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Thursday, February 22, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 8.41.22 AM

Good Thursday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Under mounting pressure to take action, President Trump sat down with students, parents and others bereaved by school shootings, including the massacre in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people last week.

  • Student activists who survived the Parkland shooting want a range of new restrictions on guns. Yet G.O.P. leaders appear set on pursuing a package of narrower measures.

  • Mr. Trump attacked his own attorney general again, asking on Twitter why Jeff Sessions has not been investigating Democrats over Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  • Administration officials say that Ivanka Trump’s visit to the Olympics could ease some of the tensions that flared while Vice President Mike Pence was there, though they say that is not the purpose of her trip.
  • Mitt Romney and other Republican critics of Mr. Trump are extending an olive branch, and at least for now, the president is returning the favor.

— The First Draft Team
The Upshot

Why a Republican Plan for Paid Leave Has Stirred Concern About Social Security

By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD AND CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Senator Joni Ernst said she supported a paid-leave proposal because it would provide an option for new mothers who might otherwise leave the work force.

Senator Joni Ernst said she supported a paid-leave proposal because it would provide an option for new mothers who might otherwise leave the work force. Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Paid leave for new parents, long a Democratic cause, has become a Republican one, too. But policymakers don’t agree on what a plan should look like. Now some Republicans have a new idea: Let people collect Social Security benefits early to pay for time off after they have babies.
Unlike some other proposals, this would require no new taxes. There’s a catch, though: Parents would have their Social Security benefits delayed when they retire, to offset the costs.
Social Security has long been viewed as an untouchable part of the social safety net. By letting people tap it for parental leave, it would begin to feel more like an individual account — an idea conservatives have been trying to advance for decades.
Read more »
In an image from a recording, a Border Patrol officer checking the identification last month of travelers on a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The officers escorted a woman off the bus.

Under Trump, Border Patrol Steps Up Searches Far From the Border

By RON NIXON

Officers are aggressively using a little-known law to crack down on illegal immigration, boarding trains and buses and searching private property without a warrant.

Jerome H. Powell testifying before the Senate Banking Committee in November during hearings on his nomination to head the Federal Reserve.

Fed Officials Say Economy Is Ready for Higher Rates

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

A strengthening economy is giving the Fed confidence that interest rates can rise, according to minutes of the most recent policymaking meeting.

The Supreme Court issued four decisions on Wednesday, including one rejecting a bid to seize Iranian artifacts in a terrorism suit and another on whistle-blower protections in securities cases.

Supreme Court Rules on Terrorism, Whistle-Blowers and Prisoners

By ADAM LIPTAK

The justices issued four decisions, including one rejecting a bid to seize Iranian artifacts in a terrorism suit and another limiting whistle-blower protections.

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, is facing scrutiny for his travel at taxpayer expense.

Senior Republican Calls for E.P.A. Chief’s First-Class Travel Files

By LISA FRIEDMAN

With Scott Pruitt’s travel choices coming under criticism, Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a demand for documents.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, the parents of the first lady, Melania Trump, departing Air Force One last year. They reportedly spend much of their time with the Trump family, and questions about their immigration status were raised in recent months as the administration pushed for stricter immigration policies.

Questions Swirl as Melania Trump’s Parents Obtain Green Cards

By EMILY COCHRANE

It is unclear how or when Viktor and Amalija Knavs received permanent residency, but immigration experts said the likeliest way would have been a program the president has denounced.

New candidates to lead the Council on Environmental Quality have emerged after the withdrawal of Kathleen Hartnett White, who drew criticism for calling carbon dioxide the “gas of life.”

New Candidates Emerge for Trump’s Top Environmental Adviser

By LISA FRIEDMAN

The White House withdrew its previous nominee, Kathleen Hartnett White, who had drawn criticism for calling carbon dioxide the “gas of life.”

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., addressed President Trump at the White House on Wednesday.

11 of the Most Dramatic Moments in a Day of Confrontation Over Guns

By MATTHEW HAAG AND MATT STEVENS

From the nation’s capital to Florida’s State House, Wednesday saw tense exchanges and pain-laced, poignant addresses.

The Scion West End hotel in Cleveland, Miss., which is being developed in partnership with the Trump Organization, has been granted a tourism tax rebate by the state.

Hotel Carrying New Trump Brand Secures $6 Million Tax Break

By STEVE EDER AND BEN PROTESS

The first of the Trump Organization’s Scion hotels is being built in the Mississippi Delta. The local developers, saying it would draw tourists, sought state tax relief.