proposals.

Trump’s decision to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum followed an investigation that found current import volumes threaten national security, said Mark Calabria, the chief economist in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.

Pence privately opposes the tariff idea, as do many Republicans, who tend to support free-trade policies, POLITICO has reported. But the vice president Continue reading “Rep. Himes calls Trump’s tariff plan ‘backward-looking’”

White House: Tariffs announcement expected this week

The White House plans to make an announcement on President Donald Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs by the end of this week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

"Yes, we are still on pace for an announcement on that at the end of this week,” Sanders told reporters, according to the press pool.

Sanders, however, said she doesn’t expect Trump will formalize the tariff details on Saturday during a speaking engagement in Pittsburgh. Trump is appearing there ahead of a congressional special election next week.

"I wouldn’t anticipate that that happens," she said. "That’s a separate type of event."

"Look, it’s a lengthy process finalizing the details,” she said. “It’s a complicated process, and we want to make sure every I’s dotted and all T’s are crossed.”

Trump’s decision to impose the tariffs, which fulfills a campaign promise to get tough on U.S. Continue reading “White House: Tariffs announcement expected this week”

Trump floats idea to secure elections: ‘It’s always good to have a paper backup’

President Donald Trump has one idea to blunt the impact of Russian meddling in U.S. elections: "It’s called paper."

“One of the things we’re learning is, it’s always good — It’s old-fashioned — but it’s always good to have a paper back-up system of voting,” the president said Tuesday during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. “It’s called paper. Not highly complex computers, paper. A lot of states are doing that. They’re going to a paper back-up. And I think that’s a great idea. We’re studying it closely. Various agencies, including homeland security, are studying it very carefully.”

Trump, who has acknowledged Russia meddled in the 2016 election but has said his team was not involved in the effort, has been adamant that Russia had “no impact” on votes. He told reporters Tuesday that other countries “probably” were involved in presidential-election meddling as Continue reading “Trump floats idea to secure elections: ‘It’s always good to have a paper backup’”

White House: Trump tells Trudeau he wants ‘fair’ NAFTA deal

President Donald Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday night about trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations in Mexico City, the White House said Tuesday.

Trump said he supports an agreement that is “fair to all three countries,” but the current deal leaves the U.S. with a “trade deficit,” according to a statement from the White House.

The White House appeared to have a somewhat different takeaway from the call than the Canadians did. A Canadian readout dated Monday said both the U.S. and Canada "welcomed" the progress that has been made with NAFTA.

The Canadians also said Trudeau highlighted his concern over Trump’s proposed aluminum and steel tariffs. The White House didn’t mention the tariff spat.

Trump has proposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, angering many U.S. allies and frustrating even some members Continue reading “White House: Trump tells Trudeau he wants ‘fair’ NAFTA deal”

Trump mocks ‘lowest rated Oscars’: ‘We don’t have stars anymore — except your president’

A record low 26.5 million people watched the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday and President Donald Trump says he knows why: There aren’t anymore movie stars.

“Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY,” the president tweeted Tuesday morning. “Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!”

Hosted by late night TV host, Jimmy Kimmel, the show dropped in viewership roughly 20 percent from 33 million, according to a Nielsen report. Various media reports say the length of the show contributed to the decline, while others highlighted the smaller films winning the biggest awards.

"Thanks, lowest rated President in HISTORY," the host fired back on his Twitter.

This year’s Oscars, which has always been somewhat political, didn’t go without Kimmel and others taunting the president.

Kimmel made a few jokes ranging from Hope Hicks’ resignation to the president’s tweeting habits. "Where there is light, Continue reading “Trump mocks ‘lowest rated Oscars’: ‘We don’t have stars anymore — except your president’”

NRA spokeswoman attacks media over shootings: ‘You love the ratings’

A National Rifle Association spokeswoman attacked the media’s coverage of last week’s Florida high school shooting and criticized law enforcement Thursday, saying critics were trying to “gaslight” gun supporters into taking responsibility for the tragedy.

It was a shift from Dana Loesch’s posture during a CNN town hall the night before, when she told a Parkland, Florida student she admired her advocacy for gun control and emphasized that the man who police say killed 17 people should “never have been able to get a firearm.”

Speaking on Thursday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, her tone was aggressive, particularly as she went after the media.

"Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it," Loesch said. "Now, I’m not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the Continue reading “NRA spokeswoman attacks media over shootings: ‘You love the ratings’”

GOP congresswoman, without evidence, says mass shooters ‘end up being Democrats’

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), offering no evidence, told a New York radio host that many mass shooters are Democrats and that the media are overlooking the story.

