- 1. Trump goes 'off script' during CPAC remarks
- 2. Sacramento police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark will not face charges
- 3. Russia condemns U.S. stance on Venezuela, but ready for bilateral talks
- 4. Parents separated from children return to border to demand asylum hearings
- 5. Pentagon confirms U.S. will end large-scale military drills with South Korea
- 6. Sanders launches his 'political revolution' in Brooklyn
- 7. Poster linking Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparks outrage
- 8. Crew Dragon successfully docks with Space Station
- 9. Much of the U.S. expecting major winter storms
- 10. Iditarod set to begin Sunday
1. Trump goes 'off script' during CPAC remarks
President Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, and the president acknowledged early in his remarks that he was going off script because "this is how I got elected," and, "if we don't go off script, our country is in big trouble." Topics meandered throughout — from trade with China and the Green New Deal to Hillary Clinton and William McKinley. Trump also used his time on stage to criticize the media and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian election meddling investigation, as well as to praise political allies like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The loudest applause of the day came after Trump said he would soon sign an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech.
2. Sacramento police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark will not face charges
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said on Saturday that no charges will be filed against two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man, in his grandmother's backyard last year. Schubert said that the prosecution determined that while "there's no question a human being died," the officers did not commit a crime and had probable cause to stop and detain Clark. The decision sparked a public outcry on Saturday evening, as protesters convened outside police headquarters in Sacramento. Clark's mother told reporters she was outraged by the ruling. "They executed my son," she said of the officers.
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3. Russia condemns U.S. stance on Venezuela, but ready for bilateral talks
In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the stance the U.S. has taken against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the sanctions imposed upon his government. "Destructive external influence under hypocritical pretext of humanitarian aid has nothing to do with democracy," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. Despite the criticism, Lavrov also said that Russia, which considers Maduro's government legitimate, is ready to take part in bilateral conversations with the U.S. on the crisis in Venezuela. The phone call was initiated by Pompeo.
4. Parents separated from children return to border to demand asylum hearings
A group of 29 parents from across Central America who were deported and separated from their children by U.S. immigration agents last year, crossed the U.S. border on Saturday. The parents, some of whom have been separated from their children for nearly a year, are demanding asylum hearings in the hopes of reuniting with their children. The families have a total of 27 children in U.S. custody. Some of the children remain in detention, while others are living with foster families. Customs and Border Protection began processing the asylum claims late in the day.
5. Pentagon confirms U.S. will end large-scale military drills with South Korea
The U.S. military will no longer conduct large-scale drills with South Korea, the Pentagon confirmed on Saturday. The decision, which was agreed upon by South Korea's National Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong Doo and acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, is part of the Trump administration's efforts to de-escalate tensions with North Korea. The exercises will be replaced by training focused on "strategic operational and tactical aspects of general military operations on the Korean peninsula." The agreement comes just days after President Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, which did not result in any agreements.
6. Sanders launches his 'political revolution' in Brooklyn
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) officially launched his presidential campaign in his hometown of Brooklyn on Saturday. "Thank you all for being part of a political revolution which is going to transform America," he told a crowd of supporters. "No, no, no, it is not Bernie, it is you. It is us together," Sanders continued, as the crowd began chanting his name. Sanders announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic primary in February and is scheduled to make his next campaign stop in Chicago on Sunday, where he is expected to discuss how his upbringing and education shaped his political views.
7. Poster linking Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparks outrage
A poster showing a photograph of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) beneath an image of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, arguing that the newly elected congresswoman — a Muslim and a refugee from Somalia — was "proof" that Americans have forgotten Sept. 11 was spotted in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday. The image of the poster was first circulated by Mike Pushkin, a Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, who said someone saw the poster and sent him a picture of it. The poster eventually led to an altercation between some Democratic lawmakers and the House's sergeant-at-arms, who was accused of making an "anti-Muslim" remark and subsequently resigned.
8. Crew Dragon successfully docks with Space Station
A day after NASA and SpaceX successfully launched the Crew Dragon — the first American spacecraft capable of carrying humans into orbit since 2011 — the capsule passed its next major test with flying colors, docking safely with the International Space Station. No humans were aboard the Dragon, which docked autonomously without assistance from the crew on board the space station. The spacecraft will now remain attached to the station until Friday evening when it will detach and return to Earth. If the trial goes well, SpaceX and NASA could send two astronauts into orbit as early as this summer.
9. Much of the U.S. expecting major winter storms
Winter storm warnings have been issued across the United States for Sunday into early Monday. Winter Storm Scott has already hit the Midwest, causing flight cancellations, road closures, and accidents. Dangerously cold air is expected to follow the storm in some central U.S. states. The snow is expected to spread eastward from the Ozarks to the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic by Sunday afternoon, before heading to the Northeast on Sunday night. As much as eight inches of snowfall is possible.
10. Iditarod set to begin Sunday
The Iditarod, an annual long distance sled dog race in Alaska, will kick off on Sunday at 2 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. A ceremonial start to the 1,000-mile race — which begins in Anchorage and ends in Nome — took place in Anchorage on Saturday, but the race will officially commence on Sunday. The 52 competitors in this year's field make up the smallest crop of mushers since 1989, as race organizers say they are adjusting to declining sponsorship, animal-rights protests, and a dog doping scandal. Conditions on the trail are reportedly good.
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