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Subscribe To This Feed -- President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday in support of arming teachers following this month's deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, saying educators should have annual training and proposing they should get a yearly bonus for being armed.

Trump has supported the idea in recent days amid the national conversation on combatting mass shootings, but in this tweet, he said arming teachers should be "up to States."

"Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again - a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States," he tweeted.

Earlier Saturday morning, Trump retweeted his own tweet from two days ago, in which he calls for background checks "with an emphasis on mental health," raising the age to be eligible to purchase a gun to 21, and banning bump stocks.

Over the past week, the president has mentioned several proposals besides arming teachers, including strengthening background checks, raising the age restriction for gun purchases, bump stock bans, and adding more mental health resources. The White House is also looking at so-called "red-flag" laws, or extreme risk protection orders, at the state level.

"I think some states have had these red-flag laws for example, that remove firearms after you go to a judge for potentially dangerous individuals," White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said during Thursday's briefing. "That's something that's being done right now in a variety of states, right?  They have due process rights for these individuals.  It seems to be working in certain areas.  That's something that we're looking at and other places we're looking at."

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Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- A new but familiar name might soon be added to the list of candidates running in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District race: Levi Sanders, the son of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

A senior adviser to Levi Sanders told ABC News that he's "in the stages of deciding" whether he'll run for Congress, talking it over with his potential constituents.

Sanders doesn't have a firm timeline, but will decide in the next few weeks, Ansh Grover said.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is retiring, leaving seven Democrats, three Republicans and one Libertarian seeking her seat.

Sanders would be the eighth Democrat in one of the most competitive races in the nation.

He told Vice News that he would advocate for Medicare for all and free college tuition -- just as his father does.

Sanders was a senior adviser on his father's presidential campaign. Considering how well Bernie Sanders did in New Hampshire in the 2016 election, one political analyst said voters there might like the idea of having someone with the Sanders name representing their district in Washington.

Dean Spiliotes, a political blogger for and a scholar at Southern New Hampshire University, told ABC News he believes Sanders would likely be running on the “family political brand.”

If Levi Sanders does decide to run, he faces some daunting challenges, despite his famous name, Spiliotes said.

To start with, Sanders doesn't live in the 1st District, and Spiliotes said he would have to have a good explanation for why he'd be running in a district where he doesn't reside. (In Sanders' home district, the incumbent is seeking re-election.)

And while his name might give him an advantage, Spiliotes said Sanders not being a high-profile political figure in his own right in New Hampshire could hurt him.

Another challenge: Many of Bernie Sanders’ political consultants are currently working for the campaign of another Democratic candidate -- state Rep. Mark McKenzie. When ABC News asked one of Sanders' top aides during the 2016 race, who is based in New Hampshire and helped the Vermont senator win handily there, what he thought of Levi Sanders running, he responded with a giant thumbs-down emoji.

Given that, Spiliotes told ABC News it would be interesting to see how support for Bernie Sanders might shake out between Levi Sanders and McKenzie.

Sanders could also run into trouble going up against two other popular Democrats: Chris Pappas and Maura Sullivan.

Chris Pappas is well-known in New Hampshire and is "plugged into the party apparatus in the state,” Spiliotes said.

And Sullivan, who served as a top official in Obama Veterans Administration following a career in the Marines, had impressive fundraising numbers in the last quarter of 2017, he said.

A spokesperson for Sullivan declined to comment to ABC News, while Pappas and McKenzie have yet to respond.

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Michael Stravato/The Washington Post(HOUSTON) -- Texas congressional candidate Laura Moser said she was shocked when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- which tends to reserve its attacks for Republican candidates -- released negative research about her recently.

“If I was a comic book character, I think my mouth would’ve hit the floor,” she said.

The DCCC prides itself on supporting Democrats seeking seats in the House of Representatives, but on Thursday, the group surprisingly took aim at Moser, a former journalist and congressional candidate from its own party who is running in the 7th Congressional District in Texas.

In the organization's website post, Moser was described as a “Washington insider who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.”

The organization also cited an article in which she reportedly stated she would rather have her teeth pulled out without anesthesia than live in Texas, a comment Moser said was taken out of context.

