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Trump tweet ‘not necessarily’ linking shooting to Russia investigation: Sanders

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has walked back President Donald Trump’s tweet from last weekend suggesting the FBI could have prevented the Parkland high school shooting if it hadn’t been so focused on the Russia investigation.

On Friday, the FBI said it failed to follow up on a tip about the Parkland shooter. And Tuesday, when asked if Trump believes the FBI missed warning signs because of the time it’s spending on the Russia investigation, Sanders said that was “not necessarily” the cause.

“I think he was speaking – not necessarily that that is the cause. I think we all have to be aware that the cause of this is that of a deranged individual that made a decision to take the lives of 17 other people. That is the responsibility of the shooter certainly not the responsibility of anybody else,” Sanders said.

Sanders tried to clarify when asked if the tweet Trump sent late Saturday night from his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was a “mistweet.”

“I think he’s making the point that we would like our FBI agencies to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax in terms getting the Trump campaign and its involvement,” Sanders said.

Trump’s tweet outraged some survivors of the school shooting that killed 17 last week.

Over the weekend, Trump fumed about Friday’s indictment from the special counsel’s investigation that accused 13 Russians of interfering in the 2016 election. Trump pointed at the Obama administration for not intervening earlier. “The ‘Russian hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” he tweeted.

Sanders, asked Tuesday if the president believes Russia meddled in the election, gave the strongest acknowledgement yet from the White House.

“Absolutely,” said Sanders. “It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election. It’s also very clear that it didn’t have an impact on the election. And it’s also very clear that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with the Russians in any way for this process to take place.”

Sanders also defended the administration’s response to that Russian interference.

“President Trump and the administration have made it clear that interference in our elections will have consequences and we’re going to continue to impose consequences in response to Russian cyber attacks. Just last week, we called out Russia by name. It was one of the first times that you’ve seen something like that take place. We’re going to continue doing things like that,” Sanders said.

Asked why Trump hasn’t condemned Russia, Sanders said, “He has been tougher on Russia in the first year than Obama was in eight years combined. He’s imposed sanctions; he’s taken away properties; he’s rebuilt our military. He has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia.”

Sanders cryptically made reference to a new, unreported incident in which Trump came down on Russia.

“Last week, there was an incident that will be reported in the coming days in another way that this president was tough on Russia,” said Sanders.

The White House has not revealed any details about that incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Survivors of school massacre take their ‘Never Again’ fight to Florida capital

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Many of the students barely had time to dry their eyes as they rushed from funerals for classmates killed in a mass shooting at their school to buses chartered to take them to the Florida state capital, where they plan to lobby legislators and rally for tougher gun laws and school safety.

The two busloads of student activists spawned from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week left Parkland, Florida, about 1:30 p.m. today, for the 400-mile trip to Tallahassee.

“This isn’t about Democrats. This isn’t about Republicans. This is about us demanding change and this is about the fact that we have already won, it’s just a matter of when,” yelled a student standing atop a car, firing up the group before they hit the road.

But just as the students started rolling north on their journey for justice, state lawmakers voted down a measure to ban purchases of assault rifles like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly used in his attack that left 17 students and school staff members dead in Parkland

With a 36-71 vote, Florida lawmakers defeated the assault rifle bill that would have also banned the purchases of large-capacity magazines statewide.

Several students from Stoneman Douglas who traveled to Tallahassee Monday night were in the gallery at the state capitol building when the vote was taken, and some gasped in disbelief.

Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas school, was not deterred by the stubbornness to change gun laws even in the face of the tragedy that occurred less than a week ago.

“I really think they are going to hear us out,” Grady said as he prepared the board the bus in Parkland. He added that he hopes he and his classmates will change the minds of lawmakers to pass “common-sense laws like rigorous background checks.”

“We are focusing on gun rights and mental health,” Jaclyn Corin, a 17-year-old junior who helped organized the bus trip, told ABC News.

She said he hopes lawmakers will listen once they come face to face with school shooting survivors like herself.

“There aren’t a lot of bills focusing on mental health and we hope to change that,” Corin said.

The buses are scheduled to reach Tallahassee about 8:30 p.m. and a group of students from Leon County High School there plan to be on hand to greet them as a sign of support.

State Sen. Lauren Book — D-Plantation, Fla., who paid for the charter buses for the students out of her own pocket — also plans to greet the students when they arrive and help them organize and meet her fellow legislators on Wednesday.

The students plan to start their lobbying efforts early Wednesday when they walk to the state capitol building holding signs reading “Never Again,” the motto for their grassroots movement.

The students also plan to attend a noon rally Wednesday outside the old state capitol building to support gun safety reform.

“I’m committed to making sure no child is going to be scared going into a classroom,” Jon Faber, a parent chaperone on that trip, told ABC News. “That’s what they’re going to achieve.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most see inaction on mass shootings; mental health screening is a priority (POLL)

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading the public’s preferences for action.

Most in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 58 percent, say stricter gun laws could have prevented the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But which laws remains an open question: A ban on assault weapons still splits the country evenly, with no change from 2016.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

Far more, 77 percent, say better mental-health monitoring and treatment could have prevented the Parkland shooting. Much lower on the list is allowing teachers to carry guns, called an “opportunity and an option” by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week. Forty-two percent think this could have prevented the killings.

Desire for action is evident in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: Seventy-seven percent of Americans say Congress is not doing enough to try to stop such shootings, and 62 percent say the same of Trump. Large numbers feel “strongly” that action to date has been inadequate — 59 percent in the case of Congress, 50 percent as to Trump.

The public’s especially broad endorsement of improved mental health screening and treatment is in line with another result: Americans by a 2-to-1 margin blame mass shootings mainly on problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, rather than on inadequate gun control laws.

Still, compared with a 2015 ABC News/Post survey, somewhat fewer mainly blame mental health screening (down 6 points) and somewhat more blame inadequate gun control laws (up 5 points). Greater concern about mental health screening over gun laws was 63-23 percent then, vs. 57-28 percent now.

Support for mental health surveillance also was evident in a 2011 ABC News/Post survey after the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. An overwhelming 83 percent supported increased funding for a system to report individuals treated for mental illness to the federal database used to screen gun purchases.

Banning assault weapons — the alleged shooter in Parkland wielded a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle — remains more divisive, with 50 percent in support, 46 percent opposed. That’s almost identical to a 51-48 percent division in June 2016, after a gunman killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub. Results have ranged over time from a high of 80 percent support for an assault weapons ban in mid-1994 and a recent high of 58 percent in January 2013, to a low of 45 percent in late 2015.

Groups

Views of inaction by the president and Congress are heavily influenced by partisanship, with a notable gender gap: Politically independent women are sharply more critical of Trump’s work on the issue than independent men, 77 vs. 56 percent, as well as more critical of Congress, 83 vs. 70 percent. Independent women also are 13 points more apt than independent men to think stricter gun control laws could have prevented the Parkland shooting (63 vs. 50 percent), 11 points less apt to think armed teachers could have done so (40 vs. 51 percent) and 12 points more likely to support banning assault weapons (51 vs. 39 percent).

Opinions on banning assault weapons are marked by especially sharp differences among groups. Fifty-five percent of women support a ban, compared with 43 percent of men. That reflects a vast gap between white women (60 percent support) and white men (39 percent); there’s no such gender gap among nonwhites. The gap widens further comparing support for an assault weapons ban among college-educated white women (65 percent) vs. non-college white men (36 percent).

Support for banning assault weapons soars to 66 percent in the Northeast, vs. the mid-40s elsewhere. It’s somewhat higher in big cities and suburbs than in rural areas and small cities, 51 vs. 43 percent. And it’s a hugely political and ideological issue; 74 percent of liberals and 71 percent of Democrats support a ban, vs. support in the mid-40s among moderates and independents, dropping to about three in 10 conservatives and Republicans. At the widest gap, support ranges from 83 percent among liberal Democrats to 26 percent among conservative Republicans.

These views also play out in red vs. blue states. Fifty-seven percent in states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 support banning assault weapons, vs. 44 percent in states won by Trump. But here, too, gender plays a role. A ban is supported by 63 percent support of blue-state women, about half of blue-state men and red-state women alike and 38 percent of red-state men.

In attitudes on whether problems with mental health screening or gun laws are chiefly at fault in mass shootings, men are more apt than women to cite mental health surveillance (62 vs. 53 percent), as are whites vs. nonwhites (62 vs. 48 percent). Political and ideological differences again are sweeping; 80 percent of Republicans chiefly blame mental health screening and treatment; 62 percent of independents agree, dropping to 33 percent of Democrats. In the 2016 red states, 64 percent mainly blame the mental health system; in the blue states, 47 percent.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, 2018, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 808 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-40 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FACT CHECK: Feds say Trump tweet misstates how FBI works

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that the FBI’s Russia investigation had caused the agency to divert resources or attention that could have prevented last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“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 Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” Trump tweeted Saturday.

His message came just one day after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians for their alleged roles in a complex operation to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Federal law enforcement officials say Trump’s posting misstates how the FBI actually works.

The FBI has a broad mandate and spends every day focusing on multiple threats at once – terrorists, bank robbers, child predators, cyber criminals, corrupt politicians, gun traffickers, foreign spies, and many more.

There are about 35,000 people working for the FBI, including about 12,000 agents, according to FBI statistics.

The FBI has “a lot of people,” one federal law enforcement official told ABC News. “They’re not all working on Russia, I can tell you that. There’s a lot of other stuff going on.”

On Wednesday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and injuring many others. Two days later, the FBI acknowledged that last month, “a person close to Nicolas Cruz” contacted an FBI tip line “to report concerns about him,” but “protocols were not followed” and the information was never passed on to authorities in Florida.

When the FBI receives a call like that from the public, the call goes to a center in West Virginia run by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The call center is supposed to assess the information, and if it is deemed a potential threat the information should be sent to the appropriate FBI field office. In the Cruz case, the information should have been deemed a potential threat to life and should have been sent to the Miami field office for further investigation, but the information was never deemed a threat to begin with, so it was never passed on, the federal law enforcement official said.

Nevertheless, personnel at the FBI’s call center would “absolutely not” ever be working on the Russia case, the official said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump linking Florida shooting to Russia investigation sparks backlash

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.

For some context, there are about 35,000 people working for the FBI, including about 12,000 agents, according to FBI statistics. The FBI has “a lot of people,” and, “They’re not all working on Russia, I can tell you that. There’s a lot of other stuff going on,” one federal law enforcement official told ABC News.

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 interference saying “the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.”

The president even called him out for that comment, saying “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impact or changed by the Russians.”

In what seems like an attempt to shift the narrative, Trump ended his weekend tweeting about Oprah Winfrey, following her appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” he tweeted.

Oprah discussed speculation surrounding a 2020 run, and while not ruling it out, said she really doesn’t think she’s cut out to be president.

“I am actually humbled by the fact that people think that I could be a leader of the free world, but it’s just not in my spirit, it’s not my DNA,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Backlash after Trump fumes over Russia investigation, links it to Florida shooting

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 interference saying “the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.”

The president even called him out for that comment, saying “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impact or changed by the Russians.”

In what seems like an attempt to shift the narrative, Trump ended his weekend tweeting about Oprah Winfrey, following her appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” he tweeted.

Oprah discussed speculation surrounding a 2020 run, and while not ruling it out, said she really doesn’t think she’s cut out to be president.

“I am actually humbled by the fact that people think that I could be a leader of the free world, but it’s just not in my spirit, it’s not my DNA,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida school shooting ‘hero’ JROTC cadet should receive military burial: Classmates

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — He saved lives in uniform and, his friends say, didn’t flinch in the face of an alleged mass shooter in a Parkland, Fla., high school last week.

Now, friends of 15-year-old Peter Wang are trying to posthumously honor the “hero” by petitioning for a military burial.

Were it not for the heroics displayed by Peter, his friends are certain the death toll on Wednesday would have been higher.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly gunned down innocent and unarmed students and teachers with a semiautomatic rifle. He’s been charged with 17 counts of murder.

When the mass shooter was marching straight for Peter’s classroom, according to one of his close friends who were there, Wang stood tall in full Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) regalia and sacrificed his life as he ushered other students and teachers to safety.

“He was pointing the door open for other people to escape and then he was struck by the bullets,” classmate and friend Aiden Ortiz told ABC station WPLG-TV.

“I want people to know he died a hero,” the teen added. “He died saving many people.”

Just days after the shooting, Aiden says he’s still struggling with losing his friends.

“Every time I sleep I just keep thinking of bodies,” he said. “I’m thinking of who’s there and who’s not there anymore.”

Another classmate, Rachel Kuperman, remembered the last time she saw Peter. It was the day before the shooting, and she was trying to figure out what to do after realizing she forgot her lunch.

True to form, Peter came to the rescue.

“He went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks,” she said in an interview with WPLG-TV, before covering her face with her hands and breaking down in tears. “He put others before himself.”

Aiden and Rachel have pushed to formally revere Peter by spearheading a petition on the White House website “We the People.” The goal is to have the federal government bury Peter with military honors.

“His selfless actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area,” the petition, started Friday, reads. “Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.”

By Sunday evening the petition garnered 17,000 signatures. It needs a requisite total of 100,000 signatures within 30 days to receive a White House response.

Peter’s funeral and burial are scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning in Coral Springs, Florida.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Student used his body as human shield to protect classmates in Florida shooting

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — When he and his classmates came face to face with a gunman shooting up their Florida school, Anthony Borges put the lives of others before his own, a friend who survived because of the teenager told ABC News.

A soccer player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 15-year-old Anthony placed his body between alleged mass killer Nikolas Cruz and fellow students, according to Carlos Rodriguez, who said he survived because of Anthony’s heroism.

“None of us knew what to do, so he took the initiative to just save his other classmates,” Carlos, Anthony’s best friend, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

As gunfire erupted on Wednesday in the halls of Building 12 at the Parkland, Florida, school, Anthony and his classmates rushed to hide in a classroom as the gunman bore down on them, firing randomly and rapidly at students, Carlos said.

