FOX NEWS FIRST: Cautious optimism on Trump-Kim meeting; Blackwater founder denies Trump-Russia back channel

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Developing now, Friday, March 9, 2018

  • President Trump agrees to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May, but critics call for continued pressure on the rogue nation
  • Recordings of 911 calls from the Parkland, Fla., massacre reveal the panic and fear unleashed by a gunman’s attack
  • FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Blackwater founder denies trying to set up back channels to Russia for the incoming Trump administration
  • Wall Street watches closely after Trump imposes tariffs on imported aluminum and steel on all countries except Canada and Mexico.
  • 'The View's' Joy Behar reportedly apologizes for mocking Vice President Pence's Christian faith

THE LEAD STORY - A CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO TRUMP-KIM MEETING: President Trump's planned meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was met with cheers from many Republican lawmakers -- but some skepticism from others ... After months of saber-rattling, Trump accepted an invitation by Kim to meet face-to-face. The two would meet by May, South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House on Thursday. Trump stressed Kim was interested in denuclearization and that sanctions would remain in place until an agreement is reached. "Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze," Trump tweeted. "Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time."

WHAT LED TO TRUMP ACCEPTING KIM'S INVITATION?: While traveling in Djibouti, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters a "dramatic" and surprising change of posture by Kim Jong Un led Trump to agree to a meeting ... The U.S. was taken aback at how "forward-leaning" Kim was in his conversations with a visiting South Korean delegation, Tillerson said. Trump, He added, made the decision "himself" after determining the time was right for "talks" — but not formal negotiations.

Defense officials hailed the planned meeting as a "potential breakthrough."Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., praised the planned meeting, saying that it “gives us the best hope” to “peacefully” resolve escalating tensions. But Graham warned Kim directly that “the worst possible thing you can do is meet with President Trump in person and try to play him.” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also said the invitation showed that sanctions on North Korea were “starting to work.”

However, some lawmakers and observers remained skeptical. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., also said that the invitation was the “beginning of a long diplomatic process” and that Trump needed to avoid “unscripted” remarks that could derail it. Evan S. Medeiros, a former adviser in the Obama administration, warned that Kim could be "playing Trump,” adding, “Kim will never give up his nukes.”

FLORIDA 911 CALLS CAPTURE CHAOS, HORROR: The Broward County Sheriff’s Department released 10 of 81 emergency calls placed during the shooting at a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day that left 17 people dead ... Included among the callers are several family members who students reached out to in the midst of the chaos, a person living nearby that thought they heard gunshots and an individual who spoke in such a low voice that the dispatcher had trouble hearing him when he said, “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is being shot up.” Several of the calls were transfers from other 911 operators, including one from a parent who said her son said he “heard noises and pops and he thinks there’s a shooting going on at the school.” Another woman who was emotional also called in saying she was talking with her son who “said ‘Shots! Shots! Shots! Mom! God.”

FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE: FAMILY TIES AND KREMLIN BACK CHANNEL 'LIES': Blackwater private security founder Erik Prince tells Fox News that there was no perjury, no collusion and no attempt to set up a back channel to the Kremlin when he met with a Russian oligarch weeks before President Trump’s inauguration ... Prince, who also Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's brother, says accusations that he lied to the House Intelligence Committee simply aren’t true. The Washington Post cites anonymous sources in its report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller “has gathered evidence that a secret meeting in Seychelles just before the inauguration of Donald Trump was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin.”

BRACING FOR TARIFF IMPACT: Observers will be watching Wall Street closely Friday following President Trump's order imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports  ... Trump's order, which he signed Thursday, carved out an exception for Canada and Mexico for now while North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations are under way. Stocks posted gains Thursday after Trump signed the tariffs order, easing concerns on Wall Street that the plan would fuel a trade war. The tariffs will go into effect in 15 days and critics of the plan are debating its potential impact on consumers.

NO JOY, ALL APOLOGIES AT ABC SHAREHOLDER'S MEETING: ABC News' "The View” star Joy Behar has reportedly apologized for recent comments that mocked Vice President Pence’s Christian faith ... Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the Q&A portion of a shareholder meeting on Thursday that Behar apologized directly to Pence on the phone. A source close to Pence confirmed to Fox News that Behar did apologize. The shareholder who asked the question was Justin Danhof, who is the general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research. Danhof told Iger that some of Disney’s recent decisions are “strange when trust in media is at an all-time low” and referred to Disney’s ESPN as a “24/7 anti-Trump tirade channel” before bringing up the Behar controversy.