“It’s something we would expect from the other side, but not our own party,” Moser said. Her message to the committee: “Get your priorities straight.”

In response, DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly said in a statement to ABC News that Moser's "disgust for life in Texas" disqualifies her from running.

“Voters in Houston have organized for over a year to hold Representative Culberson accountable and win this Clinton district," the statement said, referring to Democrat Hillary Clinton's winning the district by a small margin over Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. "Unfortunately, Laura Moser’s outright disgust for life in Texas disqualifies her as a general election candidate, and would rob voters of their opportunity to flip Texas’ 7th in November.”

The DCCC's move draws attention to possible tension within the Democratic Party in a highly competitive race.

Democrats have had their eyes set on the 7th Congressional District in Texas.

The Houston-area district has been held by a Republican for the past 50 years. Clinton won the district in the 2016 election by a small margin, but it was enough to trigger a major push to flip the long-standing red district blue.

Several Democrats are fighting for the chance to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. John Culberson, who has held the seat since 2001.

For a Democrat to win this district, it will require moderate Republicans to vote against their party, Rice University political science professor Robert Stein said.

Some in the Democratic Party may believe Moser is too liberal, he said.

“The Democrats believe it’s important to have a candidate who can attract moderate Republicans to cross over, and that’s not something Laura Moser can do,” Stein said.

Moser disagrees and rejects the notion that she is too liberal to win over Republican voters. She believes her Democratic opponents fall into two categories: right of center and left of center.

"They think the only candidates who can win are kind of Republican-like candidates," she said of the DCCC, adding, "I’m attracting Republican voters not because I’m trying to be a Republican, but because I’m a straight talker."

As for the state of the Democratic Party, Moser said that in light of the DCCC's comments, she is worried about her party’s chances of flipping the House.

“Since this is the first primary in the country, maybe I’m the test case,” she said.

Moser said she believes the committee needs to let the voters decide who is fit to represent them. “It worries me that they would be interfering so dramatically and viciously and personally. … They say they want more women to run for office -- and this is what you do.”

Voter turnout among women in this district is key.

Women make up 51 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The only woman to win the district is Hillary Clinton. Moser is one of two women running in the district.

The other, lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, is endorsed by Emily's List, a group that helps women seeking public office. Stein believes the idea of two women in a runoff may have also gotten the DCCC worried.

Alternatively, Moser believes the comments made by the DCCC could result in neither of the women going into a runoff.

Her campaign has been picking up speed. She has raised nearly $150,000 in the first quarter of 2018 and is set to host a voter event with actress and activist Alyssa Milano this weekend.

Moser was part of the resistance movement following President Donald Trump’s election and created Daily Action, a civic engagement tool that drew in a quarter of a million subscribers.

Democracy for America, which has been a strong supporter of Moser's campaign, released a statement supporting the candidate.

“Laura Moser is a fifth-generation Houstonian building a genuine grassroots campaign in her home community, and while that might not get the Republican-lite cheerleaders at the DCCC their sweet consulting gigs after this cycle, it’s exactly the kind of campaign we need to win this critical race and retake the House in November,” said Annie Weinberg, electoral director of Democracy for America.

Although Moser said she is “disappointed” in her party, she plans to keep moving forward. Early voting in the Houston-area district started this week and ends March 2.

Election Day for Democratic and Republican primaries is March 6. It is the first primary in the nation.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Richard Gates, Donald Trump’s one-time campaign aide, pleaded guilty Friday to two felony counts: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal authorities.

Gates is the latest person in the Trump campaign's orbit to face charges in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential contest. He is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson noted during Gates’ plea hearing.

Inside a federal courtroom in Washington on Friday, Gates admitted to helping former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort steer tens of millions of dollars overseas and then hide it from U.S. tax authorities.

“Mr. Manafort did not pay taxes on that income,” and Gates “was aware it’s illegal to hide income from the IRS,” prosecutor Greg Andres said, noting that Gates helped prepare Manafort’s tax forms. Gates also helped hide Manafort’s foreign bank accounts, he conceded in court.

Another prosecutor also told the judge that Gates and Manafort failed to register as a foreign agent, as required by U.S. law, even though he was lobbying behalf of the government in Ukraine.

