The government in action

Monday, Feb. 19

Š      President Trump indicated he supports gun-background-check legislation in response to last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump spoke Friday with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) about a bill he co-authored with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to bolster the federal background check system.

Š      More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Š      CNN reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition.

Tuesday, Feb. 20

Š      President Trump said Tuesday he has directed the Department of Justice to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic guns to be modified to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute. A bump stocks was used in the mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival in October.

Š      Robert Mueller has charged London-based attorney Alex van der Zwaan with making a false statement when he was interviewed about work he did with Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates six years ago. Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.

Š      BuzzFeed reported that less than 24 hours after Trump tweeted that “after consultation with my Generals and military experts” he would end transgender military service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph, Dunford, sent emails to generals of the Air Force, Army, Marines, National Guard, and Navy saying Trump’s announcement “was unexpected” and that he intended to say he was “not consulted.”

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Š      New charges were filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, but the charges were put under seal by the court.

Š      Marco Rubio shifted his stance on firearms legislation at a CNN town hall meeting that included a parent and some of the students who survived the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Rubio broke with Trump on the issue of arming teachers, saying it was a bad idea.

Š      Bernie Sanders blamed Hillary Clinton for not doing more to stop the Russian attack on the last presidential election, and his 2016 campaign manager, in an interview with Politico, said he’s seen no evidence to support Mueller’s assertion in an indictment last week that the Russian operation had backed Sanders’ campaign.

Thursday, Feb. 22

Š      In tweets and later at a “listening session,” Trump doubled down on his idea of arming some teachers as a deterrent for school shootings and praised the top leadership of the National Rifle Association as “Great American Patriots.”

Š      The Associated Press reported that Republican donor Sheldon Adelson has offered to pay for a new U. S. embassy in Jerusalem, and the Trump administration is considering the offer. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs.

Friday, Feb. 23

Š      Former Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates pled guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators and has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The deal came after dozens of new charges of bank fraud and money laundering were unsealed on Thursday.

Š      At the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, Trump reiterated his call for more teachers and education officials to be armed in the wake of the deadly Florida shooting, arguing that “a teacher would have shot the hell out of” the gunman if the school permitted concealed carry.

Š      Politico reported that Trump has directed the Department of Defense to organize a military parade to take place on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

Saturday, Feb. 24

Š      The House Intelligence Committee released a redacted memo prepared by Democrats and intended to rebut the Devin Nunes memo that alleged federal law enforcement agencies had political motivations for wire-tapping former Trump aide Carter Page.

Sunday, Feb. 25

Š      A North Korean envoy, Kim Yong Chol, making a rare visit to South Korea said his country is willing to open talks with the United States, a rare step toward diplomacy between the two countries. Seoul believes Kim Yong Chol masterminded two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.