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The Latest on the 2020 campaign season (all times Eastern):

2:30 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the National Rifle Association is holding "Congress hostage" when it comes to stemming gun violence.

The Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate tells a campaign rally that if seven children were dying from a mysterious virus, "we’d pull out all the stops till we figured out what was wrong." But in terms of gun violence, she says the NRA "keeps calling the shots in Washington."

Warren finished a two-day campaign trip to New Hampshire with an event at middle school in Conway Sunday afternoon.

Warren focused much of her speech on her approach to economics, but paid special attention to unions Sunday. She says more power needs to be put back in the hands of workers.

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1:50 p.m.

California Sen. Kamala Harris may be dropping a hint on what she thinks about former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a third bid for the White House.

At an Atlanta church service Sunday, Harris compared leadership to a relay race in which each generation must ask themselves "what do we do during that period of time when we carry that baton."

Then she added with a smile that for "the older leaders, it also becomes a question of let’s also know when to pass the baton."

Harris is 54 years old. Biden is 76, and some of his supporters have said he’s aware that his age could be a political liability in the Democratic primary. He wouldn’t be the oldest contender, though. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is 77.

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1:40 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is assailing President Donald Trump as a coward who is "tearing apart the moral fabric of the vulnerable."

The senator is speaking in New York, feet away from one of Trump’s signature properties, the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

She says that instead of building walls as Trump wants to do along the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans build bridges, community and hope.

Gillibrand also called for full release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in the Russia investigation. Attorney General William Barr was expected to release a summary of principal conclusions, but Democrats want to see the full details.

Gillibrand is trying to position herself in the crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination. While some hopefuls have shied away from mentioning Trump, Gillibrand has not hesitated to do so.

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1:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is telling voters in Las Vegas that President Donald Trump bears blame for the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border but responsibility lies with everyone in the country to fix the situation.

O’Rourke spoke Sunday to more than 200 people packed into and snaking around a taco shop on the city’s north end. He says immigrant families are leaving their home countries and journeying on foot because they have no other choice.

The former Texas congressman says desperate families were broken up in the U.S. when they were at their most vulnerable and desperate moments, and what happened to them "is on every single one of us."

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9 a.m.

As New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially kicks off her Democratic presidential campaign in New York City, her rivals are courting voters in early primary states.

Several Democratic White House hopefuls are campaigning Sunday, the day the Justice Department is expected to release key findings from special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues his California swing with a trip to San Francisco.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are wrapping up campaign trips to New Hampshire.

California Sen. Kamala Harris is attending a church service before speaking at a rally in Atlanta at Morehouse College.

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the 2020 campaign season (all times Eastern):

1:50 pm.

California Sen. Kamala Harris may be dropping a hint on what she thinks about former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a third bid for the White House.

At an Atlanta church service Sunday, Harris compared leadership to a relay race in which each generation must ask themselves "what do we do during that period of time when we carry that baton."

Then she added with a smile that for "the older leaders, it also becomes a question of let’s also know when to pass the baton."

Harris is 54 years old. Biden is 76, and some of his supporters have said he’s aware that his age could be a political liability in the Democratic primary. He wouldn’t be the oldest contender, though. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is 77.

___

1:40 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is assailing President Donald Trump as a coward who is "tearing apart the moral fabric of the vulnerable."

The senator is speaking in New York, feet away from one of Trump’s signature properties, the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

She says that instead of building walls as Trump wants to do along the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans build bridges, community and hope.

Gillibrand also called for full release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in the Russia investigation. Attorney General William Barr was expected to release a summary of principal conclusions as soon as this weekend, but Democrats want to see the full details.

Gillibrand is trying to position herself in the crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination. While some hopefuls have shied away from mentioning Trump, Gillibrand has not hesitated to do so.

___

1:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is telling voters in Las Vegas that President Donald Trump bears blame for the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border but responsibility lies with everyone in the country to fix the situation.

O’Rourke spoke Sunday to more than 200 people packed into and snaking around a taco shop on the city’s north end. He says immigrant families are leaving their home countries and journeying on foot because they have no other choice.

The former Texas congressman says desperate families were broken up in the U.S. when they were at their most vulnerable and desperate moments, and what happened to them "is on every single one of us."

