Hope Hicks Leaving

Thursday, March 1, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 10.50.24 AM

Good Thursday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of President Trump’s longest-serving advisers, said she planned to leave the White House in the coming weeks. Ms. Hicks had been considering doing so for several months.

  • Mr. Trump criticized his attorney generalJeff Sessions, after Mr. Sessions indicated that the Justice Department’s watchdog would look into accusations of potential abuse of surveillance laws rather than the agency’s own lawyer. The president called his handling of the matter DISGRACEFUL.

  • In a televised meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump appeared to stun giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans by calling for comprehensive gun control.
  • At a memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda for the Rev. Billy Graham, who died last week at 99, Mr. Trump hailed Mr. Graham as an ambassador for Christ who helped lift up the American spirit.
  • The military is looking at everything from troop rotations to surveillance to casualty evacuations,  should it be ordered to take action against North Korea.
— The First Draft Team

With AR-15s, Mass Gunmen Attack With Firepower Typically Used by Troops

By C.J. CHIVERS, LARRY BUCHANAN, DENISE LU AND KAREN YOURISH
When a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, he was carrying an AR-15-style rifle that allowed him to fire on people in much the same way that many American soldiers and Marines would fire their M16 and M4 rifles in combat.
Since 2007, at least 173 people have been killed in mass shootings in the United States involving AR-15s, according to a New York Times analysis. The grim list includes crimes in Newtown, Conn.; Las Vegas; San Bernardino, Calif.; and now Parkland, Fla.
The main functional difference between the military’s M16 and M4 rifles and a civilian AR-15 is the “burst” mode on many military models, which allows three rounds to be fired with one trigger pull. Some military versions of the rifles have a full automatic feature, which fires until the trigger is released or a magazine is empty of ammunition.
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Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard, left, of the United States Army, with Muhammed Abu Adel, commander of the Manbij Military Council, in northern Syria earlier this month. Mr. Adel’s militia is among the Kurdish forces that have been key allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

As Turkey Attacks, Kurdish Forces Are Drawn Away From U.S. Fight With ISIS

By ERIC SCHMITT AND ROD NORDLAND

Kurdish fighters in Syria who have been central to the American-led campaign against the Islamic State are peeling off to respond to Turkish assaults.

President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut in the Oval Office on Dec. 22. The law has become fodder for supporters and detractors alike.

Spreadsheets at Dawn: The New Tax Battle Is All About Data

By JIM TANKERSLEY

Partisans and analysts hoping to score political points and bend corporate behavior are compiling data on how companies are spending the tax savings brought by the bill President Trump signed in December.

A protester in California last year. This year, political leaders in the state are weighing options for replacing the individual health mandate that was eliminated by Republicans.

A Big Divergence Is Coming in Health Care Among States

By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ

As the Trump administration chips away at Obamacare, some states are building it back up.

Jason Kessler, a white supremacist who helped organize a rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., outside the courthouse on Tuesday where a judge ordered the city to remove tarps covering two Confederate statues.

Judge Orders Tarps Removed From Confederate Statues in Charlottesville

By MATTHEW HAAG

The city placed black shrouds over statues of Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson after a deadly white nationalist rally last August.

Olav Njolstad, the secretary of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, said Wednesday that a nomination of President Trump appeared to be a fake.

Trump’s Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize Was Apparently Forged. Twice.

By HENRIK PRYSER LIBELL

The secretary of the Nobel Committee said the nominations appeared to be fake, and the Oslo police’s response suggested that they originated in the United States.

A Tally of Top Officials Who Have Left the Trump White House

By LARRY BUCHANAN, ALICIA PARLAPIANO AND KAREN YOURISH

The announcement that Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of Mr. Trump’s longest-serving advisers, will resign is the latest in a string of departures to shake up the West Wing.

Alexanda Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh are believed to be half of a cell of British jihadists called the Beatles, who played a central role in torturing and killing Western hostages.

Britain Presses U.S. to Avoid Death Penalty for ISIS Suspects

By ADAM GOLDMAN, ERIC SCHMITT AND CHARLIE SAVAGE

The British, who have threatened to withhold important evidence about two suspects as leverage, also want them prosecuted in a civilian court, rather than being taken to Guantánamo Bay.

Ahmed Muhammed Ahmed Haza al-Darbi.

Stranded at Guantánamo, a Cooperative Detainee Criticizes Saudi Arabia

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

The fate of Ahmed Muhammed Haza al-Darbi could encourage — or discourage — other detainees from cooperating in exchange for a deal to leave the prison.

President Trump listening as the attorney general of Indiana, Curtis T. Hill Jr., left, and the attorney general of Florida, Pam Bondi, right, discussed school safety last week at the White House.

ON WASHINGTON

Once Again, Push for Gun Control Collides With Political Reality

By CARL HULSE

Despite immense pressure to act, members of Congress are badly divided and prospects for consequential agreement seem slim.

Andy Cilek, center, who wore a “Please I.D. Me” button to a polling site in Minnesota, outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

N.R.A. Logos and #MeToo Shirts? Justices Weigh Political Garb at Polls.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A challenge to a Minnesota law barring political clothing at polling places left the Supreme Court considering how to balance free speech rights with civility.

Walmart, which stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015, said it started a review of its firearms policy “in light of recent events.”

Walmart Will Raise the Age to Buy Guns and Ammunition to 21

By MATTHEW HAAG

Walmart joined Dick’s Sporting Goods in changing its firearms policy amid a national debate on guns after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia visiting a Rosneft refinery on the Black Sea in 2013. Two years earlier, Exxon Mobil and Rosneft, a state-run oil company, had agreed on a $3.2 billion joint exploration pact.

Exxon Mobil Scraps a Russian Deal, Stymied by Sanctions

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

A deepwater exploration agreement with the state-run oil company Rosneft was once one of Exxon’s most promising agreements.