At one point, Berman Jackson asked Gates how he pleads to the charges against him, and he said, “Guilty, your honor.”

Highlighting the weight of the decision he was making before he pleaded guilty, Gates noted to the judge, “I am 45 years old, your honor.”

The conspiracy, prosecutors say, spans from 2006 to 2017 and involved more than $75 million that flowed through offshore accounts.

Prosecutors say Gates also lied to the special counsel’s office on Feb. 1 when he said that Manafort denied to him that Ukraine was discussed at a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and member of Congress.

According to the charging document, Manafort never denied that to Gates and he helped Manafort prepare a report referencing Ukraine after the meeting.

While U.S. law indicates Gates could face up to 10 years in prison for the charges he pleaded guilty to on Friday, Berman Jackson said U.S. sentencing guidelines recommend he face no more than about six years in prison, and as little as four years and three months behind bars.

Nevertheless, Mueller’s team agreed to allow Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, to argue for an even lesser sentence given his pending cooperation.

Green indicated he plans to argue that Gates’ conduct was not as egregious as Manafort’s.

It’s “disproportionate conduct,” Green said.

As part of this plea deal, Gates is giving up his rights under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act — as the special counsel’s office might seek certain information or documents from him.

Manafort said Gates' plea does not affect his own stance.

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise," Manafort said in a statement. "This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a five-count superseding indictment Friday that accuses former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of paying a group of “senior European politicians” to lobby members of Congress on behalf of the then-Russia backed government of Ukraine.

The plan, the indictment said, was for the group to appear to be presenting U.S. officials and others with independent assessments of controversial actions taken by the Ukrainians “when in fact they were paid lobbyists.”

Manafort allegedly paid the European politicians millions from offshore accounts that should have been disclosed to the United States.

The fresh round of charges against Manafort contains five counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements.

In Friday’s filing, the special counsel’s office accuses Manafort of paying a group of former European leaders more than 2 million euros to lobby on behalf of Ukraine in 2012. Manafort offered payment to the former leaders - known informally as the "Hapsburg group" - in exchange for them to appear to be providing independent assessments of Ukraine's government.

The latest charges come against Manafort as his former colleague, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court and has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Gates, a one-time Trump campaign aide, pleaded guilty to two felony counts: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal authorities.

Manafort said Gates' plea does not affect his own stance.

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise," Manafort said in a statement. "This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

This is a developing story. Please refresh for details.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump indicated Friday he would not intervene if chief of staff John Kelly were to revoke the temporary top secret security clearance for his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose background check is still open after more than a year.

After Trump was asked whether he would grant a waiver to Kushner, he said the decision would be Kelly's.

“That will be up to General Kelly. General Kelly respects Jared a lot. I will let the general, who’s right here, make that call," he said during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, pointing to Kelly standing nearby.

"I will let general Kelly make that decision, " Trump said again. "And he's going to do what's right for the country. And I have no doubt he will make the right decision."

Trump, speaking alongside Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, said: "We inherited a system that's broken."

Kelly issued a memo earlier this month saying anyone whose background check has been pending since June 1 would have their security clearance revoked by Friday. Kushner has been operating under a temporary clearance, the same designation that former staff secretary Rob Porter had before domestic violence allegations from his two ex-wives against him surfaced. Kelly announced the new clearance policy after the Porter scandal. Porter has denied the allegations.

Despite his leaving Kushner’s status in Kelly’s hands, Trump did offer effusive praise of his son-in-law.

“Jared’s done an outstanding job. I think he’s been treated very unfairly,” he said. “Jared is truly outstanding. He was very successful when he worked in the private sector, he’s working on peace in the Middle East and several other small and very easy deals.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Secret Service arrested a 35-year-old woman Friday after the agency said she intentionally drove her vehicle into a security barrier near the White House.

The agency said it has had other encounters with the woman near the White House and that she had been previously arrested. The woman, who was not named, was said to be from LaVergne, Tennessee. She was arrested and transported to the Washington, D.C. police department.

