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February 13, 2018

On Monday, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The tradition goes back to 1796, and "it's a big deal," Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, showing a cheeky fake portrait of Obama before putting up the real one by artist Kehinde Wiley. "It's not the traditional man posing in front of desk with American flag in the background," he noted. "It depicts the president in front of flowers that represent Chicago, Africa, and Hawaii" — or perhaps the shirt Nick Nolte wore in his mug shot. But either way, Kimmel said, it got him thinking about the future.

"You know, the president gets to pick the artist," Kimmel mused. "I wonder what Trump's official portrait is going to look like. And I imagine it will look something like this." He unveiled an image that probably gave pause to ABC's censors. "Poor Mike Pence had to check himself right into conversion therapy," he joked. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:34 p.m. ET

President Trump has proposed that the solution to preventing school shootings is arming teachers. Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ... disagrees.

"Proposals to arm American teachers are the height of lunacy," Bratton wrote Thursday in a Twitter thread. He sarcastically added that schools should perhaps "arm school bus drivers and school crossing guards" and said that such proposals are merely "political Band-Aids." The president and the NRA announced their support for armed teachers in the wake of a mass shooting last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

"The answer to gun violence isn't more guns," Bratton declared. Citing New York City's decline in gun violence over the last 25 years, the former police commissioner said "fewer guns has resulted in dramatically less gun-related violence of all types." Bratton also seemed to imply his support for an assault weapons ban, as he noted that a previous ban on assault weapons "lowered crime involving that weapon."

Although Bratton was a controversial police commissioner because of his support of a "broken windows" policy that cracked down on minor crimes, he has long been a proponent of gun control and has previously claimed the National Rifle Association has a "stranglehold" on Congress. Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:08 p.m. ET

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) invoked The Simpsons to make a point about politics.

Cruz was being interviewed by Ben Domenech, the founder of the conservative publication The Federalist, who began the exchange by referring to a Simpsons episode where patriarch Homer and his daughter Lisa talk about gun control. "Homer points out that guns are for things like protecting your family, hunting delicious animals, and making sure that the King of England never shows up to push you around," Domenech said.

With a laugh, Cruz replied, "All good things," before Domenech noted that Lisa told her father that the Second Amendment is just "a relic of the Revolutionary War era." "I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson," Cruz replied, while "Republicans are happily the part of Homer, and Bart, and Maggie, and Marge," referring to the rest of the Simpson clan.

Cruz's comparison may not portend a bright future for the Republican Party: In an episode called "Bart to the Future," President Lisa Simpson is tasked with cleaning up a "budget crunch from President Trump." Kelly O'Meara Morales

3:35 p.m. ET

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian could not have picked a poorer time to potentially provoke President Trump. Tarkanian attacked his primary opponent, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R), on Nevada radio station KBET on Thursday, claiming Heller "talks to Ivanka Trump all the time. Well, Ivanka Trump was a Democrat, and she's very, very moderate to liberal, compared to the Republican base."

Tarkanian, who is backed by Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, apparently miscalculated: "Ivanka Trump is viewed favorably by 81 percent of Republicans," CNN notes. Tarkanian's attack was apparently intended as an "effort to capture voters who bought into Trump's campaign pledges and are loyal to the president, but suspicious of those around him in Washington — particularly on Capitol Hill."

Heller is one of the most endangered Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections; if he wins the June 12 Republican primary, he will face off against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen this fall. Trump has expressed his irritation with Heller, who voted against an ObamaCare repeal last year, threatening "he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?" Still, the Las Vegas Review-Journal claimed earlier this month that whatever path to victory Tarkanian may have once had against Heller, it now "no longer exists."

In an email to CNN, Tarkanian clarified that he "did not say nor mean to infer a relationship with Ivanka is a bad thing. It is a good thing. She is the daughter of the president." Jeva Lange

3:05 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday threatened to punish the entire state of California for not adhering to his preferred immigration policy.

Specifically, Trump said he was considering removing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from the state because of its newly adopted statewide "sanctuary" status, which provides some protections for undocumented immigrants. His remarks came suddenly, The Washington Times reports, during a meeting on school safety at the White House and after he spent nearly a minute explaining why California so desperately needed a strong ICE presence.

"Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you've never seen in California," Trump said, after complaining that the state was not doing enough to deport undocumented criminals in gangs like MS-13. "All I'd have to do is say: 'ICE and border patrol, let California alone.'"

"You'd see crime like nobody's ever seen crime in this country," he continued, calling the state's sanctuary status "a disgrace." He also predicted that if he did pull federal border enforcement agents, California would long desperately for their return: "In two months they'd be begging for us to come back. And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it."

Watch his remarks below. Kelly O'Meara Morales

2:23 p.m. ET
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. may have a serious fake passport problem, two Democratic senators say.

In a letter Thursday to Kevin McAleenan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) claim that the law enforcement agency lacks "the software necessary to authenticate the information stored on" newer passports, which have been outfitted with smart chips. These so-called e-Passports bear chips that store traveler data that has been locked with verified digital signatures. Border Patrol agents are supposed to be able to access the chips and verify their information through dedicated machines.

But while CBP agents at airports and border crossings can in fact download the data off of the smart chips, Wyden and McCaskill write that the agency's software actually "cannot verify the digital signatures stored on the e-Passport chips." Without signature verification, CBP is "unable to determine" whether an individual's passport may have been "tampered with or forged," the senators claim.

Wyden and McCaskill say that CBP has had this e-Passport verification problem since 2007 because of the software deficit. Moreover, the senators claim that the agency has known this security gap exists since 2010, when the government released a report on the matter. Roughly 60 countries issue e-Passports to their citizens, including Iran, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S.

"It is past time for CBP to utilize the digital security features it required be built into e-Passports," the duo writes, calling for the agency to "develop and implement a plan to properly authenticate e-Passports by Jan. 1, 2019." Read the letter to CBP here. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:41 p.m. ET

President Trump announced his support of stricter gun laws Thursday morning, but during a meeting about school safety later in the afternoon, he suggested he might take it a step further and target violent media as well. "A lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed," Trump said. "We have to do something about maybe what they're seeing, and how they're seeing it."

Trump specifically singled out video games — "I am hearing more and more people say the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people's thoughts" — as well as movies. "A kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved but killing is involved," the president claimed.

Violent movies and video games have long been a topic of intense debate. Studies, though, have inconclusively linked violent media to real world aggression: "Research done by the U.S. Secret Service and our laboratories have both found that less than 20 percent of school shooters played violent video games with any amount of regularity," writes Rolling Stone. "Not only is interest in violent video games rare among school shooters, these perpetrators express much less interest in this violent medium than most other individuals."

Trump concluded cryptically: "The fact is, you are having movies come out that are so violent, with the killing and everything else, that maybe that's another thing that we're going to have to discuss." Watch his comments below. Jeva Lange

12:44 p.m. ET
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump is being sued for promoting a "racially discriminatory immigration agenda," The Associated Press reported Thursday.

A lawsuit filed to a federal court Thursday on behalf of Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants claims that the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status — a program that shielded them from deportation on the grounds that conditions in their home country are unsafe — because the president is prejudiced against black and Latino immigrants. Trump announced in November that he would end TPS for Haitians and followed up in January with an end to the program for Salvadorans, claiming that both countries have recovered sufficiently from the natural disasters that had justified the TPS protections.

But removing the protections is "nothing but a thin pretextual smoke screen for a racially discriminatory immigration agenda," the lawsuit claims. AP says that the suit specifically notes remarks that Trump made during his presidential campaign disparaging immigrants, including when he called Mexicans "rapists." The suit also cites reports that Trump said that Haitians who came to the U.S. in 2017 "all have AIDS," as well as the reports that Trump referred to African nations as "s--tholes" last month.

The goal of the lawsuit, which was filed by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, is to prevent the Trump administration from removing the TPS protections. If the lawsuit does not succeed, Haitian immigrants living in the U.S. under TPS would have to leave the country July 22, 2019. Salvadorans would have to leave by Sept. 9, 2019.

Salvadorans were granted TPS after devastating earthquakes in 2001, while Haitians were included in 2010 after a massive quake struck the island. There are reportedly almost 200,000 Salvadorans and close to 59,000 Haitians who are currently in the U.S. under TPS. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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