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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Shortly before the White House announced that Tom Price would resign from his role as health and human services secretary, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reportedly made a plea to reconsider the decision to fire Price.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Ryan just minutes before the White House made the announcement on Friday afternoon to let him know that Price would step down, Politico reported, citing two people with knowledge of the call.

Ryan then asked Kelly to reconsider firing Price and noted the former secretary’s work in Congress and in the Trump administration, per Politico; however, Kelly told Ryan that the decision had already been made.

Ryan’s statement about Price’s resignation Friday did not mention the former health secretary’s extensive use of private jets. Instead, it offered praise for Price.

“Tom Price is a good man. He has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant,” Ryan said in the statement. “He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary. His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation. I will always be grateful for Tom’s service to this country and, above all, his continued friendship.”

Price stepped down following reports that he spent about $1 million of taxpayers’ dollars to fly to official events on either private or government planes.

His use of expensive travel options, as well as the non-commercial flying habits of other Cabinet members, have prompted department watchdogs and Congress alike to launch probes into Trump administration officials’ travel habits. The White House also issued a memo reminding officials to find the the least expensive mode of transportation possible when booking their travel.

After dining with President Donald Trump on Monday night, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Tuesday that the President wants legislation restoring the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to only apply to those who currently have DACA status.

“The president was very clear. Any effort to codify DACA needs to, one, be limited to DACA so the first criteria under the law should be you have a DACA permit today,” Cotton told Politico.

“Second, any deal has to end chain migration. And then third, it ought to include some kind of enhanced measures, whether it’s on the border or interior enforcement or what have you,” the senator added.

Cotton and several other Republican lawmakers joined Trump for dinner Monday night at the White House to discuss immigration. It appears that conversation differed from his talks with Democratic leaders.

Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in September about a legislative deal to restore DACA, which gives some undocumented young people work permits and shields them from deportation. Trump said that he was “close” to a deal with the Democratic leaders on restoring those protections, though he clarified at the time that he’s not interested in the legislation including “amnesty” or a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

The most recent version of the DREAM Act, favored by Democrats, would provide legal status to all undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they turned 18 and have been in the U.S. for four straight years before the legislation’s enactment, not only to those who already have DACA protection. So a push to limit a bill to current DACA recipients could rankle Democrats.

In brief comments Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump said that the deadly shooting in Las Vegas was “in many ways a miracle” because of the law enforcement response to the shooting.

“Look, we have a tragedy. We’re going to — what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job, and we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before traveling to Puerto Rico. “But I do have to say how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an amazing job.”

Trump said that the police were able to “quickly” get into the hotel, however it took police a little over an hour from getting the first call about the shooting to breaching the gunman’s hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, according to reports from NBC News and Newsweek.

The mass shooting was the deadliest in U.S. history and left 59 dead and more than 500 others injured. The gunman opened fire on 22,000 people attending a music festival in Las Vegas from a room on the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel.

Trump also told reporters Tuesday morning that the gunman is a “demented man.”

“He was a sick man. A demented man, a lot of problems I guess. We are looking into him very seriously. We are dealing with a very, very sick individual,” he said.

 

 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has employed a security detail through the U.S. Marshal Service, which could cost taxpayers up to $6.54 million over the next year, Politico reported Monday evening.

Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill told Politico that $6.54 is the “high water mark” for the cost of DeVos’ security detail and that the department doesn’t plan to spend more than that on security.

DeVos’ use of the U.S. Marshals Service is unusual. Past education secretaries have used security staff within the department for protection. As of April, the Education Department still employed those security officials but had not assigned them new roles, the Washington Post reported in April.

From February through the end of September, the Education Department spent $5.28 million for Marshal Service protection for DeVos, according to Politico. Hill told Politico that DeVos spent less than the projected $8 million for her security this year in part because she pays for the marshals to fly on her private jet.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also has an unprecedented 24/7 security detail. Pruitt has an 18-member security detail, which has forced the department to pull agents from the criminal investigations unit to help protect Pruitt.

The report on DeVos’ spending on security comes as several cabinet members are under investigation for their use of private and government planes for official travel.

 

The gunman who opened fire on a music festival Sunday night, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500 others, had 23 firearms in his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas police department Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo told reporters Monday night.

