The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump condemns 'horrible' New Zealand mosque shootings

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump condemns 'horrible' shootings at New Zealand mosques | At least 49 dead | Tech struggles to block videos of incident | Ocasio-Cortez hits NRA | Mueller seeks sentencing delay for Richard Gates | Why nice words for GOP could be a problem for Biden | 31 Trump districts that could determine next House | St. Patrick's Day deals

 

NEWS OF THE MORNING

A gunman opened fire at two mosques:

At least 49 people are dead and more than 20 seriously injured after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in New Zealand. http://bit.ly/2FeFbNh

What else happened: Authorities also defused explosive devices after the gunman published live footage of the shooting.

The manifesto: The gunman posted a manifesto online titled "The Great Replacement." The manifesto, which included anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim references, matched several details of the attack. https://nbcnews.to/2TDHoKJ

How many people were taken into custody: Four people. One suspect, a 28-year-old Australian national, has been charged with murder, according to NBC News's Australian partner Channel 7. https://nbcnews.to/2TDHoKJ

The shooter livestreamed the attack: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter removed the original livestream of the massacre but are struggling to remove other videos of the shooting. https://cnb.cx/2CgpLpR

Video of witnesses describing what happened: http://bit.ly/2T5HLbT

 

REACTIONS:

From President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE: The president condemned the attack. He tweeted: "My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!" http://bit.ly/2UDRLLf

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From AOC: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars 'Washington Monthly' editor says diversity on Capitol Hill starts with interns Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-N.Y.) tore into the National Rifle Association (NRA). She tweeted: "What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don't even keep the pews safe?" She added: "'Thoughts and prayers' is reference to the NRA's phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies," and added praise for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. http://bit.ly/2Cm9T4W

From American Muslims: Via The Washington Post's Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Julie Zauzmer, "American Muslims bereaved and unsettled by shooting in New Zealand mosque." Full read: https://wapo.st/2JeIAj5

From Obama: Former President Obama tweeted, "Michelle and I send our condolences to the people of New Zealand. We grieve with you and the Muslim community. All of us must stand against hatred in all its forms." http://bit.ly/2ClIbWa

From Omar: Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to speak to GOP Jewish group amid anti-Semitism spat with Dems Dems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Trump on 2020 Dems skipping AIPAC: 'I think they're anti-Jewish' MORE (D-Minn.) tweeted, "Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. This is chilling news to wake up to. In the face of this horror, I'm mourning with, and holding our community extra close today. We must not live in fear. I will be at Jumu'ah today and I hope others will too. Jummah Mubarak." http://bit.ly/2FfFUhi

 

It's Friday. And an early top o' the morning to you! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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OTHER NEWS THIS MORNING

Did you hear the fat lady sing? Nope, me neither:

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE and attorneys for former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates are asking a federal judge to delay Gates's sentencing hearing because he is still aiding in the special counsel probes. http://bit.ly/2VWGe9S

Where Gates fits into the puzzle: Gates is Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBill Maher questions whether Democrats put 'too much trust' in Mueller report Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings CNN's Toobin: 'Swirl of suspicion' about more indictments not justified MORE's ex-business partner and served as President Trump's deputy campaign chairman.

So, how is Gates still helping the probe?: That's the $$ question.

 

Kim Jong Un may not get a holiday card from Trump next year:

Via Reuters, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is thinking about halting talks with the U.S. https://reut.rs/2T7X3gc

Why: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS sanctions Venezuelan bank after Guaidó aide's arrest The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference MORE and national security adviser John Bolton for creating an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust." Choe also blamed the "gangster-like stand of the U.S." 

REACTION FROM POMPEO:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "It's not the first time. I have a vague recollection of being called gangster-like from a visit I took one time previously. Following that, we continued to have very professional conversations where we tried our best to work together to represent our respective sides. I have every expectation that we will be able to continue to do that." http://bit.ly/2Hnb0Wi

 

LATEST WITH THE COLLEGE CHEATING SCANDAL

Lori Loughlin's daughters are not returning to USC:

Via TMZ, 19-year old Olivia and 20-year-old Isabella have decided to leave the University of Southern California. http://bit.ly/2TaZIpu

Why: A source told TMZ that the girls were "viciously bullied."

What next: "We're told Olivia and Isabella will 'lay low' and not try and enroll in another school ... at least not for a long while." 

I BET LOUGHLIN'S DAUGHTER IS REGRETTING THIS VIDEO:

Lori Loughlin's daughter, social media star Olivia Jade Giannulli, posted a video when she started school. The line that's getting traction: "I don't know how much of school I'm gonna attend but I'm gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. ... But I do want the experience of like game days, partying. I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Watch: http://bit.ly/2W1GNzg

OP-ED FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: 

"Sadly, it's no surprise that USC was at the center of the college admissions scandal." https://lat.ms/2UCG7jD

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO STUDENTS INVOLVED WITH THE SCANDAL:

"CNN spoke to two experts in college admissions and higher education law about the potential outcome for students whose parents pulled strings to get them into prestigious universities. Here's what they had to say." https://cnn.it/2Y1QUWW

 

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

'What is your greatest weakness?' 'I'm too nice.' -- Hey, that could actually be a flaw:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Former Georgia candidate asks Abrams be given 'space' amid 2020 buzz Biden team denies 'pre-cooked plan' of Abrams as early running-mate pick MORE "is proud he can get along with Republicans -- and that could be a problem if he enters the 2020 race." http://bit.ly/2UBMaF3

Why: "His approach can look too timorous to a swathe of the Democratic primary electorate -- especially those who have come to view the GOP as the enemy, not just the opposition." 

How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2UBMaF3

 

Interesting read -- 31 Trump districts will decide the next House majority:

Via The Hill's Max Greenwood, "The GOP has already put 55 districts held by Democrats on its target list for 2020. But Republican hopes are highest in the 31 districts that President Trump carried in 2016. That includes 13 districts where the real estate mogul bested Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report MORE by more than 6 points." Here's the list of the 31 districts: http://bit.ly/2O5dd9o

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Wow, what a cool photo:

 

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out until March 25. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence met with national security officials at the Pentagon.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Help the Persecuted Summit. 

Sunday: St. Patrick's Day! Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2FhX0uZ

 

WHAT TO WATCH

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Pears Helene Day.

 

The day of the year when we confuse our Irish ancestors by dyeing our beer neon green ;)

Via DCist, here are 12 ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Washington, D.C. http://bit.ly/2HqqLfc

AND HERE'S A LIST OF ST. PATRICK'S DAY FOOD DEALS AROUND THE COUNTRY:

I must obtain a shamrock bagel! The full list: https://on.today.com/2FemlWp

BY THE WAY -- HERE'S THE HISTORY ON DYEING BEER GREEN: 

Via Smithsonian Magazine, the tradition was started in the U.S.: http://bit.ly/2ucMwGw 

 

And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's a tornado of puppies: http://bit.ly/2CgtSCj