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Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg reverses course, says he will likely cooperate with Mueller subpoena

UPDATE: Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg reversed course Tuesday after a series of defiant interviews Monday, saying he will now likely end up cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s subpoena, The Associated Press reported.

Read the original report below.

On Monday, Nunberg publicly declared that he would refuse to appear before a federal grand jury in Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Nunberg told The Washington Post that he was subpoenaed to appear Friday before a grand jury in Washington.

“Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday,” Nunberg told the newspaper. “Let him arrest me.”

Nunberg served for six weeks as an adviser to Trump before he was fired during Trump’s run for the White House.

Nunberg provided the Post with a copy of his two-page grand jury subpoena, which also sought documents related to Trump and nine others, including departing White House communications director Hope Hicks, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and adviser Roger Stone.

>> Related: Report: White House communications director Hope Hicks resigning

He told MSNBC that he would not be complying with the subpoena.

“What they sent me was absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Steve Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg told the Post. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his (expletive) off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”

Still, he told MSNBC that he thought Trump “may have done something during the election.”

“But I don’t know that, for sure,” he said.

>> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

He told the Post that despite his suspicions, “the Russians and Trump did not collude.”

“Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump,” he said.

It was not immediately clear what consequences Nunberg might face for his refusal to appear before a grand jury.

Five people have pleaded guilty to charges levied against them in Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling. Most recently, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States.

Florida Senate to vote on school safety bill that excludes ban on assault rifles

The Florida Senate will vote on a school safety bill Monday.

Senators hammered out the legislation during a rare special session in Tallahassee over the weekend.

The push for school safety and gun control measures comes in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting, in which 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day

>> On Trump says arming teachers in schools 'up to states'

The Senate spent nearly eight hours Saturday debating dozens of amendments to the 100-page bill before finally approving the legislation for a final vote on Monday.

Democratic proposals to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines were rejected, as was a Democratic proposal to strip language from the bill that would create a program to arm teachers who have gone through law-enforcement training if school districts choose to take part in the so-called marshal plan.

>> On Police advocacy group says it opposes arming teachers

It was clear that senators were divided on the bill, and not just on party lines. While crafted by Republicans, some GOP senators still opposed it because they don't agree with raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 or requiring a waiting period to buy the weapons.

Democrats believe the legislation doesn't go far enough in some ways and goes too far in others. And while some oppose the bill, others believe it's at least a first step toward gun safety.

>> Company working on bulletproof doors in wake of school shootings

Democrats want to ban weapons such as the AR-15 assault-style rifle, which was used in the Parkland attack. Many also oppose arming teachers. The bill also includes provisions to boost school security, establish new mental health programs in schools, and improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.

Jeff Xavier, a survivor of the Pulse attack, was hoping the legislation would include a ban on assault rifles.

>> Walmart raising age to buy guns to 21 after Florida high school shooting

“I think that, as Americans, we do have a right to arm ourselves, however, I do not believe that high-powered, high-velocity (guns) should be available to the general public,” said Xavier.

But much of the debate Saturday revolved around gun control and whether people should have a right to own an assault rifle.

"Every constitutional right that we hold dear has a limitation," said Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer. "These are just military-style killing machines and the right of self-defense and the ability to hunt will go on."

Republicans argued that banning such weapons would violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

"Our founding fathers weren't talking about hunting, and they weren't talking about protecting themselves from the thief down the street who might break in," said Republican Sen. David Simmons. Simmons said people need guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government.

"Adolf Hitler confiscated all the weapons – took all the weapons, had a registry of everybody – and then on the night of June 30th, 1934, sent out his secret police and murdered all of his political opponents," Simmons said. "You think it doesn't happen in a free society? It does."

>> Read more trending news 

The Legislature wraps up its annual session on Friday. Lawmakers are scrambling to take some kind of action before then. The full House has yet to take up its version of the bill.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has been lobbying lawmakers to pass his plan to assign at least one law-enforcement officer for every 1,000 students at a school. Scott is opposed to arming teachers.