___

9 a.m.

As New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially kicks off her Democratic presidential campaign in New York City, her rivals are courting voters in early primary states.

Several Democratic White House hopefuls are campaigning Sunday, the day the Justice Department is expected to release key findings from special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues his California swing with a trip to San Francisco.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are wrapping up campaign trips to New Hampshire.

California Sen. Kamala Harris is attending a church service before speaking at a rally in Atlanta at Morehouse College.

Source: Fox News National

In his manifesto, the white supremacist charged with attacking two New Zealand mosques praised fellow "freedom fighters" as his role models. In reality, all were terrorists — most notable for acting alone.

Investigators’ growing certainty that a single gunman was responsible for the massacre that claimed 50 lives has renewed attention to a longtime concern: terror attacks by ideologically driven lone actors in the U.S. and Europe.

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand was "a blatant imitation. This is a copycat crime. He’s followed others who have come before him," said Mark Hamm, a professor of criminology at Indiana State University who has charted such attacks in the U.S.

But the public’s stereotypes of such "lone wolves" risk obscuring the fact that many are not nearly as solitary as they might seem, criminologists say.

"They may be alone at the time of the attack," said Noemie Bouhana, a professor of security and crime science at University College London who studies terrorism. "But the ties have existed that have been necessary for the attack to occur, and I would be very surprised if that wasn’t the case here."

Those ties are key not just to prosecuting such terrorist attacks but to finding ways to prevent them, experts say. That helps explain investigators’ determination to follow all threads, even with the 28-year-old Australian they say was the lone gunman already in custody.

"We believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this," Mike Bush, New Zealand’s police commissioner, said at a news conference. "That doesn’t mean there weren’t possibly other people in support and that continues to form a very, very important part of our investigation."

Those looking to unravel how the attack took shape have decades of history to consult. Attacks by lone actors harboring extremist motives date back decades, particularly in the U.S.

In the 1940s and 1950s, electrician George Metesky planted more than 30 bombs in New York theaters, libraries and other public places. He was driven by anger at his former employer over a workplace injury.

Theodore Kaczynski, the technophobe known as the Unabomber, was arrested in 1996 after nearly two decades of planting bombs that killed three; Eric Rudolph spent years as a fugitive while carrying out a series of anti-abortion attacks, including bombing a park during the Atlanta Olympics. In 2015, Dylann Roof slaughtered nine at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The vast spaces and lack of borders in the U.S., along with a culture of individualism, help seed such attacks, Hamm said.

But access to more powerful guns and ammunition has increased the lethality, said Hamm, who with a fellow researcher used a Justice department grant to identify more than 120 lone wolf attackers in the U.S. over seven decades.

Hamm points to the 2009 shootings at the Army’s Fort Hood in Texas that left 13 dead. Maj. Nidal Hasan, convinced that U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were an assault on Islam, used a pistol equipped with a laser sight and magazine extenders to fire more rounds.

But terrorist attacks by loners have also increased around the globe. Between 1990 and 2017, the U.S. saw 56 attacks by ideologically driven lone actors, a study by Bouhana and others found. Over the same period, Europe and other countries were targeted by 69 such attacks, they concluded.

The Christchurch attack has drawn comparisons to the 2011 massacre of 77 people in Norway, most at an island youth camp. The attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, raged against Europe’s growing Muslim population and claimed to represent what turned out to be an imagined order of Knight crusaders.

"I have read the writings of Dylan(n) Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik," the New Zealand suspect, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, allegedly wrote in his manifesto.

The document cites others including Anton Lundin Petterson, who, in 2015, entered a school in Sweden and used a sword to kill a teacher and a student in an attack police say was motivated by racial hatred.

In the years since the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., law enforcement agencies in many countries have stepped up efforts to detect and prevent plots by large groups.

Muslim reactionaries in Europe have continued to carry out attacks organized in small cells. But they have increasingly followed right-wing counterparts in acting alone, said Tore Bjorgo, director of the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo in Norway.

"The security environment makes it very difficult to operate as an organization, as part of a large group … so the only viable option is to go as a lone actor," he said.