Fasulo also said that the alleged shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 19 firearms in his home in Mesquite, Nevada. Police said earlier on Monday that authorities found firearms, explosives, and several rounds of ammunition in the Mesquite home as well.

Police had executed a search warrant of another home Paddock owned in Reno, Nevada, as of Monday night, Fasulo said. However, he could not yet provide details on what authorities found in that residence.

Earlier in the day, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters that law enforcement found several rifles, at least one handgun, and ammunition in the gunman’s hotel room, as well as ammonia nitrate in a vehicle associated with the suspect. Authorities also found more than 10 suitcases in the shooter’s hotel room, suggesting the gunman used the suitcases to transport the weapons.

Lombardo did not have many details on the types of rifles in the hotel room, but said that some could be described as “assault weapons.” The shooter had scopes on some of the rifles as well, per Lombardo. Police believe that the gunman used several firearms when he opened fire on the music festival, but it’s not clear just how many he used, Lombardo said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday afternoon that at least one of the gunman’s firearms was fully automatic and that his arsenal of weapons in the hotel room included AR-15-style and AK-47-style rifles.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Monday urged House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to move forward on gun control legislation and form a committee to address gun violence after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival from high up in a hotel on the Las Vegas strip, killing at least 58 people.

“Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic. Charged with the solemn duty to protect and defend the American people, we must respond to these tragedies with courage, unity and decisive action,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Ryan.

“Today is a day for prayer, mourning and love, but it must also be a day for action. As Members of Congress, our words of comfort to the families of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre will ring hollow unless we take long overdue action to ensure that no other family is forces to endure such an unimaginable tragedy,” she added.

Pelosi called on Ryan to pass legislation to strengthen background checks for gun purchases and to create a select committee to study gun violence and recommend policy to prevent future mass shootings.

Read the letter:

President Donald Trump called Las Vegas police department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo on Monday morning after a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 500 others.

Lombardo thanked the President for his phone call in a tweet.

Lombardo has been overseeing the local law enforcement response to the mass shooting and providing the public with regular updates on the shooting and ensuing investigation. His tweet thanking Trump for his support came after the President gave public remarks calling the shooting “an act of pure evil.”

This post has been updated throughout.

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire over a crowd of thousands at a country music festival in Las Vegas, raining bullets down from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel.

The gunman died before law enforcement entered his hotel room from what police believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities believe the suspect, identified as Stephen Paddock, acted alone in the shooting.

Here’s everything we know so far about what is now the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, leaving at least 58 people dead and more than 500 others injured.

The gunman fired on a country music festival from a room in the Mandalay Bay hotel

The suspected gunman was perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Shortly after 10 p.m. PT on Sunday, he opened fire on the 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

The gunman had reserved two hotel rooms, one facing east and the other north, Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak told the Nevada Independent. The gunman used a device similar to a hammer to break the windows from which he fired onto the crowd, police said.

Country singer Jason Aldean was performing at the time. Aldean ran off the stage after several rounds of gunfire rung out, video of the concert shows.

Police officers at the concert were able to roughly identify where the shots were coming from. Law enforcement then entered the Mandalay Bay Hotel, moving up toward the 32nd floor, Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told CNN.

The LVMPD SWAT team breached the hotel room where the suspect was holed up and found him dead there, per the police department. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that police believe the gunman killed himself before the SWAT team entered the room.

Members of the SWAT team did discharge their weapons at the location of the gunman’s hotel room, but it’s not yet clear if they fired their weapons before or after the gunman died, Lombardo said.

At least 58 people died and more than 500 were injured

At least 58 people died in the shooting and at least 515 people have been transported to area hospitals with injuries, police said.

As of Monday morning, police had declined to identify any of the victims.

Las Vegas police did confirm that an off-duty police officer was among those killed. Two on-duty Las Vegas police officers also were injured in the shooting, the department said. One sustained minor injuries while the other now is in stable condition after surgery.

Police ID’d the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64

Police identified the suspected gunman as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man who was living in Mesquite, Nevada.