AS SEEN ON FOX NEWS

DEMOCRATS' FARRAKHAN PROBLEM: "It's embarrassing that this nut is a power broker in the Democrat Party and the media won't cover it."–  Author and commentator Mark Steyn, on Tucker Carlson Tonight, blasting some Democrats' relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and liberal leadership's refusal to disavow him. WATCH

NO CALIFORNIA LOVE: "California is almost acting like it's a separate country altogether, not a separate state."  –  Laura Ingraham, sounded off on the sanctuary city debate and the "radical takeover of California," in her monologue for "The Ingraham Angle." WATCH

THE SWAMP

Will atheist Dem have a prayer in deep-red Tennessee's special election?

Dreamers to Democrats: We're tired of your lies.

Interior Dept. spending $139G to fix doors in Zinke’s office.

ACROSS THE NATION

Needles, debris, human waste tallied after cleanup of California homeless camp.

Teacher's handcuffing, rough treatment prompt state attorney general's lawsuit.

Shock in Milwaukee over 'cluster' outbreak of HIV and syphilis, including babies and teens.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS

Stocks flat ahead of February jobs report | Will February report trigger another market sell-off?

Toys R Us preparing to liquidate U.S. operations: Report.

Household net worth jumps to $98.7 trillion.

FOX NEWS OPINION

Daylight saving time: Don’t Blame Ben Franklin -- But make it stop.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin: Trump isn’t starting a trade war, he's helping to restore 'Made in America.'

Amb. Callista Gingrich: Ending human trafficking must be a global priority for us all.

HOLLYWOOD SQUARED

Obamas in talks to create programs for Netflix

Former Obama aide Kal Penn wants Schumer 'out of office' after pro-Israel speech.

Susan Sarandon says Paul Newman once gave up some of his salary for equal pay.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Daylight saving time: When and why we spring clocks forward.

The Volkswagen Beetle will soon be squashed.

The deadliest animals in America probably aren't what you think.

STAY TUNED

On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Geraldo size up planned Trump-Kim meeting and the president's tariffs order. Rep. Ron DeSantis on the 911 calls released from the Parkland mass shooting. Plus, how can consumers limit the data Facebook's advertisers are collecting? Kurt the "CyberGuy" shares insight.

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Attorney General Jeff Sessions sounds off on feds' problems with sanctuary state California, calls for a second special counsel and more.

Hannity, 9 p.m. ET: What’s behind the media's anti-Trump excess? And will they ever accept reality? Sean Spicer and the Hill's Joe Concha weigh in.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Guests include: Bruce Klingner, former CIA deputy division chief for the Koreas; Michael Wolf, Activate co-founder and CEO; Terence Wrong, executive producer of 'O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?'; Sean Spicer.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush; Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin; boxing legend Evander Holyfield.

Countdown to the Closing Bell, 3 p.m. ET: Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson.

After the Bell, 4 p.m. ET: Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing president.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcastPresident Trump signed a proclamation on steel and aluminum tariffs, defying critics and causing concerns of a trade war. Fox News' John Stossel weighs in on the move. Texas jump-started the midterm elections season with a strong turnout from both political parties. Tom Bevan, co-founder and publisher of RealClearPolitics, discusses the possibility of a blue wave as Pennsylvania's special election Tuesday approaches. Plus, commentary by 'The Five' co-host Juan Williams.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Rep. Jim Jordan on Trump's tariffs plan, the latest in Russia investigation and the planned Trump-Kim meeting; Sen. James Lankford on Russia, cyber security and the upcoming midterms; former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on the significance of the Trump-Kim meeting.

The Tom Shillue Show, 3 p.m. ET: Did President Trump make the right decision in accepting Kim Jong Un's invitation to meet? Rep. Steve King joins Tom.

Fox News Weekend:

Cavuto Live, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET: Longtime State Rep. Rick Saccone, who's running for the Pa. congressional seat, joins Cavuto Live ahead of Tuesday's critical special election. President Trump will be campaigning for Saccone. And Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the Parkland massacre, discusses his meeting with Gov. Rick Scott as governor mulls his decision on a proposed school safety bill.

Sunday Morning Futures, Sunday 10 a.m. ET: An interview with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Life, Liberty & Levin, Sunday, 10 p.m. ET: Mark Levin has a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

#OnThisDay

1997: Gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) is killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The killing remains unsolved.

1964: The U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raises the standard for public officials to prove they'd been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.

1918: Writer Mickey Spillane, famous for his pulp detective novels, is born Frank Morrison Spillane in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day and weekend! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Monday morning.