Gun Control, Florida, Hope Hicks: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing
Karen Zraick and David Scull
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. President Trump’s busy day included praising the Rev. Billy Graham at a memorial, criticizing his attorney general (“DISGRACEFUL”) and stunning lawmakers by embracing gun control.
In a remarkable televised meeting in the Cabinet Room, the president called for expanding background checks, keeping guns from people with mental illness and restricting gun sales from some young adults.
We took a close look at the AR-15, the weapon used in the school massacre in Florida. Since 2007, at least 173 people have been killed in mass shootings involving the military-style firearm.
2. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.”
That was the chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the country’s largest sporting goods retailers, speaking about the Florida survivors this morning.
He was explaining why Dick’s is ending sales of assault-style rifles and barring gun sales to those under 21, taking one of the strongest corporate stances since the mass shooting.
Across the country, protests against the gun lobby are coalescing into a powerful movement.
We spent the morning with Brooke Harrison, a 14-year-old who saw three of her classmates die. Her backpack has a bullet hole in it.
Brooke and her mother passed heavily armed police officers and TV cameras. Teachers from their old middle and elementary schools waved signs of support.
“Please don’t cry,” Brooke had to say to her mother.
4. Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, plans to resign.
The 29-year-old former model has been one of the president’s most trusted aides.
The announcement came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee, admitting that she sometimes told white lies for Mr. Trump. But our White House reporter Maggie Haberman is hearing there’s no connection.
5. The U.S.-led campaign to hunt down the last pockets of ISIS militants in Syria has lost its most effective fighters.
The Kurdish leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces have diverted to the northwestern city of Afrin, to take on Turkish troops. They’ve left their Syrian Arab and American allies to battle ISIS in the southeast.
American military officials fear hundreds of foreign fighters might escape.
6. The “Beast from the East” is walloping parts of Western Europe.
The Arctic storm system brought the enchantment of snow in Rome, but panic and chaos across much of Britain, including London, above.
Schools and roads were closed in heavy snow and bitter cold, and emergency officials said many drivers had to be rescued from stranded vehicles.
7. A federal official accused the mayor of Oakland, Calif., of being “no better than a gang lookout yelling ‘Police!’” because she forewarned the public about a large-scale raid to round up undocumented immigrants.
Officers with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency have arrested more 150 people as “public safety threats” in Northern California since Sunday — nowhere near the 1,000 they’d aimed for.
The mayor, Libby Schaaf, above, countered that her alert had been meant “to give all residents time to learn their rights and know their legal options” and to enable them “to keep their family together.”
8. You may know that we have a national poet laureate. But did you know that we have a national youth poet laureate, too?
Amanda Gorman, above, is the first to hold the lofty title. A native of Los Angeles and a sophomore at Harvard, she told us, “I write a lot for that bucktoothed, kinky-haired, speech-garbled 7-year-old still inside myself who didn’t see herself reflected in literature.”
Our Race/Related newsletter asked her to write new works for Black History Month — and then we animated them.
9. Variety published a lengthy interview with Barbra Streisand, focusing on her decades-long efforts to break up Hollywood’s boys’ club, ahead of the Oscars on Sunday.
But it was a short aside about pets that caused her name to start trending: She revealed that two of her three Cotons de Tulear are clones of her late dog Samantha.
We did a little research about this dog-cloning business. Turns out you can do it too, if you have upward of $50,000 to spare.
10. Finally, Wednesday’s episode of “The Late Show” should be interesting.
Omarosa Manigault, the controversial former White House aide who was recently voted off the reality show “Big Brother,” will sit down with Stephen Colbert.
And if you’re looking for dinner ideas, our Cooking team put together a list of their favorite meals that can be ready in under an hour. Above, rice noodles with zucchini, tomatoes and mint. Here’s the recipe.
Have a great night.