Lombardo told reporters that police had yet to find any “derogatory” background information on Paddock. Lombardo noted that Paddock had a citation several years ago that was resolved in court, but he did not describe that citation. Mesquite police officer Quinn Averett told reporters Monday morning that the Mesquite police had not had any recorded interactions with Paddock.

Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel on Sept. 28, Lombardo said. Hotel staff entered the room between the time when he checked in and the time of the shooting, but police have not yet learned that hotel staff noticed anything “nefarious,” Lombardo said.

Police searched for Marilou Danley, believed to be Paddock’s roommate, and initially identified her as a person of interest in the case. Lombardo told reporters Monday morning that authorities found Danley abroad, and believe at this time that she was not involved in the incident. Lombardo said that Danley was not with the suspect when he checked into the hotel, although the suspect had been using her ID. Lombardo didn’t specify why the suspect used Danley’s ID. Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak later told the Nevada Independent that Paddock was using Danley’s slot machine card, which is how police identified her as a person of interest.

Paddock had more than 10 rifles

The suspected gunman had more than 10 rifles in his hotel room, Lombardo told reporters in a press conference. McMahill had previously told CNN that the gunman had several long rifles in the room.

While several rounds of automatic gun fire can be heard in videos of the shooting, police have yet to identify the weapons used by the gunman.

Lombardo said that it appears the gunman brought the firearms to the hotel himself.

Police are searching Paddock’s home—and searching for a motive

As of about 11:30 a.m. ET, law enforcement had completed their search of Paddock’s home in Mesquite but had not yet evaluated any evidence recovered from the residence. Lombardo told reporters that he was not aware of any new “derogatory” information that law enforcement has discovered about the suspect.

Authorities also discovered another residence belonging to the suspect in northern Nevada, and they will execute a search warrant there, Lombardo said.

Lombardo said that law enforcement had not yet identified a motive for the mass shooting. Police have not labeled the incident as terrorism, either.

The FBI has determined that the gunman had no connection to an international terror group. This came after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting but did not provide any evidence to support that claim.

Asked at a press conference whether he had thought the incident was linked to the Islamic State, Lombardo replied, “No, ma’am. I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this time.”

Mesquite police officer Quinn Averett updated reporters on the search through Paddock’s home, located in a retirement community, later Monday morning. Averett said that police found guns and possibly ammunition in the residence, but otherwise found “nothing out of the ordinary.”

In a tweet published shortly after 7 a.m. on Monday, President Donald Trump gave his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims in the deadly Las Vegas shooting.

The President has been briefed on the shooting, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a Monday morning statement.

At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 were injured when a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. The suspect, identified by the Clark County sheriff as Stephen Paddock, has died, police said.

Vice President Mike Pence followed up with a series of tweets offering his condolences to the victims of the shooting.

Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET 

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo on Monday morning identified the suspect in the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 50 people dead as Stephen Paddock.

Paddock is a 64 year old white male, but Lombardo did not provide reporters with any more details on the suspect. The suspect in the shooting has died.

Lombardo said that he’s confident that law enforcement has located a female person of interest, who was previously identified as Marilou Danley.

CBS News reported that Paddock was a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, where he lived in a retirement community. He had no previous run-ins with law enforcement, CBS News reported, citing the Mesquite police. Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill also said that law enforcement had not yet confirmed a previous criminal history.

“All of the checks that we have been able to do other than a routine traffic violation here in Nevada and nationwide working with our local FBI partners have been able to find no derogatory history on that individual,” McMahill said of the suspect.

However, NBC’s Pete Williams reported that Paddock had been known to law enforcement.

Lombardo told reporters around 6:30 a.m. Monday that police do not yet have a sense of a motive for the shooting, though authorities said they believe that the suspect acted alone.

The shooter opened fired on a music festival on the Las Vegas strip from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, killing at least 50 and injuring more than 200. Lombardo told reporters Monday morning that they do not know the exact weapons used, but that the shooter had rifles.

Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill later told CNN that the suspect had several firearms in his hotel room, including long rifles. McMahill was not clear on the exact number of weapons but said there were at least eight guns.

McMahill said that the suspect died from a gunshot wound but that it was unclear whether it was self-inflicted or from a law enforcement officer. The Las Vegas police department said that the suspect was found dead when they breached his hotel room.

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