Anthony was the last of 20 students who fled into a room and was trying to lock the door when he was shot, Carlos said. He held his ground in the doorway, putting his body between the bullets and his classmates, who all survived uninjured, Carlos said.

Anthony was shot four times, taking bullets to the back and both legs, but survived, his father said.

Royer Borges told ABC News that his son called him shortly after the attack and described the massacre at his school that left 17 people dead.

“He just called me and says, ‘Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too,” said the father, breaking into tears.

Royer Borges said he has heard of the courageous selflessness his son showed and expressed pride in his boy.

“He’s my hero,” he said.

Royer Borges said his son is in a hospital in stable condition after undergoing hours of surgery.

“I only ask that people pray for him,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump needs to ‘talk to these kids’ who survived Florida shooting, Democrat says

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — A Democratic congressman who represents the Florida district where a school shooting last week killed 17 students and teachers said President Donald Trump needs to “talk to these kids and their families.”

Rep. Ted Deutch told ABC News’ This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz that the reform of gun laws that some survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting are demanding could happen if the president meets directly with teens at the Parkland high school who survived the rampage.

Trump needs to “come to Parkland and talk to these kids and their families and everyone who has suffered. That’s what should happen. That’s how change will come,” Deutch said.

The Democratic representative added that the student survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are demanding gun control are “just not going to sit back after what they experienced, after what they saw — the worst things imaginable. They’re not just going to sit back and take it. They’re going to stand up for their lives.”

A Republican congressman from Florida, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who appeared on This Week with Deutch, agreed that “something has to happen.”

Curbelo noted that he has co-sponsored gun reform legislation, such as a bill to ban bump stocks, attachments that can make semi-automatic rifles fire faster and that were used in a mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. “Co-sponsorship is the most important currency in the Capitol,” he said.

“I think I am part of that new generation that refuses to see this as a black or white issue where we either do everything or we do nothing,” Curbelo said. “We can meet in the middle on this issue.”

Deutch said survivors of the shooting “don’t want to hear about co-sponsoring” of legislation. He faulted Curbelo for supporting Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to lead the House of Representatives, saying Ryan “refuses to bring” gun reform legislation up for a vote.

Curbelo “should talk to the speaker,” Deutch said. “He should come to the speaker with those kids” from Stoneman Douglas High School.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Five men Trump has defended amid assault accusations

Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rob Porter may be the latest man President Donald Trump defended amid assault allegations, but he wasn’t the first.

The president himself has faced repeated allegations of sexual misconduct or assault, saying that all of the women who have accused him are “liars.”

That isn’t the exact same approach Trump used for Rob Porter, his now-former White House staff secretary, and other men close to him when they’ve faced either assault, sexual assault or sexual misconduct allegations in the past.

Rob Porter

Three days after detailed allegations of Porter’s alleged spousal abuse were made public, and two days after photos of the alleged abuse were released, Trump weighed in and praised Porter’s work, saying he did “a very good job while he was in the White House.”

Porter has denied the allegations, despite graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye, and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife.

Making remarks in the Oval Office on Feb. 9, Trump said he hopes Porter has “a great career ahead of him.”

Trump said the allegations were “very sad” and said it was “obviously a tough time.”

“It was very sad when we heard about it. And certainly, he’s also very sad. Now he also, as you probably know — he says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said.

Five days later — after his initial remarks about Porter — Trump made another statement, saying he is “totally opposed” to domestic violence and did not specifically tie the comments to the accusations against Porter.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence, and everybody here knows that,” Trump said on Feb. 14. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that.”

Roy Moore

Back in November, ahead of the special election to fill the Senate spot in Alabama vacated by Jeff Sessions, Trump publicly weighed in on the embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore.

Trump spoke of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore — and sided with him.

“You have to listen to him also,” Trump said, adding, “He totally denies it.”

Moore was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct or impropriety. He denied those claims.

Bill O’Reilly

Trump defended former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly after an April 1 New York Times report that described settlements he reached with five women who accused him of harassment. O’Reilly denied the misconduct claims.

Trump, who has known O’Reilly for years, told the Times that O’Reilly is “a person I know well” and “a good person” and that he didn’t think “Bill did anything wrong.”

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump said.

Roger Ailes

After Roger Ailes stepped down as Fox News chairman and CEO, Trump praised him and said, “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time.”

Ailes’ resignation came after former anchor Gretchen Carlson left Fox News on June 23 and, shortly afterward, filed a lawsuit against her former boss. Fox News and Ailes, who later died in May 2017, had denied Carlson’s allegations.

Carlson was one of several women, including Megyn Kelly, who came forward with allegations of impropriety against Ailes during his tenure at Fox. Then-candidate Trump came to his defense.

“Some of the women that are complaining — I know how much he’s helped them,” Trump said during an appearance on Meet the Press in July 2016.

He added, “Now all of a sudden, they are saying these horrible things about him. It’s very sad because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.”

Corey Lewandowski

In March 2016, Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of grabbing a female reporter after a campaign event, and Trump’s campaign responded with a statement from then-campaign press secretary Hope Hicks saying the accusation was “entirely false.”

Trump himself weighed in two days later, after the March 10 Republican primary debate.

“Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up,” Trump said.

Weeks later, when charges were filed against Lewandowski, Trump tweeted and called Lewandowski “a very decent man” and said the footage of the incident showed “nothing there.”

Trump did not weigh in after Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa in December 2017.

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Florida shooting survivors announce ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration in Washington

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Teen survivors of the school shooting massacre in Florida are calling for a march on Washington to demand action on gun control.

Student organizers of the protest told ABC News’ This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that they are determined to use protests and political action to make the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, a turning point in the national debate over gun control.

“People keep asking us, ‘What about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn’t come?” Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grader told Raddatz. “This is it.”

Called “March for Our Lives,” the demonstration in Washington is scheduled for March 24, according to Kasky and four of his classmates whom Raddatz interviewed. They are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

In addition to the march in Washington, the organizers are planning protests in other cities around the country.

“This isn’t about the GOP,” Kasky said. “This isn’t about the Democrats.”

“Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this,” the high school junior said of the shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 students and teachers at the school. “At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting this gun culture.”

Kasky said the point is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”

Gonzalez added that the student activists from Parkland want to have conversations about guns with President Donald Trump; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican.

“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said.

Raddatz asked Gonzales what she would say to other students around the country to encourage them to join the protest.

The high school senior said all students should realize that a school shooting could happen anywhere.

“This can very quickly happen to them,” Gonzalez said. “They need to join us, and they need to help us get our message across.”

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Jazz Mitchell soars to dunk title

Leon Bennett/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A 21-year-old rookie and a 25-year-old, third-year pro battled it out in the NBA dunk contest.

Larry Nance Jr. dressed in his father’s old uniform and also had his father, who won the contest in 1984,  help him with one of his dunks.  But Nance’s nostalgia was no match for Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz rookie.

Mitchell’s show at the Staples Center won him the slam dunk contest and capped off NBA All Star Saturday.

Mitchell sealed his victory over Nance Jr. with the 360 degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest.

“I wanted this so badly,” Mitchell said. “This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it’s crazy.”

Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey to reveal a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.

Mitchell needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.

Nance had earned a perfect 50 with a slam off a double alley-oop off the glass.

Mitchell advanced to the finals with a creative dunk in the first round that used his sister, Jordan, as well as Kevin Hart and the comedian’s son as props.

Mitchell’s sister, Hart and the comedian’s son, crouched in a line in front of the basket. Mitchell had an assistant toss the ball off the side of the backboard. He caught it and did a one-handed tomahawk dunk as he jumped over his sister, Hart and his son.

For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.

It earned a perfect 50.

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Florida teen who survived shooting massacre rallies passionate crowd, ‘It’s time for victims’ to change gun laws

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Teen survivors of the shooting massacre at a Florida high school this week were among the speakers at a rally for firearm-safety legislation that drew a passionate, sign-waving crowd of hundreds of gun control supporters in Fort Lauderdale.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and staff were killed Wednesday, wiped tears as she urged the audience at the Saturday rally to fight for firearms restrictions to help prevent further mass shootings.

After Gonzalez slammed politicians who accept contributions from the NRA, saying they should be ashamed, the crowd began loudly chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

The student said she and her classmates in AP classes at the high school often debated gun control and were discussing it even as the shooting broke out Wednesday.

But she like other students who spoke at the rally said the time for talk is over and now elected officials must take action or the public will.

“If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to be,” Gonzalez said.

Another student from the high school, David Hogg, urged the crowd: “Get out there and vote.”

Even beyond voting, Hogg said, “Run for office.’

The rally at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale was sponsored by gun-control advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action as well as other organizations including the PTA, the League of Women Voters, Women’s March Florida and the Broward Teachers Union.

Delaney Tarr, a classmate of Hogg and Gonzalez, told the rapt audience that the gun laws that allegedly allowed 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz to buy an AR-15 rifle make no sense.

“Because of these gun laws, people I love have died,” Tarr said. “Where’s the common sense in that? People are dying every day.”

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Identical twin brothers propose to identical twin sisters: ‘It was amazing’

Courtesy Brittany Deane(NEW YORK) — Two sets of identical twins are now planning a joint wedding after twin brothers proposed to twin sisters on February 2, or 2-2.

Brittany and Briana Deane met Josh and Jeremy Salyers last August at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, which bills itself as the “largest annual gathering of twins (and other multiples) in the world,” according to its website.

Although the 31-year-old Deane twins have been trekking to the festival from their home in Virginia since 2011, for the 34-year-old Salyers’ twins, it was their first time.

“When we got there it turned out better than we ever expected,” Josh Salyers told ABC News, referring to his recent engagement.

Brittany Deane recalled that she and her sister spotted the Salyers twins at one of the festival’s welcoming events.

“We were sitting on the bleachers and I saw just these two amazingly handsome young men that looked to be about our age,” she recalled to ABC News, “and they were walking across the gym floor below.”

Her sister Briana Deane recalls that her sister grabbed her by the wrist, “which we always do when we get excited about something,” she said. And after a few moments, she too had spotted the brothers.

“They were stunning,” Briana Deane said of her now-fiance and his twin brother.

Sadly, the twin siblings didn’t cross paths until the last day of the festival for it’s closing night party. “They were there at the end of the hall,” Briana Deane said. “They smiled at us and we all started talking.”

The Salyers twins sent the Deane twins a message via Facebook saying they couldn’t wait to bump into them next year at the festival. But instead, the sisters asked, “Why wait?” The brothers then made a road trip out of it — driving from their previous home in Clinton, Tennessee to visit the sisters in Virginia. After an amazing trip, the brothers said they knew immediately they’d propose one day.

“You know when you know,” Jeremy Salyers said. “We’ve always known our whole life if we were going to be married that it was going to be with twins.”

The brothers, who now live in Hagerstown, Maryland, planned a proposal at the same location as their first date — Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia. They told the sisters the wedding venue on-site wanted to feature the four in a commercial, so they all arrived in matching blue gowns and matching blue ties.

What the Deane sisters didn’t expect was for the Salyers brothers to drop down on one knee at the same time. It made it even more special for all of the pairs.

“We have done so much in life together. We’ve gone through … having twin loves of our lives and to accept their marriage proposal at the same time made it that much more special,” Brittany Deane said.

Josh Salyers added, “We’ve always felt blessed to have each other and now we have two other twins who are just like us…but they also add their own contributions that we couldn’t have. Together we can accomplish anything.”

The couples now plan to have a double wedding this August at the Twins Days Festival in Ohio. And yes, if you’re wondering, the brides will be in identical wedding dresses.

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Florida shooting survivor tells rally ‘it’s time for victims’ to change gun laws

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Teen survivors of the shooting massacre at a Florida high school this week were among the speakers at a rally for firearms-safety legislation that drew a passionate, sign-waving crowd of hundreds of gun control supporters in Fort Lauderdale.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff were killed Wednesday, wiped tears as she urged the audience at the Saturday rally to fight for firearms restrictions to help prevent further mass shootings.

After Gonzalez slammed politicians who accept contributions from the National Rifle Association, saying they should be ashamed, the crowd began loudly chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

The student said she and her classmates in AP classes at the high school often debated gun control and were discussing it even as the shooting broke out Wednesday.

But she, like other students who spoke at the rally, said the time for talk is over, and now elected officials must take action — or the public will.

“If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to be,” Gonzalez said.

Another student from the high school, David Hogg, urged the crowd, “Get out there and vote!”

The rally at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale was sponsored by gun control advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action as well as other organizations, including the PTA, the League of Women Voters, Women’s March Florida and the Broward Teachers Union.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 2/16/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores from today’s sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Team World  155  Team USA  124
 
 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
 Final OT  Philadelphia    2  Columbus    1
 Final  N-Y Islanders   3  Carolina    0
 Final  Winnipeg        6  Colorado    1
 Final  Dallas          2  St. Louis   1
 
TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
 Final  St. Bonaventure   77  (16) Rhode Island   74

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7.2 magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico, 2 killed in chopper crash

USGS(MEXICO CITY) — A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, south of Mexico City, on Friday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Video on social media showed buildings shaking in Mexico City. People in the city gathered on the streets as sirens blared.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the National Civil Protection system protocols have been activated.

Mexico City’s Civil Protection said no major damage was reported, but two people were killed after a military helicopter carrying Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat crash landed while surveying damage. Murat escaped injury, but two people on the ground were killed, the governor tweeted early Saturday morning.

“My condolences and solidarity with the relatives of the people who unfortunately lost their lives in the wake of the unfortunate accident we suffered a few hours ago,” Murat tweeted in Spanish.

The Mexico City Government wrote on Twitter, “Before returning to your homes, it is important to check if there are any damages, turn off gas lines and disconnect energy sources.”

The quake was 15 miles deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The National Seismological Service said 59 aftershocks had been detected before 6:30 p.m. local time.

