News Roundup

Gunman confesses to Florida school shooting

  • An Uber car dropped off Nikolas Cruz at his former high school, and within ten minutes he’d begun shooting, going on to kill 17 and wound dozens of others before exiting the school camouflaged in a crowd of escaping students only to be arrested shortly after in a nearby neighborhood
  • Deputies had been called to the Cruz family home 39 times since 2010, and a chief assistant for the public defender’s office said the shooter is “suffering from significant mental illness and significant trauma”
  • Cruz hurled slurs at black and Muslim students and posted comments on YouTube as part of a menacing digital profile

Former Harlem charter school teacher and brother accused of trying to build bombs

  • Christian and Tyler Toro were arrested by the FBI Thursday morning after authorities discovered guides to building bombs, 30 pounds of chemicals and household materials used to make explosives, a diary that referenced “operation flash” and a handwritten note in a bookbag that said “under the full moon the small ones will know terror”
  • They both face federal bomb-making counts, and Christian Toro is additionally charged with distributing explosive materials to a minor, and both have plead not guilty to these charges
  • Christian Toro had resigned from the charter school, Democracy Prep, due to having an inappropriate relationship with a student shortly after the student had called in a threat on December 4th

Senate Majority Leader McConnell blames Democrats for DACA deadend

  • McConnell blasted Democrats: “we’re here on Thursday morning and have yet to vote on a single amendment… Remember, our Democratic friends wanted this debate. Actually shut down the federal government for 300 million Americans unnecessarily to guarantee we could have this debate and at this particular time, this week… all they’ve done so far is to slow the process as much as possible. It turns out they didn’t want a fair, open, free-wheeling amendment process after all.”
  • Four separate proposals were voted down in the Senate, with the White House criticizing a bipartisan proposal put forward as “dangerous policy that will harm the nation,” and Senate Minority Leader Schumer saying the “vote is proof that President Trump’s plan will never become law”

Sec. of State Tillerson in Turkey after brief stop in Lebanon

  • After meeting with the President and Prime Minister of Lebanon, Tillerson warned that the country’s security is threatened by Hezbollah’s influence in regional conflicts
  • Hezbollah is a popular Shia group in the country, represented in the Lebanese Parliament and wielding a powerful armed wing
  • He had a three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Turkey’s president Erdogan, which was reportedly tough
  • Tillerson broke protocol in Turkey by failing to bring his own translator, instead relying on Turkey’s Foreign Minister to help translate with Erdogan

Afghanistan civilian casualty numbers released

  • More than 10,000 Afghanistan civilians lost their lives or suffered injuries in 2017 in what is now the 17th year of America’s invasion of Afghanistan
  • 3,438 people were killed and 7,015 were injured, a decline of nine percent from 2016
  • The report attributes close to two-thirds of all casualties in 2017 to anti-government elements: 42% to the Taliban, 10% to ISIS, and 13% to undetermined and diverse anti-government forces
  • Pro-government forces caused 16% of the casualties, and unattributed crossfire between forces caused an estimated 11%

Dem. Rep. Schiff says Steve Bannon faces possible contempt charges

  • This follows a meeting during which Bannon, the former chief strategist for Donald Trump, cited executive privilege to deny answering all but 25 scripted questions taken from the White House. Bannon answered ‘no’ to all of those questions
  • Both Democratic and Republican congressmen in the meeting described it as frustrating
  • Goudy says decision of whether to hold Bannon in contempt falls to Paul Ryan

Inaugural Committee spent about a quarter of its $107 million on an event-production company owned by a friend of the first lady

  • Biggest expenditure of $25.8 million was to an event-production company owned by a friend of the First Lady Melania Trump’s
  • A spokeswoman for the First Lady said that she “had no involvement” with the committee and “no knowledge of how funds were spent”
  • The second largest expenditure of $25 million was to another event management company

At Winter Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin fails to get second medal

  • Shiffrin finished fourth in the women’s slalom final, a day after receiving the gold in the women’s giant slalom
  • She said “coming here and skiing the way I did, really conservative, was a huge disappointment. … That’s how life goes.”

Top Stories

New York Times: Florida Suspect Showed ‘Every Red Flag’
Washington Post : FBI’s near-brush with suspect in Fla. massacre draws scrutiny
Drudge Report : Media Blame Trump | Kimmel: President Mentally Ill
The Daily Caller : ‘No Anxiety’ | Another Trump Campaign Official Is About To Make A Plea Deal With Mueller
Breitbart News : Exclusive — Sessions: We Are Ending ‘Executive Branch Legal Activism’ … Obama DOJ ‘Did Become Too Political’ … Blasts Judges for Stalling End to DACA
Slate : Show the Blood
HuffPost : Parkland Remembered
BuzzFeed : “Out of Control”