A Metropolitan Police Department report says the woman intentionally drove her white Chevrolet van into the security barrier at 17th and E Streets, near the South Lawn of the White House and continued to accelerate as officers attempted to get her out of the van. The report says the woman had a gun in her hand -- pointed away from the officers -- and she refused "multiple orders" to drop the gun before officers wrested it from her and hauled her out of the van through the driver side window, according to the report.

"The female driver of the vehicle was immediately apprehended by Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers," that agency tweeted.

After a previous attempt to gain entry to the White House, the woman was subject to a court order to stay away from the White House complex, the report says.

She was charged with unlawful entry, carrying a pistol without a license, unregistered firearm, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon-car, destruction of government property and contempt of court, police said.

The woman, after being given Miranda warnings, admitted to knowingly bringing the gun with her, according to the report.

According to a law enforcement source, the Secret Service Explosives Ordnance Disposal team examined the vehicle.

Photos from the scene showed the back window of the van was broken but it's unclear how that happened.

A witness told reporters the van's tires were "burning rubber," causing a lot of smoke and that security guards ordered the driver to stop several times.

"She just kept pressing on the gas and trying to press through I guess, that's what it looked like," said Chris Bello, who was visiting the White House with his family.

Security was increased on the White House campus after the incident and video posted on social media showed people being led out of the area.

The Secret Service said no law enforcement officials were injured.

President Trump later tweeted thanks to the Secret Service for "a job well done!"

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Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump Friday continued his call to arm more teachers with guns to protect schools - saying that would be better than a security guard who "doesn't love the children."

The president made the comment during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

He predicted congressional action will "take place very quickly" on improving the background check system and regulating bump stocks - devices that can be used to effectively turn a legal rifle into a machine gun.

Earlier this week, Trump directed the Justice Department to draft new regulations to ban bump stocks.

The president continued to say he wants to arm teachers who are trained or have experience with guns and again criticized the school security guard the Broward County Sheriff said failed to enter the school to confront the gunman during last week's shooting in Parkland, Fla. That guard has since resigned.

Trump said that if people think about going into a school to hurt students or teachers, they won't do so if they know people are armed, repeating comments he made in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday morning during which he said schools should no longer be "gun free zones."

"We need people that can take care of our children. We're not gonna let this happen again and the way it's not gonna happen again is that they're basically cowards. Innately, they're cowards," Trump said of gunmen who attack schools. "And if they know bad things happen to them once they get into that school by people who love the children, see a security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children. The teachers love their children. They love their pupils. They love their students."

Personnel records show that the deputy who resigned, Scot Peterson, has worked at the school for several years and has been recognized as school resource officer of the year. One evaluation said that Peterson "takes pride in protecting the students, faculty and staff at his school."

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In remarks to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, President Trump Friday morning delivered a freewheeling speech hitting topics from last week's Florida school shooting to immigration and his defeated 2016 opponent, but mostly glossed over an expected announcement of new sanctions on North Korea the White House had previewed hours earlier.

Addressing last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Trump again ratcheted up his call for arming teachers and coaches who would be trained to use firearms.

"So this crazy man who walked in wouldn't even know who has it," Trump said, referring to concealed weapons in the possession of coaches or teachers. "That's good. That's not bad -- that's good. And the teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened."

Trump almost skipped over entirely in his roughly one-hour-and-20-minute speech what his administration had billed as the "largest-ever" round of new sanctions targeting Kim Jong Un's regime in North Korea, according to excerpts released to the media before Trump took the stage.

"The Treasury Department will soon be taking new action to further cut off sources of revenue and fuel that the regime uses to fund its nuclear program and sustain its military by targeting 56 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses that are assisting North Korea in evading sanctions," Trump was intended to say, according to the released remarks.

He did say, however, “I do want to say it, because people have asked: North Korea -- we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before. Frankly, hopefully, something positive can happen. We will see. Hopefully, something positive can happen.”

But Trump's speech was largely consumed by the time spent veering from topic to topic, evoking some of the improvisation that defined his speeches in the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Despite vocal opposition from many teachers and students, Trump vented about the thought of opposition to his plan allowing more trained teachers access to firearms.

"We owe it to our country," Trump said. "I've been watching for a long time, -- lots of words and very little action. You know, when you think about it, most of it is just common sense. It is not, 'Do you love guns? Do you hate guns?' It's common sense. It's all common sense."