Over 300 people, including schoolchildren, died from a powerful earthquake in central Mexico last September.

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13 Russian nationals indicted in Mueller investigation on charges related to meddling in US elections

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes,” according to the agency.

The indictment depicts an elaborate scheme in which some of the Russians accused allegedly came to the U.S. with the deliberate intention of undermining the American political and electoral process, including the 2016 presidential election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the Russians charged called their work “information warfare against the United States” with the goal of spreading distrust of candidates and the political system in general.

Some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also says the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.

The individuals operated social media pages and groups designed to attract American audiences with a strategic goal to “sow discord in the U.S. political system”. They staged rallies and had a basic infrastructure which included computers and other support systems.

Ultimately, the “defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign on then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton” his Democratic rival, according to the indictment.

According to the agency, “the indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president has been briefed on the indictments.

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Special counsel indicts thirteen Russian nationals in Russia investigation

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes”, according to the agency.

The indictment charges “all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

The indictment said some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also said the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.

The operations included “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic rival, according to the indictment.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for details.

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Why AR-15-style rifles are popular among mass shooters

George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz mowed down at least 17 adults and students at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, he was armed when an AR-15-style rifle that he purchased legally.

AR-15-style rifles have become something of a weapon of choice for mass shooters. One was used last year to kill 26 people during Sunday-morning church services in Sutherland Springs, Texas. And it was among the stockpile of firearms used a month earlier to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas.

AR-15-style rifles were also used at the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; at an employee training in San Bernardino, California; and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

So why is this type of weapon so popular among mass shooters? Gun experts told ABC News it has nothing to do with the AR-15’s lethality, but rather simple familiarity.

“In the U.S., our go-to rifle is the AR-15. It’s known as the American rifle,” former SWAT team member and gun expert Dean Hazen said. “Most police departments carry it; our military carries a militarized version of it. In some mass shootings, the shooter had low knowledge of firearms. They just grabbed what they know, and that’s the AR-15.”

Pete Blair, executive director of Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center — which studies mass murder — echoed Hazen’s comments.

“The AR is the most popular rifle platform in the U.S.,” Blair said.

The fact that so many mass shooters are using the same gun is what sociologists call “social proof,” he added.

Hazen said this phenomenon takes place when one is in an “ambiguous” situation and don’t know how to proceed. “That can be looking at what silverware other people use at a fancy dinner party and copying them, or it can be using the same type of weapon other shooters have used if you’re planning a mass shooting.”

Hazen added, “It’s a copycat thing. When they see other mass shooters use it, it reinforces the image in their mind that this is the evil tool to use.”

The NRA said the AR-15 has “soared in popularity” because it is “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate” and “can be used in sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations.”

Blair doesn’t believe those are the reasons why mass shooters are choosing the AR-15, though.

“I don’t see a lot of customization happening with the guns mass shooters use. They’re pretty much using the stock AR, which is easy to operate and straightforward,” Blair said.

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Mitt Romney announces U.S. Senate bid

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — Former Massachusetts governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is running for the U.S. Senate in Utah, he officially announced Friday morning.

Romney, 70, was the Republican Party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2012, eventually losing the general election to then-President Obama.

With Romney’s potential arrival in Washington comes notably real tension between him and the man now occupying the Oval Office: President Donald Trump.

Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump has regularly taken to Twitter to criticize Romney.

In his announcement video on Friday, Romney does not mention Trump, but he did have a few thoughts on the immigration debate waging in Washington.

“Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion,” Romney said.

After taking some time off from politics, Romney also said, he and his wife, Ann, decided that running for the Senate was the right decision.

“Over the last five years, Ann and I have spent a good deal of time with our 24 grandchildren. I’ve gone back to business, campaigned for Republicans and met with young people across the country,” Romney said in the video. “Given all that America faces, we feel that this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country.”

The seat Romney is seeking is held by longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018.

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Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy breaks thumb, takes jab at Mike Pence

ABC News(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — And the jabs at Vice President Mike Pence keep coming.

U.S. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy took aim at Mike Pence again Thursday night, joking that he’s unable to shake the vice president’s hand because of a thumb injury.

“Broke my thumb yesterday in practice,” Kenworthy tweeted, along with an X-ray of his thumb. “It won’t stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence’s hand so… Silver linings! Will be giving my teammates (and literally everyone else) an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up!’ of encouragement the rest of the trip.”

A Twitter user blasted Kenworthy, tweeting at him, “Your obsession with Pence is creepy.”

But Kenworthy, unlike fellow openly gay U.S. Olympian Adam Rippon, hasn’t publicly criticized Pence too much.

“This was literally my first tweet ever that mentioned him,” Kenworthy shot back in a tweet.

While Kenworthy, 26, may not have previously taken to Twitter to express disdain for Pence, he did tell Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance earlier this month on her show that “to have someone leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBT community” seems like a “bad fit.”

“I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that,” he said.

And during an interview with USA Today last month, Rippon said of Pence’s involvement with the Olympics, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”

Kenworthy and Rippon’s distaste for the vice president stems over the former Indiana governor’s record on same-sex marriage, LGBT rights in the workplace and the widespread notion that he once supported so-called gay conversion therapy.

In a 2000 statement on his congressional campaign website, Pence said, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” During the 2016 election campaign, however, Pence’s spokesman said he does not support the concept.

Kenworthy and Rippon are the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians to compete in the games.

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Scoreboard roundup — 2/15/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Denver 134, Milwaukee 123
Minnesota 119, L.A. Lakers 111

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 3, L.A. Kings 1
N.Y. Islanders 3, N.Y. Rangers 0
New Jersey 5, Carolina 2
Tampa Bay 4, Detroit 1
Ottawa 3, Buffalo 2
Calgary 4, Nashville 3
Washington 5, Minnesota 2
Anaheim 3, Chicago 2
Arizona 5, Montreal 2
Vegas 4, Edmonton 1
San Jose 4, Vancouver 1

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Houston 67, (5) Cincinnati 62
Wisconsin 57, (6) Purdue 53
Penn St. 79, (8) Ohio St. 56
(9) Gonzaga 76, Loyola Marymount 46
San Francisco 70, (15) Saint Mary’s (Cal) 63
(17) Arizona 77, (25) Arizona St. 70
(19) Wichita St. 93, Temple 86

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida shooting raises awareness of stigma attached to mental illness

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Following Wednesday’s shooting rampage at a South Florida high school by a 19-year-old suspect that left 17 dead — the deadliest school shooting in five years — Americans are scrambling for answers to make sense of the tragedy.

Interviews after the massacre cast alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz as a troubled loner who made disturbing comments on social media. He told investigators that he heard voices in his head, giving him instructions on what to do to conduct the attack, law enforcement sources told ABC News. The voices were described as “demons” by law enforcement sources. And an attorney for the family who had taken Cruz in after his adoptive mother died said he was “depressed” following her death but had been going to therapy.

Though there may be red flags that predict violence, many are zeroing in on what is assumed to be mental illness. But it’s not unusual for a newly orphaned young man to have depressive symptoms. In this situation, seeking mental health care is not only appropriate, but responsible. And though he was expelled from school, thousands of students are asked to leave school each year. It does not mean they return with a gun.

Nevertheless, while tweeting his thoughts and prayers, President Donald Trump wrote, “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

Florida Governor Rick Scott vowed to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed to “study the intersection of mental health and criminality and identify how we can stop people capable of such heinous crimes.”

Dr. Liza Gold, a forensic psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, disagrees with the snap diagnosis that many have made.

“It’s not a mental health problem,” Gold said. “It’s a disgrace that our leaders don’t take corrective action and their knee jerk reaction is to go to mental health.”

It’s a reaction, Gold believes, that means that fewer people seek help. “They’re a disenfranchised population that is very easy to go after. The stigma attached to mental illness increases so the people who do need help are less forthcoming.”

Public opinion and medical research are far apart when it comes to the intersection of mental illness and criminality. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted the discrepancy: 75 percent of people view those with mental illness as dangerous, and 60 percent believe that those with schizophrenia are more likely to commit violent acts. But those numbers have nothing to do with real-world statistics.

The study showed that severe mental illness is quite common, with almost 11 percent of study participants diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. These people are not at increased risk of committing violent acts (though the mentally ill who also abuse substances are).

But the numbers have told us, for years, that mental illness is not generally linked to violence against others, but to self-harm. “Although it is not uncommon that the perpetrator of a mass shooting has a mental illness, it is uncommon for persons with a mental illness to engage in violent behaviors,” Dr. Jeffrey Metzner, clinical professor of psychiatry at University of Colorado School of Medicine and court-appointed forensic psychiatrist in the Aurora theater shooting case, told ABC News. “Further studies are not needed -– adequate funding is needed.”

“The mental health system is under-resourced and over-burdened,” said Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, sociologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. “It’s held together by duct tape.”

Even a rise in funding for mental health would not be enough, Gold cautions. “You can dump all the money you want into mental health and you are likely to bring down firearm suicide rate,” she said. “But it won’t make a dent in other types of violence, including mass shootings.”

The majority of gun deaths -– two-thirds -– are from suicide, with mental illness as the strongest causal factor, Swanson said. Of the remaining gun deaths due to violence, only 2 percent can be attributed to mass shootings. The other 98 percent is due to domestic violence and other forms of interpersonal violence, Gold added. “People are missing the forest for the trees. If you do that, you can’t design effective policy,” she said.

These experts argue that there needs to be better gun control policy, saying while the United States Constitution protects Americans’ right to bear arms, there are many levels of intervention that do not infringe on this right.

“I don’t know how many more times it has to happen -– mass shootings, school shootings, etc.,” Gold said. “It’s clear that the problem is not being addressed. The government is sending a message to the American people that we’re all potential victims and there’s nothing we can do about it. But there are many things we can do. People in crisis should not have access to firearms. There’s lots of information about risk factors and none of it is being used to craft evidence-based policy that might potentially be effective.”

Swanson said that there are already effective policies in certain states that could be applied elsewhere, identifying Connecticut as a “pioneer” in instituting a law to allow police to temporarily remove guns from those determined to be at imminent risk of harm to self or others. Another solution, Swanson said, would be to develop better criteria at the point of sale, such as limiting gun sales in those with violent misdemeanors or those with temporary orders of protection against them.

“Why would someone like that be able to legally buy an automatic rifle? Why is someone able to buy military weapons that are only used to kill people? Not all guns are the same,” Gold said. “You can have guns to hunt with, unless you’re hunting people.”

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Track coach recalls how teen saved his life after heart attack: ‘I start crying’ when I see her now

City of Twinsburg(TWINSBURG, Ohio) — Dramatic video shows a student saving an assistant track coach after he collapsed at the gym last October.

“I set the weights on the floor and was catching my breath between sets and next thing I know face-first on the floor, not breathing and had no pulse,” Chuck Glover, who coaches at Twinsburg High School in Ohio, told ABC News.

Glover, who said he works out three times a week and is on heart-healthy diet, had just suffered a massive heart attack.

“I always considered myself pretty fit,” Glover said. “I’m probably carrying a little more weight than I should, but I never had any indication, no symptoms, no pain.”

Nearby, 17-year old gym lifeguard Nicole Fruscella — who attends the high school where Glover coaches — was doing her homework in the gym office.

“My manager called me, told me to grab the trauma bag and go to the fitness center,” Fruscella told ABC News.

Suddenly, it was time to put her lifesaving training into action.

Newly released surveillance video from the gym shows Fruscella, armed with a portable defibrillator, rushing into the weight-training area to help Glover.

“We do training twice a month on CPR and on how to use the defibrillator, so I was prepared,” Fruscella said. “We cut open his shirt, set up the defibrillator, it told us to shock him, so we did. EMS arrived shortly after that.”

Paramedics rushed Glover to the hospital, where he underwent heart surgery immediately, followed by another procedure in December, he said.

Despite always having had regular cholesterol levels, Glover said doctors told him he had a nearly complete blockage in a main artery.

“My cardiologist told me that the survival rate is less than 5 percent. The response time is probably the most critical element. The fact that Nicole was there was in less than 2 1/2 minutes saved me,” Glover said.

“It’s crazy for me to think that I’m basically the reason this guy’s alive,” Fruscella added.

“Every time I see her, I gotta give her a big hug and I start crying,” said Glover.

“I just feel like there was an angel on my shoulder that day and her name was Nicole.”

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Twin brothers arrested in NYC on explosives charges after authorities find bomb-making materials

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Twin brothers have been arrested in New York City on explosives charges for making a bomb, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The two arrests were made in The Bronx, the sources aid. Investigators recovered bomb-making materials as part of the investigation.

Christian and Tyler Toro were arrested in a joint counter-terrorism operation involving the FBI and the NYPD. The charges do not allege terror-related offenses only the explosives-related counts.

Christian Toro, a former teacher in The Bronx, is charged with his brother Tyler Toro with explosives-related charges. Court records said the brothers were paying minors to strip fireworks of their gunpowder so they could build a bomb.

Christian Toro and Tyler Toro “knowingly made firearms” and aided and abetted in the making of firearms at their home in the Bronx from about October 2017 to February of this year, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York.

Christian Toro is also accused of distributing explosive materials to two individuals under the age of 21 in the Bronx, according to the complaint.

On Dec. 4, 2017, a student was arrested after a bomb threat was called into a high school in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, and Christian Toro resigned from his teaching position shortly after the arrest, the complaint states.

After the resignation, Tyler Toro returned Christian Toro’s school-issued laptop, where a technical specialist found a copy of the “Explosives Book,” a text that provides instructions for manufacturing explosive devices, according to the complaint.

On Feb. 8 of this year, multiple law enforcement agents interviewed Christian Toro, who stated that he “had not intentionally downloaded” the incriminating book into the laptop. Instead, Christian Toro stated that he had been researching the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and had come across a copy of the book.

Christian Toro also told investigators that he never built a bomb and had only looked at the book’s table of contents.