That does not mean lone attackers are entirely disconnected from others. Even Breivik, who planned his attack in isolation, had been involved in a right-wing political party and wrote frequently on political websites, said Bjorgo, an expert on the underpinnings of the Norway massacre.

Rather than plotting entirely in their own heads, lone extremists increasingly find their inspiration in what others post online, experts say. And many are prone to discuss their motives or their plans, offering one of the best chances for preventing attacks.

"They tell people why they want to engage in violence. They tell people what their grievances are. They even tell people, in some cases, what they’re going to do. It’s just in a lot of cases, for whatever reason, people don’t report it," Bouhana said.

She and other European experts take issue with the "lone wolf" description often used in the U.S., saying it promotes a false mystique about such attackers as isolated from others and exceedingly stealthy.

But looking beyond that mythology, it is clear that such attacks are characterized by troubling commonalities in the mindsets of those who carry them out, criminologists say. While there is still much we don’t know about the prime suspect in the New Zealand attack or how it was planned, early details provide red flags.

In casting Muslim immigration as a direct threat to his existence, the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto echoes the sense of "aggrieved entitlement" that has long motivated other lone wolf attackers, Hamm said.

"They’re similar across borders," he said, "and although elements of the conspiracy theories themselves change a bit, the theme remains the same."

Source: Fox News National

North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature has voted to repeal the state’s longstanding Sunday business restrictions.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says North Dakota is the only state that prohibits shopping on Sunday morning. The ban is rooted in religious tradition.

Senators voted 25-21 to repeal the restrictions on Tuesday. That sends the bill to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum. He’s expected to sign it.

North Dakota law once required most businesses to stay closed on Sundays. It was changed in 1985 to allow grocery stores to open. In 1991, the Legislature agreed to let most businesses to open on Sundays but not before noon.

Lawmakers have defeated several measures over the years to end the Sunday morning shopping prohibition, most recently in 2017.

Source: Fox News National

President Donald Trump says he is unfairly being blamed for the New Zealand mosque massacre.

Trump tweeted Monday that the media "is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand." He adds: "They will have to work very hard to prove that one."

The gunman in last week’s massacre left a document in which he called himself a white nationalist and referred to Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity."

Trump had expressed sympathy for the victims, but played down the threat of white nationalism across the world, saying he didn’t consider it a rising threat despite data suggesting it’s growing.

In the past, Trump has drawn criticism for saying "both sides" were to blame for violence at a deadly white supremacist demonstration.

Source: Fox News National

A rabbi who packs a gun. A church installing security cameras. A police car protecting a mosque.

Houses of worship have traditionally been places of refuge where strangers are welcome. But high-profile attacks in recent years on an African-American church in Charleston, a synagogue in Pittsburgh and now mosques in New Zealand have made many worshippers and their prayer leaders rethink how protected sanctuaries really are.

"People are fearful for their lives, for their houses of worship, for the sanctuary of this mosque and other places of worship like the synagogues and African-American churches that are being attacked. People are concerned," said Imam Mohannad Hakeem while attending Friday prayers at the Islamic Center of Detroit.

He spoke after a horrifying attack in New Zealand left 49 people dead at two mosques during midday prayers. A 28-year-old Australian is the main suspect and called himself in a manifesto a white nationalist out to avenge attacks in Europe by Muslims.

History shows sanctuaries are not immune from violence, as illustrated by bombings at African-American churches during the Civil Rights era. And in countries struggling with sectarian violence attacks on houses of worship are much more frequent. But for countries at peace, the attacks are much rarer.

For many, houses of worship are sanctuaries where congregants bond with their shared sense of faith and community. The recent attacks have made some question whether houses of worship have turned into soft targets, losing some of their sense of sacredness.

In the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Detroit Friday, a watchful police officer sat in a squad car, keeping an eye out for any signs of potential trouble. Worshippers thanked the officer — offering him food, drinks, a handshake. Inside, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad greeted congregants with handshakes and hugs. Dearborn is a Detroit suburb with a large Arab and Muslim population.

Haddad said he doesn’t know if houses of worship are more of a target today than in previous times, but the scale and scope of the attacks in New Zealand clearly attracted his attention.

