On Friday, on her third day as President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos visited Jefferson Academy, a middle school in southwest Washington, D.C.
When she got there, she was surrounded by protesters from various parent groups, the local teachers union and the Movement 4 Black Lives. A video shows protesters blocking DeVos and her security detail as they shouted, “You do not represent anything that we stand for,” and, “Shame, shame, shame.”
During DeVos’ confirmation process, many questioned her support for public schools. She had in the past called them a “dead end” and has spent years promoting school vouchers and charter schools.
One male protester was arrested Friday for assault on a police officer, said Margarita Mikhaylova, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department. “Allegations that the U.S. secretary of education was assaulted are still under investigation,” she said in an email.
On Friday, protesters held signs that called for the protection of public schools. Some held Black Lives Matter signs.
After protesters blocked her way into the school, DeVos and her security detail got into a black car, which one protester briefly tried to block.
DeVos eventually made her way inside the school, The Washington Post reported. She was joined there by D.C. schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, who recently left the top job at Oakland Unified.
—Los Angeles Times
‘Pizzagate’ defendant appears in court in DC
WASHINGTON — A North Carolina man charged with firing an assault rifle inside a Washington restaurant that conspiracy theorists falsely claimed harbored a child-sex ring remained jailed Friday as his attorney received more time to negotiate a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, of Salisbury, N.C., briefly appeared in U.S. District Court in Washington on Friday for an update hearing on the so-called “Pizzagate” case, which focused national attention on the potentially dangerous impact of internet conspiracy theories and the prevalence of fake news.
Welch has been behind bars since his Dec. 4 arrest after he allegedly drove from Salisbury to Washington’s Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant. He was investigating a bogus theory that linked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring inside the restaurant.
Welch sat quietly Friday as his lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Dani Jahn, asked for more time to study thousands of pages of documents — including cellphone records — that federal prosecutors had recently shared with her.
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson granted her request, scheduling the next hearing for March 6.
Welch has pleaded not guilty to a federal count of transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines and District of Columbia charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during a commission of violence. The combined charges carry a maximum of 35 years in prison.
According to court papers and police reports, Welch stormed the restaurant while wielding an AR-15 rifle and packing a .38 revolver, weapons that were recovered following his arrest.
Inside the restaurant, Welch “searched for evidence of hidden rooms or tunnels, or child sex-trafficking of any kind,” FBI Special Agent Justin Holgate said in an affidavit.
Welch fired his rifle at a locked door that frustrated him, Holgate said in the affidavit.
“When that proved unsuccessful, he climbed furniture to look into the closed-off room,” Holgate reported, adding that Welch “found that it was unoccupied.”
—McClatchy Washington Bureau
‘We are against a travel ban,’ Under Armour says
BALTIMORE — Under Armour, facing criticism over comments by its CEO, issued a statement Friday calling immigration “a source of strength” and emphasizing its push to raise American manufacturing capacity.
“These are not new or revised values,” the statement said. “This is what we believe. Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capabilities. We believe building should be focused on much needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment.”
The statement continued: “We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour.”
It was the second statement the company has issued since CEO Kevin Plank — in a lengthy interview on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” — said President Donald Trump “wants to make bold decisions and be decisive” and that having “such a pro-business president is something that’s a real asset to this country.”
—The Baltimore Sun
Iran tones down anti-Trump messages as it celebrates its revolution
TEHRAN — Iran celebrated the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution with large nationwide rallies Friday that were strikingly devoid of one thing: the usual full-throated denunciations of the United States.
Amid rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. since President Donald Trump took office, many observers had expected Iran to use the annual, politically tinged festivities to attack him.
Instead, Iran’s leaders sought to lower the temperature. The heavily choreographed rallies in Tehran and other cities featured remarkably few anti-Trump placards and none of the faux missiles or nuclear centrifuges that had been paraded down the streets in years past.
By showing restraint, the Iranian establishment signaled that it would continue to pursue the rapprochement with the U.S. that began under President Barack Obama.
—Los Angeles Times
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