On Wednesday, investigators interviewed multiple students at the school, who indicated that at least two students visited an apartment where Christian Toro would pay them $50 per hour to break apart fireworks and store the powder that came out of them in containers, the court document states. The students visited the apartment between October 2017 and January 2018, according to the complaint.

While serving a search warrant for the Bronx apartment, investigators found about 20 pounds of iron oxide, about 5 pounds of aluminum powder, about 5 pounds of potassium nitrate and about 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar located in the floor of a bedroom closet.

A glass jar containing a black powdery substance, later identified as explosive material, was also found on top of the closet shelf, the court document states. Another closet contained a cardboard box containing firecrackers, more containers full of varying substances and a bag containing varying sizes of metal spheres.

A diary containing writing that stated that it it were lost it should be returned to Tyler Toro was located on the kitchen table as well.

“WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE” the diary read, according to the complaint.

Both brothers occupy the back bedroom where several of the items were found, authorities said. They made an initial appearance in court, where a judge ordered them to be held with no objection from their defense attorneys.

Attorneys for the brothers were not immediately available for comment.

There is no current or active threat, according to law enforcement.

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Survivors of Florida high school shooting call for action on gun control

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — In interviews and tweets during and after the shooting at a high school in Florida on Wednesday students and teachers that experienced the horrible event firsthand called on Congress to enact stricter gun control laws to prevent it from happening again.

A former student shot and killed 17 people, including students, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday afternoon. More than a dozen more people were injured. The FBI is now investigating whether the shooter previously threatened to commit a school shooting in social media posts.

The superintendent of the school district Robert Runcie said in a press conference Thursday “our students are asking for that conversation and I hope we can get it done in this generation but if we don’t, they will.”

A senior at the school, David Hogg, said people should not get normalize mass shooting incidents like this because it will only happen again.

“This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there is a serious issue here,” he told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopolous on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

Hogg said that none of his friends were hurt in the shooting but that two of his sister’s best friends, who is a freshman at the school, were shot and killed. He works as a student reporter and interviewed some of his classmates while they were hiding in a classroom during the shooting, according to video obtained by verification site Storyful.

“I really don’t think there’s anything new to say but there shouldn’t have to be because if you looked around this closet and saw everyone just hiding together you would know that this shouldn’t be happening anymore and that it doesn’t have to happen to anyone and that no amount of money should make it more accessible to have guns,” a female student identified by the Florida Sun Sentinel as Isabelle Robinson tells Hogg in a video posted on YouTube.

Another student Hogg interviewed said she previously rallied for gun rights and planned to join the NRA and learn to hunt when she turned 18 but that the experience was so traumatizing she couldn’t fathom even letting a gun into her house.

“It’s definitely eye opening to the fact that we need more gun control in our country because for this to happen and for people to be so neutralized to it, I even texted my sisters “shooting at my school. I am safe.” They both responded with “OMG. LOL, you’re funny” Now that’s a problem in society and its a bigger problem in America and it needs to be fixed and I think the most definite way to fix it is by changing our laws when it comes to gun ownership,” she said in the video. Her name was unclear in the audio.

On Twitter another student, Sarah Chadwick, called for action in response to President Trump’s tweet offering prayers and saying “No child, teacher or anyone should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” She tweeted “my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun Control will prevent it from happening again.”

Her tweet received hundreds of thousands of retweets. The account has since been made private.

Gun control legislation proposed in the wake of other mass shootings, most recently a bill that would restrict the kind of bump stocks used in the Las Vegas shooting, have not moved forward in Congress.

A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said on MSNBC that the students and teachers were well prepared for an active shooter situation but that still didn’t prevent 17 people from being shot and killed.

“They knew what to do, we knew what to do and even still, even with that we still have 17 casualties 17 people that aren’t going to return to their families. And that’s totally unacceptable,” Melissa Falkowski said in an interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night. “So from my personal viewpoint its time for Congress, government, somebody to do something and its time to talk about what the problem is and try to fix it.”

In previous mass shootings activists or lawmakers seeking more strict gun control policies have criticized other elected officials for saying that the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting was not the appropriate time to talk about gun policies.

President Trump said Friday that he will be meeting with governors in the next month to discuss making schools safer but did not mention gun laws, but did say and tweet Friday morning about the mental health of the shooter.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

7 amazing, surprisingly affordable beach destinations

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sometimes, you just need a beach getaway. Unfortunately, you also often need a thick wallet to enjoy one properly. But before you convince yourself that you simply don’t have the cash for a vacation to fill-in-the-blank, take a look at our list of seven amazing beach destinations that are surprisingly affordable.

1. Corfu, Greece

It’s no secret that Greece’s economy has been struggling for some time, so the country has found itself on plenty of affordable getaway lists as of late — particularly in the wake of Brexit, which has made all of Europe potentially even more appealing to travelers. But for our affordable beach destination roundup, we’re highlighting the Greek island of Corfu. While most jet-setters head for the better known, more popular and significantly pricier Cyclades (made up of islands such as Mykonos and Santorini), Corfu is a great pick for those on a budget. Travelers can often score relatively inexpensive flights directly to the island by booking through smaller, regional airlines and once there, visitors will find that hotels, restaurants, and activities can be pretty cheap. Be wary of hotels advertising four stars (take a look at our photos first!), but even if they aren’t quite up to a luxury standard, many Corfu beach resorts offer all-inclusive options and feature numerous pools, a range of dining and simple, clean rooms.

Our hotel pick: Mayor Pelekas Monastery

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Continually ranked as one of America’s best family beach destinations, Myrtle Beach offers visitors one-of-a-kind nightlife, more than 100 golf courses and 60 miles of sandy shoreline — all at affordable prices. Flying there doesn’t put a huge burden on the wallet, and it’s an easy enough drive from cities such as Charleston, Charlotte and Augusta. This locale may be known to get a bit jam-packed, but hotels account for this with massive pools and water park complexes, as well as plenty of meeting spaces and large rooms. In fact, many properties feature condo-style accommodations with kitchens and living rooms.

Our hotel pick: Carolinian Beach Resort

3. Algarve, Portugal

While Lisbon lures tourists looking for a cultural fix, the Algarve attracts plenty of visitors seeking a relaxing beach vacation, thanks to its mild, year-round climate (it reportedly receives 300 days of sun per year) and stunning coastline. Finding itself at No. 1 on the U.K. Post Office’s annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer — a study that takes into account common vacation purchases like the price of a meal for two, drinks in a cafe, and more — the Algarve is one of the best places for a budget getaway in Europe. With mid-range hotels like the Flor da Rocha Apartamentos Turisticos starting below $50/night, the cost of budget accommodations is low right now.

Our hotel pick: Carvi Hotel Lagos

4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Achieving an affordable vacation to Mexico often mandates sacrificing peace and quiet. Well, this may be the case with Cancun, but if you drive less than an hour from this affordable, party-centric locale, you’ll find Playa del Carmen, its more low-key, less crowded sister that, like Cancun, offers plenty of budget-friendly, all-inclusive resorts. Even though spring break is peak season, many hotels offer deals around this time, and day trips to spots like Cozumel and the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum are relatively inexpensive.

Our hotel pick: Hotel Casa Ticul

5. Phuket, Thailand

Getting to Thailand does not come cheap, but once you’re there, you can live like royalty for a shockingly low fee. The beach town of Phuket in particular is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, and yet even the most exclusive properties offer rooms starting around $200/night. The same stunningly low rates can be found at restaurants, shops and spas. Naithon Beach is beautiful, and conveniently close to the airport, while Batok on Racha Yai island is arguably even more gorgeous and unspoiled. Patong Beach is also popular.

Our hotel pick: The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket

6. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Many major airports offer direct flights to Jamaica’s Montego Bay, where a handful of affordable accommodations can be found. But for those who don’t mind a slightly longer airport transfer, Ocho Rios (a couple hours from Montego) is an even more budget-friendly destination. (Some of Montego Bay’s resorts can be quite luxurious, and therefore expensive.) Once a sleepy fishing village, Ocho Rios is now home to numerous all-inclusives nestled among laid-back, local joints offering cheap beers and tasty jerk chicken. It also has beautiful, private white-sand beaches, and a famous waterfall park with swimming and hiking.

Our hotel pick: Moxons Beach Club

7. Dominican Republic

Home to tons of all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic is a solid pick when planning a wallet-friendly Caribbean getaway. Visitors can save by relying on hotels where everything — from activities to food, from entertainment to alcohol — is included, and with eight international airports on the island, it is often quite easy (and inexpensive) to reach. Add in lovely beaches, warm locals, great year-round weather, and a rich history for a wonderful beach vacation. Travelers can choose from hot spots like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, or head to Samana, on the northeast coast. Samana is the country’s least developed and most serene section. Its beaches, many of them remote and secluded, rank with some of the Dominican Republic’s finest, and the area is characterized by lush tropical forests, verdant mountains with dramatic sea views, waterfalls, and a handful of resorts that take full advantage of these natural wonders.

Our hotel pick: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

House Speaker says ‘Congress should do its job’ on gun reform, but preaches patience

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in a high school in Florida, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have so far struggled to come up with a solution in the contentious gun control debate.

“Congress should do its job,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday morning, before calling for patience, not action.

“We need to step back,” Ryan said, and “pull together,” adding now is “not the time to jump to conclusions.”

But Democrats disagree, adamantly insisting Congress must start listening to the will of the American public.

“Washington is unwilling to listen to our constituents and we should start,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, said Thursday. “We have a generation of children that is growing up in our country who have to go to school worrying about this happening and that’s not fair to them.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he agreed that something needs to be done, but he isn’t supporting any specific action.

“Just because I don’t have an easy answer at my fingertips doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find the right answer,” he said.

His constituents have spoken up though since the shooting, and have said “enough is enough,” and that they want Congress to do something.

Rubio said he agreed. “The question is, what is that something that will work?”

“We can pass laws, there are plenty of ideas out there, but those laws wouldn’t solve the problem,” Rubio said.

Asked if mental health laws deserve a second look, given all the red flags raised about the alleged shooter in Florida, Rubio said “potentially,” but noted “a lot of that is at the state level too.”

“There isn’t a single gun law that’s been proposed here would have prevented a single one of these mass shootings,” he said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., continues to push legislation that would ban assault weapons, like the AR-15 used by the alleged gunman in Florida. She has also led the charge to ban bump stocks, like the device used in the Las Vegas shooting –- an effort that is now stalled on Capitol Hill, despite initial glimmers of compromise.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, disagreed with his colleagues calling for stricter gun controls.

“This is not a gun control issue, this is an idiot control issue,” he said.

But Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, an outspoken advocate for gun control, said Congress is to blame.

“There’s a reason why this happens in the United States and nowhere else, because of Congressional inaction,” he said. “If you are not working today to try to fix this, to try to stop these shootings, then you’re an accomplice. Those are tough words but they’re true.”

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Sen. Warren hits back at Trump’s use of ‘Pocahontas’, vows to highlight Native American issues

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Six years ago, the contested story of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage began its rise from local newspapers to national headlines, and eventually into presidential speeches and Twitter feeds.

On Wednesday, Warren raised the subject herself — not budging from the story she has relayed for years — in a surprise speech to the National Congress of American Indians.

“I get why some people think there’s hay to be made here. You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I’m not enrolled in a tribe,

And I want to make something clear. I respect that distinction. I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes — and only by tribes. I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career,” Warren said.

The stories she grew up with are real, Warren said, which is what she has regularly said on the matter. There is no known documentation of Warren’s Native American ancestry (though somewhere in the 2012 back-and-forth a genealogist estimated Warren was 1/32 Cherokee), but the senator has steadfastly argued that she was raised on stories of Native American family members and this is what she knows to be her family’s heritage.

One such story is the beginning of her parents’ marriage back in Oklahoma, where she was raised. Her mother was “a beauty,” Warren said, and her father “fell head over heels in love with her.”

“But my mother’s family was part Native American. And my daddy’s parents were bitterly opposed to their relationship. So, in 1932, when Mother was 19 and Daddy had just turned 20, they eloped,” she said.

Warren has been adamant about the pride she feels to be Native American — though the topic has dogged her politically. At the event, a days-long policy summit in Washington, D.C., attended by a wide range of tribal leaders, Warren described her dedication to fight against the “country’s disrespect of Native people.”

“For far too long, your story has been pushed aside, to be trotted out only in cartoons and commercials,” she said.

Warren used President Donald Trump’s nickname for her, Pocahontas, as an example of the disrespect.

“So I’m here today to make a promise: Every time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities.”

The president has repeatedly called Warren “Pocahontas” in campaign speeches, tweets and once when honoring Navajo WWII veterans.

“She said she’s Native American. And I said Pocahontas, it’s Pocahontas. And somebody said to me, one of the media, Mr. Trump, would you apologize? I said yes I’ll apologize, to Pocahontas I will apologize, because Pocahontas is insulted by the statement,” Trump said on the campaign trail in June of 2016.

The questions began, however, four years earlier. At the time, the Republican incumbent senator of Massachusetts, Scott Brown, was up against Warren for the senate seat. He brought up Warren’s undocumented claim of Native American heritage in a debate and asserted that she’d been using it to get ahead in jobs.

The main evidence of Warren’s use of her heritage was to list herself as a minority in a legal directory in the 1980s and 90s. She was later described as the only minority female faculty member at Harvard Law School in a 1996 survey report on diversity.

Warren has repeatedly denied that she ever used it to advance her career. “All I can say is, I busted my tail as a teacher. I am qualified for my job,” she said in 2012.

On her family, Warren said, “They’re gone, but the love they shared, the struggles they endured, the family they built, and the story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Trump tweet ‘not necessarily’ linking shooting to Russia investigation: Sanders

Posted/updated on: February 21, 2018 at 1:49 am

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has walked back President Donald Trump’s tweet from last weekend suggesting the FBI could have prevented the Parkland high school shooting if it hadn’t been so focused on the Russia investigation.

