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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released their redacted response to a Republican memo on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as Democrats charged that the GOP omitted numerous details about the FBI’s probe during the campaign for the White House. “FBI and DOJ officials did not “abuse” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign,” the Democratic memo states. “The FBI supplied information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Russia might be colluding with Trump campaign associates,” Democrats said in a press statement announcing the release of the memo, which had been held back earlier this month after the White House raised questions about details included in the ten page memo. “Some time ago, Republicans on our committee released a declassified memo that omitted and distorted key facts in order to mislead the public and impugn the integrity of the FBI,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel. “We can now tell you what they left out,” Schiff added. BREAKING: Congress releases redacted Democratic memo pushing back on GOP claims of surveillance abuses in FBI's Russia probe. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 24, 2018 Democrats said their rebuttal “should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC,” as they said the evidence “failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement.” Democrats not only countered that, but raised questions about the testimony of one-time Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who was the focus of the original Republican memo, as the GOP raised questions about how surveillance had been approved of Page. Democrats said the answer was not the information supplied by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some portions of the document on those points were blacked out, or redacted. You can read the full Democratic memo at this link. Democrats also released a fact sheet to go with the memo.
  • The Walt Disney World News Today confirms rumors that the talking Mickey Mouse at the meet and greet in the Town Square Theater at the Magic Kingdom will be silenced on May 12th, 2018.   The talking Mickey, which debuted back in October of 2013, will be changed due to various reasons. Some of these include technical difficulties and guest confusion due to other Mickey characters in the park being unable to communicate.    Mickey Mouse will still continue to meet guests, sign autographs and take picture, but he will likely not be able to speak to guests.    You can see footage of the talking Mickey Mouse here:
  • Thanks to new rendering released by the Walt Disney Company, we are getting a better look at what to expect from the upcoming Star Wars-inspired resort that will be build at the Walt Disney World Resort.   Announced last summer, the thrilling new resort will be seamlessly connected to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which is set to open in 2019.    Guests at the hotel will be immersed into a fully interactive experience as if they traveling on an actual starship. The hotel spaces will be filled with Star Wars characters and storylines and every window of the resort will show images of space.    Those who stay at the hotel will also be invited to wear themed clothing as they partake in a particular storyline.    The released images are only concept art, but the company says it will stand out among all Disney resorts around the globe and give guests the total Star Wars experience.
  • Police in Orlando say a man was shot and killed in the Parramore neighborhood Friday evening.   At 8:16 p.m., officers responded to 702 Boston Avenue after a caller reported hearing gunshots and a man in his early 30s lying on the ground in the grass. Upon arrival, police noticed that the man had been shot at least once in the chest.    Officers performed CPR on the man before he was taken to the hospital, where he was later died.    At this time, there are no known suspects or witnesses to this shooting.
  • In the wake of the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump on Saturday signaled again that he wants changes in background checks for those people who are buying firearms, as he emphasized his call for Congress to make a series of reforms to gun-related laws, also urging state and local officials to do more to toughen security at their schools. “Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!,” the President tweeted. White House officials said Mr. Trump would again press his call for action on issues of school safety in coming days as he meets with the nation’s Governors, many of whom will be in Washington, D.C. for their yearly legislative conference. But the question remains – what will the Congress do? Or what can Congress do? 1. Some details still murky on what the President wants to do. While the President has a ready list of items on which he is asking for action in the Congress, the exact details will determine how the Congress reacts. For example, Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he wants ‘comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health’ – how that is structured is an extremely important point. While it may sound completely logical that someone who has mental issues should not be able to buy weapons, those details are not easily fleshed out.  While he has talked repeatedly about background checks, the President has never addressed the issue of private gun sales – what is sometimes referred to as the ‘gun show loophole’ – which is something members in both parties have talked about dealing with for several years.   At a Friday news conference with the Prime Minister of Australia, here’s how the President set out what he wants accomplished: President Trump: 'We want to be very powerful, very strong on background checks and especially as it pertains to the mentally ill. We're going to get rid of the bump stocks and we're going to do certain other things.' https://t.co/P4FE9BWjUD pic.twitter.com/xLxpfFcgAd — CSPAN (@cspan) February 23, 2018 2. The push for the “Fix NICS” bill. Even before the Florida school shooting, there was a bipartisan effort to make some changes to ensure that more information is funneled into the background check system for gun buyers, whether it’s on mental health, or military charges which would disqualify someone who wants to buy a firearm. The House already passed the “Fix NICS” bill – but it was combined with another measure that approved a national “Concealed Carry” effort, which would allow anyone with a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon to do that in any state – even if that state has different laws and regulations governing such conduct. While that combination was approved by the House, it seems doomed in the Senate, and it is one reason that some lawmakers are now pressing for action on just the “Fix NICS” plan, which the President has endorsed. Joined @RepLanceNJ7 letter to @SpeakerRyan urging him to bring the bipartisan Fix NICS Act to @HouseFloor to improve the national background check system. This legislation is an important step to make our nation safer pic.twitter.com/8sLyie7UTj — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) February 24, 2018 3. How much would the Congress really do under Trump’s plans? This is a question that’s up for debate. Think of the President’s call for certain teachers or administrators to carry concealed weapons at schools – that seems more of a state and local matter than something which would be legislated by the Congress. Increasing security measures at schools – the Congress could deliver aid, but the idea of approving new spending is not exactly a popular item with some Republicans right now in the House and Senate. Changing the age of purchase for certain weapons like an AR-15 might sound attractive to some, but that is guaranteed to be controversial as well in Congress – especially when states might be able to take that same step on their own. The “gun violence restraining order” is another idea that’s popped up as a way to keep the mentally ill from access to firearms – but is that better done by state legislatures instead of the Congress? NEW: One idea the White House has latched onto as it casts for solutions to mass school shootings: “red flag” restraining orders that take guns away QUICKLY from people considered a danger to themselves or others, aides tell me. https://t.co/eMDqfB3qNy — Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 24, 2018 4. There has been some movement in Congress – but not much. Yes, we have examples of members of Congress who have changed their position on certain gun issues, but by no means has there been an upheaval on Capitol Hill in the wake of the Florida school shooting, just like there was no major change after past school shootings. Yes, the President has talked to House and Senate leaders about the gun issue – but don’t expect gun legislation to be on the floor next week or anything. Here is one GOP lawmaker who said he wants to revisit that ban – but that’s just one. My rifle in the Army was very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon used to kill at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend. https://t.co/4UNhAaulGu — Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) February 23, 2018 5. The outlook for the short-term – more of the same. While the Florida school shooting has energized younger Americans and their call for action, there is no sense that Republicans are about to dramatically change course on guns. As someone who has covered the gun debates since the 1980’s in Congress, the House and Senate right now have large majorities in favor of gun rights – and it has been that way since Democrats pushed through the Brady law and an assault weapons ban back in the early 1990’s. Change could always happen – but as of now, it’s hard to see that occurring in 2018. In a better world Parkland would lead to some rethinking of issues ranging from gun laws to mental health policies to whether we should elect sheriffs, etc. But it’s America 2018. So we’ve had a doubling down on screaming and tribalism rather than thinking and fact-finding. — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 24, 2018