Trump additionally suggested his call for ending “gun-free zones” in schools may also extend soon to U.S. military bases.

"We are going to look at that whole military base gun-free zone," Trump said. "If we can't have our military holding guns, it's pretty bad."

At one point, Trump polled the crowd on what they'd prefer he focus on more: tax cuts or the Second Amendment.

"If you only had a choice of one, what would you rather have?" Trump asked. "The Second Amendment or tax cuts? Second Amendment, tax cuts? Second Amendment? I'm going to leave it at the Second Amendment. I don't want to get into that battle.”

Trump also stirred up the crowd with a veiled reference to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has been largely absent from the Senate over the past months as he undergoes cancer treatment, for his vote last year that killed GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"Remember, one person walked into a room, when he was supposed to go this way, and he said he was going this way, and he walked in and he went this way and everyone said, ‘What happened?’" Trump said. "What was that all about? Boy, oh, boy -- who was that? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't want to be controversial, so I won't use his name."

Trump even entertained calls as the crowd erupted in “Lock her up” chants directed at his defeated 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.

"I will say this, folks: Everything that is turning out now, it is amazing. That's come full circle," Trump said in response to the chants. "Boy, have they committed a lot of atrocities when you look. When you look. Have they done things that are wrong."

At the beginning of his remarks, Trump quipped at his own appearance on the TV screens in the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland, posing for the cameras and joking about his infamous hairdo.

"Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks," Trump joked. "I work hard at it. Doesn't look bad. Hey, we're hanging in. We're hanging in. We're hanging in there, right?"

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members of Congress are asking for more answers about FEMA's decisions post-Hurricane Maria after the agency canceled multiple contracts to deliver aid to Puerto Rico when the companies were unable to deliver the meals or supplies.

The members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are specifically asking the agency to explain why it granted a contract to a small company to deliver 30 million meals to Puerto Rico.

In a letter requesting information from FEMA, the senators say that Tribute Contracting LLC, which was granted a $156 million to produce 30 million meals, plagiarized parts of its proposal for the contract and lied to the agency about its ability to fulfill the order. That contract was granted and canceled 20 days after it was granted when 50,000 meals were delivered behind schedule.

"We are concerned that FEMA is not taking appropriate steps to evaluate vendors' qualifications before awarding contracts to provide critical disaster relief supplies," the senators wrote.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., compared the proposal to an "internet scam email" and said the company should be barred from any future federal contracts.

“I’ve conducted oversight on billions of dollars in federal contracts, but I’ve never seen something this bizarre in a contract proposal," she said in a statement. "FEMA agreed to spend over $150 million on a contract proposal that reads like an internet scam email -- and the government needs to give us answers about what it’s doing to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure hurricane survivors are getting the resources they need.”

The Tribute contract was canceled "when it became clear the vendor couldn't meet requirements," FEMA said in a statement earlier this month.

The senators say in the letter that FEMA should have seen warnings that the company would not be able to fulfill such a large order if the agency vetted the contract properly. They want FEMA to explain why those signs were missed.

FEMA said in a statement Friday it is reviewing the letter and will respond directly to the committee. A representative for Tribute did not respond to a request for comment.

The letter was signed by members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, including ranking member McCaskill and subcommittee chairs Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

The senators want to know why FEMA did not verify information in Tribute's proposal before awarding the contract. For example, the letter says that Tribute's proposal suggested that the company would work with the logistics company C.H. Robinson to fulfill the contract. But C.H. Robinson told committee staff that Tribute only contacted them three days after the contract was awarded and that they ultimately told Tribute they would not work with them, according to the letter.

The letter says Tribute's proposal used language similar to other companies' websites and the senators say Tribute misrepresented its resources and ability to fulfill the order. For example, the proposal used language like "our logistics professionals" even though Tribute only had one registered employee, Tiffany Brown. Brown told staff on the House Oversight Committee that FEMA knew she would hire subcontractors to make and deliver the meals.

House Democrats on the Oversight Committee asked the chairman to subpoena FEMA officials earlier this month to explain why the agency granted the contract with Tribute even though the company previously failed to fulfill government contracts.

