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Trump sworn in as 45th president

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DONALD TRUMP SWORN

Donald John Trump was sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, taking office on a day that has featured smaller crowds and more subdued ceremony than previous inaugurations — but still ushers in a transformative shift in the country’s leadership.

Trump, 70, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. His wife Melania Trump stood at his side. The oath was given using two Bibles — one from President Lincoln’s inauguration, and another that Trump’s mother gave him in 1955.

Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming that with his victory, “the United States of America is your country.” With now former president Obama and three previous presidents watching from behind him, Trump seemed to condemn them as unfaithful to the popular will, saying that his inauguration signaled that “the people” would rule the country again.

“Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” he said. He continued: “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost… Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.”

Trump’s speech struck an unusually pessimistic tone — especially for a president who took office at a time of broad economic prosperity. Trump condemned the “American carnage” of crime, and said “wealth, strength and confidence had dissipated” because of jobs lost overseas.

White House

“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree… from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First. America first!,” Trump said. This two-word slogan, used heavily in Trump’s campaign, had previously been infamous in U.S. history, as the slogan of isolationist forces opposed to American entry in World War II. Trump had used it as an economic message.

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American factories,” Trump said.

Earlier on Friday morning, Trump met with Obama at the White House — an Inauguration Day tradition, made more unusual this time by the two men’s history.

Trump, a real estate businessman and reality-TV star, began his rise in conservative politics by essentially calling Obama a liar and an illegitimate president: Trump insisted for years that Obama was born in Kenya. Obama was actually born in Hawaii, as Trump conceded late in the 2016 campaign. Obama, in turn, had mocked Trump at a televised White House Correspondent’s Association dinner in 2011.

Now, they met at the White House door, one going in and one going out.

The two men and their wives took a motorcade to the U.S. Capitol, through empty streets.

Around them, there were sporadic clashes between police and protesters around Washington. In several instances, news video showed black-clad protesters — some carrying symbols of “anarchist” groups — smashing shop windows and overturning newspaper boxes.

Earlier Friday morning, the Trumps attended a service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, continuing an Inauguration Day tradition. One of the preachers was Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister who is pastor of a Dallas megachurch, and who has made inflammatory condemnations of both Mormonism and Islam in the past.

Jeffress, who grew close to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that his sermon would be entitled, “When God Chooses a Leader.” Trump left the service about 9:30 a.m. He mouthed “Thank you” to supporters as he climbed into an SUV.

Before Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took their respective oaths, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) – who oversaw inauguration preparations on Capitol Hill – offered a brief speech praising the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power.

“Commonplace and miraculous,” Blunt called it, recalling the early, key transitions between early American presidents of different parties. That made inauguration ceremonies, Blunt said, “not a celebration of victory, [but] a celebration of democracy.”

After that, a series of Christian ministers offered Bible verses and prayers. Samuel Rodriguez, a California minister, chose to read from the Sermon on the Mount, including Jesus’ promise that “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the earth.”

President Trump will attend a luncheon at the Capitol Friday afternoon, and his inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will begin about 3 p.m. That parade is supposed to last about 90 minutes — which would make it one of the shortest inaugural parades in recent history.

Signs of the transfer of power were evident throughout the morning.

Before 9:30 a.m., TV footage showed Obama leaving the Oval Office for the last time, before he and the first lady held a pre-inauguration tea with the Trumps. Obama smiled as he walked down an exterior hallway, in view of cameras. “Any last words for the American people?” a member of the press called out. “Thank you,” Obama said.

Soon after, the Trumps arrived at the White House, greeting the Obamas and presenting them with a gift — a box wrapped in the distinctive light blue of high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. The Obamas seemed briefly perplexed about what to do with it, with the president looking in vain for someone to hold the box while the new first couple and the old took a photo together.

Since Trump’s election, both men have tried to mend their relations, including with a high-profile meeting days after Trump’s stunning election.

On the White House steps, the bitter history between Trump and Obama went unmentioned. Obama asked Trump, “How was church?” and they turned to go inside.

Trump’s swearing-in will give Republicans control of both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2006. The new president has promised to undo some of the most significant pieces of Obama’s legacy — including his signature health-care law. But Trump also enters office with a significant amount of uncertainty, since he has repeatedly contradicted other Republicans — and himself — on major questions about how immigration, taxes, health care and other issues will be handled in the new administration.

Trump takes office as the least-popular new president in 40 years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Forty percent of Americans view Trump favorably, which is 21 points lower than the rating with which Obama will leave office.

But Trump won the election, and so this will be his day. The stage — and the country — he had sought to command will be his, at last.

