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NRA boss keeps details of CPAC speech concealed, as gun control fight heats up



With the gun control debate heating up in Washington in the wake of the Parkland shooting, the CEO of the National Rifle Association is keeping details about his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference under wraps – apparently as a precaution. 

A spokesman for the NRA confirmed to Fox News that Wayne LaPierre will speak at the conservative conference, which kicked off Wednesday outside Washington. 

But unlike for other speakers, information about his appearance was not publicly released.

A time for the speech has not been finalized, the spokesman said. The Washington Examiner reported that his name is deliberately being kept off the schedule as a precaution due to possible outrage from anti-gun protesters in the wake of the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A related panel discussion was also left off the schedule.

“Wayne LaPierre will be speaking, he’s my friend, he’s a leader in this area, and I’m glad he’s going to be there,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which is heading up CPAC, said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing.”

The shooting has re-ignited the long-running debate over the Second Amendment and gun control laws. President Trump announced late Tuesday that he has ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft new regulations to ban firearm modifiers like the “bump stock” used in the Las Vegas shooting in October.


A White House source told Fox News on Wednesday that Trump is open to a number of measures to address mass shootings, including a rise in the minimum age for owning certain firearms — proposals likely to see some resistance from the NRA and other gun-rights groups.

LaPierre, and other high-profile pro-Second Amendment speakers such as Dana Loesch, will be closely watched to see how they respond to the proposals from the White House.

Trump himself will speak Friday and it is unclear if he will address calls for new gun legislation, and how that will be received.

The prominence of the gun debate will also tap into a tension between more traditional conservatives — who consider Second Amendment protections paramount — and nationalist-populists more focused on immigration and Islamism.

Targeting the latter wing is the appearance scheduled for Thursday by right-wing French former lawmaker Marion Maréchal-Le Pen — the niece of 2017 French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and the granddaughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

French far-right Front National Parliament member Marion Marechal Le Pen takes part in the "La Manif Pour Tous" (Demonstration For All) to protest against PMA (Procreation Medicalement Assistee or Medically Assisted Reproduction) and GPA (Grossesse pour Autrui or Gestation for Others) during a march in Paris, France, October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - S1BEUHICYDAC

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen will speak at CPAC.


The 28-year-old Marion is widely viewed as more conservative than her aunt Marine — who worked to distance herself and “de-toxify” her party of the racist and anti-Semitic views of her father Jean-Marie, who was convicted and fined for comments in which he called the Holocaust a “detail of history.” Marine made it to the run-off in 2017 where she lost to now-President Emmanuel Macron.

While both share hardline views on issues such as Islam and immigration, Marion has expressed more traditionally conservative views on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. According to French newspaper L’Incorrect, Le Pen’s theme at CPAC will be “conservativism on both shores.”

Schlapp defended the invite in the face of criticism from conservatives.

“She’s her own person, she’s a young person, she’s broken with her family on those positons and she’s a new voice in France and by the way she’s a voice that resembles a lot of conservative voices here,” he said on “The Daily Briefing.” “She’s for traditional marriage, she’s pro-life, she doesn’t believe that the welfare state solves problems and, yes, she wants to make sure when people immigrate into France that they want to be French and love the country.”

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg was unconvinced, calling the move a “bad decision” and asking whether she was a classical liberal or a “National Front Kardashian with better messaging?”

The tension hits at the center of the debate within conservative circles over whether the GOP should stick to its free-market Reaganite conservatism or lean toward the more European-style nationalist-populist movements — reflected in the 2016 candidacy of Donald Trump. 

CPAC generally has tilted toward the former, and has had a sometimes-rocky relationship with populist speakers and lawmakers. Trump pulled out of a planned appearance there in 2016 over concerns of a backlash from more traditional conservatives.

With Trump now president, there is evidence of more populism seeping into CPAC. Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage will speak, as will former Trump adviser and Fox News contributor Sebastian Gorka — both of whom have called for restriction of immigration and warned against the dangers of Islamism.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and John Roberts contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

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Labour civil war: Furious Jeremy Corbyn attacks Starmer as furious row escalates to court



JEREMY CORBYN’S lawyers have accused Sir Keir Starmer of making disingenuous attacks on his predecessor during a high court hearing on Monday.

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Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for top spy, to tell Senate she’ll keep politics out of intelligence analysis



WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s nominee to lead America’s vast spying bureaucracy is expected to tell senators weighing her confirmation that she will protect whistleblowers, speak truth to power and keep politics out of intelligence analysis, according to excerpts of her prepared statement obtained by NBC News.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday to consider the nomination of Avril Haines, who was a national security official during the Obama administration, to become director of national intelligence. She would oversee 18 intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Haines, who was deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, will also tell lawmakers that she intends to prioritize countering China, bolstering cyber defenses and anticipating the next pandemic, according to the prepared remarks.

“We should provide the necessary intelligence to support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China — gaining and sharing insight into China’s intentions and capabilities, while also supporting more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations, whenever we can,” she intends to say.

“At the same time, the DNI should see to it that the Intelligence Community’s unique capabilities are brought to bear on the global Covid-19 crisis around the world, while also addressing the long-term challenge of future biological crises — enabling U.S. global health leadership and positioning us to detect future outbreaks before they become pandemics.”

Haines would become the first woman in the job, which was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to better coordinate the sprawling American intelligence bureaucracy. She would succeed John Ratcliffe, a Republican former member of Congress from Texas who appears to have gotten the job because of his loyalty to President Donald Trump and because the acting occupant of the job, Richard Grenell, was deemed so unacceptable by Senate Democrats that they were willing to confirm Ratcliffe to be rid of him.

Among other things, the director of national intelligence oversees the presidential intelligence briefing process. But the director does not run covert operations ordered by the president — the CIA director retains that power.

The excerpts of Haines’ testimony do not mention the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but the issue of whether the FBI and other agencies have a handle on domestic extremism is likely to come up at the hearing. While the job of national intelligence director focuses mainly on spying abroad, it includes jurisdiction over the National Counterterrorism Center, which analyzes intelligence about both domestic and international terrorism, and last year it published a report noting that there is no “whole of government” effort aimed at domestic terrorism.

“If I have the honor of being confirmed, I look forward to leading the Intelligence Community on behalf of the American people — to safeguarding their interests, advancing their security and prosperity, and to defending our democracy, our freedoms and our values,” Haines, who joined the government in 2008 as a State Department legal adviser, intends to say.

To be effective, she will add, “the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult.”

“To safeguard the integrity of our Intelligence Community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever,” she will say.

After Haines and other Biden nominees were introduced in November, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter that Biden’s Cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline.”

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Matt Hancock self-isolating after coronavirus scare hours after major No10 briefing



MATT HANCOCK is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

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