Kelly Orders Overhaul to White House Security Clearance After Abuse Claims

In a statement released Friday, Abbe D. Lowell, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, declined to say whether his client would still have a security clearance, saying only that “the new policy announced by Mr. Kelly will not affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president.”

It was unclear Friday night how Mr. Kushner could do his job without a security clearance, though Mr. Trump, as president, might be able to overrule Mr. Kelly’s process and grant Mr. Kushner the access that he needs. It is also possible that Mr. Kushner’s background review did not begin until after June 1, which could allow him to retain a temporary clearance.

Mr. Kelly’s memo, which was released publicly after Mr. Trump left Washington for a weekend in Palm Beach, Fla., acknowledges that mistakes and shortcomings were exposed by the handling of marital abuse allegations against one of President Trump’s top aides.

“We should — and, in the future, must — do better,” Mr. Kelly wrote in a document addressed to senior White House officials and copied to the directors of the country’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The Washington Post first reported the existence of the memo.

In it, Mr. Kelly did not directly address the case of the aide, Rob Porter, who was forced out of his job as the White House staff secretary this month after news reports that his two former wives

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/john-kelly-rob-porter-clearance.html

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Earthquake Strikes Southern Mexico

Residents of the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods of Mexico City, which suffered some of the worst damage in September, ran out into the streets in panic, looking up at the buildings as the earthquake warning system went off. Once in the streets, they searched for signs of damage to their buildings.

Last September’s seismic eruption has left people frightened at the slightest tremor, and the tears in the faces of those who endured the last major quake were easy to spot on the streets.

Many could be heard repeating the words “Oh God, not again.”

Video footage from inside the Mexico City newsroom of a daily newspaper, Milenio, showed employees ducking underneath desks as light fixtures swung wildly.

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The initial 7.2-magnitude shock was followed 57 minutes later by a magnitude-5.8 aftershock.

The epicenter of Friday’s earthquake was between those of a magnitude-8.2 quake on Sept. 8 and the 7.1-magnitude quake on Sept. 19. But from a geological standpoint, all three

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/world/americas/earthquake-mexico.html

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NJ weather update: What to expect from weekend snowstorm, when the snow will arrive

Forecasters say some snow could start falling Saturday afternoon, but it is more likely to start Saturday evening and get heavy at times Saturday night.

In many areas, the precipitation might start as rain and then change to snow, said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s regional office in New Jersey. As the storm progresses, and warmer air pushes in, the snow will likely mix with sleet and rain in coastal areas and in South Jersey, keeping snowfall accumulations low in those areas.

Most of the precipitation should fall between Saturday evening and the pre-dawn hours on Sunday, and snowfall rates could get close to 1 inch per hour in the heaviest bands, Johnson said. As of now, forecasters are not certain where the heaviest bands will set up, but they are confident it will be a fast-moving storm.

By 5 or 6 a.m. Sunday, the snow and rain should be over, with temperatures rising into the 40s in the afternoon. With temperatures above freezing and the sun expected to be shining, a good amount of snow should melt Sunday afternoon.

Article source: http://www.nj.com/weather/index.ssf/2018/02/nj_weather_snow_storm_forecast_and_timing.html

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Florida Shooting: Trump Visits Hospital That Treated Victims

The bureau, which was already under considerable political pressure because of its investigation into President Trump, faced calls for even more scrutiny following the massacre.

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Mr. Scott said that Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., should step down and that the bureau’s failure to act on the tip about Mr. Cruz was “unacceptable.” “Seventeen innocent people are dead and acknowledging a mistake isn’t going to cut it,” Mr. Scott said in a statement. “The F.B.I. Director needs to resign.”

In an unusually sharp public rebuke of his own agents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the missed warnings had “tragic consequences” and that “the F.B.I. in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better.”

Robert F. Lasky, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I. field office in Miami, said the agency advised the victims’ parents about the misstep in a conference call on Friday.

“We will be looking into where and how the protocol broke down,” he said.

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‘How does this happen?’ An outpouring of grief as funerals begin.

Under clear blue skies on a Friday morning, the first funeral for victims killed in the Florida high school mass shooting was held.

Alyssa Miriam Alhadeff, 14, was remembered for her joy and kindness, traits that had attracted a wide circle of friends.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/florida-shooting.html

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Why Trump’s Playboy Playmate sex scandal is just another ho-hum day in his presidency

In eight pages of handwritten notes published by the New Yorker, 1998 Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal recalled having sex with Trump in 2006, a few months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-mcdougal-affair-20180216-story.html

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Seven key takeaways from the Russian indictments

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The indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigations were unexpected

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has dropped another Friday blockbuster with his sweeping indictment of three organisations and 13 Russian nationals for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

For the first time the special counsel’s team has taken dead aim at its central mandate in the investigation and laid bare the scope of what it alleges was a multi-million-dollar Russian operation to sow discord in American politics as far back as 2014.

Here’s a look at some of the key passages of the 37-page indictment and what they mean.

Media captionRussians recruited ‘real Americans’ as part of ‘information warfare’

No knowledge, no collusion

Some defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian

Article source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43093260

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Loch Raven High student arrested after bringing pellet gun to school, Baltimore County police say

A 14-year-old Loch Raven High School student was arrested Thursday after Baltimore County police said he brought a pellet gun to school.

The incident, which came a day after a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead, sent Loch Raven students hiding in their classrooms and their parents racing to the school for answers. The school was placed on lockdown as police searched the building.

No one was injured.

The student, whose name has not been released, had shown the pellet gun to another student, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told reporters gathered near the school.

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Bipartisan DACA, border security deal fails in Senate, putting immigration bill’s future in doubt

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Article source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/trump-immigration-veto/index.html

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Trump’s Inauguration: Record Spending Leaves Little For Charities

More than a year after President Trump was sworn in, his inaugural committee said in tax filings that it raised nearly $107 million and spent almost all of the money.

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More than a year after President Trump was sworn in, his inaugural committee said in tax filings that it raised nearly $107 million and spent almost all of the money.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Updated Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. ET

President Trump’s inaugural committee raised twice as much

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/02/15/586116158/trumps-inauguration-record-spending-leaves-little-for-charities

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Trump struggles with consoler-in-chief role

Being the consoler-in-chief requires empathy and the trust of the nation.

Thursday morning at the White House, in the wake of a rampage that left 17 people dead at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump offered a deliberate but emotionless reading of a carefully written speech that lacked any of the typical flourishes of words he’s written himself. He went through the motions, talking about being “joined together in the American family” and addressing scared children, telling them there are people “who will do anything at all” to keep them safe.

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But Trump didn’t appear to group himself among those people, instead suggesting kids turn to teachers, family, police or faith leaders.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference,” Trump said.

He said he planned to meet with governors and attorneys general later in the month to discuss ways to keep schools safe but he didn’t make any effort to suggest what the call to action would be, prompting the Democratic Attorneys General Association to issue a statement saying, “We don’t know what the president’s plans are.”

He didn’t mention the word guns.

The overall effect was dutiful, and unmemorable—with nothing like the searing moment of President Barack Obama wiping his eyes at the White House briefing room lectern as he talked about the murder of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

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