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  • White House

President Trump began Thursday on Twitter defending the concept of arming teachers, an idea he’d floated the day before at a White House session with gun violence survivors to respond to last week’s Parkland, Fla., high school killings.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump raised the possibility of raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, bolstering the process of checking backgrounds of potential buyers and banning the so-called bump stocks that turn legal firearms into illegal rapid-fire ones.

But before listing those ideas, the president tweeted four times vigorously defending his proposal to extend “concealed carry” gun permits to school personnel, a proposal that was immediately criticized by teachers at the Parkland school who witnessed the killings of 17 students and adults, and Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida.

(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump held notes while he met with students, parents and teachers at the White House on Wednesday.

The meeting on guns and schools occurred one week after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Among Trump’s handwritten notes: “I hear you.” 

President Trump during Wednesday's meeting at the White House.
President Trump during Wednesday's meeting at the White House. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Jared Kushner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting Feb. 20.
Jared Kushner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting Feb. 20. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

It's a week of reckoning for White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and dozens of other officials who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year.

Those who have been operating with interim access to top-secret information since before June are set to see that access halted Friday under a new policy enacted last week by Chief of Staff John Kelly. Some officials are expected to leave their posts as a result, while others will continue working with reduced — or no — access to classified information.

The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.

(Associated Press)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a rare appearance before the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday and called for an international peace conference by mid-year — something especially needed, he said, since the U.S. can no longer be counted on as the lone mediator.

It is “essential,” Abbas said, that a “multilateral international mechanism” be established to broker peace.

The Palestinians have lost faith in the United States as an honest mediator after President Trump reversed decades of policy and recognized the disputed holy city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

(Chris Megerian / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Adam Schiff said Tuesday that he expects to reach an agreement in the next day or two with Justice Department officials on public release of a Democratic memo about surveillance and the Russia investigation.

"We’re very close to a resolution," he said at an event hosted by the Sacramento Press Club. 

Schiff (D-Burbank), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, prepared the document as a rebuttal to an earlier memo drafted by aides to Rep. Devin Nunes, the panel’s Republican chairman. Nunes (R-Tulare) had alleged that federal law enforcement improperly obtained a secret surveillance warrant to eavesdrop on a former advisor to President Trump’s campaign, a conclusion that Democrats have rejected. 

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

President Trump says he's signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to “ban all devices” like “bump stocks” used in last year's Las Vegas massacre. 

The president is making the announcement to curb the use of the rapid-fire devices during a ceremony recognizing bravery by the nation's public safety officers. 

Trump is responding days after the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school. He's pointing to the need to propose regulations to ban the device that was used in the October shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas. 

President Trump is lashing out at a woman who claims he once forcibly kissed her, saying, "Never happened!"

Trump tweeted Tuesday: "Who would do this in a public space with live security......cameras running. Another False Accusation." Trump says he doesn't know Rachel Crooks and "to the best of my knowledge, never met" her.

Crooks is among 14 women who have accused Trump of past inappropriate behavior. Trump has denied the allegations. The Washington Post featured Crooks in a story Tuesday.

 Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (Associated Press)

A lawyer linked to Rick Gates and Paul Manafort, two of President Trump’s former campaign aides ensnared in the ongoing Russian probe, has been charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III with lying to federal investigators. 

The lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, previously worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a prominent law firm that worked on a controversial report used to defend what was then the pro-Russian government of Ukraine in its prosecution of a political opponent. 

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was an longtime advisor to Ukraine’s Kremlin-allied president at the time, Viktor Yanukovich, who subsequently fled to Russia amid widespread antigovernment protests. Manafort and Gates, his partner and later his deputy on the Trump campaign, have been charged with laundering money earned during their work on Ukraine’s behalf. 

President Trump and Melania Trump with Dr. Igor Nichiporenko at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach, Fla.
President Trump and Melania Trump with Dr. Igor Nichiporenko at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach, Fla. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with most Americans continuing to say these incidents are more reflective of problems identifying and addressing mental health issues than inadequate gun laws.

In the poll conducted after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, more than three-quarters — 77% — said they think more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the shooting.

The Post-ABC poll also finds that 58% of adults say stricter gun control laws could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but there is no rise in support for banning assault weapons compared with two years ago and the partisan divide on this policy is as stark as ever. On the issue of whether allowing teachers to carry guns could have deterred the rampage, a proposal that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said is an option for schools, 42% said they agreed.