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Lawyer accused of lying in Russia investigation

An attorney is facing charges of lying to the FBI in the agency's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump's campaign.

The charges against lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan are the latest in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

READ MORE: Who 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

Trump takes last place in 'presidential greatness' survey

President Donald Trump took last place in a new survey that aims to measure "presidential greatness."

>> President Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney in Utah Senate race

According to the results posted Monday by Boise State University, 170 political scientists participated in the 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey. More than 57 percent of the respondents – current and recent members of the Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association – were Democrats, while 13 percent were Republicans and 27 percent were Independents. Respondents gave each president a score of 0-100 for "overall greatness," then each president's scores were averaged.

>> Read: Trump addresses nation after deadly Florida high school shooting

So who took the No. 1 spot? Abraham Lincoln led the pack with a score of 95.03, followed by George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Those presidents' ranks remained unchanged from 2014.

Among recent presidents, Barack Obama fared the best, placing eighth with a score of 71.13. Ronald Reagan took the No. 9 spot, while Bill Clinton came in at No. 13, George H.W. Bush at No. 17, Jimmy Carter at No. 26 and George W. Bush at No. 30.

>> Read more trending news 

Trump ranked No. 44 – last place – with a score of 12.34. Among Republican respondents, he fared slightly better, coming in at No. 40.

See the full results here.

LeBron James on Parkland shooting: 'How is it possible that we can have minors buy a gun?'

When asked about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people were killed, former Miami Heat star LeBron James had one question:

>> Read more trending news

“How is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Nikolas Cruz, accused of the killings, is actually 19 and legally bought the AR-15 semiautomatic weapon that was used during the Feb. 14 incident. Still, James, the Cavaliers’ superstar, and other players with ties to South Florida could not make sense of the tragedy.

The players were asked about the shooting during Saturday’s media day for the NBA All-Star Weekend.

“We have a kid who wasn’t legally unable (sic) to buy a beer at a bar, but he can go buy an AR-15?” James said “It doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying it should be legal for him to go buy beer. But how is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Heat guard Wayne Ellington, who was fourth in Saturday’s 3-point contest, said the nation has to “come together” to makes changes so these mass shootings do not continue to occur. The shooting was the ninth deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, five of those coming in the last six years.

WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

“I was at a loss for words,” Ellington said. “I couldn’t understand what’s going on, why (this) is going on in the world. Do we need to change? These young people doing unexplainable things, hurting each other and hurting innocent people it’s so unfortunate and sad, it’s something I don’t know how we can change but it’s something we need to come together and figure out.”

John Collins, the Atlanta Hawks rookie from Palm Beach County, was calling home to try to understand what was happening.

“It was a real shock to me,” said Collins, who played in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge. “Obviously, I never expected something like that to happen. I know a couple of people that were affected by that tragedy. You got to say your prayers and sending your condolences and thoughts to the victims.”

What are the worst school shootings in modern US history?

James, though, was the most outspoken in calling for gun control.

“We’ve seen these schools and these tragedies happen in America and there’s been no change to gun control,” James said. “I don’t have the answer to this. But we have to do something about it. We’re all sending our kids to school, right? We drop them off at 8 o’clock. At 3:15 they’re going to be ready to get picked up. Either we’re picking them or someone in our family is picking them up or they have to take a bus or there’s aftercare and they stay until 5. If they have study hall they stay until 5:30 or whatever. But we all feel like our kids are going to return, right?

“To the families in Parkland, down in Broward County, it’s sad and I’m sorry and it’s just a tragedy and I hope we don’t continue to see this because it’s too many in the last 10 years with guns.”

James, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a social media debate with Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham, who said that athletes like James should "keep the political commentary to yourself.”

“Or as someone once said, 'Shut up and dribble,’” Ingraham said.

Ingraham was referencing an interview that James and Kevin Durant taped in January with ESPN’s Cari Champion for a show called “Uninterrupted.” The two NBA stars spoke about the political climate in the United States and had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump, ESPN reported.

Durant, in an interview with USA Today on Friday, said Ingraham's comments were "racist." 

“That was definitely an ignorant comment (by Ingraham). I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers, I think -- or even louder.”

James, on his Instagram account, posted a photo of a neon sign that read “I am more than an athlete.”

Ingraham released a statement Saturday defending her comments, ESPN reported.

"In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand, who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics,” Ingraham wrote. “If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they're called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks -- false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism."

John Kasich rips Congress, urges 'common-sense gun laws'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who signed laws making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and college campuses, said he has “no confidence” Congress will approve what he called “common-sense gun laws” in the wake of a mass shooting last week at a Florida high school.

>> Read more trending news

During an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kasich, who earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association during his 2014 re-election campaign, indicated he would support “reasonable things,” such as full background checks for people buying guns and banning what are known as bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire like an automatic weapon.

