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Florida governor vows to hold officials ‘accountable’ amid reports of planned suspension of sheriff

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pledged on Thursday to speak about government accountability at the headquarters of the Broward County sheriff, following speculation he would suspend the official over the police response to the Parkland mass shooting.

DeSantis planned to speak about “holding government officials accountable” on Friday in Fort Lauderdale, at the offices of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, DeSantis’ office said in a statement.

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The website Politico and the Miami Herald newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that DeSantis planned to suspend Israel and replace him with a former police sergeant from the Broward County city of Coral Springs.

DeSantis, a Republican, while campaigning last year, had expressed interest in suspending Israel over the massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which 14 students and three adults were shot to death by a lone gunman.

A spokesman for DeSantis declined to comment on media reports that the governor planned to suspend Israel.

DeSantis was scheduled to visit Broward County on Friday with the lieutenant governor and the state attorney general, who is the top law enforcement official in Florida.

The Parkland massacre on Feb. 14, 2018 was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history.

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Some parents of students at the high school have criticized Israel and called for his removal, according to local media.

Some Broward County sheriff’s deputies held back too long as shots were fired at the school in the massacre, instead of rushing toward the gunfire, according to a 485-page report released last week by a state-appointed commission.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office training on active shooters was inadequate, according to the report, which also recommended arming teachers and spending more on school security and mental health to prevent similar mass shootings.

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A spokesman for Israel could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The sheriff, a Democrat, on Thursday tweeted a photo of himself at a desk, saying “still doing the job the voters of Broward County elected me to do!”

Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson, who was assigned as the school’s resource officer, resigned last year. He was captured on video staying outside the school during the shooting, which lasted several minutes.

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Israel, in an interview with CNN less than two weeks after the shooting, described himself as “disgusted” with Peterson’s performance but defended himself. “It’s not the responsibility of the general or the president if you have a deserter.”

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Jacqueline Wong


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Jeff Van Drew abandoned by staff after switching to GOP to defend Trump during impeachment: report

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Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey was blasted after word leaked that the New Jersey Democrat would switch to the Republican Party after receiving polling showing he would lose a Democratic primary if he voted against impeaching President Donald Trump.

"Five senior aides to Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey resigned on Sunday as the lawmaker formally prepared to switch parties, stating they were “deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision," Politico reported Sunday.

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Chuck Schumer wants John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney to testify at Trump’s Senate impeachment trial

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants top administration officials to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the United States Senate.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass articles of impeachment on Wednesday, setting up a Senate trial in the new year.

"In a letter sent on Sunday evening to McConnell, the majority leader, Schumer says Senate Democrats want to hear testimony from four administration witnesses, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton," Politico reported. "There is almost no chance Senate Republicans would vote to subpoena those witnesses without assent from the White House and calling their own preferred witnesses."

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Supreme Court timeline on Trump’s taxes gives time for Manhattan prosecutors to file charges: Former US Attorney

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Former U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah tweeted a recent report that the U.S. Supreme Court would be taking up President Donald Trump's case to keep his taxes away from investigators.

That case between Trump and Congress invokes a 1924 law that says the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to seek tax returns. Rocah mocked the president for being "so shady, so corrupt, so unlawful, that you’re willing to fight the release of your tax returns all the way to the Supreme Court."

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