On Friday, the FBI said it failed to follow up on a tip about the Parkland shooter. And Tuesday, when asked if Trump believes the FBI missed warning signs because of the time it’s spending on the Russia investigation, Sanders said that was “not necessarily” the cause.

“I think he was speaking – not necessarily that that is the cause. I think we all have to be aware that the cause of this is that of a deranged individual that made a decision to take the lives of 17 other people. That is the responsibility of the shooter certainly not the responsibility of anybody else,” Sanders said.

Sanders tried to clarify when asked if the tweet Trump sent late Saturday night from his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was a “mistweet.”

“I think he’s making the point that we would like our FBI agencies to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax in terms getting the Trump campaign and its involvement,” Sanders said.

Trump’s tweet outraged some survivors of the school shooting that killed 17 last week.

Over the weekend, Trump fumed about Friday’s indictment from the special counsel’s investigation that accused 13 Russians of interfering in the 2016 election. Trump pointed at the Obama administration for not intervening earlier. “The ‘Russian hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” he tweeted.

Sanders, asked Tuesday if the president believes Russia meddled in the election, gave the strongest acknowledgement yet from the White House.

“Absolutely,” said Sanders. “It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election. It’s also very clear that it didn’t have an impact on the election. And it’s also very clear that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with the Russians in any way for this process to take place.”

Sanders also defended the administration’s response to that Russian interference.

“President Trump and the administration have made it clear that interference in our elections will have consequences and we’re going to continue to impose consequences in response to Russian cyber attacks. Just last week, we called out Russia by name. It was one of the first times that you’ve seen something like that take place. We’re going to continue doing things like that,” Sanders said.

Asked why Trump hasn’t condemned Russia, Sanders said, “He has been tougher on Russia in the first year than Obama was in eight years combined. He’s imposed sanctions; he’s taken away properties; he’s rebuilt our military. He has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia.”

Sanders cryptically made reference to a new, unreported incident in which Trump came down on Russia.

“Last week, there was an incident that will be reported in the coming days in another way that this president was tough on Russia,” said Sanders.

The White House has not revealed any details about that incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Survivors of school massacre take their ‘Never Again’ fight to Florida capital

Posted/updated on: February 21, 2018 at 1:50 am

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Many of the students barely had time to dry their eyes as they rushed from funerals for classmates killed in a mass shooting at their school to buses chartered to take them to the Florida state capital, where they plan to lobby legislators and rally for tougher gun laws and school safety.

The two busloads of student activists spawned from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week left Parkland, Florida, about 1:30 p.m. today, for the 400-mile trip to Tallahassee.

“This isn’t about Democrats. This isn’t about Republicans. This is about us demanding change and this is about the fact that we have already won, it’s just a matter of when,” yelled a student standing atop a car, firing up the group before they hit the road.

But just as the students started rolling north on their journey for justice, state lawmakers voted down a measure to ban purchases of assault rifles like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly used in his attack that left 17 students and school staff members dead in Parkland

With a 36-71 vote, Florida lawmakers defeated the assault rifle bill that would have also banned the purchases of large-capacity magazines statewide.

Several students from Stoneman Douglas who traveled to Tallahassee Monday night were in the gallery at the state capitol building when the vote was taken, and some gasped in disbelief.

Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas school, was not deterred by the stubbornness to change gun laws even in the face of the tragedy that occurred less than a week ago.

“I really think they are going to hear us out,” Grady said as he prepared the board the bus in Parkland. He added that he hopes he and his classmates will change the minds of lawmakers to pass “common-sense laws like rigorous background checks.”

“We are focusing on gun rights and mental health,” Jaclyn Corin, a 17-year-old junior who helped organized the bus trip, told ABC News.

She said he hopes lawmakers will listen once they come face to face with school shooting survivors like herself.

“There aren’t a lot of bills focusing on mental health and we hope to change that,” Corin said.

The buses are scheduled to reach Tallahassee about 8:30 p.m. and a group of students from Leon County High School there plan to be on hand to greet them as a sign of support.

State Sen. Lauren Book — D-Plantation, Fla., who paid for the charter buses for the students out of her own pocket — also plans to greet the students when they arrive and help them organize and meet her fellow legislators on Wednesday.

The students plan to start their lobbying efforts early Wednesday when they walk to the state capitol building holding signs reading “Never Again,” the motto for their grassroots movement.

The students also plan to attend a noon rally Wednesday outside the old state capitol building to support gun safety reform.

“I’m committed to making sure no child is going to be scared going into a classroom,” Jon Faber, a parent chaperone on that trip, told ABC News. “That’s what they’re going to achieve.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most see inaction on mass shootings; mental health screening is a priority (POLL)

Posted/updated on: February 20, 2018 at 8:07 am

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading the public’s preferences for action.

Most in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 58 percent, say stricter gun laws could have prevented the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But which laws remains an open question: A ban on assault weapons still splits the country evenly, with no change from 2016.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

Far more, 77 percent, say better mental-health monitoring and treatment could have prevented the Parkland shooting. Much lower on the list is allowing teachers to carry guns, called an “opportunity and an option” by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week. Forty-two percent think this could have prevented the killings.

Desire for action is evident in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: Seventy-seven percent of Americans say Congress is not doing enough to try to stop such shootings, and 62 percent say the same of Trump. Large numbers feel “strongly” that action to date has been inadequate — 59 percent in the case of Congress, 50 percent as to Trump.

The public’s especially broad endorsement of improved mental health screening and treatment is in line with another result: Americans by a 2-to-1 margin blame mass shootings mainly on problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, rather than on inadequate gun control laws.

Still, compared with a 2015 ABC News/Post survey, somewhat fewer mainly blame mental health screening (down 6 points) and somewhat more blame inadequate gun control laws (up 5 points). Greater concern about mental health screening over gun laws was 63-23 percent then, vs. 57-28 percent now.

Support for mental health surveillance also was evident in a 2011 ABC News/Post survey after the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. An overwhelming 83 percent supported increased funding for a system to report individuals treated for mental illness to the federal database used to screen gun purchases.

Banning assault weapons — the alleged shooter in Parkland wielded a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle — remains more divisive, with 50 percent in support, 46 percent opposed. That’s almost identical to a 51-48 percent division in June 2016, after a gunman killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub. Results have ranged over time from a high of 80 percent support for an assault weapons ban in mid-1994 and a recent high of 58 percent in January 2013, to a low of 45 percent in late 2015.

Groups

Views of inaction by the president and Congress are heavily influenced by partisanship, with a notable gender gap: Politically independent women are sharply more critical of Trump’s work on the issue than independent men, 77 vs. 56 percent, as well as more critical of Congress, 83 vs. 70 percent. Independent women also are 13 points more apt than independent men to think stricter gun control laws could have prevented the Parkland shooting (63 vs. 50 percent), 11 points less apt to think armed teachers could have done so (40 vs. 51 percent) and 12 points more likely to support banning assault weapons (51 vs. 39 percent).

Opinions on banning assault weapons are marked by especially sharp differences among groups. Fifty-five percent of women support a ban, compared with 43 percent of men. That reflects a vast gap between white women (60 percent support) and white men (39 percent); there’s no such gender gap among nonwhites. The gap widens further comparing support for an assault weapons ban among college-educated white women (65 percent) vs. non-college white men (36 percent).

Support for banning assault weapons soars to 66 percent in the Northeast, vs. the mid-40s elsewhere. It’s somewhat higher in big cities and suburbs than in rural areas and small cities, 51 vs. 43 percent. And it’s a hugely political and ideological issue; 74 percent of liberals and 71 percent of Democrats support a ban, vs. support in the mid-40s among moderates and independents, dropping to about three in 10 conservatives and Republicans. At the widest gap, support ranges from 83 percent among liberal Democrats to 26 percent among conservative Republicans.

These views also play out in red vs. blue states. Fifty-seven percent in states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 support banning assault weapons, vs. 44 percent in states won by Trump. But here, too, gender plays a role. A ban is supported by 63 percent support of blue-state women, about half of blue-state men and red-state women alike and 38 percent of red-state men.

In attitudes on whether problems with mental health screening or gun laws are chiefly at fault in mass shootings, men are more apt than women to cite mental health surveillance (62 vs. 53 percent), as are whites vs. nonwhites (62 vs. 48 percent). Political and ideological differences again are sweeping; 80 percent of Republicans chiefly blame mental health screening and treatment; 62 percent of independents agree, dropping to 33 percent of Democrats. In the 2016 red states, 64 percent mainly blame the mental health system; in the blue states, 47 percent.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, 2018, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 808 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-40 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FACT CHECK: Feds say Trump tweet misstates how FBI works

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that the FBI’s Russia investigation had caused the agency to divert resources or attention that could have prevented last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“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 Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” Trump tweeted Saturday.

His message came just one day after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians for their alleged roles in a complex operation to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Federal law enforcement officials say Trump’s posting misstates how the FBI actually works.

The FBI has a broad mandate and spends every day focusing on multiple threats at once – terrorists, bank robbers, child predators, cyber criminals, corrupt politicians, gun traffickers, foreign spies, and many more.

There are about 35,000 people working for the FBI, including about 12,000 agents, according to FBI statistics.

The FBI has “a lot of people,” one federal law enforcement official told ABC News. “They’re not all working on Russia, I can tell you that. There’s a lot of other stuff going on.”

On Wednesday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and injuring many others. Two days later, the FBI acknowledged that last month, “a person close to Nicolas Cruz” contacted an FBI tip line “to report concerns about him,” but “protocols were not followed” and the information was never passed on to authorities in Florida.

When the FBI receives a call like that from the public, the call goes to a center in West Virginia run by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The call center is supposed to assess the information, and if it is deemed a potential threat the information should be sent to the appropriate FBI field office. In the Cruz case, the information should have been deemed a potential threat to life and should have been sent to the Miami field office for further investigation, but the information was never deemed a threat to begin with, so it was never passed on, the federal law enforcement official said.

Nevertheless, personnel at the FBI’s call center would “absolutely not” ever be working on the Russia case, the official said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump linking Florida shooting to Russia investigation sparks backlash

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

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.

For some context, there are about 35,000 people working for the FBI, including about 12,000 agents, according to FBI statistics. The FBI has “a lot of people,” and, “They’re not all working on Russia, I can tell you that. There’s a lot of other stuff going on,” one federal law enforcement official told ABC News.

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 interference saying “the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.”

The president even called him out for that comment, saying “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impact or changed by the Russians.”

In what seems like an attempt to shift the narrative, Trump ended his weekend tweeting about Oprah Winfrey, following her appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” he tweeted.

Oprah discussed speculation surrounding a 2020 run, and while not ruling it out, said she really doesn’t think she’s cut out to be president.

“I am actually humbled by the fact that people think that I could be a leader of the free world, but it’s just not in my spirit, it’s not my DNA,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Backlash after Trump fumes over Russia investigation, links it to Florida shooting

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm

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 interference saying “the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.”

The president even called him out for that comment, saying “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impact or changed by the Russians.”

In what seems like an attempt to shift the narrative, Trump ended his weekend tweeting about Oprah Winfrey, following her appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” he tweeted.

Oprah discussed speculation surrounding a 2020 run, and while not ruling it out, said she really doesn’t think she’s cut out to be president.

“I am actually humbled by the fact that people think that I could be a leader of the free world, but it’s just not in my spirit, it’s not my DNA,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida school shooting ‘hero’ JROTC cadet should receive military burial: Classmates

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2018 at 1:20 am

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — He saved lives in uniform and, his friends say, didn’t flinch in the face of an alleged mass shooter in a Parkland, Fla., high school last week.

Now, friends of 15-year-old Peter Wang are trying to posthumously honor the “hero” by petitioning for a military burial.

Were it not for the heroics displayed by Peter, his friends are certain the death toll on Wednesday would have been higher.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly gunned down innocent and unarmed students and teachers with a semiautomatic rifle. He’s been charged with 17 counts of murder.

When the mass shooter was marching straight for Peter’s classroom, according to one of his close friends who were there, Wang stood tall in full Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) regalia and sacrificed his life as he ushered other students and teachers to safety.

“He was pointing the door open for other people to escape and then he was struck by the bullets,” classmate and friend Aiden Ortiz told ABC station WPLG-TV.

“I want people to know he died a hero,” the teen added. “He died saving many people.”

Just days after the shooting, Aiden says he’s still struggling with losing his friends.

“Every time I sleep I just keep thinking of bodies,” he said. “I’m thinking of who’s there and who’s not there anymore.”

Another classmate, Rachel Kuperman, remembered the last time she saw Peter. It was the day before the shooting, and she was trying to figure out what to do after realizing she forgot her lunch.

True to form, Peter came to the rescue.

“He went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks,” she said in an interview with WPLG-TV, before covering her face with her hands and breaking down in tears. “He put others before himself.”

Aiden and Rachel have pushed to formally revere Peter by spearheading a petition on the White House website “We the People.” The goal is to have the federal government bury Peter with military honors.

“His selfless actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area,” the petition, started Friday, reads. “Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.”

By Sunday evening the petition garnered 17,000 signatures. It needs a requisite total of 100,000 signatures within 30 days to receive a White House response.

Peter’s funeral and burial are scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning in Coral Springs, Florida.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Student used his body as human shield to protect classmates in Florida shooting

Posted/updated on: February 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — When he and his classmates came face to face with a gunman shooting up their Florida school, Anthony Borges put the lives of others before his own, a friend who survived because of the teenager told ABC News.

A soccer player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 15-year-old Anthony placed his body between alleged mass killer Nikolas Cruz and fellow students, according to Carlos Rodriguez, who said he survived because of Anthony’s heroism.

“None of us knew what to do, so he took the initiative to just save his other classmates,” Carlos, Anthony’s best friend, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

As gunfire erupted on Wednesday in the halls of Building 12 at the Parkland, Florida, school, Anthony and his classmates rushed to hide in a classroom as the gunman bore down on them, firing randomly and rapidly at students, Carlos said.

