WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):
The New York Times is reporting that U.S. agencies intercepted phone calls last year between Russian intelligence officials and members of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team.
The Times reports that the Russians made contact with Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign chairman. In late August, Manafort resigned from that job after disclosures by The Associated Press about his firm’s covert lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s former pro-Russia governing party.
Current and former U.S. officials interviewed by the Times declined to identify other Trump associates contacted by the Russians.
The anonymous officials told the Times they found no evidence that the Trump campaign was working with the Russians on hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman isn’t ready to say he’s supporting fast food executive Andrew Puzder as President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor.
A spokesman for Portman confirms he is one of at least six GOP senators who are waiting to hear Puzder answer questions Thursday at his confirmation hearing.
The CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. has acknowledged employing a housekeeper who was not authorized to work in the United States. Puzder says he fired her about five years ago but did not pay the related taxes until after Trump nominated him Dec. 9. Puzder’s spokesman says the nominee paid the taxes as soon as he discovered he owed them.
Senators are certain to confront him about the lag when Puzder appears before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
A U.S. official says the FBI interviewed former national security adviser Michael Flynn about his interactions with a top Russian official.
The official says the interview took place at some point after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was not immediately known what questions the FBI asked of Flynn or what he told law enforcement officials.
Flynn was ousted from his position Monday night amid concerns that he had misled Trump administration officials about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Press secretary Sean Spicer said Flynn’s firing was prompted by a gradual “erosion” of trust.
The New York Times first reported the FBI interview.
A fifth Republican senator is refusing to say he’ll support Donald Trump’s choice for labor secretary.
Fast food CEO Andrew Puzder’s confirmation hearing is Thursday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Four senators on that panel have said they want to hear why Puzder didn’t pay taxes on a housekeeper not authorized to work in the U.S. until five years after he fired her.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a member of the leadership, added himself to that group Tuesday. Thune told reporters he will “wait and see what his explanation is” at the hearing.
The other four are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — more than enough to sink Puzder’s nomination.
Former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon has been sworn in to lead the Small Business Administration.
Vice President Mike Pence administered the oath to McMahon Tuesday after the Senate voted 81-19 to confirm her. The vote was a rare display of bipartisanship compared to the conflict over many of President Donald Trump’s other nominees.
McMahon helped start and grow World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. She served as the chief executive officer at WWE before stepping down in 2009 to run for the Senate. She lost races in 2010 and 2012, spending nearly $100 million of her own money on the campaigns.
The SBA is best known for making small business loans and providing disaster aid to companies and entrepreneurs.
David Shulkin has been sworn in as President Donald Trump’s Veterans Affairs secretary.
Vice President Mike Pence administered the oath to Shulkin after all 100 senators voted late Monday to confirm the 57-year-old physician to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. The vote was a rare show of bipartisanship amid partisan rancor over Trump’s other Cabinet nominees.
Shulkin is a holdover from the Obama administration; he had been the VA’s undersecretary of health.
Trump congratulated Shulkin on Twitter late Monday and urged him to immediately begin to “take care of veterans who have fought to protect our country.”
Shulkin is the first nonveteran to head the department, which has struggled at times to provide timely medical care and disability payments to millions of former service members.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is calling for a thorough and independent investigation of the situation with former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
As part of it, Schumer insists that Attorney General Jeff Sessions must recuse himself.
Schumer tells reporters Tuesday, “General Flynn’s resignation is not the end of the story. It is merely the beginning.”
The resignation “raises more questions than it answers and the American people deserve to know the truth.”
As for GOP suggestions that the House and Senate intelligence committees pursue any investigation, Schumer noted that the committee does not have prosecutorial authority. He says he is calling for “an independent investigation with executive authorities to purse potential criminal actions.”
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wants to know more about the information security measures at Mar-a-Lago, which President Donald Trump calls the “Winter White House.”
The Utah Republican asked White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to describe the security protocols in place to protect sensitive information while the president is at the Palm Beach, Florida, resort that he owns and has visited two weekends in a row.
Chaffetz’s letter to Priebus, dated Tuesday, comes after weekend news reports described a powwow between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after North Korea launched a missile. The leaders were at a terrace restaurant that was in full view — and earshot — of Mar-a-Lago members.
Chaffetz also asks Priebus for an “explanation about whether and how the guests, employees, and residents at Mar-a-Lago are vetted in order to ensure that they are not foreign agents or spies on behalf of a foreign government.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Tuesday reiterated that Trump did not receive or review any classified material at the dinner table.
President Donald Trump is promising to create jobs as he signs legislation rolling back a regulation from the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.
Trump on Tuesday signed legislation striking down a rule that requires oil and gas companies to disclose payments to the U.S. or foreign governments for commercial development.
Trump said the legislation was part of an effort to bring back jobs “big league.”
Trump said, “We’re bringing them back at the plant level. We’re bringing them back at the mine level. The energy jobs are coming back.”
The top Republican in the Senate is pushing back on Democratic calls for a special investigative panel after the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that the Senate’s intelligence committee is already looking into Russian interference in the presidential election and the panel has broad discretion.
The day after Flynn’s resignation over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., congressional Democrats called for the establishment of a select committee to investigate. But Republicans leaders, such as Speaker Paul Ryan and McConnell, argued that the existing committees in Congress can handle any probe.
The government’s ethics watchdog is recommending that the White House investigate and possibly discipline President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway.
In a letter made public Tuesday, the Office of Government Ethics wrote to White House attorneys that there’s reason to believe that Conway violated the standards of ethical conduct for executive employees by endorsing Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during a television interview last week.