“It all begins today!,” Trump tweeted early Friday morning. “I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!”

The Capitol began filling up early Friday with guests for the ceremony, including Trump’s children and top aides.

As the Obamas and Trumps met at the White House, Trump’s 2016 opponent — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — arrived at the Capitol with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit. She had worn similar pantsuits at key moments during her campaign as a nod to early suffragists, who often wore white.

Trump and his extended family arrived in Washington Thursday, signaling a new era in the country’s governance as they stepped off a military plane at Joint Base Andrews. They participated in a full day of events that included a stop at Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue property, the Trump International Hotel, and later a wreath-laying with Pence at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

“We all got tired of seeing what was happening, and we wanted change, but we wanted real change,” Trump said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial late Thursday at the conclusion of an evening concert that was punctuated by a glimmering fireworks display. “It’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world, they say.”

Earlier that day, as Trump put the finishing touches on the inaugural address, Pence and their incoming administration were preparing to assume control of the federal government.

Addressing reporters Thursday from the transition team’s Washington headquarters, Pence said, “It is a momentous day before a historic day.”

He noted that all 21 Cabinet nominations have been made and that 536 “beachhead” officials are ready to report for duty at federal departments and agencies.

“Our job is to be ready on Day One,” Pence said. “The American people can be confident that we will be . . . It’s going to be a very humbling and moving day for the president-elect his family and for mine. But let me tell you, we are all ready to go to work.”

Trump and his team on Thursday sent signals suggesting an attempt to begin repairing relations with groups he demonized throughout his transition, including the intelligence community and the media. Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, calmly answered questions for an hour in his first formal briefing with journalists and confirmed that Trump would soon visit the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va., to express his gratitude to career intelligence officers.

Past presidents began to descend on Washington to witness Trump’s swearing-in, including Jimmy Carter, who was spotted Thursday aboard a commercial Delta flight from Atlanta.

George H.W. Bush will not be making the trip. He and his wife, Barbara, were hospitalized in Houston this week. The former president was in stable condition Thursday and hoping to be discharged from the intensive-care unit in coming days, while the former first lady was recovering from bronchitis, spokesman Jim McGrath said.

Trump’s aides said he has taken personal ownership of his speech, writing and rewriting drafts himself with the help of a few advisers, and practiced delivering it before teleprompters this week at Trump Tower in New York.

“It’s going to be a very personal and sincere statement,” Spicer said. “I think it’s going to be less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document — a vision of where he sees the country, the proper role of government, the role of citizens.”

On Saturday morning, the new president will attend a traditional national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral before spending the rest of the weekend settling into his new home and meeting with his advisers.

Pence marveled to reporters: “Sometimes people stop me on the street they say, ‘How you holding up? I can’t imagine how busy you are.’ And I just tell them, ‘Well, you just have to understand, the energy and the enthusiasm of Donald Trump is contagious.’ ”

Source : Washington Post

 

America

‘Shame on you,’ student tells US President Donald Trump at Florida anti-gun rally

Hundreds rally in Fort Lauderdale for more restrictions on firearms

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Florida students

As the national news media descended on Parkland, students shared their horrific stories of survival after Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and increasingly they are turning to another message: Something needs to change.

Many survivors of mass shootings have gone on to become staunch gun control advocates months and years later in Parkland, the timeline has seemingly accelerated. In the days after the shooting, students have been active on social media and cable news channels, saying now is the time to talk about changing gun laws.

Senior David Hogg has appeared on cable news multiple times since the shooting, urging lawmakers to act and calling the shooting “unacceptable.”

He and hundreds of others rallied at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Saturday, calling for more legislation to regulate guns.

“Vote them out!” and protesters chanted repeatedly, referring to lawmakers who oppose restrictions on guns.

“People keep asking me, What about this (shooting) will be different?” junior Cameron Kasky said at the rally. “All of you are proof that this could be different.”

Wiping away tears, student Emma Gonzalez gave an impassioned speech, taking aim at President Donald Trump and other politicians who take money from the National Rifle Association.

“To every politician who is taking money from the NRA: Shame on you,” Gonzlez said.

Multiple speakers urged banning weapons like the A5-15 rifle that was used in the shooting.

“No one should own an AR-15, especially an 18-year-old,” said Stoneman Douglas teacher Melissa Falkowski, referring to gunman Nicholas Cruz.

On Saturday morning in Parkland, protesters lined the road to the school, which is still an active crime scene, with signs reading anti-gun messages like “broken system.”

