March 13, 2018

About 7,000 pairs of children's shoes overtook the U.S. Capitol's lawn Tuesday morning.

The shoes were empty, but they carried a loaded message: Each pair represents a child killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012, claims Avaaz, the activist group that arranged the protest. The New York Times reported last month that in 239 school shootings since Sandy Hook, 138 people have been killed.

Avaaz posted on Feb. 28 that it would be collecting worn shoes, and the donations quickly poured in. Some of the pairs actually belonged to gun violence victims, Fox 5 reports.

After the protest wraps up at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, the shoes will head to homeless shelters in Washington, D.C. On March 24, the March For Our Lives, organized by the student survivors of the mass shooting at a Florida high school last month, will bring its gun reform message to the nation's capital. Watch the video below to see the massive display. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 8, 2018

Some people might argue that the greatest accomplishment of John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, is the fact that 156 years after his death, he still has living grandsons.

Tyler was born in 1790, and after his first wife and mother to eight of his children died during his presidency, Tyler married his second wife, the much younger Julia, with whom he had seven more kids. Their son Lyon was born when Tyler was 63, and after Lyon's first wife died in 1921, he married a woman 35 years younger than him, named Sue. They had three children, and two are still alive today — Lyon Jr., born in 1924, and Harrison Tyler, born in 1928, when his father was 75.

Harrison Tyler maintains his grandfather's Sherwood Forest Plantation in Virginia, where the president and his second wife enjoyed entertaining guests, and he believes it's haunted — there's an image of a young girl clearly visible on a wall, and it's still there despite being painted over. He has absolutely no interest in politics, he told CBS News, and doesn't boast about being the grandson of a president. When his son, William Tyler, was asked if people are surprised when they find out his dad's close connection to John Tyler, he joked, "I find it hard to believe." Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2018

Hundreds of people arrived at Florida's Capitol Building on Wednesday to demand gun control reform in the wake of the shooting last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead. The rally was led by teen survivors, while parents chanted "no more guns, save our daughters, save our sons," WCTV reports.

Florida police estimated the crowd in Tallahassee could swell to as many as 2,500 people by noon, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

A tandem protest, at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., also saw students march in demand of action on gun control, with one student telling Mother Jones' Kara Voght, "I feel unsafe at school."

President Trump will meet with survivors of shootings including Parkland, Newtown, and Columbine for a "listening session" Wednesday afternoon. Jeva Lange

February 20, 2018
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Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg, 17, blasted Donald Trump Jr. as "immature, rude, and inhumane" after the president's eldest son "liked" conspiracy theories on Twitter that allege Hogg had been fed talking points by his father, who is a former FBI agent. Hogg movingly called for Congress to act to stop gun violence last week, looking into CNN's cameras directly and insisting: "Without action, ideas stay ideas and children die."

A number of pro-Trump websites, including One America News and Gateway Pundit, pushed the theory that Hogg "is running cover for his dad." Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Hogg said it was "immature, rude, and inhumane for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won't."

"I just think it's a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died," Hogg said. "It just makes me sick." Jeva Lange

February 19, 2018
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The White House saw last week's shooting at a Florida high school, which left 17 dead and 15 injured, as "a distraction or a reprieve," one official told The Washington Post on Monday.

"A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled," the official said, referring to several scandals of the administration's own making, including Cabinet members using taxpayer money to fly first class and top officials evidently ignoring documented accusations of domestic abuse made against former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter by his two ex-wives.

The unidentified aide added that while the spotlight isn't quite as bright on the White House right now, "as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we'll be back through the chaos." Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2018

Many have remarked on the disturbing familiarity of mass shootings, but in a powerful statement, The Boston Globe dedicated its Friday front page not to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but to the next attack — one that hasn't even happened yet.

"He will be a man, or maybe still a boy," the article begins. "He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition. The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle. He will walk into a school, or a concert, or an office building. And he will open fire into a crowd of innocents."

Read the full chilling article at The Boston Globe. Jeva Lange

January 12, 2018

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Friday that he "personally heard" President Trump make "hate-filled, vile, and racist" comments during a bipartisan immigration meeting Thursday that Durbin attended.

Lawmakers were reportedly in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system when talk turned to immigrants from Africa and Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to America. While the White House did not deny the comments, Trump tweeted that "the language used by me ... was tough, but this was not the language used."

Trump's tweet "is not true," Durbin said. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly." Durbin also claimed that Trump used the specific word "shithole" more than once. Watch Durbin's comments below. Jeva Lange

January 11, 2018
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

During a meeting with both Democratic and Republican senators on Thursday, President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shithole countries," a Democratic aide told NBC News.

The lawmakers were in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system and immigration as a whole, and when talk turned to immigrants from Africa, Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to the United States. Trump, who met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday, then said the U.S. should try to instead attract people from Norway and similar countries.

In a statement, the White House did not dispute the remarks, merely saying Trump "will always fight for the American people." On MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told Ari Melber Trump's comment "smacks of blatant racism. The most odious and insidious racism masquerading, poorly, as immigration policy. And, I'll be very blunt — the president doesn't speak for me as an American." Catherine Garcia

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