Anthony was the last of 20 students who fled into a room and was trying to lock the door when he was shot, Carlos said. He held his ground in the doorway, putting his body between the bullets and his classmates, who all survived uninjured, Carlos said.

Anthony was shot four times, taking bullets to the back and both legs, but survived, his father said.

Royer Borges told ABC News that his son called him shortly after the attack and described the massacre at his school that left 17 people dead.

“He just called me and says, ‘Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too,” said the father, breaking into tears.

Royer Borges said he has heard of the courageous selflessness his son showed and expressed pride in his boy.

“He’s my hero,” he said.

Royer Borges said his son is in a hospital in stable condition after undergoing hours of surgery.

“I only ask that people pray for him,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump needs to ‘talk to these kids’ who survived Florida shooting, Democrat says

Posted/updated on: February 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — A Democratic congressman who represents the Florida district where a school shooting last week killed 17 students and teachers said President Donald Trump needs to “talk to these kids and their families.”

Rep. Ted Deutch told ABC News’ This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz that the reform of gun laws that some survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting are demanding could happen if the president meets directly with teens at the Parkland high school who survived the rampage.

Trump needs to “come to Parkland and talk to these kids and their families and everyone who has suffered. That’s what should happen. That’s how change will come,” Deutch said.

The Democratic representative added that the student survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are demanding gun control are “just not going to sit back after what they experienced, after what they saw — the worst things imaginable. They’re not just going to sit back and take it. They’re going to stand up for their lives.”

A Republican congressman from Florida, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who appeared on This Week with Deutch, agreed that “something has to happen.”

Curbelo noted that he has co-sponsored gun reform legislation, such as a bill to ban bump stocks, attachments that can make semi-automatic rifles fire faster and that were used in a mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. “Co-sponsorship is the most important currency in the Capitol,” he said.

“I think I am part of that new generation that refuses to see this as a black or white issue where we either do everything or we do nothing,” Curbelo said. “We can meet in the middle on this issue.”

Deutch said survivors of the shooting “don’t want to hear about co-sponsoring” of legislation. He faulted Curbelo for supporting Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to lead the House of Representatives, saying Ryan “refuses to bring” gun reform legislation up for a vote.

Curbelo “should talk to the speaker,” Deutch said. “He should come to the speaker with those kids” from Stoneman Douglas High School.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Five men Trump has defended amid assault accusations

Posted/updated on: February 18, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rob Porter may be the latest man President Donald Trump defended amid assault allegations, but he wasn’t the first.

The president himself has faced repeated allegations of sexual misconduct or assault, saying that all of the women who have accused him are “liars.”

That isn’t the exact same approach Trump used for Rob Porter, his now-former White House staff secretary, and other men close to him when they’ve faced either assault, sexual assault or sexual misconduct allegations in the past.

Rob Porter

Three days after detailed allegations of Porter’s alleged spousal abuse were made public, and two days after photos of the alleged abuse were released, Trump weighed in and praised Porter’s work, saying he did “a very good job while he was in the White House.”

Porter has denied the allegations, despite graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye, and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife.

Making remarks in the Oval Office on Feb. 9, Trump said he hopes Porter has “a great career ahead of him.”

Trump said the allegations were “very sad” and said it was “obviously a tough time.”

“It was very sad when we heard about it. And certainly, he’s also very sad. Now he also, as you probably know — he says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said.

Five days later — after his initial remarks about Porter — Trump made another statement, saying he is “totally opposed” to domestic violence and did not specifically tie the comments to the accusations against Porter.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence, and everybody here knows that,” Trump said on Feb. 14. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that.”

Roy Moore

Back in November, ahead of the special election to fill the Senate spot in Alabama vacated by Jeff Sessions, Trump publicly weighed in on the embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore.

Trump spoke of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore — and sided with him.

“You have to listen to him also,” Trump said, adding, “He totally denies it.”

Moore was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct or impropriety. He denied those claims.

Bill O’Reilly

Trump defended former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly after an April 1 New York Times report that described settlements he reached with five women who accused him of harassment. O’Reilly denied the misconduct claims.

Trump, who has known O’Reilly for years, told the Times that O’Reilly is “a person I know well” and “a good person” and that he didn’t think “Bill did anything wrong.”

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump said.

Roger Ailes

After Roger Ailes stepped down as Fox News chairman and CEO, Trump praised him and said, “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time.”

Ailes’ resignation came after former anchor Gretchen Carlson left Fox News on June 23 and, shortly afterward, filed a lawsuit against her former boss. Fox News and Ailes, who later died in May 2017, had denied Carlson’s allegations.

Carlson was one of several women, including Megyn Kelly, who came forward with allegations of impropriety against Ailes during his tenure at Fox. Then-candidate Trump came to his defense.

“Some of the women that are complaining — I know how much he’s helped them,” Trump said during an appearance on Meet the Press in July 2016.

He added, “Now all of a sudden, they are saying these horrible things about him. It’s very sad because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.”

Corey Lewandowski

In March 2016, Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of grabbing a female reporter after a campaign event, and Trump’s campaign responded with a statement from then-campaign press secretary Hope Hicks saying the accusation was “entirely false.”

Trump himself weighed in two days later, after the March 10 Republican primary debate.

“Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up,” Trump said.

Weeks later, when charges were filed against Lewandowski, Trump tweeted and called Lewandowski “a very decent man” and said the footage of the incident showed “nothing there.”

Trump did not weigh in after Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa in December 2017.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida shooting survivors announce ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration in Washington

Posted/updated on: February 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Teen survivors of the school shooting massacre in Florida are calling for a march on Washington to demand action on gun control.

Student organizers of the protest told ABC News’ This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that they are determined to use protests and political action to make the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, a turning point in the national debate over gun control.

“People keep asking us, ‘What about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn’t come?” Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grader told Raddatz. “This is it.”

Called “March for Our Lives,” the demonstration in Washington is scheduled for March 24, according to Kasky and four of his classmates whom Raddatz interviewed. They are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

In addition to the march in Washington, the organizers are planning protests in other cities around the country.

“This isn’t about the GOP,” Kasky said. “This isn’t about the Democrats.”

“Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this,” the high school junior said of the shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 students and teachers at the school. “At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting this gun culture.”

Kasky said the point is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”

Gonzalez added that the student activists from Parkland want to have conversations about guns with President Donald Trump; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican.

“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said.

Raddatz asked Gonzales what she would say to other students around the country to encourage them to join the protest.

The high school senior said all students should realize that a school shooting could happen anywhere.

“This can very quickly happen to them,” Gonzalez said. “They need to join us, and they need to help us get our message across.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jazz Mitchell soars to dunk title

Posted/updated on: February 18, 2018 at 3:33 am

Leon Bennett/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A 21-year-old rookie and a 25-year-old, third-year pro battled it out in the NBA dunk contest.

Larry Nance Jr. dressed in his father’s old uniform and also had his father, who won the contest in 1984,  help him with one of his dunks.  But Nance’s nostalgia was no match for Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz rookie.

Mitchell’s show at the Staples Center won him the slam dunk contest and capped off NBA All Star Saturday.

Mitchell sealed his victory over Nance Jr. with the 360 degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest.

“I wanted this so badly,” Mitchell said. “This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it’s crazy.”

Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey to reveal a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.

Mitchell needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.

Nance had earned a perfect 50 with a slam off a double alley-oop off the glass.

Mitchell advanced to the finals with a creative dunk in the first round that used his sister, Jordan, as well as Kevin Hart and the comedian’s son as props.

Mitchell’s sister, Hart and the comedian’s son, crouched in a line in front of the basket. Mitchell had an assistant toss the ball off the side of the backboard. He caught it and did a one-handed tomahawk dunk as he jumped over his sister, Hart and his son.

For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.

It earned a perfect 50.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida teen who survived shooting massacre rallies passionate crowd, ‘It’s time for victims’ to change gun laws

Posted/updated on: February 17, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Teen survivors of the shooting massacre at a Florida high school this week were among the speakers at a rally for firearm-safety legislation that drew a passionate, sign-waving crowd of hundreds of gun control supporters in Fort Lauderdale.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and staff were killed Wednesday, wiped tears as she urged the audience at the Saturday rally to fight for firearms restrictions to help prevent further mass shootings.

After Gonzalez slammed politicians who accept contributions from the NRA, saying they should be ashamed, the crowd began loudly chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

The student said she and her classmates in AP classes at the high school often debated gun control and were discussing it even as the shooting broke out Wednesday.

But she like other students who spoke at the rally said the time for talk is over and now elected officials must take action or the public will.

“If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to be,” Gonzalez said.

Another student from the high school, David Hogg, urged the crowd: “Get out there and vote.”

Even beyond voting, Hogg said, “Run for office.’

The rally at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale was sponsored by gun-control advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action as well as other organizations including the PTA, the League of Women Voters, Women’s March Florida and the Broward Teachers Union.

Delaney Tarr, a classmate of Hogg and Gonzalez, told the rapt audience that the gun laws that allegedly allowed 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz to buy an AR-15 rifle make no sense.

“Because of these gun laws, people I love have died,” Tarr said. “Where’s the common sense in that? People are dying every day.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Identical twin brothers propose to identical twin sisters: ‘It was amazing’

Posted/updated on: February 17, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Courtesy Brittany Deane(NEW YORK) — Two sets of identical twins are now planning a joint wedding after twin brothers proposed to twin sisters on February 2, or 2-2.

Brittany and Briana Deane met Josh and Jeremy Salyers last August at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, which bills itself as the “largest annual gathering of twins (and other multiples) in the world,” according to its website.

Although the 31-year-old Deane twins have been trekking to the festival from their home in Virginia since 2011, for the 34-year-old Salyers’ twins, it was their first time.

“When we got there it turned out better than we ever expected,” Josh Salyers told ABC News, referring to his recent engagement.

Brittany Deane recalled that she and her sister spotted the Salyers twins at one of the festival’s welcoming events.

“We were sitting on the bleachers and I saw just these two amazingly handsome young men that looked to be about our age,” she recalled to ABC News, “and they were walking across the gym floor below.”

Her sister Briana Deane recalls that her sister grabbed her by the wrist, “which we always do when we get excited about something,” she said. And after a few moments, she too had spotted the brothers.

“They were stunning,” Briana Deane said of her now-fiance and his twin brother.

Sadly, the twin siblings didn’t cross paths until the last day of the festival for it’s closing night party. “They were there at the end of the hall,” Briana Deane said. “They smiled at us and we all started talking.”

The Salyers twins sent the Deane twins a message via Facebook saying they couldn’t wait to bump into them next year at the festival. But instead, the sisters asked, “Why wait?” The brothers then made a road trip out of it — driving from their previous home in Clinton, Tennessee to visit the sisters in Virginia. After an amazing trip, the brothers said they knew immediately they’d propose one day.

“You know when you know,” Jeremy Salyers said. “We’ve always known our whole life if we were going to be married that it was going to be with twins.”

The brothers, who now live in Hagerstown, Maryland, planned a proposal at the same location as their first date — Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia. They told the sisters the wedding venue on-site wanted to feature the four in a commercial, so they all arrived in matching blue gowns and matching blue ties.

What the Deane sisters didn’t expect was for the Salyers brothers to drop down on one knee at the same time. It made it even more special for all of the pairs.

“We have done so much in life together. We’ve gone through … having twin loves of our lives and to accept their marriage proposal at the same time made it that much more special,” Brittany Deane said.

Josh Salyers added, “We’ve always felt blessed to have each other and now we have two other twins who are just like us…but they also add their own contributions that we couldn’t have. Together we can accomplish anything.”

The couples now plan to have a double wedding this August at the Twins Days Festival in Ohio. And yes, if you’re wondering, the brides will be in identical wedding dresses.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida shooting survivor tells rally ‘it’s time for victims’ to change gun laws

Posted/updated on: February 17, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Teen survivors of the shooting massacre at a Florida high school this week were among the speakers at a rally for firearms-safety legislation that drew a passionate, sign-waving crowd of hundreds of gun control supporters in Fort Lauderdale.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff were killed Wednesday, wiped tears as she urged the audience at the Saturday rally to fight for firearms restrictions to help prevent further mass shootings.

After Gonzalez slammed politicians who accept contributions from the National Rifle Association, saying they should be ashamed, the crowd began loudly chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

The student said she and her classmates in AP classes at the high school often debated gun control and were discussing it even as the shooting broke out Wednesday.

But she, like other students who spoke at the rally, said the time for talk is over, and now elected officials must take action — or the public will.

“If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to be,” Gonzalez said.

Another student from the high school, David Hogg, urged the crowd, “Get out there and vote!”

The rally at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale was sponsored by gun control advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action as well as other organizations, including the PTA, the League of Women Voters, Women’s March Florida and the Broward Teachers Union.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 2/16/18

Posted/updated on: February 17, 2018 at 1:35 am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores from today’s sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Team World  155  Team USA  124
 
 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
 Final OT  Philadelphia    2  Columbus    1
 Final  N-Y Islanders   3  Carolina    0
 Final  Winnipeg        6  Colorado    1
 Final  Dallas          2  St. Louis   1
 
TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
 Final  St. Bonaventure   77  (16) Rhode Island   74

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

7.2 magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico, 2 killed in chopper crash

Posted/updated on: February 17, 2018 at 7:15 am

USGS(MEXICO CITY) — A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, south of Mexico City, on Friday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Video on social media showed buildings shaking in Mexico City. People in the city gathered on the streets as sirens blared.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the National Civil Protection system protocols have been activated.

Mexico City’s Civil Protection said no major damage was reported, but two people were killed after a military helicopter carrying Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat crash landed while surveying damage. Murat escaped injury, but two people on the ground were killed, the governor tweeted early Saturday morning.

“My condolences and solidarity with the relatives of the people who unfortunately lost their lives in the wake of the unfortunate accident we suffered a few hours ago,” Murat tweeted in Spanish.