'SNL': Alec Baldwin as Trump compares White House to Waffle House at 2 a.m.

On "Saturday Night Live," the Alec Baldwin/President Donald Trump sketches keep on coming.

>> Read more trending news 

During the opener Saturday night, the show's writers did make an amusing – if not totally over-the-top – analogy between the White House and a Waffle House at 2 a.m.

Turning to the subject of his planned tariffs on aluminum and steel, Baldwin-as-Trump said: “Both sides hated it. I don’t care. I said I was going to run this country like a business. That business is a Waffle House at 2 a.m. Crazies everywhere, staff walking out in the middle of their shift, managers taking money out of the cash register to pay off the Russian mob.”

>> Watch the clip here

Members of Utah House of Representatives rap -- badly -- about legislation

Utah’s reps are rapping about legislation, and early indications are that music reviewers will be ripping them.

>> Read more trending news

Some members of the Utah House of Representatives decided to use music for describing the process of drafting bills, proposing amendments and turning legislation into law, CNN reported.

Their video, “Fresh Prints of Bills Here,” is a parody of the theme song of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” sung by Will Smith.

Beginning with House speaker Greg Hughes’ intro of “Wellllll, this is the story of all about how,” listeners are treated to 80 seconds of bad singing, funny expressions and bad rhyming: Rep. Francis Gibson raps “I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there,” and gets a call-and-response answer from Rep. Kim Coleman, who sings “I’ll tell you how this becomes a law in this our “chaim-bear.” (chamber). 

While the singing was bad, the explanations were right on the money, CNN reported.

Singing about legislation is not new. “Schoolhouse Rock!” video on the same topic, an animated bill sings about his trip through Congress and to the president.

Give the Utah legislators points for trying, though.

Here is Will Smith singing the theme song from “Fresh Prince”:

Trump to senators in gun reform meeting: 'You're afraid of the NRA'

7 a.m. EST Thursday: President Donald Trump commented on Wednesday’s meeting in an early morning tweet Thursday.

>> Jamie Dupree: Trump scrambles gun debate by backing Democratic proposals

“Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House,” he wrote. “Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!”

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: During a Wednesday meeting with lawmakers about gun laws and gun reform, President Donald Trump joked with a pair of senators that they're "afraid of the NRA.” But he also showed interest in re-examining the gun laws and making changes.

Trump was speaking with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) about their gun control bill, which was first introduced in 2013. The bill is aimed at enforcing criminal background checks on gun sales, including private sales, PolitiFact reportedTrump said he didn’t know much about the the bill and speculated that it “didn’t have a lot of presidential backing.” He then asked if the Manchin-Toomey bill included a measure to raise the age limit for individuals hoping to purchase an assault weapon. When he learned that it did not, he joked to Toomey, “You’re afraid of the NRA.” Those remarks echoed his statements on Monday when he urged governors “not to be afraid of the NRA,” and said, "We have to fight them every once in a while," according to Reuters.

>> Walmart raising age to buy guns to 21 after Florida high school shooting

>> Marjory Stoneman Douglas students return to class after school shooting

Trump went on to say, "A lot of people are afraid of that issue — raising the age for [the AR-15] to 21.” Trump has said multiple times that he wants to raise the age requirement for purchasing assault weapons to 21. The NRA came out against raising the age requirement, and over the weekend, two top NRA officials met with the president to make their case, CNN reported.

>> Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling assault-style rifles

Democrats are working to push through a number of bills, including the Fix NICS bill, which would encourage state and federal authorities to report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, according to CNN. Some Democrats aren’t getting behind the bill, saying that it does not do enough; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized the bill as too weak because it doesn’t include a universal background check. The Fix NICS bill has already passed the House. Some Republicans have come out against it, saying it’s unnecessary. When asked about the bill on Tuesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said: “I don’t think we need more gun control laws; I think we need more idiot control.”