Tenney, a gun rights advocate, made the comments during a discussion Wednesday with WGDJ host Fred Dicker about the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, which left 17 people dead.

"Obviously, there’s a lot of politics in it. It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats," Tenney said. "But the media doesn’t talk about that."

Tenney said she fears legal gun owners will be “targeted” following the shooting, even though she claimed their demographic had “the least amount of crimes than virtually any other demographic.” Dicker replied that “they tend to vote Republican” and “tend to be white.” Tenney laughed and agreed.

Police say the suspect in the Florida shooting, Continue reading “GOP congresswoman, without evidence, says mass shooters ‘end up being Democrats’”

Treasury’s Malpass says he’s ‘troubled’ by national debt

A top Treasury Department official said Wednesday he is “troubled” by annual budget deficits and wants a three-year program to slow the growth of the national debt.

“I think it is too high now, and it’s going higher,” David Malpass, Treasury’s under secretary for international affairs, told Fox Business. "I am troubled by the deficit and troubled by the national debt, and I think we need a three-year program to grapple with it, starting this month, next month and on forward."

President Donald Trump proposed a $4.4 trillion budget last week that called for more military spending and cuts to domestic programs such as Medicare and food stamps. But it projects the government will bring in much less than it spends, in large part because of a $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump signed into law last year.

Though Malpass doesn’t expect a government shutdown next month when Continue reading “Treasury’s Malpass says he’s ‘troubled’ by national debt”

White House: Kushner’s work status will not change

The White House said on Tuesday that the work status of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, would not change because of upcoming changes to the security clearance process.

“I haven’t spoken to the president about whether or not that would be necessary, but again, as I said, Mr. Kushner’s work that he has done will not be impacted and he’s going to continue to do the work that he’s done over the last year,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during the daily briefing.

Though the White House imposed a ban on interim security clearances last year, nearly three dozen staffers, including Kushner, were still operating in the White House with such clearance.

Chief of staff John Kelly unveiled a series of initiatives last Friday to improve the Trump administration’s security clearance process, which drew a backlash following staff secretary Rob Porter’s resignation amid allegations Continue reading “White House: Kushner’s work status will not change”

Trump calls woman’s sexual misconduct allegation against him ‘another false accusation’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to deny accusations of sexual harassment from one of the 19 women who have accused him of misconduct.

The woman accusing Trump, Rachel Crooks, was featured in a Washington Post story Monday.

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago,” he tweeted. “Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security cameras running. Another False Accusation.”

Several reporters pointed out on Twitter that the president claimed the incident took place in the lobby of Trump Towers, even though Crooks said it happened outside of an office on the 24th floor.

Crooks previously announced she is running for a seat in the Ohio state legislature.

Continue reading “Trump calls woman’s sexual misconduct allegation against him ‘another false accusation’”

Trump calls woman’s sexual misconduct allegation against him ‘another false accusation’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to deny accusations of sexual harassment from one of the 19 women who have accused him of misconduct.

The woman accusing Trump, Rachel Crooks, was featured in a Washington Post story Monday.

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago,” he tweeted. “Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security cameras running. Another False Accusation.”

Several reporters pointed out on Twitter that the president claimed the incident took place in the lobby of Trump Towers, even though Crooks said it happened outside of an office on the 24th floor.

Crooks previously announced she is running for a seat in the Ohio state legislature.

Continue reading “Trump calls woman’s sexual misconduct allegation against him ‘another false accusation’”

Advocates warn against linking mass shootings, mental illness after Trump tweet

Advocates cautioned Thursday against making assumptions about the links between mental health issues and violence after President Donald Trump said the suspect in a mass shooting at a Florida high school was "mentally disturbed."

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump tweeted Thursday. In televised remarks on the shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people, he said his administration was tackling "the difficult issue of mental health."

Certain mental illnesses can be associated with violent behavior, but so can many other factors, said Ron Honberg, senior policy adviser at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“There are a lot of factors that can cause violence,” he said. “Untreated psychosis may be one, but there are definitely other factors.”

“It feels like mental illness is being used as a political football to deflect Continue reading “Advocates warn against linking mass shootings, mental illness after Trump tweet”

Oprah on Golden Globes hype: ‘I was just trying to give a good speech’

Entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey halted the whispers of a rumored 2020 presidential run last month, and she said in a new interview that she was "just trying to give a good speech" when she lit up the Golden Globes while accepting a lifetime achievement award.