Tribute's contract is not the only one with issues in the response to Hurricane Maria. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority canceled a $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy to restore electricity to the island after a controversy about why the contract was granted to a small private company instead of a cheaper network of public utility companies. Whitefish stopped work in November after some of its contractors told the government of Puerto Rico they were owed money by the company.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary James Mattis has made his recommendation to the White House on how the Department of Defense should handle the military service of transgender individuals, Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn confirmed to ABC News.

The final policy announcement is expected to be made by President Trump in late March.

Trump tweeted last July that he wanted to ban all transgender service members, saying the military "must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory."

The move reversed the 2016 Obama administration directive that allowed those individuals to serve openly for the first time.

The August memo directed the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan. Mattis then tasked a panel of experts to study the issue and inform his recommendation to the president, who will make the final policy decision.

It is scheduled to go into effect on March 23.

Since Trump's tweets, federal courts have rejected portions of the proposed ban. Most notably, beginning Jan. 1, the Pentagon complied with a court order that allowed transgender individuals to join the military if they met strict criteria, including certifications from a medical provider about the status of their health.

What do we know about transgender service members?

Last year, defense officials estimated there were about 200 transgender individuals in the U.S. military who had self-reported to their services a desire for some form of medical treatment related to their gender identity.

However, the actual number of transgender service members is still unknown, primarily because military personnel records do not currently track transgender individuals.

A 2016 Rand study, which was referenced by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, estimated that 2,450 active-duty service members might be transgender, with 1,510 in reserve units.

The same Rand study said the "little research" on transgender service members showed "little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness."

"Commanders noted that the policies had benefits for all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force," the study said.

At the time of the study, 18 countries, including the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada and Australia, allowed transgender personnel to serve openly.

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Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday continued his call to arm teachers and school staff to deter potential mass shooters -- a refrain he has repeated this week in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school.

He also promised the administration will take action on recommendations from survivors of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including improvements to background checks and improved mental health services.

Many of the students who survived the shooting have been calling for gun control and improved school security.

"I can speak for all of the senators, congressmen and congresswomen, all of the people in this room that are involved in this decision, that we will act and do something. We will act," Trump said.

The president called for increased mental health support and said the shooter was a "sick person," and continued to call for more security in schools.

"When we declare our schools gun-free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger," he said, repeating his calls to arm teachers with training or military experience.

Trump continued to repeat his call to "harden" schools as a deterrent for people who would go into a school intending to harm students or teachers.

"This would be a major deterrent because these people are inherently cowards. If they thought -- like, if this guy thought that other people would be shooting bullets back at him, he would not have gone to that school. He would not have gone there," he said.

Trump said Stoneman Douglas had a big campus and would have to have "150 real guards." The school had one armed guard who the Broward County Sheriff said did not go into the school to engage the shooter, and has since resigned.

His speech also stressed support for the Second Amendment.

The president called for attendees to vote in the midterm elections and indicated that if Democrats win, they will take away tax cuts, asking, "If you only had a choice of when, what would you rather have: Second Amendment or tax cuts?"

"I will leave it at the Second Amendment," he said. "I don't want to get into that battle. We're gonna say you want the Second Amendment the most, but we are going to get them all."

Earlier in the morning, the president slammed the Florida deputy who was armed and outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school, but did not enter the school when the shooting began.

“When it came time to go in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened, but he certainly did a poor job -- there’s no question about that,” Trump said.

Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer, was suspended without pay after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said video showed him taking up a defensive position during the shooting, but never entering the school.

Peterson retired following the suspension.

The president spoke as he left the White House on his way to make a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering where the topic of gun policy reform has been front and center.

Trump was asked by ABC News' Cecilia Vega whether the fact that the armed deputy did not engage the shooter gives him pause given that he has been recommending that teachers and other school officials might get firearm training to defend their classrooms against gun violence.

“He certainly did a poor job. But that’s the case where somebody’s outside, they’re trained, they didn’t react properly under pressure -- or they were a coward,” he added.

Asked whether a teacher with a gun could do a better job than a sheriff’s deputy, Trump did not address the question in his response.

"I think we have a group of people that want to do the right thing. The NRA is composed of people I know very well. These are people, great people, patriots that love our country," he said.

