Trump looks to refocus his presidency in address to Congress WASHINGTON (AP) - With his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump has an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. His allies hope it will help him move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he has dealt with so far. Trump's advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending. "We spend billions in the Middle East, but we have potholes all over the country," Trump said Monday as he previewed the address during a meeting with the nation's governors.
The Latest: Trump suggests leaving many fed jobs unfilled President Donald Trump acknowledges that there remains hundreds of unfilled jobs in his administration, but says "they're unnecessary to have." In an interview with Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" that aired Tuesday, Trump says he has no intention of filling many of the open positions. He says, "I say, 'What do all these people do?' You don't need all those jobs." Trump also says that some are looking to criticize him for eliminating those positions, but he adds, "That's not a bad thing. That's a good thing. We're running a very good, efficient government."
Partisan discord tainting probes of Russia, Trump, election WASHINGTON (AP) - Partisan discord is seeping into House and Senate intelligence committee investigations of the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether President Donald Trump has ties to Russia. Both Republicans and Democrats say they can still conduct bipartisan probes, but there are renewed calls for a special prosecutor and revelations that the White House enlisted GOP chairmen of the intelligence committees to push back against news reports suggesting Trump advisers were in contact with Russians. The issue will likely surface at Tuesday's Senate confirmation hearing for Dan Coats, a former senator from Indiana who is Trump's pick to be the next national intelligence director.
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10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today. 1. TRUMP READIES FOR PRIME-TIME SPEECH With his first address to Congress, the president gets an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. 2. HOW PYONGYANG IS TURNING UP DIPLOMATIC HEAT A high-level North Korean delegation arrives in Kuala Lumpur, seeking the body of Kim Jong Un's half brother, the victim of a nerve-agent attack that many suspect the North itself of orchestrating. 3. SCANDAL'S STAIN SPREADS TO SAMSUNG South Korean prosecutors said they will indict Samsung's de facto chief on bribery, embezzlement and other charges linked to a political scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye.
N. Korean diplomats in Malaysia to seek Kim's brother's body KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A high-level North Korean delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday seeking the body of leader Kim Jong Un's half brother, the victim of a nerve-agent attack that many suspect the North itself of orchestrating. The body of Kim Jong Nam, killed Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport, is at the center of a heated diplomatic battle between North Korea and Malaysia. North Korea opposed Malaysian officials even conducting an autopsy, while Malaysia has resisted giving up the body without getting DNA samples and confirmation from next of kin. The delegation includes Ri Tong Il, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who told reporters Tuesday outside the North Korean Embassy that the diplomats were in Malaysia to retrieve the body and seek the release of a North Korean arrested in the case.
South Korean prosecutors to indict Samsung's de facto chief SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean special prosecutors said they would indict Samsung's de facto chief Tuesday on bribery, embezzlement and other charges linked to a political scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye. The planned indictment of Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong is a huge hit for the largest and most successful of the big businesses that dominate the South Korean economy. It also signals the still roiling state of South Korea's political and economic circles after weeks of massive demonstrations that led to Park's impeachment. The announcements of the planned indictment came after a three-month investigation by the special prosecution team, which ended Tuesday after the country's acting leader refused a request for an extension.
UN defends refugee vetting as Trump mulls revised entry ban AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - In an office cubicle at the U.N. refugee agency, a Syrian woman and her three daughters took turns staring into a camera for iris scans. Their biometric registration, a first step toward possible resettlement in the West, is to be followed by interviews and background checks that can take months or even years. The 31-year-old part-time hairdresser, who fled to Jordan in 2014 after her husband went missing in Syria's civil war, feels fortunate. But the long road ahead for many Syrian refugees could grow even more arduous if U.S. President Donald Trump fulfils campaign vows to impose "extreme vetting."
Divided Republicans await guidance from Trump WASHINGTON (AP) - Flailing and divided, congressional Republicans are hoping for clarity from President Donald Trump on key issues like health care when he delivers his first speech to a joint meeting of Congress. It comes as Republicans are discovering, a month into Trump's administration, how difficult it will be to make good on their many promises now that they control Washington in full. The GOP's long-stated plans to repeal former President Barack Obama's health care law and replace it with something better are running into major difficulties even before legislation is officially released. After a week of raucous town hall meetings, Republicans are back in Washington and key conservatives have begun to denounce House leadership plans based on a leaked draft and reports that the bill would cost more than expected while covering fewer people than the Affordable Care Act.
Trump takes on entrenched practice of Washington leaks NEW YORK (AP) - When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wanted to crack down on leaks last week, he collected his aides' cell phones to check for communication with reporters. The crackdown quickly leaked. President Donald Trump now says he probably would have handled the situation differently, meeting with staff one-on-one instead - but perhaps still demanding to look at their phones. "I mean, you know, there are things you can do that are a hell of a lot worse than that, I'll be honest with you," Trump told "Fox & Friends" in an interview aired Tuesday. Trump denied that there was a "major leak process" at the White House.
Starbucks CEO says chain ready to enter Italy after 35 years MILAN (AP) - Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's vision for the chain was largely inspired by the coffee bars he saw on his first trip to Milan more than three decades ago. But it took the company growing to about 26,000 stores in 75 countries to win the credibility he felt necessary to make the leap into the country that gave espresso to the world. "I didn't think we were ready to come to Italy," Schultz told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. "I think Italy is such a special place. I am so respectful of the Italian coffee heritage and the Italian culture, and I think we had to earn that respect, opportunity, and I think over the years we got to the point that we are now ready to come."