“I think I heard or read something that said ‘oh, doing that [Golden Globes] speech you must have known you were dipping your toe in the water of politics,’" Winfrey said. "Are you kidding me? I was just trying to give a good speech."

"I was looking for a way to express what was going on in this moment in terms of gender and class and race. I cared about landing that speech in the room," she told CBS News in the interview.

Winfrey said she hasn’t gotten any signs from the man upstairs telling her to run.

"I’ve never looked outside for other Continue reading “Oprah on Golden Globes hype: ‘I was just trying to give a good speech’”

DeVos calls for congressional hearings on school shootings

Following a shooting at a Florida high school that left more than a dozen dead, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Thursday that Congress should hold hearings on school shootings,

“Congress needs to be holding hearings on these issues. And we’ve seen lots of discussion about this every time we’ve had another incident,” DeVos said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“We’ve seen, you know, lots of finger pointing back and forth. But we need to have a conversation at the level where lawmakers can actually impact the future, because going back to and putting myself in the seat of one of those families impacted, you know, one of these shootings is one too many. And we have got to have an honest conversation, and Congress has to lead on this. It’s their job.”

However, a few members of Congress have already publicly voiced their opinions Continue reading “DeVos calls for congressional hearings on school shootings”

Authorities investigating shooting outside NSA

Federal authorities are investigating a shooting outside of the National Security Agency facility at Fort Meade Wednesday that reportedly left one person wounded.

Fort Meade garrison spokeswoman Cheryl Phillips told the Associated Press that one person was injured in the shooting outside the base and was taken to hospital.

The NSA tweeted at about 9:10 a.m. that the situation "is under control and there is no ongoing security or safety threat."

President Donald Trump "has been briefed" on the shooting, according to White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters, and is offering “thoughts and prayers” and promising to provide updates “as they become available”.

According to a WRC-TV aerial photo, police could be seen surrounding handcuffed man. Close by, was a black SUV with bullet holes through its windshield, which had reportedly crashed into a concrete barrier of the NSA entry gates.

Authorities investigating shooting outside NSA

Federal authorities are investigating a shooting outside of the National Security Agency facility at Fort Meade Wednesday that reportedly left one person wounded.

Fort Meade garrison spokeswoman Cheryl Phillips told the Associated Press that one person was injured in the shooting outside the base and was taken to hospital.

The NSA tweeted at about 9:10 a.m. that the situation "is under control and there is no ongoing security or safety threat."

President Donald Trump "has been briefed" on the shooting, according to White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters, and is offering “thoughts and prayers” and promising to provide updates “as they become available”.

According to a WRC-TV aerial photo, police could be seen surrounding handcuffed man. Close by, was a black SUV with bullet holes through its windshield, which had reportedly crashed into a concrete barrier of the NSA entry gates.

DNI Coats: North Korea is an ‘existential threat’

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday North Korean nuclear forces are an “existential” threat to the U.S.

“This is an existential threat potentially to the United States but also to North Korea,” Coats said during the Senate intelligence hearing. “Kim Jong Un views any kind of kinetic attack or effort to force him to give up his nuclear weapons, is an existential threat to his nation and to his leadership in particular.”

He also said, however, that though the goal is for peace, the U.S. is applying “maximum pressure” on North Korea.

"The provocative nature and the instability that Kim has demonstrated potentially is a significant threat to the United States,” he said. “Our goal is a peaceful settlement. We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways which can be described by my colleagues here. But we have to face the fact Continue reading “DNI Coats: North Korea is an ‘existential threat’”

Panel convened by Steyer questions Trump’s mental state

A panel of mental health experts convened by Tom Steyer Monday night said Donald Trump’s mental health may be a threat to the United States, as the Democratic activist pushes forward his effort to impeach the president.

Steyer founded Need to Impeach, an organization that has pressed for Trump’s impeachment. His group has gathered contact information for millions of activists, leading to speculation about the California billionaire’s political ambitions.

A White House physician last month gave Trump a clean bill of health and said he performed well on a cognitive exam. Still, the five mental health experts gathered by Steyer in Washington expressed concerns about Trump’s access to nuclear weapons.

Steven Buser, a former Air Force physician and panelist who signed onto a letter earlier this year urging the president’s physician to evaluate his neurological health, said he would not want Trump to have the ability to launch U.S. Continue reading “Panel convened by Steyer questions Trump’s mental state”