"Given what happened in New Zealand last night, we want to make sure that our community feels safe and secure," he said.

In Chicago, the Muslim Community Center and the Downtown Islamic Center increased security during Friday prayers. Several armed police officers stood guard outside and inside throughout the afternoon service.

Dana Al-Qadi, 29, an engineer, was committed to attending after the attacks but said doing so brings her a feeling of peace mixed with fear.

"People are their most vulnerable when they’re at the masjid (mosque). It’s where they bring their worries, their weaknesses, and try to speak to God. They’re in such a vulnerable state of mind and spirit. In that moment, someone decided to be such a transgressor. That brings me so much sadness," she said.

For many in the Jewish community, last year’s synagogue shooting attack in Pittsburgh sparked a similar sense of vulnerability.

Eleven people died in what was the worst attack on Jews in U.S. history on Oct. 27 when an anti-Semitic truck driver is believed to have spewed his hatred of Jews as he opened fire on the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue. Robert Bowers has pleaded not guilty to counts including using a firearm to commit murder and obstruction of religious exercise resulting in death.

After the attack, Rabbi Yaakov Zucker of Chabad Jewish Center in the small town of Key West started going to target practice along with a handful of congregants.

"We pray on one hand, but we’re also armed on the other hand, not in a vigilante way … I hope I’ll never have to use it, but I am ready for any threat that enters my temple. I do feel responsibility," he said.

Zucker said he doesn’t have the funds to hire a full-time security guard but makes sure at least one other person at the temple is also armed. After the Pittsburgh attack, he started asking local police to hang out during big events or for holidays and he says they’ve obliged.

He lamented that temples and other places of worship, always seen as places of refuge are now "soft targets" and said he fears copycats after the New Zealand attack.

African-American churches struggled with similar challenges after the June 17, 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which a 21-year-old white supremacist killed nine parishioners.

Jamaal Weathersby, the pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in New Orleans, said the attack was a turning point for his church and others in terms of thinking about their security.

Their church has eight or nine doors, he said, but now people are only allowed through one entrance for services. Security cameras were installed and security agents will be hired for an upcoming revival.

"I think that now the way that people think about church in general whether it is the mosque, synagogue or what have you, it’s not sacred anymore," he said.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the New Horizon Church International beefed up security after the Charleston shooting, but Bishop Ronnie Crudup said it’s important for the church not lose its open and welcoming environment.

"We seek to not lose ourselves and our own purpose and who we’re supposed to be as we react to the present dilemmas that we’re in," he said.

Even with heightened security, worshippers said the attacks would not prevent them from gathering together for prayer.

In Chicago at the packed Muslim Community Center on Friday, the imam told his congregants they "cannot be afraid to come to the mosque."

And it the Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Plantation, Florida, congregant Allan Ribbler warned against fear overcoming faith.

"If you let things like this stop you from doing this, we’ve given up our lives," said Ribbler.

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Kennedy reported from Plantation, Florida and Santana reported from New Orleans. Jeff Karoub in Detroit and Noreen Nasir in Chicago contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism after the gunman accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president "a symbol of renewed white identity."

Trump, whose own previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died at "places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing." But he declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism, When asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world, he responded, "I don’t really."

"I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess," Trump said. "If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing."

Trump was asked about white nationalism and the shooting deaths of 49 people at mosques in Christchurch after he formally vetoed Congress’ resolution to block his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexico border. His veto, aimed at freeing money to build more miles of a border wall against illegal immigration, is expected to survive any congressional effort to overturn it.

Questioned about the accused gunman’s reference to him, Trump professed ignorance.

"I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it," he said. "But I think it’s a horrible event … a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act."

The man accused of the shootings, whose name was not immediately released, left behind a lengthy document that outlined his motivations. He proudly stated that he was a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants and was set off by attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims. In a single reference, he mentioned the U.S. president.

"Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?" was one of the questions he posed to himself. His answer: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no."

The White House immediately denounced the connection. But the mention from the suspect, who embraced Nazi imagery and voiced support for fascism, nonetheless cast an uncomfortable light on the way that the president has been embraced by some on the far right.