“After every shooting, the NRA sends a memo saying ‘send your thoughts and prayers.’ This is the only country where this kind of thing happens,” Kasky told CNN. “This is the time to talk about guns.”

“But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott are not doing,” he said. “It’s scary to think these are the people who are making our laws when our community just took 17 bullets to the heart. It feels like the only people who don’t care are the people making the laws.”

At a vigil for the victims, a crowd of more than 1,000 people, consisting largely of students, chanted “No more guns, no more guns.”

Students elsewhere have started joining the chorus from Parkland. On Friday, about 100 students from South Broward High School walked out of school to protest gun violence, carrying signs that said “Do Something” and “Protect our Kids, Not Your Guns.”

“We are angry! We are angry!” the students cried. “We want safety! We want safety!”

On Wednesday night, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren took to Twitter, saying it was too early to talk about gun control.

“Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic,” she wrote.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Caryl Novell quickly responded.

“I was hiding in a closet for two hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings,” Novell said. “This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.”

Her message to Lahren has been retweeted more than 300,000 times.

“We are children. You guys are, like, the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done,” Hogg said.

Source : Local10

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17 killed in Florida school shooting, ex-student held

19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz into custody in connection with the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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Parkland high school shooting

At least 17 people were killed Wednesday in a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Broward County Sheriff’s office said.

Authorities say they have taken 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz into custody in connection with the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.

The school shooting suspect was arrested “without incident” an hour after allegedly leaving the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School grounds.

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Seventeen people were killed and more than 14 were injured in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Authorities believe the suspected shooter worked alone. More than 3,200 students attend ninth through 12th grade at the high school, which is staffed by approximately 130 teachers.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed in a evening news conference that Cruz is a former student of the high school who was expelled for disciplinary reasons, Fox News reports. Sen. Bill Nelson also told FOX that Cruz was wearing a gas mask during the shooting and may have been carrying smoke bombs.

In an interview Wednesday evening with CNN, Marjory Stoneman Douglas math teacher Jim Gard, who had Cruz as a student in 2016, was surprised to hear the news of his arrest. “He was a quiet kid in class, I never had any problems with Nick,” Gard said.

“Some of the girls in my class said that I guess he had some problems with some other girls, but that’s hearsay, and all that,” he added. “As far as my class goes, I remember an email or two from admin [expressing concern] but I can’t remember exactly what it said.”

However, Gard expanded on his account to the Miami Herald, telling the paper that he believed an email from the school administration circulated warning teachers that Cruz had made threats against other students. “We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” Gard said. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

Superintendent Robert Runcie of the Broward County School District told reporters outside the school they had received no concerns about Cruz. “We received no warnings,” he said. “Potentially there could have been signs out there. But we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.”

A student named Nicholas Coke interviewed on the scene by WSVN-7 described Cruz as a “loner.” Coke also recalled a time in middle school when Cruz kicked out a glass window before getting caught, according to the Miami Herald.

“He had a lot of problems in middle school,” Coke said.

“He’s been a troubled kid,” an unidentified student who said he knew Cruz told local media. “And he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.”

“He always had guns on him,” another unidentified student told WFOR-TV, who said Cruz was never shy about showing off his guns. “The crazy stuff that he did was not right for school, and he got kicked out of school multiple times for that kind of stuff.”

Another unidentified student described the suspect to CBS News. “The kid was crazy,” the student said. “I had engineering with him a couple years ago and he wasn’t allowed to come to school with a backpack and he would threaten students and break glass and get into fights so he got kicked out of school.”

“All he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting,” former classmate Joshua Charo, 16, told the Miami Herald. “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”

Helen Pasciolla, a retired neighbor who lives in the Cruz family’s former neighborhood in Parkland, told the New York Times that Cruz and his brother, Zachary, who are both adopted, had regular behavioral problems.

Authorities have begun looking into Cruz’s social media profile, findings which Broward Sheriff Scott Israel described to reporters as “very, very disturbing.”

Unverified images on social media accounts cited by multiple media sources appear to show a man holding firearms, wielding knives like a claw, and a collection of guns on a bed.

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US intelligence chiefs say Russia still meddling, threatening 2018 elections

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

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Dan Coats

WASHINGTON — Russia and other adversaries will continue to engage in cyber warfare to “degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances,” the nation’s top intelligence official said Tuesday.

“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee, adding that every facet of society is being targeted with cyber intrusions.

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

“There should be no doubt that (Putin) views the past effort as successful,” Coats said.

The national intelligence director’s comments come against the backdrop of continuing congressional and criminal investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether the Kremlin coordinated their activities with President Trump’s campaign.

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