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White House communications director Hope Hicks resigning
WASHINGTON (AP) White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump most trusted and longest serving aides, abruptly announced her resignation Wednesday, leaving a void around a president who values loyalty and affirmation.
The departure of Hicks, who worked as a one woman communications shop during his campaign, came as a surprise to most in the White House and cast a pall over the West Wing at a trying time for the president. It leaves Trump increasingly without support of the familiar aides who surrounded him during his campaign, and marks the latest in a string of high level departures in the administration second year.
Hicks, 29, had a seemingly untouchable role in the West Wing, often viewed more as a surrogate daughter than a staffer. Perhaps most importantly, she served as Trump glamorous shield and validator,
always ready to provide Trump with a smiling dose of positive reinforcement, and controlling reporters access. She was the fourth person to occupy the position since the president was sworn in, as the Trump White House has set modern records for staff turnover.
In a statement, Trump praised Hicks for her work over the last three years, saying he miss having her by my side. Hicks informed Trump of her decision Wednesday, a White House official said.
Hicks, who occupied the desk closest to the Oval Office in the West Wing, has been a central participant in or witness to nearly every milestone and controversy of the Trump campaign and White House. She began her White House tenure as director of strategic communications a title that only partly captured her more expansive role as the president gatekeeper to the press.
Walmart sets age of 21 to buy firearms, ammunition
NEW YORK (AP) Walmart announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would also remove items resembling assault style rifles from its website.
The move comes after Dick Sporting Goods announced earlier in the day that it would restrict the sale of firearms to those under 21 years old. It didn mention ammunition. Dick also said it would immediately stop selling assault style rifles, and its CEO took on the National Rifle Association by demanding tougher gun laws.
Walmart said its decision came after the company reviewed its firearm sales policy in light of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,
that killed 17 people. The teenage gunman used an AR 15 rifle. It said it takes our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and also emphasized its background of serving sportsmen and hunters. major corporations, including MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines, have cut ties with the NRA since the Florida tragedy, but none were retailers that sold guns. The NRA has pushed back aggressively against calls for raising age limits for guns or restricting the sale of assault style weapons.
Walmart Inc. stopped selling AR 15 guns and other semi automatic weapons in 2015. It doesn sell bump stocks, the accessory attached to a semi automatic gun that makes it easier to fire rounds faster. It also doesn sell large capacity magazines. It also says it doesn sell handguns, except in Alaska.
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Your daily look at late breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
1. TRUMP PUTS FELLOW REPUBLICANS ON HOT SEAT
The president calls for speedy and substantial changes to the nation gun laws, criticizing lawmakers in a White House meeting for being too fearful of the NRA.
2. EMOTIONS OVERFLOW AT FLORIDA SCHOOL
Students and teachers cry and hug as they return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High for the first time since a troubled teenager with an assault rifle killed 17 people there.
In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions, AG doesn keep quiet
WASHINGTON (AP) Harshly criticized yet again by his boss,
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday abandoned his usual stony silence and pushed back against President Donald Trump for saying Sessions response to Republican complaints about the FBI was gave no suggestion he would step down in light of the charge made on Twitter and insisted he would to discharge my duties with integrity and honour. latest tirade stems from a comment Sessions made Tuesday, when he suggested the Justice Department inspector general will evaluate whether prosecutors and FBI agents wrongly obtained a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the communications of a onetime Trump campaign associate. Sessions had asked the watchdog office to review the complaints in response to pressure from congressional Republicans, who, like Trump, have fumed about what they believe to be bias within the FBI. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL! answered hours later, saying his department had taken the appropriate step and continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution. puts GOP in the hot seat on guns _ for now
WASHINGTON (AP) Putting fellow Republicans in the hot seat, President Donald Trump called for speedy and substantial changes to the nation gun laws on Wednesday, criticizing lawmakers in a White House meeting for being too fearful of the National Rifle Association to take action.
In a freewheeling, televised session that stretched for an hour,
Trump rejected both his party incremental approach and its legislative strategy that has stalled action in Congress. Giving hope to Democrats, he said he favoured a approach to addressing violence like the shooting at Florida school earlier this month, although he offer no specific details.
Instead, Trump again voiced his support for expanded background checks. He endorsed increased school security and mental health resources, and he reaffirmed his support for raising the age to 21 for purchasing some firearms. Trump also mentioned arming teachers, and said his administration, not Congress, would ban bump stock devices that enable guns to fire like automatic weapons with an executive order.
can wait and play games and nothing gets done, Trump said as he opened the session with 17 House and Senate lawmakers. want to stop the problems. also raised eyebrows by suggesting that law enforcement officials should be able to confiscate people firearms without a court order to prevent potential tragedies.
Retailers Dick and Walmart take harder line against guns
NEW YORK (AP) Dick Sporting Goods and Walmart took steps Wednesday to restrict gun sales, adding two retail heavyweights to the growing rift between corporate America and the gun lobby.
Dick said it will immediately stop selling assault style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21. Its CEO took on the National Rifle Association by demanding tougher gun laws after the massacre in Florida.
Walmart, the nation largest retailer,
followed late Wednesday saying it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21. It had stopped selling AR 15s and other semi automatic weapons in 2015, citing weak sales.
The announcements from the major national retailers came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class for the first time since a teenager killed 17 students and educators with an AR 15 rifle two weeks ago.