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Cristina Cabrera

Cristina Cabrera is the social media editor at TPM based in New York. Previously, she worked for Vocativ and interned at USA Today and New York 1 News. She received her B.A at NYU. Follow her on Twitter @crismcabrera

Articles by Cristina

A victim of last week’s Florida high school shooting said that she had “never been so unimpressed by a person” as she was when President Donald Trump spoke to her in a phone call to her hospital room.

“He said he heard that I was a big fan of his,” Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs during the Parkland massacre, told the New York Times in an interview published on Thursday. “And then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.'”

“I’m pretty sure he made that up,” she added.

Fuentes said that she did not feel reassured by Trump’s remarks: “He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”

Trump spent the weekend after the shooting at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he attended a disco-themed party — to wide criticism — though a White House aide told Bloomberg News that Trump planned to skip his usual round of golf “to respect the dead and the mourners.”

On Wednesday, Trump held a listening session with survivors of the shooting. During the event, he held a white notecard with a list of five discussion prompts, including “I hear you.”

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 21: President Donald Trump holds his speaking notes during a listening session about school safety with high school students and teachers in the State Dining Room at The White House on February 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump’s apparent awkwardness in situations where he was called on to offer condolences to and express solidarity with survivors and grieving families has previously landed him in hot water.

In October 2017, Myeshia Johnson, the widow of a fallen soldier, said that Trump’s call brought her to tears when he told her that her late husband “knew what he signed up for.”

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House Majority Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Friday said special counsel Robert Mueller’s bombshell indictment of 13 Russians indicates “the extent of the subterfuge” that Russia undertook to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“We have known that Russia meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge,” Ryan said in a statement. “Today’s announcement underscores why we need to follow the facts and work to protect the integrity of future elections.”

Mueller on Friday announced that a grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on criminal charges related to the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Read Ryan’s full statement below:

“We have known that Russia meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge. The Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself. Today’s announcement underscores why we need to follow the facts and work to protect the integrity of future elections.”

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President Donald Trump on Friday claimed that Democrats are to blame for “how BADLY DACA recipients have been treated” by Congress after the Senate failed to vote on a bill to protect the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S as children.

Trump’s tweet was in line with a statement the White House released on Thursday blaming “Schumer Democrats” who “are not serious about immigration reform” for the failure of the immigration legislation Trump favored.

Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September and left Congress to find a solution for the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who previously had legal protection under the program. Over the past week, the Senate has scrambled to negotiate a bipartisan deal on immigration while the Trump administration repeatedly undermined lawmakers’ efforts to reach a compromise.

The Senate on Thursday rejected all four immigration proposals in discussion and failed to restore or otherwise address DACA protections, which are set to expire on March 5.

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Several high school students who survived Wednesday’s shooting massacre in Florida have a message for the adults: Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.

In a Thursday interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, high school senior David Hogg pleaded for lawmakers to find a solution to mass shootings. “Please, this is the 18th one this year. That’s unacceptable. We’re children. You guys are the adults.”

On Wednesday, a man opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leading to 17 deaths and at least 14 injuries. The suspected gunman has been arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

“We can say, ‘Yes, we’re going to do all these things, thoughts and prayers.'” said Hogg. “What we need more than that is action.”

“People are not understanding that this is not going to stop,” high school freshman Kelsey Friend said through tears.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.” On Thursday, he gave a speech on the massacre that emphasized “the difficult issue of mental health” without offering any legislative proposals to tackle gun violence.

Camerota observed that “something has gone terribly wrong when all of us adults are looking to you 14 and 18-year-olds for wisdom and to help us figure out how solve this, but that’s where we are today.”

Watch the video below:

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The National Rifle Association has yet to delete a Valentine’s Day Instagram post that featured guns, bullets and a target spelling out the word “love,” which was posted on the same day as the deadly school shooting in Florida.

Happy #ValentinesDay from your NRA!

A post shared by The official NRA Instagram (@nationalrifleassociation) on

The timestamp on the post indicates that the graphic was posted several hours before the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The powerful gun lobby group, staying characteristically silent in the aftermath of the mass shooting, has not posted on any of its social media accounts since the massacre occurred at around 2:30 PM ET on Wednesday.

The death toll currently stands at 17, and at least 14 people are currently hospitalized for injuries. Suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz was arrested shortly after the shooting and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The NRA did not respond to requests for comment.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday praised the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” in a speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association.

“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” Sessions said. “We must never erode this historic office.”

Sessions’ phrasing deviated from his prepared remarks as published by the Justice Department, where the line was “The Sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.”

Asked to clarify the meaning of Sessions’ improvisation, Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior told TPM by email: “Anglo-American law is another term for common law – which is the legal system that we use (as opposed to say, Napoleonic Code used in France) and is derived from the system of law that originated in England.”

“That said, I am confused as to why this is a story that you would need a comment on,” Prior added.

The word “heritage” is a loaded term often used by neo-Confederates and white supremacists to defend the public display of Confederate flags and statues.

Sessions has a history of making dubious off-the-cuff remarks about race and its role in U.S. history. In 1986, a Republican-controlled Senate once rejected his nomination to a federal judgeship after several U.S. attorneys testified that Sessions was hostile to civil rights cases and made racist remarks.