Trump said he will be exploring ways to make schools safer that involve "offensive power" as well as measures to strengthen background checks when a person tries to buy a gun.

He also reiterated his focus on mental health, noting that authorities ignored many warning signs about the shooter.

“They should have caught it. This could have been prevented. So the whole mental situation is very big.”

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump’s one-time campaign aide Richard Gates is expected to plead guilty in the special counsel’s criminal case against him, setting up the potential for Gates to become the latest well-informed Trump insider to assist in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to sources close to the matter.

The potential for a guilty plea could dramatically change the dynamics in the investigation, just one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller added a raft of new financial and tax charges to the criminal case against Gates and his longtime colleague, Paul Manafort.

Gates has for weeks been vacillating between fighting the charges and pleading guilty, and remained undecided through much of this week, according to the sources. Legal teams for President Trump and Manafort appeared to be unaware as late as Thursday about Gates’ intentions.

Gates, who has a young family, has endured immense pressure throughout, facing charges that carried the potential for more than a decade in jail, and risking the remainder of his savings. The deal hammered out between Mueller’s team and Gates’ legal team has the potential to spare him jail time.

This was a “gut-wrenching decision” for the 45-year-old former campaign official, a source familiar with his thinking told ABC News. Gates also faced a significant financial burden, the source added.

Despite speculation for weeks that Gates was close to or had made a deal, the source told ABC News, a deal with the special counsel’s team did not come together until the middle of this week -- and prior to that deal, it had looked unlikely.

The exact terms of the deal are still unclear. The special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty last fall on all charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The first round of charges contained 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States; conspiracy to launder money; serving as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal; false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act statements; false statements; and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Both charges from the first indictment in Washington and the second round of charges filed Thursday in Virginia center around Manafort and Gates’ past lobbying and financial activities, and are not related to their work directly for the Trump campaign.

Manafort emerged as a key figure in Mueller's inquiry because of consulting work he previously did on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

In July 2017, the same month he retroactively registered as a foreign agent because of his lobbying work, the FBI executed a search warrant at Manafort's Virginia home in connection with the Russia investigation. A source familiar with the matter described armed FBI agents' waking Manafort early in the morning as they knocked on his bedroom door.

Manafort, 68, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 as its convention manager and was promoted to campaign chairman two months later. He was fired from the campaign by then-candidate Trump in August 2016 amid questions about his foreign business ties.

Gates joined Manafort's international firm, Davis Manafort Partners, in 2006. Gates' connections to Trump before and after the election include leading the campaign's operations at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and serving as a top deputy to Tom Barrack, who served as chairman on the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Gates later joined America First Policies, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit created after the election that supports Trump's positions. Gates left his role with the group after he was indicted.

Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously recused himself from all matters related to the 2016 presidential election.

In addition to Mueller's investigation, Manafort had been heavily scrutinized by multiple congressional committees conducting their own investigations into Russian meddling. Since his indictment last year, Manafort has stopped cooperating with the congressional investigations.

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Michael Thomas/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, once considered a rising star in national Republican politics, was indicted and arrested Thursday on felony charges of invasion of privacy by a grand jury in St. Louis -- but his attorney said the GOP lawmaker is "absolutely innocent."

The grand jury's indictment found that Greitens, 43, took full or partially nude photos of an individual and "subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer."

The photographs in question, taken in 2015, were of a woman Greitens has admitted to having an extramarital affair with. But while Greitens has admitted to the affair, he has maintained that he did not attempt to blackmail the woman.

In a statement released Thursday, Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar who had never held elected office prior to winning the Missouri governor's race in 2016, again defended his actions by saying he made a mistake, but he maintained that his conduct was not criminal.

"As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was governor. I did not commit a crime," he said. "With today’s disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken. I look forward to the legal remedies to reverse this action. This will not for a moment deter me from doing the important work of the great people of Missouri."

Kimberly Gardner, the circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis tasked with investigating the allegations against Greitens, defended the grand jury's decision.

"As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the city of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders," Gardner wrote in a statement Thursday. "They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident of our city. Both parties and the people of St. Louis deserve a thorough investigation of these allegations."