“You’re never going to fix all of this,” Kasich said. “But common-sense gun laws make sense.”

In a major reversal, Kasich suggested he might support a ban on an the sale of AR-15 semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the Florida attack. Kasich said, “If all of a sudden you couldn’t buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a God-darned AR-15?”

“These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen,” Kasich said.

In 1994 as a member of Congress, Kasich voted to ban the production and sale of 19 semi-automatic assault weapons. But when he ran for president in 2016, Kasich called the ban “superfluous and we don’t need laws that are superfluous. It didn’t have any impact.”

>> Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

The ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons expired in 2004 when Congress failed to renew it.

Kasich said he has formed a committee “on both sides of the issue” in Ohio to “look at everything” about improving gun safety. Neither Kasich nor his aides have said who is on the committee, but he said he was “hopeful” they would produce recommendations.

“If they don’t produce anything, I’ll put my own stuff out,” Kasich said.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said he was “glad” Kasich is on national TV and “speaking out” on guns.

“Hopefully he’s got some ability to work with the statehouse to find solutions and roll back some of the worst pieces of legislation they pushed through in the last seven years,” Pepper said.

Florida sheriff to politicians who don't support gun control: 'You will not get re-elected'

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel blasted politicians after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school, saying that if gun laws don’t change, “you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

According to the Huffington Post, while speaking at a vigil in Parkland for the victims of the shooting, Israel said, “If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> Click here to watch

The vigil was attended by thousands at an amphitheater that was lit by candles and had 17 4-foot angels – one for each of the victims who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> On Rare.us: 'Thoughts and prayers' check raises eyebrows on social media after the Florida shooting

Last week, Israel called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily detain people who post questionable and disturbing content on social media.

“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” he saidthe Huffington Post reported. “People are going to be rightfully concerned about their rights ― as am I. But what about these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools?”

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland, Florida, school shooting victims

He added that he wishes law enforcement officials could act “if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.’”

Democrats in Congress are already calling for gun control while Republicans are saying that it’s too soon to talk about it.

>> Classmate of Nikolas Cruz: ‘No one has ever been a friend to him’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday that we need to think less about fighting “each other politically” in the wake of the shooting.

“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he said Thursday at a news conference, according to CNN. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”

>> Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that Congress should vote on measures to implement “universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and a prohibition of those on the terror watchlist from purchasing firearms.”

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said Congress will have “another round” of this debate, but admitted that it’s hard to get any sort of gun legislation passed.

Read more here.

Read the indictment: 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities accused of meddling in US elections

The Justice Department on Friday released a 37-page indictment accusing 13 Russians and three Russian entities of interfering in U.S. elections.

The indictments were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Read the full indictment below:

READ MORE: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe | MORE

Mitt Romney announces US Senate run

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Friday his plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah.

>> Read more trending news

Rumors swirled that Romney would announce his candidacy after Sen. Orrin Hatch, who currently holds the Senate seat, said last month that he would not run for re-election in November.

“I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington,” Romney said in a video announcing his decision to run. “Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.”

>> Related: Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire

In a statement obtained by Politico, officials with Romney’s campaign said he plans to visit all of Utah’s counties in the coming months.

Romney has been a frequent and vocal critic of President Donald Trump, despite the fact that the president once considered Romney a candidate to serve as his secretary of state.

>> Related: Report: Donald Trump 'furious' after Kellyanne Conway steps up Mitt Romney attacks

He called Trump a “phony” and “a fraud” during a speech in Utah during the presidential campaign.

"His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University," Romney said in March 2016. "He's playing members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat."

Romney is expected to win the Senate race due to his popularity among Utah voters, according to CNN. Romney attended Brigham Young University and has deep connections to the Mormon church.

Read: Trump addresses nation after deadly Florida high school shooting

President Donald Trump addressed the nation Thursday, one day after a gunman opened fire on students and staff at a high school in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities had a suspect in custody after the attack, identified as former student Nikolas Cruz, 19. Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in connection with the mass shooting.

Read the president’s full comments below:

My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil. Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida -- a great and safe community. There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.

>> Related: Olympic figure skaters dedicate performance to slain Florida high schoolers 

Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly: we are here for you – whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also.

No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.

Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them. A life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise.

Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world. And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world.

Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives. We comfort the grieving and the wounded, and we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida, that is now in shock and pain and searching for answers.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives

To law enforcement, first responders and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We thank you for your courage. Soon after the (shooting), I spoke with Gov. (Rick) Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. I’m making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials and to continue coordinating the fed response. 

In these moments of heartache and darkness we hold on to god’s word in scripture. “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will heal you.”

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero 

We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow. 

I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared. I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. Answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Students describe terror, panic during rampage 

We must also work together create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors. 

Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.

Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference. 

>> Related: Just before school shooting, Parkland ranked as one of Florida's safest cities

In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need -- and so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow

Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you very much.

House Oversight Committee launches probe into Rob Porter's employment

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the White House’s employment of staff secretary Rob Porter in the wake of allegations that he abused his two ex-wives, committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Porter submitted his resignation Feb. 2.

Gowdy told CNN that the committee launched a probe Tuesday night into Porter’s employment and when White House officials knew about the domestic violence allegations levied against him.

Porter has denied any wrongdoing.

"We are directing inquiries to people that we think have access to information we don't have. You can call it official. You can call it unofficial,” Gowdy told CNN. “I'm going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer.”

Porter resigned Feb. 2 after his ex-wives went public with allegations of domestic abuse and said they spoke with federal authorities about the claims, prompting critics to question why he had remained employed in the Trump administration. The allegations held up a background check needed to grant Porter a security clearance for work in the White House. Officials said he was working on an interim security clearance.

The process to get Porter his clearance was ongoing at the time of his resignation.

“How do you have any job if you have credible allegations of domestic abuse?” Gowdy asked on CNN. “I am biased toward the victim.”

>> Related: White House ‘could have done better’ handling Rob Porter allegations, spokesman says

Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, and his second, Jennifer Willoughby, told the FBI about the alleged domestic violence in January 2017, after they were contacted while Porter was applying for his security clearance, according to The Washington Post.

White House officials defended Porter in the immediate aftermath of the allegations, and President Donald Trump has faced criticism for what critics called his lack of care for the victims and his focus on the fact that Porter has denied the claims.

“I was surprised by (the allegations), but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him,” Trump told reporters in Washington on Friday. “He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career. … It was very said when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”

Holderness told The Daily Mail that Porter was verbally abusive throughout their relationship, which started in 2000, but that things escalated after they were wed in June 2003. She said Porter kicked her during their honeymoon and during a 2005 vacation in Italy, punched her in the face.

Willoughby, who married Porter in November 2009 and separated from him in early 2010, told The Daily Mail that Porter was verbally abusive.

Willoughby obtained a protective order against Porter in June 2010 after she said he violated their separation agreement and refused to leave her apartment, according to court records obtained by The Daily Mail. In the complaint, Willoughby said Porter punched in a glass door while she was locked inside the apartment, but left after he heard she was on the phone with police.

She told the Mail that in December 2010, he dragged her out of a shower while she was naked in order to yell at her.

The couple was divorced in 2013.

Omarosa says U.S. would be 'begging' for Trump's return if Mike Pence became president

Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House aide who quickly transitioned to the CBS reality show “Celebrity Big Brother,” dropped more bombshells on the program, this time sharing a warning about Vice President Mike Pence.

The woman who became a household name on “The Apprentice” told her reality show housemates on Monday’s episode that they ought to think twice about a Pence presidency, saying Pence would be a “scary” alternative to President Donald Trump.

>> Omarosa returns to 'Celebrity Big Brother' after being treated for asthma attack

“Can I just say this: As bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence. So everybody that’s wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their life,” Newman told the others. “We would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became president, that’s all I’m saying. He’s extreme. I’m Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

The conversation headed toward Pence when the group started talking about the recent government shutdowns and the possibility of a Trump impeachment.

Newman also talked about the recent crackdown by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and sounded a warning alarm about coming immigration policies.

“I’ve seen the roundup plan,” she said. “It’s getting more and more aggressive.”

Expanding on the topic of the ICE crackdown, Newman said the Obama administration did Trump a favor with its policy on DREAMers.

>> On Rare.us: VP Mike Pence was spotted at the Olympics sitting by someone very close to Kim Jong Un

“Barack Obama’s administration said, ‘If you sign up and basically out yourself that you’re here illegally, we’ll protect you,'” she said. “As a result, all of these people signed up, outed their families, their children, people who were in hiding. Then Donald Trump got in and was like, ‘Yeah, that was his little executive order.'”

The other house members have generally expected bombshell material out of Newman.

“Every time she opens her mouth, I’m like, ‘Is she gonna drop a bomb?'” Ross Mathews said. “Is there gonna be a breaking news go across the screen?”

>> Read more trending news 

For his part, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath exclaimed: “It’s Omarosa time!”

McGrath then went on to question the validity of anything Newman says.

“Time to talk about her stint in the White House … but, you always have to remember, this is Omarosa, a world-class reality TV villain. Is it true? Is it game? Is it her story? Is it the real story?"

“It’s Omarosa’s world, and I’m just livin’ in it.”

In a previous episode, Manigault-Newman broke down while talking to Mathews. She said Americans should be concerned about the Trump administration.

“It’s going to not be OK; it’s not,” she said. “It’s so bad.”

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