Among other comments, Sessions allegedly derided the NAACP and ACLU as “Communist-inspired” and “un-American,” and said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was alright until he heard that some members smoked marijuana.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that some local Southern sheriffs historically worked to enforce segregation and crack down heavily on civil rights movements in the spirit of the “heritage” that many modern white nationalists cite.

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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) isn’t buying President Donald Trump’s denial that he’s a racist.

The Democrat appeared Monday on CNN to discuss Trump’s incendiary remarks during a bipartisan meeting on immigration, during which POTUS reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and unnamed African countries “sh*thole countries” and suggested allowing more people from Norway to enter the country.

“I think what the President is doing is diabolical, that he absolutely knows that he is playing to the racists,” said Meeks, who is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Listen, those individuals that we know who were former members of the Ku Klux Klan, they’re the ones coming out supporting the President in a very big way.”

“The President said ‘I’m not a racist’ and he told reporters he is the least racist person they have ever spoken to. Is that correct?” asked John Berman.

“That’s a joke,” Meeks responded. He then listed several examples of Trump’s racism, including his birther conspiracies about former President Barack Obama and calling the neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville white nationalist rally “fine people.”

“His words are clear, the words and actions of a racist,” said Meeks.

Trump did indeed tell a journalist that he was “the least racist person you will ever interview” and that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who attended the meeting and confirmed reports of Trump’s language, had “totally misrepresented” his comments.

Durbin said Monday that he stands by his confirmation, and challenged the White House to release any recording they might have of the meeting.

“Do you support a formal censure of the President?” Berman asked Meeks.

“Absolutely,” said the congressman.

H/t the Hill.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Monday that his memory “hasn’t evolved” in regards to the explosive immigration meeting during which President Donald Trump reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and unnamed African countries “shithole countries.”

While again refusing to explicitly confirm whether or not Trump made those comments, Graham told the Post and Courier “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.”

The South Carolina senator was possibly directing his comments at Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), who also attended the meeting and initially said they “do not recall” Trump’s “shithole” remarks.

Cotton later said that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who confirmed the Washington Post’s original report on Trump’s comments, was “incorrect.”

“I didn’t hear it,” he told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.

Meanwhile, Perdue insisted on Sunday that Trump never used that phrase, saying it was a “gross misrepresentation” of what happened in the meeting.

Durbin’s spokesman said that both Republicans have a “credibility problem.”

After shocking reports of the meeting arose on Thursday, Graham neither confirmed nor denied their accuracy, saying instead that “following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday.”

On Sunday, Trump denied making those comments and declared himself “the least racist person you have ever interviewed” when asked about the remarks.

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has a speech planned for Wednesday that will take President Donald Trump to task for his attacks on the media by comparing him to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

The Arizona senator’s office on Sunday released excerpts of a speech the senator is expected to give on the Senate floor. The excerpts, published by multiple outlets, show Flake blasting Trump for declaring the press as the “enemy of the people” in a similar style as Stalin.

“Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own President uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake will say, according to the Washington Post and NBC News. “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

He adds, “When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him ‘fake news,’ it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.”

The senator doubled down on his planned remarks and emphasized his point about Khrushchev during an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday.

“I don’t think that we should be using a phrase that’s been rejected as too loaded by a Soviet dictator,” he said.

Flake is expected to deliver the speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, the same day as Trump’s so-called “Fake News Awards.”

The “awards,” which Trump plans to give out for the “most dishonest and corrupt” coverage of himself, were originally planned for January 8. Trump later postponed them to January 17.

Trump has repeatedly complained about “unfair” reporting on his presidency, which has undergone scandal after scandal as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference has put several Trump officials under intense scrutiny.

Flake, who plans to retire after the end of his term this year, has been openly critical of Trump, though he still reliably votes the party line. In his retirement speech in October, the Arizona senator painted himself as a D.C lawmaker unafraid of speaking out against the President and urged his colleagues to do the same.

“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?” he asked.

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Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) joined this weekend the growing chorus of Republicans that have been casting doubt on the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted on Friday, “Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, Republicans in Congress be forewarned: any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated.”

Cornyn retweeted Holder and simply added “You don’t,” suggesting that he may very well be open to the idea of removing the special counsel.

When Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis tweeted on Saturday that “[Cornyn]’s beef is with Holder, not Mueller,” Cornyn responded with “But Mueller needs to clean house of partisans.”

“Will you accept the findings of the Mueller probe as legitimate, @JohnCornyn?” asked Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent.

“Makes sense to me to wait to see what they are first,” Cornyn said.

These tweets from the Senate’s second top Republican reflect the GOP’s efforts to discredit Mueller and his investigation into President Donald Trump’s election campaign, which accelerated this week when the Justice Department released anti-Trump texts from an FBI agent who had been on Mueller’s team.

Republicans pounced on the texts, echoing Trump’s repeated talking points that Mueller was biased.

Republicans then hammered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with questions about Mueller’s credibility during his House testimony on Wednesday. Rosenstein defended the special counsel, saying that he sees “no good cause” to fire Mueller and that his investigation was “not a witch hunt.”

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