10 things you need to know today: February 23, 2018
Trump calls for arming some teachers to "harden" schools, Mueller brings new charges against Manafort and Gates, and more
Trump pushes to 'harden' schools by arming some teachers
President Trump echoed calls by the National Rifle Association to "harden" U.S. schools by arming certain teachers in reaction to the Parkland school shooting. On Twitter and in a meeting with law enforcement, state, and local officials, Trump argued that if 10 to 40 percent of American teachers carried a weapon in school, it would "solve the problem instantly." "We have to harden our schools, not soften them," Trump said. As an incentive for teachers willing to get training and carry weapons, "you give them a little bit of a bonus," Trump said, "so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target." Teachers unions and law enforcement officials denounced the idea as dangerous and impractical.
Mueller brings new charges against Manafort and Gates
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has filed 32 more charges against Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide and Manafort's business associate. The indictment, handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury, charges them with financial crimes including tax and bank fraud relating to the alleged hiding of assets overseas. In October, Manafort and Gates were indicted on 12 counts of financial crimes — the first charges to result from Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Those allegations are unrelated to Trump's campaign and Russian election meddling, stemming instead from lobbying work Manafort and Gates did for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.
NRA leaders and Pence speak as CPAC starts
National Rifle Association leaders and Vice President Mike Pence delivered speeches to help kick off the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Thursday. Pence talked up President Trump's accomplishments, saying Trump has "galvanized" the Republican Party. NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and CEO Wayne LaPierre seized the spotlight, however, with a combative defense of the powerful gun-rights group in the face of criticism and calls for gun control by survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 dead last week. Loesch claimed that "many in legacy media love mass shootings" because they boost ratings. LaPierre accused liberals of exploiting the tragedy for political gain, saying they "hate the Second Amendment" and "hate individual freedom." President Trump addresses CPAC Friday.
Deputy resigns after failing to enter Parkland school during shooting
The armed deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during last week's deadly shooting resigned on Thursday, shortly after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel suspended him without pay. The school resource officer, Deputy Scot Peterson, was shown in video footage taking cover for "upwards of four minutes" while the gunman was killing 17 people inside, but he "never went in," Israel said. He should have gone in and "killed the killer," Israel added. "There are no words. I mean these families lost their children." The sheriff's office also put two officers on restricted duties pending an investigation into how they handled earlier calls regarding suspect Nikolas Cruz. Peterson was named school resource officer of the year for Parkland in 2014.
Missouri governor indicted on privacy invasion charge
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was indicted on Thursday on a felony charge of invading the privacy of a woman with whom he was having an affair by taking a nude photo of her without permission. The St. Louis grand jury's indictment threw the first-term Republican's once bright political career and leadership of the state into doubt, and threatened to shake up Missouri politics ahead of high-stakes midterm elections. Greitens, a married father of two and former Navy SEAL, has resisted calls to resign over allegations he threatened to retaliate against the woman if she revealed their 2015 affair. He has defended himself by saying he "made a personal mistake" in his dealings with the woman, but "did not commit a crime."
Bank, car-rental companies end partnerships with NRA
Three major car rental brands, and First National Bank of Omaha, said Thursday they were ending partnerships with the National Rifle Association as protests against the gun-rights lobbying group and in favor of tougher gun control grew louder. "Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa Card," spokesperson Kevin Langin said in a statement. Enterprise Holdings Inc., parent company of the Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands, said hours later that on March 26 it was ending a program that gave NRA members discounts.
Ivanka Trump arrives in South Korea to attend Olympics
Ivanka Trump arrived in South Korea on Friday to attend the Sunday closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. "We are very, very excited to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to cheer for Team USA and to reaffirm our strong and enduring commitment with the people of the Republic of Korea," she said. Local media compared President Trump's decision to send his daughter and adviser to Pyeongchang to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's decision to send his sister to the opening ceremony. Ivanka Trump is receiving a royal welcome by a progressive South Korean government hoping to bolster ties tested by Seoul's efforts to engage with North Korea. Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with members of Pyongyang's delegation.
Australian deputy prime minister resigns after new allegation of sexual harassment
Australia's deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, announced that he would resign as leader of his National party, after holding out for weeks against calls for him to quit over an affair with his former media secretary, who is now pregnant. Joyce's decision came after he faced a new allegation of sexual harassment on Friday. Joyce will hang onto his seat in Parliament, preserving Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's one-seat majority. Turnbull is in the U.S. for meetings with President Trump and declined to leave Joyce in charge during his absence. Turnbull last week described Joyce's affair as a "shocking error of judgment." Joyce has been married for 24 years, and has touted his family values in campaigns.
FCC publishes rules repealing net neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday formally published its new rules scrapping net neutrality, the Obama-era policy designed to guarantee free and open access to the internet. Democrats have vowed to push for Congress to block the regulations from taking effect, and a coalition of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia on Thursday refiled their legal challenges to the rules. The Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 in December to overturn the rules, which barred service providers from blocking or slowing access for some users, or charging more for a "fast lane" for internet traffic.
Figure skater Alina Zagitova becomes first Russian to win gold in Pyeongchang
Alina Zagitova, a 15-year-old figure skater, won the first gold medal for Russia's delegation of 168 athletes at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Friday. Zagitova racked up bonus points with seven triple jumps late in her program, when her legs should have been exhausted. Fellow Russian and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, 18, skated last and narrowly missed catching Zagitova, finishing with the silver medal. Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond took bronze, extending an Olympic medal drought for once-dominant U.S. women's figure skaters.