The Mexico City Government wrote on Twitter, “Before returning to your homes, it is important to check if there are any damages, turn off gas lines and disconnect energy sources.”

The quake was 15 miles deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The National Seismological Service said 59 aftershocks had been detected before 6:30 p.m. local time.

Over 300 people, including schoolchildren, died from a powerful earthquake in central Mexico last September.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

13 Russian nationals indicted in Mueller investigation on charges related to meddling in US elections

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes,” according to the agency.

The indictment depicts an elaborate scheme in which some of the Russians accused allegedly came to the U.S. with the deliberate intention of undermining the American political and electoral process, including the 2016 presidential election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the Russians charged called their work “information warfare against the United States” with the goal of spreading distrust of candidates and the political system in general.

Some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also says the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.

The individuals operated social media pages and groups designed to attract American audiences with a strategic goal to “sow discord in the U.S. political system”. They staged rallies and had a basic infrastructure which included computers and other support systems.

Ultimately, the “defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign on then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton” his Democratic rival, according to the indictment.

According to the agency, “the indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president has been briefed on the indictments.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Special counsel indicts thirteen Russian nationals in Russia investigation

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes”, according to the agency.

The indictment charges “all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

The indictment said some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also said the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.

The operations included “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic rival, according to the indictment.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for details.

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Why AR-15-style rifles are popular among mass shooters

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz mowed down at least 17 adults and students at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, he was armed when an AR-15-style rifle that he purchased legally.

AR-15-style rifles have become something of a weapon of choice for mass shooters. One was used last year to kill 26 people during Sunday-morning church services in Sutherland Springs, Texas. And it was among the stockpile of firearms used a month earlier to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas.

AR-15-style rifles were also used at the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; at an employee training in San Bernardino, California; and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

So why is this type of weapon so popular among mass shooters? Gun experts told ABC News it has nothing to do with the AR-15’s lethality, but rather simple familiarity.

“In the U.S., our go-to rifle is the AR-15. It’s known as the American rifle,” former SWAT team member and gun expert Dean Hazen said. “Most police departments carry it; our military carries a militarized version of it. In some mass shootings, the shooter had low knowledge of firearms. They just grabbed what they know, and that’s the AR-15.”

Pete Blair, executive director of Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center — which studies mass murder — echoed Hazen’s comments.

“The AR is the most popular rifle platform in the U.S.,” Blair said.

The fact that so many mass shooters are using the same gun is what sociologists call “social proof,” he added.

Hazen said this phenomenon takes place when one is in an “ambiguous” situation and don’t know how to proceed. “That can be looking at what silverware other people use at a fancy dinner party and copying them, or it can be using the same type of weapon other shooters have used if you’re planning a mass shooting.”

Hazen added, “It’s a copycat thing. When they see other mass shooters use it, it reinforces the image in their mind that this is the evil tool to use.”

The NRA said the AR-15 has “soared in popularity” because it is “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate” and “can be used in sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations.”

Blair doesn’t believe those are the reasons why mass shooters are choosing the AR-15, though.

“I don’t see a lot of customization happening with the guns mass shooters use. They’re pretty much using the stock AR, which is easy to operate and straightforward,” Blair said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mitt Romney announces U.S. Senate bid

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — Former Massachusetts governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is running for the U.S. Senate in Utah, he officially announced Friday morning.

Romney, 70, was the Republican Party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2012, eventually losing the general election to then-President Obama.

With Romney’s potential arrival in Washington comes notably real tension between him and the man now occupying the Oval Office: President Donald Trump.

Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump has regularly taken to Twitter to criticize Romney.

In his announcement video on Friday, Romney does not mention Trump, but he did have a few thoughts on the immigration debate waging in Washington.

“Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion,” Romney said.

After taking some time off from politics, Romney also said, he and his wife, Ann, decided that running for the Senate was the right decision.

“Over the last five years, Ann and I have spent a good deal of time with our 24 grandchildren. I’ve gone back to business, campaigned for Republicans and met with young people across the country,” Romney said in the video. “Given all that America faces, we feel that this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country.”

The seat Romney is seeking is held by longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018.

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Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy breaks thumb, takes jab at Mike Pence

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

ABC News(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — And the jabs at Vice President Mike Pence keep coming.

U.S. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy took aim at Mike Pence again Thursday night, joking that he’s unable to shake the vice president’s hand because of a thumb injury.

“Broke my thumb yesterday in practice,” Kenworthy tweeted, along with an X-ray of his thumb. “It won’t stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence’s hand so… Silver linings! Will be giving my teammates (and literally everyone else) an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up!’ of encouragement the rest of the trip.”

A Twitter user blasted Kenworthy, tweeting at him, “Your obsession with Pence is creepy.”

But Kenworthy, unlike fellow openly gay U.S. Olympian Adam Rippon, hasn’t publicly criticized Pence too much.

“This was literally my first tweet ever that mentioned him,” Kenworthy shot back in a tweet.

While Kenworthy, 26, may not have previously taken to Twitter to express disdain for Pence, he did tell Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance earlier this month on her show that “to have someone leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBT community” seems like a “bad fit.”

“I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that,” he said.

And during an interview with USA Today last month, Rippon said of Pence’s involvement with the Olympics, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”

Kenworthy and Rippon’s distaste for the vice president stems over the former Indiana governor’s record on same-sex marriage, LGBT rights in the workplace and the widespread notion that he once supported so-called gay conversion therapy.

In a 2000 statement on his congressional campaign website, Pence said, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” During the 2016 election campaign, however, Pence’s spokesman said he does not support the concept.

Kenworthy and Rippon are the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians to compete in the games.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 2/15/18

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Denver 134, Milwaukee 123
Minnesota 119, L.A. Lakers 111

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 3, L.A. Kings 1
N.Y. Islanders 3, N.Y. Rangers 0
New Jersey 5, Carolina 2
Tampa Bay 4, Detroit 1
Ottawa 3, Buffalo 2
Calgary 4, Nashville 3
Washington 5, Minnesota 2
Anaheim 3, Chicago 2
Arizona 5, Montreal 2
Vegas 4, Edmonton 1
San Jose 4, Vancouver 1

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Houston 67, (5) Cincinnati 62
Wisconsin 57, (6) Purdue 53
Penn St. 79, (8) Ohio St. 56
(9) Gonzaga 76, Loyola Marymount 46
San Francisco 70, (15) Saint Mary’s (Cal) 63
(17) Arizona 77, (25) Arizona St. 70
(19) Wichita St. 93, Temple 86

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida shooting raises awareness of stigma attached to mental illness

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 9:49 am

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Following Wednesday’s shooting rampage at a South Florida high school by a 19-year-old suspect that left 17 dead — the deadliest school shooting in five years — Americans are scrambling for answers to make sense of the tragedy.

Interviews after the massacre cast alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz as a troubled loner who made disturbing comments on social media. He told investigators that he heard voices in his head, giving him instructions on what to do to conduct the attack, law enforcement sources told ABC News. The voices were described as “demons” by law enforcement sources. And an attorney for the family who had taken Cruz in after his adoptive mother died said he was “depressed” following her death but had been going to therapy.

Though there may be red flags that predict violence, many are zeroing in on what is assumed to be mental illness. But it’s not unusual for a newly orphaned young man to have depressive symptoms. In this situation, seeking mental health care is not only appropriate, but responsible. And though he was expelled from school, thousands of students are asked to leave school each year. It does not mean they return with a gun.

Nevertheless, while tweeting his thoughts and prayers, President Donald Trump wrote, “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

Florida Governor Rick Scott vowed to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed to “study the intersection of mental health and criminality and identify how we can stop people capable of such heinous crimes.”

Dr. Liza Gold, a forensic psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, disagrees with the snap diagnosis that many have made.

“It’s not a mental health problem,” Gold said. “It’s a disgrace that our leaders don’t take corrective action and their knee jerk reaction is to go to mental health.”

It’s a reaction, Gold believes, that means that fewer people seek help. “They’re a disenfranchised population that is very easy to go after. The stigma attached to mental illness increases so the people who do need help are less forthcoming.”

Public opinion and medical research are far apart when it comes to the intersection of mental illness and criminality. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted the discrepancy: 75 percent of people view those with mental illness as dangerous, and 60 percent believe that those with schizophrenia are more likely to commit violent acts. But those numbers have nothing to do with real-world statistics.

The study showed that severe mental illness is quite common, with almost 11 percent of study participants diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. These people are not at increased risk of committing violent acts (though the mentally ill who also abuse substances are).

But the numbers have told us, for years, that mental illness is not generally linked to violence against others, but to self-harm. “Although it is not uncommon that the perpetrator of a mass shooting has a mental illness, it is uncommon for persons with a mental illness to engage in violent behaviors,” Dr. Jeffrey Metzner, clinical professor of psychiatry at University of Colorado School of Medicine and court-appointed forensic psychiatrist in the Aurora theater shooting case, told ABC News. “Further studies are not needed -– adequate funding is needed.”

“The mental health system is under-resourced and over-burdened,” said Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, sociologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. “It’s held together by duct tape.”

Even a rise in funding for mental health would not be enough, Gold cautions. “You can dump all the money you want into mental health and you are likely to bring down firearm suicide rate,” she said. “But it won’t make a dent in other types of violence, including mass shootings.”

The majority of gun deaths -– two-thirds -– are from suicide, with mental illness as the strongest causal factor, Swanson said. Of the remaining gun deaths due to violence, only 2 percent can be attributed to mass shootings. The other 98 percent is due to domestic violence and other forms of interpersonal violence, Gold added. “People are missing the forest for the trees. If you do that, you can’t design effective policy,” she said.

These experts argue that there needs to be better gun control policy, saying while the United States Constitution protects Americans’ right to bear arms, there are many levels of intervention that do not infringe on this right.

“I don’t know how many more times it has to happen -– mass shootings, school shootings, etc.,” Gold said. “It’s clear that the problem is not being addressed. The government is sending a message to the American people that we’re all potential victims and there’s nothing we can do about it. But there are many things we can do. People in crisis should not have access to firearms. There’s lots of information about risk factors and none of it is being used to craft evidence-based policy that might potentially be effective.”

Swanson said that there are already effective policies in certain states that could be applied elsewhere, identifying Connecticut as a “pioneer” in instituting a law to allow police to temporarily remove guns from those determined to be at imminent risk of harm to self or others. Another solution, Swanson said, would be to develop better criteria at the point of sale, such as limiting gun sales in those with violent misdemeanors or those with temporary orders of protection against them.

“Why would someone like that be able to legally buy an automatic rifle? Why is someone able to buy military weapons that are only used to kill people? Not all guns are the same,” Gold said. “You can have guns to hunt with, unless you’re hunting people.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Track coach recalls how teen saved his life after heart attack: ‘I start crying’ when I see her now

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 1:39 am

City of Twinsburg(TWINSBURG, Ohio) — Dramatic video shows a student saving an assistant track coach after he collapsed at the gym last October.

“I set the weights on the floor and was catching my breath between sets and next thing I know face-first on the floor, not breathing and had no pulse,” Chuck Glover, who coaches at Twinsburg High School in Ohio, told ABC News.

Glover, who said he works out three times a week and is on heart-healthy diet, had just suffered a massive heart attack.

“I always considered myself pretty fit,” Glover said. “I’m probably carrying a little more weight than I should, but I never had any indication, no symptoms, no pain.”

Nearby, 17-year old gym lifeguard Nicole Fruscella — who attends the high school where Glover coaches — was doing her homework in the gym office.

“My manager called me, told me to grab the trauma bag and go to the fitness center,” Fruscella told ABC News.

Suddenly, it was time to put her lifesaving training into action.

Newly released surveillance video from the gym shows Fruscella, armed with a portable defibrillator, rushing into the weight-training area to help Glover.

“We do training twice a month on CPR and on how to use the defibrillator, so I was prepared,” Fruscella said. “We cut open his shirt, set up the defibrillator, it told us to shock him, so we did. EMS arrived shortly after that.”

Paramedics rushed Glover to the hospital, where he underwent heart surgery immediately, followed by another procedure in December, he said.

Despite always having had regular cholesterol levels, Glover said doctors told him he had a nearly complete blockage in a main artery.

“My cardiologist told me that the survival rate is less than 5 percent. The response time is probably the most critical element. The fact that Nicole was there was in less than 2 1/2 minutes saved me,” Glover said.

“It’s crazy for me to think that I’m basically the reason this guy’s alive,” Fruscella added.

“Every time I see her, I gotta give her a big hug and I start crying,” said Glover.

“I just feel like there was an angel on my shoulder that day and her name was Nicole.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Twin brothers arrested in NYC on explosives charges after authorities find bomb-making materials

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 1:39 am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Twin brothers have been arrested in New York City on explosives charges for making a bomb, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The two arrests were made in The Bronx, the sources aid. Investigators recovered bomb-making materials as part of the investigation.

Christian and Tyler Toro were arrested in a joint counter-terrorism operation involving the FBI and the NYPD. The charges do not allege terror-related offenses only the explosives-related counts.

Christian Toro, a former teacher in The Bronx, is charged with his brother Tyler Toro with explosives-related charges. Court records said the brothers were paying minors to strip fireworks of their gunpowder so they could build a bomb.

Christian Toro and Tyler Toro “knowingly made firearms” and aided and abetted in the making of firearms at their home in the Bronx from about October 2017 to February of this year, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York.

Christian Toro is also accused of distributing explosive materials to two individuals under the age of 21 in the Bronx, according to the complaint.

On Dec. 4, 2017, a student was arrested after a bomb threat was called into a high school in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, and Christian Toro resigned from his teaching position shortly after the arrest, the complaint states.

After the resignation, Tyler Toro returned Christian Toro’s school-issued laptop, where a technical specialist found a copy of the “Explosives Book,” a text that provides instructions for manufacturing explosive devices, according to the complaint.

On Feb. 8 of this year, multiple law enforcement agents interviewed Christian Toro, who stated that he “had not intentionally downloaded” the incriminating book into the laptop. Instead, Christian Toro stated that he had been researching the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and had come across a copy of the book.

