The Morning Briefing: Austin Bomber Dead, Gov't Shutdown Redux and Much, Much More

Emergency vehicles stage near the site of another explosion, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Good snowy Wednesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president holds a Cabinet meeting
  • President Trump hosts the Financial Services Forum spring meeting

Austin bombings

Press conference: (5:56amET) Surveillance teams zeroed in on and located the suspect and found his car outside a hotel. Tactical teams were on their way, but the vehicle started to drive away. As the SWAT team approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb in the car killing himself. One of the SWAT team fired on the suspect and there will be an investigation into that shooting. Another officer was injured during the blast. Police cannot publicly name the suspect because he hasn’t been positively identified. Police caution that they do not know where the suspect has been in the last 24 hours and to be vigilant as there might be more packages out there. The investigation will continue. Police cannot say if he acted alone. The dead suspect was a 24-year-old white male. Police believe the individual was responsible for all the incidents starting on March 2. They do not have a motive for the bombing.

BREAKING: FNC is reporting (5amET) that law enforcement identified the bomber and he blew himself up in his car when he was surrounded. A press conference is expected any time now.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that local police had located the suspect using a mix of cellphone information, security video and store receipts.

Authorities identified the suspect based largely on security video and other evidence gathered when the suspect shipped an explosive device from a FedEx store in Austin, the newspaper reported. They used cellphone technology to trace the suspect to a hotel in Williamson County, a source told the newspaper.


Yesterday, another bomb detonated at a FedEx facility near San Antonio and a second bomb was intercepted in Austin.

The two FedEx bomb incidents hours apart on Tuesday morning brought to six the number of explosive devices – five of them detonated – that have come under investigation in Texas this month as the work of a suspected serial bomber.

Baffled investigators have taken the extraordinary step of issuing public appeals through the media asking that whoever is responsible to at least come forward with a demand or an explanation.

There was another explosion last night, but law enforcement say that it is not related to the other bombings. Developing…

Government headed for a shutdown?

Here we go again. ABC News reports:

With Congress heading toward another government shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is “hoping today” that negotiators will finalize an agreement Tuesday, and said congressional leaders are not yet discussing a continuing resolution as a backup plan.

They are working “around the clock” to pull something together.

Appropriators are working nearly around the clock to finish the $1.3 trillion spending bill. One top GOP aide close to the negotiations said appropriators worked past 1 a.m. Tuesday, before calling it a night and picking back up at 7:30 a.m.

There’s talk of putting FixNICS in the bill and all sorts of other goodies that are needed to get the votes to pass the bill. But Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) isn’t having any of it. “I’m not happy with the product that’s going to be there in four days, but we can get there. That’s the problem we’re going to get there,” Brat said.


“I’m a no on just the spending piece alone,” he added.

Funding dries up on Friday night. Tick-tock.

Trump congratulates Putin, hysteria ensues

President Trump spoke with the newly re-elected Vladimir Putin and the media and #resistance freaked out. “We had a very good call,’ Trump said.

While the president said he congratulated Putin on his win, the White House has not explicitly said whether the administration believes the Russian elections were free and fair, with White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley only saying that “we are not surprised by the outcome.”

According the usual anonymous sources, Trump was told NOT to congratulate Putin on his win but he ignored the warnings.

President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

Who is leaking this stuff?

The president also said that he would meet with Putin “in the not-too-distant future.”


Senator John McCain ripped on President Trump for congratulating Putin. “An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” said McCain.


McConnell, Ryan defend Mueller in face of Trump attacks

Yuck. CNN’s Jake Tapper to interview James Comey

Insufferable. Comey considering movie, TV deals: report

USA Today Reporter’s Lawyer Sends Letter Demanding Trump Declassify Carter Page FISA Warrant

Good guy with a gun stops bad guy with a gun

The anti-gun movement never likes to look at it this way, but in Maryland yesterday, a student at Great Mills High School shot two of his fellow students before he was stopped by an armed resource officer who actually did his job.

The school resource officer, Deputy Blaine Gaskill, was alerted of the shooting, immediately responded and engaged the shooter. Gaskill, who is also a SWAT team member, was not injured in the shooting.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” Cameron said. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”


The gunman and one of his victims were thought to have a previous relationship.


Historical picture of the day:

Danish atomic scientist Niels Bohr discusses an equation at Princeton University, N.J., on March 21, 1950. Bohr helped in the development of the atomic bomb. (AP Photo/Alan Richard)

Other morsels:

GOP senator blocking Trump’s Intel nominee

Rauner, Pritzker win Illinois primaries, will square off in governor’s race

Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight

Court Kills Obama Oversight Of Retirees’ Savings Plans

IMPORTANT: Democrats Are Using Courts To Take Redistricting Power Away From Legislatures

Judge dismisses lawsuit on Trump aides’ use of encrypted apps

Facebook Forces NYT to Quietly Delete Unflattering Reference to Sheryl Sandberg

Ringo Starr knighted by Prince William

Trump hits ‘Pelosi Democrats,’ ‘low-IQ’ Maxine Waters, vows Republicans ‘will keep the House’ at NRCC dinner

Mississippi’s new law restricting abortion blocked by judge for 10 days

EPA ends the use of “secret science” in crafting regulations

DeVos battles lawmakers in contentious hearing

Teacher back at school after being put on leave for questioning double standard in gun protests

Senate Intelligence Releases Recommendations For Safeguarding Future Elections

Congress to Facebook: Send us Zuckerberg

Obama’s former media director: Facebook was once ‘on our side’

More anti-Semitic remarks surface from DC lawmaker


Nikolas Cruz’s caretaker claims she warned police several times

Russians Hacked At Least One Voter Database, Senate Cmte. Says

Father sues Boy Scouts of America after son with Down syndrome is stripped of badges

Kentucky GOP candidate tweets he wants to use Dem as target practice

Facebook’s stock tumbles again. Data scandal wipes away nearly $50 billion

Police officer charged with murder in killing of Australian woman in Minnesota

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!


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