Trump, who as a candidate proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, has drawn criticism as being slow to condemn white supremacy and related violence. After a 2017 clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one demonstrator dead, Trump said there were "very fine people on both sides" of the confrontation. He also did not immediately reject the support of David Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard, during his presidential campaign.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., tied Trump’s inflammatory language to the violence half a world away.

"Words have consequences like saying we have an invasion on our border and talking about people as though they were different in some fatal way," Blumenthal said on CNN. "I think that the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions."

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who declared his Democratic candidacy for president this week, said, "We must call out this hatred, this Islamophobia, this intolerance, and the violence that predictably follows from the rhetoric that we use."

The White House, in comments before those remarks, rejected any link to Trump.

"It’s outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the president who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism and made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack," Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communication, told reporters. "We are there to support and stand with the people of New Zealand."

Trump himself telephoned New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, offering condolences, prayers and any help the U.S. might be able to provide. She told reporters she answered, "My message was: to offer sympathy and love to all Muslim communities."

Trump’s hardline immigration rhetoric and calls to return America to its traditional past have been embraced by many on the conservative fringes, including some who troll online with racist imagery, as well as white supremacists who have looked to engage in violence.

In Florida, Cesar Sayoc, who had decorated his van with Trump propaganda, was accused of mailing explosives last fall to Democratic Party officials and media members, many of whom had been criticized by the president. The president said Sayoc had been "insane" long before he became a Trump fan.

Last month, a former Coast Guard official was accused of stockpiling weapons in a plot to kill media members and liberal politicians as part of a plan to transform the U.S. into a white ethno-state. It took more than a week for Trump to respond to the plot, which he deemed "a shame."

Many experts who track violent extremists have identified white nationalism as a growing threat in the U.S. and abroad. In January, for example, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League said that domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S. in 2018, up from 37 in 2017, and said, "White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case."

Some critics have accused U.S. authorities of not dedicating adequate resources to stem a threat of domestic terrorism. However, The Washington Post reported last week that internal FBI data showed more domestic terror suspects were arrested last year than those allegedly inspired by international terror groups.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Michael Kunzelman in Washington and Alexandra Jaffe in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, contributed reporting.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

Source: Fox News National

President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism on Friday after the gunman accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president "a symbol of renewed white identity."

Trump, whose own previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died as "places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing." But he declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism, saying that "I don’t, really" when asked whether it was a rising threat around the world.

"I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess," Trump said. "If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing."

Trump was asked about white nationalism and the shooting deaths of 49 people at mosques in Christchurch after he formally vetoed Congress’ resolution to block his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexico border. His veto, aimed at freeing money to build more miles of a border wall against illegal immigration, is expected to survive any congressional effort to overturn it.

Questioned about the accused gunman’s reference to him, Trump professed ignorance.

"I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it," he said. "But I think it’s a horrible event … a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act."

The man accused of the shootings, whose name was not immediately released, left behind a lengthy document that outlined his motivations. He proudly stated that he was a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants and was set off by attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims. In a single reference, he mentioned the U.S. president.

"Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?" was one of the questions he posed to himself. His answer: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no."

The White House immediately denounced the connection. But the mention from the suspect, who embraced Nazi imagery and voiced support for fascism, nonetheless cast an uncomfortable light on the way that the president has been embraced by some on the far right.

Trump, who as a candidate proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, has drawn criticism as being slow to condemn white supremacy and related violence. After a 2017 clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one demonstrator dead, Trump said there were "very fine people on both sides" of the confrontation. He also did not immediately reject the support of David Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard, during his presidential campaign.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., tied Trump’s inflammatory language to the violence half a world away.

"Words have consequences like saying we have an invasion on our border and talking about people as though they were different in some fatal way," Blumenthal said on CNN. "I think that the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions."

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who declared his Democratic candidacy for president this week, said, "We must call out this hatred, this Islamophobia, this intolerance, and the violence that predictably follows from the rhetoric that we use."

The White House, in comments before those remarks, rejected any link to Trump.

"It’s outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the president who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism and made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack," Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communication, told reporters. "We are there to support and stand with the people of New Zealand."

