Some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – where 17 were killed in February – have taken up a public campaign for gun law reform in recent months but little in the way of change has emerged from legislators.
I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar….
….Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.
Flags at the White House were lowered to half-mast to commemorate the victims.
Sheriff Dean, who on Thursday completes his last day serving as Ventura County sheriff, warned: “It doesn’t matter how safe your community is, it doesn’t matter how low your crime rate is – there are people who just don’t think properly everywhere, I don’t care where you are, and they commit horrific acts like this.”
“There’s no way to process. There’s no way to make sense out of the senseless.”
The US inquiry into alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 election could be under threat after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, top opposition Democrats say.
Nancy Pelosi, who leads Democrats in the House of Representatives, called the decision a “blatant attempt” to end or impede the investigation.
The probe has been criticised by Mr Sessions’s successor Matthew Whitaker.
The Democrats, who won the House in the mid-terms, have vowed to protect it.
Some Republicans appear to have shared the Democrats’ concern over the future of the inquiry, which is being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said it should not be impeded in any way.
In July 2017 Mr Trump told the New York Times: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
In a resignation letter, Mr Sessions – a former Alabama senator who was an early supporter of Mr Trump – made clear the decision to go was not his own.
“Dear Mr President, at your request I am submitting my resignation,” he wrote in an undated letter.
What happens now?
Mr Whitaker can now assume control of the Mueller inquiry, which has been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein until now.
The president cannot directly fire the special counsel. But Mr Sessions’s replacement will have the power to do so, or end the inquiry.
There had already been hints that Robert Mueller’s pre-election “quiet period” was about to come to an end. And, in fact, if the former FBI director is as meticulous as he’s reputed to be, he might have already made plans to deal with exactly this contingency.
That’s stepping into the unknown, however.
What’s certain is that if the special counsel tries to issue new indictments or expand his inquiry, Matthew Whitaker is now in a position to rebuff those requests. If Mr Mueller files a report detailing his conclusions, the new acting attorney general could keep the document from ever becoming public.
Those would be half-measures and insurance policies to limit damage. The president may also decide to instruct Mr Whitaker to fire the entire Mueller team – something Mr Trump says he has the power to do.
There’s some doubt about whether the president is right, but with the mid-terms behind him he could be itching to settle this Mueller business once and for all. And he’s one step closer to being able to do just that.
That almost certainly wouldn’t be the end of this story, but it’s the beginning of a new, fraught chapter.
When Mr Acosta tried to ask a question about the Russia investigation into alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr Trump told him repeatedly “that’s enough” and “put down the mic”.
A female staff member attempted to take the microphone from the journalist, and Mr Acosta resisted handing it over telling her at one point “pardon me ma’am”.
Mr Trump walked away from the podium and returned to say: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.” He added: “The way you treat Sarah Huckerbee is horrible,” without explaining why.
Another journalist spoke up in Mr Acosta’s defence, calling him a “diligent reporter”. Mr Trump fired back, “well I’m not a big fan of yours either,” sparking laughter from members of the audience.
What did the White House say?
Ms Sanders, in a statement posted in a Twitter thread, said the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job”.
“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it’s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration,” she said.
“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”
Mr Acosta told CNN that he had been asking a question Mr Trump did not like which had led to a “back and forth” between them. He denied laying his hands on the woman, saying: “I was trying to hang on to the microphone so I could continue to ask the president questions.”
“We all try to be professionals over there, and I think I handled myself professionally,” he said, adding that he thinks, “this is a test for all of us. I do think they are trying to shut us down to some extent inside the White House press corps, and to some extent I think they are trying to send a message to our colleagues.”
If this is a decision by the White House because it doesn’t like the coverage, it’s the first time I can remember this happening to any reporter since I started covering the White House more than 22 years ago. Very bad sign. https://t.co/VNPDua0dZn
This is dumb. And disproportionate. @acosta may be royal pain in ass – but that’s our job. We’re not sent to ask easy questions. But can’t help feeling this is a shiny object thrown for the media to chase when far more important things are happening. https://t.co/tAlcg2FqR1