>> Read more trending news 

Trump showed some interest in the Fix NICS bill but was more interested in the topic of bump stocks. When Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) mentioned bump stocks, Trump said, “I’m going to write that out because we can do that with an executive order. I’m going to write the bump stock — essentially write it out. So you won’t have to worry about bump stock. Shortly that will be gone.” Bump stocks became a hot-button issue after the Las Vegas shooter used the devices.

>> Florida school shooting: 25 of 45 calls to Nikolas Cruz's house were about brother, report says

>> Parkland school shooting survivor asks tourists to boycott Florida until gun reform passes

Trump also raised a few eyebrows when he pushed back on the need for courts to get involved in gun confiscation, saying, “Take the guns first, go through due process second. … I like taking the guns early.”

>> Florida school shooting survivors return to campus, try to resume normalcy

>> FedEx responds to criticism of continued association with NRA

Trump expressed interest in a number of other bills, including one that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (R-Conn.) proposed. Their bill would ban assault weapons and was introduced after the Sandy Hook massacre. Trump told Feinstein multiple times that he will look at her bill.

Oprah says God would have to tell her to run for president

Oprah Winfrey previously made it clear that she has no plans to run for president of the United States in 2020, but she revealed to People magazine that there’s one thing that could make her change her mind: God.

Winfrey received calls to run for president from friends and fans alike after giving an inspiring speech at the Golden Globes in January, but she later denied that she was planning to run. However, instead of just ignoring the calls to run for president, she decided to turn to prayer.

>> Oprah on 2020 presidential run: 'That's not for me'

“I went into prayer,” she told People. “‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.”

Winfrey was surprised to hear the response to her moving speech, telling the publication that she was happy with her speech, but she never expected the reaction that it got.

“When I walked off with Reese [Witherspoon], I thought, ‘I got that done,’” Winfrey said. “It wasn’t until I was back in the press room that they said, ‘Do you realize you’re trending?’”

Soon after the speech, people started contacting her, encouraging her to run, including close friends, such as best friend Gayle King, and billionaires offering to fund her campaign.

>> Read more trending news 

“I had people – wealthy, billionaires – calling me up and saying, ‘I can get you a billion dollars. I can run your campaign,’” she revealed. “That many people saying something made me think, ‘Am I at least supposed to look at the question?’”

Still, Winfrey had previously said the job doesn’t “interest” her and that she doesn’t think she has the “DNA” to be president, the Telegraph reported.

Russia investigation: Manafort pleads not guilty, September trial date set

President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Wednesday to new charges levied against him last week in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling.

A judge in Washington set a Sept. 17 trial date for the case, according to multiple reports.

READ MORE: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigationPaul Manafort, Rick Gates face new charges: report | Mueller investigation: Lawyer pleads guilty to lying to investigators in Russia probeWho is Rick Gates and why was he indicted by Robert Mueller?Who is Paul Manafort, the man indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation?What are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates charged with?MORE

Hope Hicks testifies before House Intelligence Committee in Russia probe

Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and longtime aide to President Donald Trump, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door interview Tuesday as part of the group’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

>> Read more trending news

The Associated Press reported that Hicks, who tends to shy away from the public eye, arrived at a rear entrance to the committee’s offices just after 10 a.m. Tuesday. She declined to speak with reporters.

A few hours into the interview, committee member Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, told The Hill that Hicks was not answering questions about her time in the Trump administration. He said the committee had yet to touch on questions about the presidential transition.

Hicks, who served as Trump’s spokeswoman during the 2016 presidential campaign, is considered a key eyewitness to the president’s actions, according to the AP.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said Tuesday’s interview would focus on Hicks’ roles in both Trump’s presidential campaign and in his administration, Bloomberg News reported

"We don't know at this point if she will testify completely or fully, as others who have served in the administration have, or whether she will do what Steve Bannon did, which was stonewall," Schiff told CNN on Monday. "We hope, obviously, she will be cooperative, but at this point, I don't know what we can expect."