The letter notes lawyers for the White House and OGE spoke on Feb. 9 — the day of Conway’s interview — and that the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee asked OGE to follow up.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last week that Conway has been “counseled,” but the OGE said it has yet to receive any guidance on what if anything happened as a corrective action. The OGE is requesting that White House lawyers tell them in writing by Feb. 28 what they’ve done about the matter.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says there was “exhaustive and extensive questioning” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on multiple occasions over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Spicer says Flynn offered his resignation late Monday night after losing the trust of President Donald Trump.
Spicer says the Justice Department informed the White House on Jan. 26 about Flynn’s conversations during the transition.
He says the White House counsel undertook an extensive review of materials and engaged in exhaustive questioning of Flynn.
The White House says that President Donald Trump asked his national security adviser to tender his resignation because of a trust issue, not a legal issue.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that retired Gen. Michael Flynn either mislead Vice President Mike Pence and others, or forgot “critical details” about his call with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., creating “a critical mass and an unsustainable situation.”
Flynn resigned his position late Monday, days after a Washington Post report revealed that Flynn addressed sanctions with the diplomat while President Barack Obama was still in office.
Spicer said that Trump was briefed by his advisers after officials with the Justice Department flagged the phone call. Spicer says the White House counsel determined the situation did not pose a legal issue.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the departure of President Donald Trump’s national security adviser “has no effect at all” on him.
Speaking to reporters on the way to a NATO defense ministers’ meeting, Mattis says of Michael Flynn’s resignation: “Frankly, this has no impact.”
Mattis says he hasn’t changed what he is planning to do in Europe this week, or what his message will be.
He says he will work with whoever is on the president’s staff.
So, he says, “It’s full speed ahead.”
President Donald Trump says he wants to know what’s going on with the “tremendous amount of increase” in autism rates.
Trump commented at a White House meeting with teachers after the principal of a Northern Virginia special education center said her school had shifted its population to accommodate more students with autism.
Trump asked whether she had any idea what’s going on with autism rates and told her “maybe we can do something.”
The principal said that 1 in 66 kids are diagnosed with autism, figures that are in line with the most recent government report on the matter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last March that about 1 in 68 school-aged children have autism or related disorders — about the same as in 2014.
President Donald Trump says America’s children will be the winners with Betsy DeVos as education secretary.
Trump congratulated DeVos at a White House “listening session” with people who have taught in public and private school, and others who home-school their kids.
DeVos became education secretary after Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote on her nomination in the Senate. Pence is also president of the Senate.
DeVos is a wealthy Republican operative and promoter of charter and private schools. Critics say she’s too inexperienced to oversee the public school system.
Trump says DeVos went through a “very tough trial and a very unfair trial” and won.
Trump briefly questioned a woman who said her students include those with autism, telling her “maybe we can do something” about autism rates.
The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate says Election Day is a day that will live in “cyber infamy.”
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is referring to the intelligence community assessment that Russia meddled in the Nov. 8 election to help Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Durbin said on the Senate floor Tuesday that the resignation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, shows the need to examine the role that Russia has played in the election and the contacts that occurred with Russia as the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Moscow.
Democrats are pressing for a special select committee to investigate. Republicans maintain that the existing congressional panels on the Hill can handle the probe.
Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump made the “right decision” to ask for the resignation of Michael Flynn, who is out as national security adviser.
The Wisconsin Republican told reporters on Tuesday that you cannot have the national security adviser misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others in the administration. Flynn resigned Monday night.
Ryan also defended Trump’s conferring with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on decisions with national security implications at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
Ryan said it was his understanding that no classified information was discussed.
President Donald Trump says the “real story” is the “illegal leaks” coming out of Washington.
The tweet early Tuesday is Trump’s first public comments since his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned because of conversations he had with a Russian diplomat.
Flynn apologized for giving Vice President Mike Pence and others “incomplete information” about his calls with Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (KEE-slee-ack), and whether Flynn addressed U.S. sanctions before Trump’s inauguration. Doing so breaks diplomatic protocol and potentially the law.
Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”
North Korea tested a ballistic missile over the weekend while Trump was at his Florida resort hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Democrats say they want an investigation into President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia, including when Trump learned that his national security adviser had discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian diplomat.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the “the American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security.”
At issue is whether Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, broke diplomatic protocol and potentially the law by discussing U.S. sanctions with Moscow before Trump’s inauguration. The White House says Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the discussions.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says he wants to know whether Flynn was acting on Trump’s behalf.
A top aide to President Donald Trump says Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser because he misled the vice president.
Kellyanne Conway tells NBC’s “Today” show that “the situation became unsustainable.”
Late last month, the Justice Department warned the White House that Flynn could be in a compromised position because of contradictions between the public depictions of U.S. phone calls with foreign officials and what intelligence officials knew to be true based on recordings of the conversations.
On Monday, Conway said Flynn enjoys “the full confidence of the president.” On Tuesday, she said it was true Trump was “loyal” to Flynn. But, she added, “Misleading the vice president really was the key here.”
President Donald Trump’s embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned following reports he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. His departure upends Trump’s senior team after less than a month in office.
In a resignation letter, Flynn said he gave Vice President Mike Pence and others “incomplete information” about his calls with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. The vice president, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.
Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as the acting national security adviser. Kellogg had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff and advised Trump during the campaign. Trump is also considering former CIA Director David Petraeus and Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a U.S. Navy SEAL, for the post, according to a senior administration official.