Trump himself telephoned New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, offering condolences, prayers and any help the U.S. might be able to provide. She told reporters she answered, "My message was: to offer sympathy and love to all Muslim communities."

Trump’s hardline immigration rhetoric and calls to return America to its traditional past have been embraced by many on the conservative fringes, including some who troll online with racist imagery, as well as white supremacists who have looked to engage in violence.

In Florida, Cesar Sayoc, who had decorated his van with Trump propaganda, was accused of mailing explosives last fall to Democratic Party officials and media members, many of whom had been criticized by the president. The president said Sayoc had been "insane" long before he became a Trump fan.

Last month, a former Coast Guard official was accused of stockpiling weapons in a plot to kill media members and liberal politicians as part of a plan to transform the U.S. into a white ethno-state. It took more than a week for Trump to respond to the plot, which he deemed "a shame."

Many experts who track violent extremists have identified white nationalism as a growing threat in the U.S. and abroad. In January, for example, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League said that domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S. in 2018, up from 37 in 2017, and said, "White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case."

Some critics have accused U.S. authorities of not dedicating adequate resources to stem a threat of domestic terrorism. However, The Washington Post reported last week that internal FBI data showed more domestic terror suspects were arrested last year than those allegedly inspired by international terror groups.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Michael Kunzelman in Washington and Alexandra Jaffe in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, contributed reporting.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

Source: Fox News National

Indiana lawmakers are moving closer to allowing nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists to object on religious or other grounds to having any role in an abortion.

The Indiana House voted 69-25 on Thursday in favor of the legislation, which would expand the statute for medical professionals who don’t want to perform an abortion or participate in any procedure that results in an abortion. That includes prescribing, administering or dispensing an abortion-inducing drug, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

State law already authorizes physicians, hospital employees and health clinic staffers to opt out of abortion-related health care based on an ethical, moral or religious objection to abortion. The new measure would extend that option to nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists.

Forty-six states currently allow some health care providers to refuse to provide abortion services, according to a March analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.

The Indiana bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Ron Bacon, R-Chandler, said that nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists who aren’t directly employed by a hospital or health clinic deserve the same right as other medical professional not to provide medical assistance for terminating a pregnancy if that conflicts with their personal beliefs.

Opponents argued that the proposal potentially puts women at risk of death if they are denied care in an emergency situation, or if a pharmacist refuses to provide medication required to complete a miscarriage because it also can be used to induce an abortion.

"Religious freedom does not include the right to harm others," said state Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis.

State Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, suggested that the legislation could also lead to pharmacists denying emergency contraception to rape victims seeking to prevent pregnancy.

But Bacon responded that his legislation "does not address contraception at all. This is abortion-inducing drugs."

The legislation now returns to the Senate to determine if that chamber consents to a technical change made by the House. If the measure is re-approved, it will go to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is expected to sign it into law.

___

Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com

Source: Fox News National

Some Alabama lawmakers want churchgoers to be able to defend themselves in church — so they are proposing a bill that would allow them to be armed while sitting on the pews.

State Rep. Lynn Greer filed a bill this month in the State Legislature called the "Alabama Church Protection Act," which would allow parishioners to carry guns in church.

Al.com reported the Republican state lawmaker said he proposed the bill, HB 36, at the request of a church in his district after shootings in other states.

According to the proposed legislation, “a person is not criminally liable for using physical force, including deadly force, in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions.”

The bill was previously introduced in the State House of Representatives last year and would add churches to the 2006 Stand Your Ground law, which allows someone to use force if they feel their life is threatened, according to Al.com.

VIRGINIA WANTS TO ALLOW GUNS IN CHURCHES IN WAKE OF DEADLY SHOOTINGS

“I think it’s a good idea,” Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, who is the president of the Southeast Law Institute, told Al.com. “Small churches don’t have the budgets to have a policeman,” said Johnston.

In a public hearing last year, members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America opposed the bill.

CONCEALED CARRY GROUP’S ONLINE GUN-TRAINING EVENT TO FOCUS ON PROTECTING PLACES OF WORSHIP 

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill last year, but it never made it out of the Legislature, according to Al.com.

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There have been more than a dozen fatal shootings at places of worship around the country since 2012, including November 2017 when Devin Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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