Bannon, a former advisor to Trump, and other people who have worked at the White House have refused to answer questions, citing limits on what they can say. The House is considering whether to hold Bannon in contempt.

Lawmakers planned to ask what role Hicks played in a statement made to reporters last summer about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Russian lawyer and the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to Bloomberg News.

The president reportedly dictated a statement to Hicks after media reports surfaced about the meeting. The statement initially claimed that the younger Trump focused on a program to adopt Russian children during the meeting, but emails released last year showed he agreed to take the meeting after he was offered dirt on his father’s rival for the presidency, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

>> Related: Donald Trump Jr. releases email exchange with Russian intermediary

In the hours before Hicks’ arrival, Trump tweeted twice, quoting cable news commentators who said they hadn’t seen evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. 

Another tweet encouraged investigations of Clinton. A last tweet simply said “WITCH HUNT!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida high school shooting survivor says young activists will keep gun debate alive

David Hogg, a survivor of the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, believes that youth will help him and other activists in the fight for stronger gun laws.

>> Click here to watch

“This will be a generation-long thing, and this is just getting started,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday while speaking on his age. Of the youth of the new group of activists, he said, “I really think that’s what’s going to sustain this process.”

Hogg had similar thoughts over the weekend while speaking about conspiracy theorists who made accusations that he and his fellow classmates were actors.

>> Parkland school shooting survivor asks tourists to boycott Florida until gun reform passes

“I’m so sorry to each and every one of you that is out there attacking us as witnesses and even some of the victims of this incident,” he said over the weekend during a segment on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.” “It’s truly saddening to see how many of you have lost faith in America, because we certainly haven’t. And we’re never going to. You might as well stop now, because we’re going to outlive you.”

“These people that have been attacking me on social media, they’ve been great advertisers,” he said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” “Ever since they started attacking me, my Twitter followers are now a quarter of a million people. People have continued to cover us in the media. They’ve done a great job of that, and for that, I honestly thank them.”

>> Read more trending news 

Hogg is not the only one using his age as an advantage.

Fellow survivor and activist Delaney Tarr said that she and others her age “have nothing to lose” at a Tallahassee rally. She promised to come “after every single” lawmaker and demand that they “take action.”

Parkland school shooting survivor asks tourists to boycott Florida until gun reform passes

David Hogg, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, is now calling for tourists to boycott Florida during spring break to raise awareness for gun control.

>> Florida school shooting survivor's mother says her family has received death threats

“Let’s make a deal DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed,” Hogg tweeted to more than 280,000 followers. “These politions [sic] won’t listen to us so maybe the’ll listen to the billion dollar tourism industry in FL.”

>> On Florida high school shooting survivor doesn’t think the NRA cares about its members

According to WTVJ, Hogg said in a video that tourists shouldn’t come to Florida for spring break or summer vacations, saying, “How can you expect people from across the nation and the world to come to South Florida if we can’t guarantee their safety because of the inaction of these politicians? I understand there will be economic ramifications from this, but that is only if these politicians refuse to take quick and swift action to resolve these gun issues.”

>> Florida school shooting survivors return to campus, try to resume normalcy

Tourists spend more than $100 billion each year while visiting Florida, according to Oxford Economics.

>> Read more trending news 

Hogg also suggested that tourists instead go to Puerto Rico, tweeting, “It’s a beautiful place with amazing people. They could really use the economic support that the government has failed to provide.”

>> See the tweet here

Hogg has been vocal since the Valentine’s Day shooting at his high school. He has criticized the actions of the NRA and spokeswoman Dana Loesch, claiming they “don’t serve [the members of the NRA],” and he had to prove he wasn’t a “crisis actor” after he and his family received death threats.

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