In the wake of revelations regarding Greitens' affair, he and his wife, Sheena, whom he married in 2011, released a joint statement acknowledging that it took place, but that they are working together to move forward in their marriage.

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage," the couple said in a joint statement last month. "This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately."

The statement continued, "We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive -- but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion and your prayers."

An attorney for Greitens, Edward L. Dowd Jr., blasted the indictment in a statement Thursday.

"For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this," Dowd Jr. said. "The charges are unfounded and baseless. The governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent -- he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual."

Dowd Jr. continued, "This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the circuit attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators. We attempted to meet with the circuit attorney and make the governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts."

In response to attacks by Greitens and Dowd Jr., the Circuit Attorney's Office released a statement Thursday night.

"Despite the governor's personal attacks, the circuit attorney believes the courtroom is the appropriate place to argue the facts, not the media," the statement read. "Kim Gardner maintains her unwavering confidence in our system of justice to bring this matter to a fair and just resolution."

The statement continued, "The lawyers for Gov. Greitens contacted the Circuit Attorney’s Office yesterday to meet for a 'secret' meeting next week of counsel only. The circuit attorney asked if the governor would be making a statement that is any different from his public statements. His lawyers said they wanted to share the 'human' side of his story. The circuit attorney makes charging decisions based upon facts and evidence. Without additional facts and information from the governor, the meeting was not necessary."

Greitens has resisted calls for his resignation since the news of his extramartial affair broke last month, and Republicans in the state still hold wide majorities in both the state Senate and state house.

In a joint statement released Thursday, the Republican leaders of the Missouri House of Representatives said they will conduct an investigation into Greitens' conduct before making a determination as to whether he should step down.

"We will fully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward," Speaker of the Missouri House Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo wrote in a joint statement. "The people of Missouri deserve no less. We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges."

The next hearing in Greitens' case is scheduled for March 16, according to court documents.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the aftermath of the Florida school massacre, President Trump has told grieving family members and teen survivors that "we're going to settle this all together."

Up until now, the president's actions have appeared to be geared toward a promise he made at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in April. He said, "You came through big for me, and I am going to come through for you."

"The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," he said. "You have a true friend and champion in the White House."

Since then, a gunman shot 58 people dead in October at an outdoor music concert in Las Vegas; a shooter walked into a rural Texas church in November and gunned down 26 worshipers; and on Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly shot 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Since being elected president, Trump signed a bill rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. The regulation, recommended by Barack Obama in a memo in 2013, had required the Social Security Administration to send records of beneficiaries with mental disabilities to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

One of the first actions Trump took as president was to appoint Neil Gorsuch, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, to the U.S. Supreme Court. While serving on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch wrote in an opinion that “the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly.”

But the Trump administration has taken steps to curb gun violence.

In July, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to prioritize firearm prosecutions, saying the number of defendants charged with unlawful possession of firearms jumped nearly 23 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same time period a year earlier, from 2,149 to 2,637.

Since the Parkland shooting, Trump has done the following:

-- Trump said he will push comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health.

-- He promised to work on raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to age 21.

-- On Tuesday, the president signed a memorandum recommending that Sessions propose regulations that would ban bump stocks, a weapon accessory that enabled the gunman in the Las Vegas concert massacre to turn semiautomatic weapons into virtual machine guns.

"Later this week, when the president meets with the nation's governors in our nation's capital, we'll make the safety of our nation's schools and our students our top national priority," Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I can assure you of this: President Trump and our entire administration will continue to take strong action to make our schools safe and give law enforcement and our families tools they need to deal with those struggling with dangerous mental illness."

Just before Pence spoke, Wayne LaPierre, vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, accused gun-control advocates of exploiting the tragedy in Parkland.

"Our American freedoms could be lost, and our country will be changed forever," LaPierre said. "And the first to go will be the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution."

He said more gun control laws are not what the country needs.

"The truth is, laws succeed only when people obey them," he said. "That's what the law-abiding majority in this country practices, but once again, so many existing laws were ignored."

Just before LaPierre spoke, Trump posted a tweet that indicates he doesn't want to offend the NRA while trying to find a compromise on gun control.

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