President Trump Endorses Mitt Romney for Utah Senate

President Donald Trump issued an enthusiastic endorsement of Mitt Romney’s 2018 Senate bid. “He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!” the president tweeted Monday evening, following the 2012 Republican presidential nominee’s official announcement last week that he will be running for Hatch’s seat in Utah. The endorsement comes despite the often contentious relationship between the two men, beginning with the anti-Trump speech Romney delivered in early 2016. After Romney labeled Trump a “phony” who was “playing the American public for suckers” and “has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president,” Trump fired back, calling Romney a “choke artist” who was “begging” for his endorsement during the 2012 cycle. Romney was more deferential toward Trump after the 2016 election and was reportedly considered for the secretary of state position before the president nominated Rex Tillerson instead. In response to Trump, Romney thanked the president for his endorsement despite tweeting in 2016, “If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement.”


White House Staffer: Florida Shooting a ‘Reprieve’ for Trump

According to a new report from The Washington Post, officials in the Trump White House are privately admitting that the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, “offered a breather from the political storm” for the beleaguered president over the past several days. “For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” an unnamed White House official told the Post. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.” That same official added, “But as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we’ll be back through the chaos.” Before the gun massacre, there was speculation in Washington that Chief of Staff John Kelly might resign over his handling of the Rob Porter scandal. Over the weekend, President Trump used the Florida shooting to criticize the FBI for “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”


Report: Mueller Is Looking Into Kushner’s Foreign Funding

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has reportedly has been looking into Jared Kushner’s efforts to secure foreign funding during the presidential transition, according to CNN. That is an indication, CNN reports, that Mueller is investigating Kushner’s ties beyond Russia to secure funding for his 666 Park Avenue real estate venture, including countries like China and Qatar. According to a CNN source, the investigation has not yet contacted Kushner Companies or interviewed anyone at the company. Kushner divested from the 666 Park Avenue project in early 2017. Kushner had bought the property in 2007 for $1.8 billion and had been struggling to shoulder the debt of the building in subsequent years.

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Iranian Plane Crash Site Found, All 65 on Board Reportedly Killed

Search and rescue forces on Monday located the crash site of a plane in Iran where all passengers and crew were killed, according to Iran’s Press TV. The Aseman Airlines ATR-72—a small, short-distance twin engine plane—had 65 people on board when it crashed into Mount Dena in southern Iran on Sunday. The airline said everyone on board Flight EP3704 was killed. The crash was said to be caused by “severe” weather, and Russian forces reportedly aided in finding the plane. The 25-year old plane was grounded for seven years and was only brought back into service months ago. Iran was long barred from buying airplane parts due to Western sanctions, forcing “Iranians to fly in aging aircraft.”


CPAC Welcomes French Right-Wing Extremist Marion Marechal-Le Pen

This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference boasts some big names and one distinctly international voice on their speakers list. Marion Marechal-Le Pen, niece of right-wing populist French politician Marine Le Pen, is set to speak on CPAC’s opening day one hour after Vice President Mike Pence is slated to give a speech. Marine Le Pen, who is the president of France’s National Front political party, got 33.9 percent of the vote in the country’s 2017 election. The party supports policies like significantly decreasing immigration and putting “native French” above those who are not. Marechal-Le Pen is also of the National Front and became France’s youngest MP in modern history in 2012, at the age of 22. Last year, she announced that she was leaving politics for “personal and political reasons,” but said she was “not giving up the political fight forever.” Chairman of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp defended Le Pen on Twitter, tweeting that she was more conservative than Mitt Romney and she is "a classical liberal, a conservative."


Report: Trump Asked Mar-a-Lago Guests for Gun Control Advice

President Trump reportedly sought advice on gun control from his Mar-a-Lago guests in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida. Sources cited by The Washington Post on Sunday said the president obsessively monitored media coverage of the massacre as he surveyed friends staying at the lavish resort on whether he should take action on gun control. Meanwhile, he has reportedly declined an invitation to attend a town hall on Wednesday featuring victims and survivors, some of whom publicly shamed him over the weekend for accepting NRA campaign contributions. Students-turned-activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have made it clear they want tighter gun control laws, and they say a White House “listening session” with students this week is just a way for Trump to avoid speaking with them directly.


Report: Florida Shooter Bought 10 Rifles in Past Year

Nikolas Cruz reportedly bought 10 rifles in the months leading up to Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school. A law enforcement source cited by CNN on Monday said the 19-year-old confessed shooter obtained the weapons in the past year or so, though no further details were available on the exact time frame. Investigators are currently working to track all of Cruz’s firearm purchases, though so far it appears he acquired his weapons legally. Authorities have said the AR-15 he used in the massacre was obtained after Cruz passed a background check. Kim and James Snead, the couple who took Cruz in after his adoptive mother died last year, said in interviews over the weekend they were aware he had several firearms but ordered him to keep them in a safe. “He definitely had a key to the gun safe I didn’t know about,” James Snead told The Wall Street Journal.


French Skater’s Olympic Dress Designer Sorry After Mishap

The designer who made French ice dancer Gabriella Papadakis’ now infamous malfunctioning dress says she feels “terribly guilty” after the skater’s hopes for a gold were apparently dashed by an exposed breast. Papadakis suffered what she called a “nightmare” wardrobe mishap while performing her short dance routine in Pyeongchang on Monday, with far too much flesh on display after a clasp on her dress apparently broke. Papadakis and her partner, Guillaume Cizeron, were among the favorites to take the gold in the event, but they reportedly lost points due to the incident and came in second place. Designer Sophie Thomas later said she feels mortified about the malfunction but has no idea how it happened. “I just can’t explain it, it’s a real mystery. The top was firmly attached,” she told AFP.


FL Survivors Reject Trump Invite, Tell Him to ‘Come to Us’

High school students who survived Wednesday’s deadly shooting rampage in Florida say President Trump has declined an invitation to speak at an upcoming town hall on gun violence, CNN reports. Instead, the White House has announced a “listening session” with students, though it is not clear if that event will include survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were gunned down. “If Donald Trump wants to listen to us, he should have taken the first invitation,” survivor Alex Wind told CNN Monday. “We are not going to come to him. He is going to need to come to us,” he said. Emma Gonzalez, another survivor, said the “listening session” with students was just a way for Trump to avoid angry survivors. “The fact that he has organized this just proves that he’s scared of us and that he doesn’t want to have to face us,” she told CNN. Along with Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has also reportedly declined an invitation to speak at the town hall event on Wednesday. The event will feature survivors of the shooting and parents of the victims.