Christian Toro also told investigators that he never built a bomb and had only looked at the book’s table of contents.

On Wednesday, investigators interviewed multiple students at the school, who indicated that at least two students visited an apartment where Christian Toro would pay them $50 per hour to break apart fireworks and store the powder that came out of them in containers, the court document states. The students visited the apartment between October 2017 and January 2018, according to the complaint.

While serving a search warrant for the Bronx apartment, investigators found about 20 pounds of iron oxide, about 5 pounds of aluminum powder, about 5 pounds of potassium nitrate and about 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar located in the floor of a bedroom closet.

A glass jar containing a black powdery substance, later identified as explosive material, was also found on top of the closet shelf, the court document states. Another closet contained a cardboard box containing firecrackers, more containers full of varying substances and a bag containing varying sizes of metal spheres.

A diary containing writing that stated that it it were lost it should be returned to Tyler Toro was located on the kitchen table as well.

“WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE” the diary read, according to the complaint.

Both brothers occupy the back bedroom where several of the items were found, authorities said. They made an initial appearance in court, where a judge ordered them to be held with no objection from their defense attorneys.

Attorneys for the brothers were not immediately available for comment.

There is no current or active threat, according to law enforcement.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Survivors of Florida high school shooting call for action on gun control

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 1:40 am

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — In interviews and tweets during and after the shooting at a high school in Florida on Wednesday students and teachers that experienced the horrible event firsthand called on Congress to enact stricter gun control laws to prevent it from happening again.

A former student shot and killed 17 people, including students, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday afternoon. More than a dozen more people were injured. The FBI is now investigating whether the shooter previously threatened to commit a school shooting in social media posts.

The superintendent of the school district Robert Runcie said in a press conference Thursday “our students are asking for that conversation and I hope we can get it done in this generation but if we don’t, they will.”

A senior at the school, David Hogg, said people should not get normalize mass shooting incidents like this because it will only happen again.

“This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there is a serious issue here,” he told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopolous on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

Hogg said that none of his friends were hurt in the shooting but that two of his sister’s best friends, who is a freshman at the school, were shot and killed. He works as a student reporter and interviewed some of his classmates while they were hiding in a classroom during the shooting, according to video obtained by verification site Storyful.

“I really don’t think there’s anything new to say but there shouldn’t have to be because if you looked around this closet and saw everyone just hiding together you would know that this shouldn’t be happening anymore and that it doesn’t have to happen to anyone and that no amount of money should make it more accessible to have guns,” a female student identified by the Florida Sun Sentinel as Isabelle Robinson tells Hogg in a video posted on YouTube.

Another student Hogg interviewed said she previously rallied for gun rights and planned to join the NRA and learn to hunt when she turned 18 but that the experience was so traumatizing she couldn’t fathom even letting a gun into her house.

“It’s definitely eye opening to the fact that we need more gun control in our country because for this to happen and for people to be so neutralized to it, I even texted my sisters “shooting at my school. I am safe.” They both responded with “OMG. LOL, you’re funny” Now that’s a problem in society and its a bigger problem in America and it needs to be fixed and I think the most definite way to fix it is by changing our laws when it comes to gun ownership,” she said in the video. Her name was unclear in the audio.

On Twitter another student, Sarah Chadwick, called for action in response to President Trump’s tweet offering prayers and saying “No child, teacher or anyone should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” She tweeted “my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun Control will prevent it from happening again.”

Her tweet received hundreds of thousands of retweets. The account has since been made private.

Gun control legislation proposed in the wake of other mass shootings, most recently a bill that would restrict the kind of bump stocks used in the Las Vegas shooting, have not moved forward in Congress.

A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said on MSNBC that the students and teachers were well prepared for an active shooter situation but that still didn’t prevent 17 people from being shot and killed.

“They knew what to do, we knew what to do and even still, even with that we still have 17 casualties 17 people that aren’t going to return to their families. And that’s totally unacceptable,” Melissa Falkowski said in an interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night. “So from my personal viewpoint its time for Congress, government, somebody to do something and its time to talk about what the problem is and try to fix it.”

In previous mass shootings activists or lawmakers seeking more strict gun control policies have criticized other elected officials for saying that the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting was not the appropriate time to talk about gun policies.

President Trump said Friday that he will be meeting with governors in the next month to discuss making schools safer but did not mention gun laws, but did say and tweet Friday morning about the mental health of the shooter.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

7 amazing, surprisingly affordable beach destinations

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 3:19 am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sometimes, you just need a beach getaway. Unfortunately, you also often need a thick wallet to enjoy one properly. But before you convince yourself that you simply don’t have the cash for a vacation to fill-in-the-blank, take a look at our list of seven amazing beach destinations that are surprisingly affordable.

1. Corfu, Greece

It’s no secret that Greece’s economy has been struggling for some time, so the country has found itself on plenty of affordable getaway lists as of late — particularly in the wake of Brexit, which has made all of Europe potentially even more appealing to travelers. But for our affordable beach destination roundup, we’re highlighting the Greek island of Corfu. While most jet-setters head for the better known, more popular and significantly pricier Cyclades (made up of islands such as Mykonos and Santorini), Corfu is a great pick for those on a budget. Travelers can often score relatively inexpensive flights directly to the island by booking through smaller, regional airlines and once there, visitors will find that hotels, restaurants, and activities can be pretty cheap. Be wary of hotels advertising four stars (take a look at our photos first!), but even if they aren’t quite up to a luxury standard, many Corfu beach resorts offer all-inclusive options and feature numerous pools, a range of dining and simple, clean rooms.

Our hotel pick: Mayor Pelekas Monastery

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Continually ranked as one of America’s best family beach destinations, Myrtle Beach offers visitors one-of-a-kind nightlife, more than 100 golf courses and 60 miles of sandy shoreline — all at affordable prices. Flying there doesn’t put a huge burden on the wallet, and it’s an easy enough drive from cities such as Charleston, Charlotte and Augusta. This locale may be known to get a bit jam-packed, but hotels account for this with massive pools and water park complexes, as well as plenty of meeting spaces and large rooms. In fact, many properties feature condo-style accommodations with kitchens and living rooms.

Our hotel pick: Carolinian Beach Resort

3. Algarve, Portugal

While Lisbon lures tourists looking for a cultural fix, the Algarve attracts plenty of visitors seeking a relaxing beach vacation, thanks to its mild, year-round climate (it reportedly receives 300 days of sun per year) and stunning coastline. Finding itself at No. 1 on the U.K. Post Office’s annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer — a study that takes into account common vacation purchases like the price of a meal for two, drinks in a cafe, and more — the Algarve is one of the best places for a budget getaway in Europe. With mid-range hotels like the Flor da Rocha Apartamentos Turisticos starting below $50/night, the cost of budget accommodations is low right now.

Our hotel pick: Carvi Hotel Lagos

4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Achieving an affordable vacation to Mexico often mandates sacrificing peace and quiet. Well, this may be the case with Cancun, but if you drive less than an hour from this affordable, party-centric locale, you’ll find Playa del Carmen, its more low-key, less crowded sister that, like Cancun, offers plenty of budget-friendly, all-inclusive resorts. Even though spring break is peak season, many hotels offer deals around this time, and day trips to spots like Cozumel and the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum are relatively inexpensive.

Our hotel pick: Hotel Casa Ticul

5. Phuket, Thailand

Getting to Thailand does not come cheap, but once you’re there, you can live like royalty for a shockingly low fee. The beach town of Phuket in particular is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, and yet even the most exclusive properties offer rooms starting around $200/night. The same stunningly low rates can be found at restaurants, shops and spas. Naithon Beach is beautiful, and conveniently close to the airport, while Batok on Racha Yai island is arguably even more gorgeous and unspoiled. Patong Beach is also popular.

Our hotel pick: The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket

6. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Many major airports offer direct flights to Jamaica’s Montego Bay, where a handful of affordable accommodations can be found. But for those who don’t mind a slightly longer airport transfer, Ocho Rios (a couple hours from Montego) is an even more budget-friendly destination. (Some of Montego Bay’s resorts can be quite luxurious, and therefore expensive.) Once a sleepy fishing village, Ocho Rios is now home to numerous all-inclusives nestled among laid-back, local joints offering cheap beers and tasty jerk chicken. It also has beautiful, private white-sand beaches, and a famous waterfall park with swimming and hiking.

Our hotel pick: Moxons Beach Club

7. Dominican Republic

Home to tons of all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic is a solid pick when planning a wallet-friendly Caribbean getaway. Visitors can save by relying on hotels where everything — from activities to food, from entertainment to alcohol — is included, and with eight international airports on the island, it is often quite easy (and inexpensive) to reach. Add in lovely beaches, warm locals, great year-round weather, and a rich history for a wonderful beach vacation. Travelers can choose from hot spots like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, or head to Samana, on the northeast coast. Samana is the country’s least developed and most serene section. Its beaches, many of them remote and secluded, rank with some of the Dominican Republic’s finest, and the area is characterized by lush tropical forests, verdant mountains with dramatic sea views, waterfalls, and a handful of resorts that take full advantage of these natural wonders.

Our hotel pick: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

House Speaker says ‘Congress should do its job’ on gun reform, but preaches patience

Posted/updated on: February 16, 2018 at 3:20 am

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in a high school in Florida, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have so far struggled to come up with a solution in the contentious gun control debate.

“Congress should do its job,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday morning, before calling for patience, not action.

“We need to step back,” Ryan said, and “pull together,” adding now is “not the time to jump to conclusions.”

But Democrats disagree, adamantly insisting Congress must start listening to the will of the American public.

“Washington is unwilling to listen to our constituents and we should start,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, said Thursday. “We have a generation of children that is growing up in our country who have to go to school worrying about this happening and that’s not fair to them.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he agreed that something needs to be done, but he isn’t supporting any specific action.

“Just because I don’t have an easy answer at my fingertips doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find the right answer,” he said.

His constituents have spoken up though since the shooting, and have said “enough is enough,” and that they want Congress to do something.

Rubio said he agreed. “The question is, what is that something that will work?”

“We can pass laws, there are plenty of ideas out there, but those laws wouldn’t solve the problem,” Rubio said.

Asked if mental health laws deserve a second look, given all the red flags raised about the alleged shooter in Florida, Rubio said “potentially,” but noted “a lot of that is at the state level too.”

“There isn’t a single gun law that’s been proposed here would have prevented a single one of these mass shootings,” he said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., continues to push legislation that would ban assault weapons, like the AR-15 used by the alleged gunman in Florida. She has also led the charge to ban bump stocks, like the device used in the Las Vegas shooting –- an effort that is now stalled on Capitol Hill, despite initial glimmers of compromise.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, disagreed with his colleagues calling for stricter gun controls.

“This is not a gun control issue, this is an idiot control issue,” he said.

But Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, an outspoken advocate for gun control, said Congress is to blame.

“There’s a reason why this happens in the United States and nowhere else, because of Congressional inaction,” he said. “If you are not working today to try to fix this, to try to stop these shootings, then you’re an accomplice. Those are tough words but they’re true.”

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Sen. Warren hits back at Trump’s use of ‘Pocahontas’, vows to highlight Native American issues

Posted/updated on: February 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Six years ago, the contested story of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage began its rise from local newspapers to national headlines, and eventually into presidential speeches and Twitter feeds.

On Wednesday, Warren raised the subject herself — not budging from the story she has relayed for years — in a surprise speech to the National Congress of American Indians.

“I get why some people think there’s hay to be made here. You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I’m not enrolled in a tribe,

And I want to make something clear. I respect that distinction. I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes — and only by tribes. I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career,” Warren said.

The stories she grew up with are real, Warren said, which is what she has regularly said on the matter. There is no known documentation of Warren’s Native American ancestry (though somewhere in the 2012 back-and-forth a genealogist estimated Warren was 1/32 Cherokee), but the senator has steadfastly argued that she was raised on stories of Native American family members and this is what she knows to be her family’s heritage.

One such story is the beginning of her parents’ marriage back in Oklahoma, where she was raised. Her mother was “a beauty,” Warren said, and her father “fell head over heels in love with her.”

“But my mother’s family was part Native American. And my daddy’s parents were bitterly opposed to their relationship. So, in 1932, when Mother was 19 and Daddy had just turned 20, they eloped,” she said.

Warren has been adamant about the pride she feels to be Native American — though the topic has dogged her politically. At the event, a days-long policy summit in Washington, D.C., attended by a wide range of tribal leaders, Warren described her dedication to fight against the “country’s disrespect of Native people.”

“For far too long, your story has been pushed aside, to be trotted out only in cartoons and commercials,” she said.

Warren used President Donald Trump’s nickname for her, Pocahontas, as an example of the disrespect.

“So I’m here today to make a promise: Every time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities.”

The president has repeatedly called Warren “Pocahontas” in campaign speeches, tweets and once when honoring Navajo WWII veterans.

“She said she’s Native American. And I said Pocahontas, it’s Pocahontas. And somebody said to me, one of the media, Mr. Trump, would you apologize? I said yes I’ll apologize, to Pocahontas I will apologize, because Pocahontas is insulted by the statement,” Trump said on the campaign trail in June of 2016.

The questions began, however, four years earlier. At the time, the Republican incumbent senator of Massachusetts, Scott Brown, was up against Warren for the senate seat. He brought up Warren’s undocumented claim of Native American heritage in a debate and asserted that she’d been using it to get ahead in jobs.

The main evidence of Warren’s use of her heritage was to list herself as a minority in a legal directory in the 1980s and 90s. She was later described as the only minority female faculty member at Harvard Law School in a 1996 survey report on diversity.

Warren has repeatedly denied that she ever used it to advance her career. “All I can say is, I busted my tail as a teacher. I am qualified for my job,” she said in 2012.

On her family, Warren said, “They’re gone, but the love they shared, the struggles they endured, the family they built, and the story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”

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