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NRA chief blames government ‘failures,’ media for Tucson shooting

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The head of the National Rifle Association came out swinging Thursday against a wave of gun-control legislation proposed in the wake of the Tucson shooting, saying that government policies and media sensationalism — rather than lax gun laws — were to blame for the tragedy.

“If Tucson told us anything, it told us this: government failed,” Wayne LaPierre said in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, as quoted at The Hill.

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LaPierre argued guns laws offer more protection to killers than to their victims, and criticized “gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers and condemned the victims to death without so much as a prayer,” CBS reported.

He had particularly tough words for a proposal to ban high-capacity ammunition clips, such as the ones accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner allegedly used to fire 31 shots in a matter of seconds on Jan. 8, hitting 19 people, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and killing six, including a nine-year-old girl.

“These clowns want to ban magazines,” LaPierre said. “Are you kidding me? But that’s their response to the blizzard of violence and mayhem affecting our nation. One more gun law on top of all of the laws already on the books.”

The Arizona state legislature this month began debating a bill that would ban ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Among its backers is Kelly O’Brien, the fiancee of Gabe Zimmerman, an aide to Rep. Giffords.

“Extended magazine clips are currently an easily accessible weapon for troubled individuals to use in mass murder,” O’Brien said Tuesday. “That is what happened on Jan. 8, and that is how Gabe was killed. This must not be allowed to happen again.”

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LaPierre argued the law would not stop violence.

“When they tell you that a government ban on certain guns or magazines will stop violence, don’t you buy it, not for one second,” he said.

LaPierre also suggested that the media was partly to blame for tragedies such as Tucson because its coverage of shooting tragedies breeds copycats.

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The media “turns a madman into a hero for every potential deranged copycat out there,” he said, as quoted at CBS. “It’s sick, it’s wrong and the media out to be ashamed of themselves.”

A number of gun-control proposals were put forward in Washington and Arizona following the Jan. 8 shooting, and the Obama administration indicated it would support some sort of legislative reaction. But in the weeks since, momentum for gun control has fizzled, and top Democrats have played down the prospects of passing legislation.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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Jeanine Pirro pushes conspiracy theory 2016 election interference ‘apparently’ started in Ukraine

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The United States intelligence community is united in the conclusion that it was Russia that interred in America's 2016 presidential election.

But Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro said that 2016 election interference "apparently" started in Ukraine.

The conspiracy theory underlying the false claim resulted in President Donald Trump seeking foreign election interference from Ukraine, the scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Pirro also said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Geoge Kent is a "bozo."

Video of Pirro's opening was posted on Twitter by President Donald Trump:

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2020 Election

WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.

The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.

"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.

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