TRUMP FIRES SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON: President Donald Trump ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state Tuesday, making a surprise Twitter announcement that he's naming CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace him. "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State," Trump tweeted. "He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!" A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.
WATCHDOG GROUP WARNS OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DESTROYING DATA: In a new report to be released Tuesday, watchdog group Public Citizen outlined 25 ways President Donald Trump and federal agencies have conducted a so-called war on information over the last 14 months, largely eliminating data it finds inconvenient. In most cases, the information already had been previously collected by the government. But in other cases, a plan was in place for the government to start collecting the information. “A president who cares little about facts and has a dubious understanding of the concept of truthfulness sets the tone for his overall administration,” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, told McClatchy. “But it’s not just that the administration is sloppy with the facts; it has engaged in a deliberate campaign to suppress information that contradicts its corporate and ideological extremist agenda.”
HOUSE INTEL PANEL TO RELEASE WHITEWASHED RUSSIA REPORT: Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have completed a draft report concluding there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, a finding that pleased the White House but enraged Democrats who had not yet seen the document. After a yearlong investigation, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway announced Monday that the committee has finished interviewing witnesses and will share the report with Democrats for the first time Tuesday. Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe, one of several investigations on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. "We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters, suggesting that those who believe there was collusion are reading too many spy novels.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER ACCUSES RUSSIA OF USING NERVE AGENT IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT: May said British scientists have determined that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok, a class of nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War. She said it was “highly likely” the substance came from Russia, and there were two possible explanations. “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others,” she said. May said Britain had given the Russian ambassador in London a deadline of Tuesday to explain which version is true. She said Russia must also “provide full and complete disclosure” of its Novichok program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the oversight body for the international chemical weapons convention.
RALEIGH AREA STUDENTS TO WALK OUT OF SCHOOL TOMORROW TO PROTEST GUN VIOLENCE: Students at schools across the Triangle are planning to take part in a National School Walkout on Wednesday morning to call for an end to school gun violence. The Women's March Youth EMPOWER is encouraging students across the country to walk out Wednesday at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes — one minute for each of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14. Students at public and private Triangle schools, ranging from elementary through high school, have registered to take part in the protest. "We urge Apex High School students to walkout on March 14th to show our government that we will not continue to accept the threat of violence in our schools.," tweeted Why Apex Walks, the group organizing the Apex High School walkout. "We will not run from this. We will walk out in solidarity to ensure our futures."