By Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

5 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that peace with the Palestinians “can only be negotiated directly between the two parties” and that the U.S. will work closely with Israel on that goal.

Trump and Netanyahu spoke by phone Sunday, their first conversation since Trump’s inauguration. The White House says Trump invited Netanyahu for a visit to Washington in early February.

According to the White House, the two leaders agreed to consult on a range of regional issues, including “the threats posed by Iran.” The White House says the president also affirmed his “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security” and his administration’s focus on countering terrorism.

Netanyahu had a frosty relationship with Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and has so far spoken favorably about the new U.S. leader.


4:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to meet with bipartisan congressional leaders at the White House Monday night.

That’s according to a person familiar with plans for the meeting.

The meeting would be Trump’s first formal meeting with Hill leaders as president. He did mingle with lawmakers at an inaugural lunch on Capitol Hill and also met with Republican leaders during the transition.

Trump’s congressional agenda includes repealing and replacing the nation’s health care law and passing tax reform. The president will also be seeking Senate support for his yet-to-be-named nominee to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.

The person familiar with the plans insisted on anonymity in order to confirm the meeting ahead of an official announcement.

-Julie Pace


4 p.m.

President Donald Trump is singling out FBI Director James Comey at a reception to thank law enforcement offers and others that helped during his inauguration.

Trump called Comey up to where he was standing to offer a handshake and hug.

He says Comey has “become more famous than me.”

Trump was speaking in the Blue Room of the White House to law enforcement officers and other agency heads who’d helped with Friday’s festivities.

Trump thanked the officials for their work on the inauguration, saying the day was “such a success and such a safety success.”


2:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will discuss immigration and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement when he meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The White House has said the meeting will take place Jan. 31.

Trump ran for office on a pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it. He reiterated that promise following the election, and on Sunday he said Mexico has “been terrific.”

The president is also expected to meet soon with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country is also a partner in NAFTA.

Trump has blamed the three-nation trade pact for disadvantaging American workers and leading companies to move out of the U.S.


2:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is telling his top advisers that they’re in the White House to “devote ourselves to the national good.”

Trump is swearing in his senior White House team during a ceremony in the East Room. He says their work isn’t about party or ideology, “it’s about serving the American people.”

Trump praised his team’s talent. But he also joked that if his advisers are not doing their jobs well, “I will let you know.”

Vice President Mike Pence joined Trump for the event and carried out the official swearing in.


2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has spoken with Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia to express his condolences about those killed by the powerful tornadoes that have ripped through his state.

Trump described the tornadoes as vicious and powerful during remarks in the East Room of the White House during his second full day in office.

He says he’ll be speaking with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida later this afternoon.

Deadly weather in the southeast has killed at least 15 people and injured dozens more.


1:25 p.m.

The White House says it’s at the “very beginning” of discussing plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The statement follows reports in Israeli media that President Donald Trump had imminent plans to announce the move.

Trump is scheduled to speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone later Sunday.

Like many presidential candidates, Trump promised to make the embassy move. But presidents have avoided following through on that pledge in part because of concerns that it would inflame tensions in the Middle East.


11:35 a.m.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway says President Donald Trump will not release his tax returns, appearing to shut the door on a decades-long tradition of transparency.

Every president since 1976 has released their returns. During the campaign, Trump refused to make his filings public, saying they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and saying he’d release them after that review is complete.

Conway was asked Sunday about a petition on the White House website signed by more than 200,000 people calling for Trump to release his returns.

Conway told ABC’s “This Week”: “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns.”

She added: “We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care.”

Polls show a majority of Americans want him to release the returns.


11:30 a.m.

Transportation officials in Washington say more than a million trips were taken on the city’s rail system Saturday - a tally that is hundreds of thousands more than on Inauguration Day and sets a Saturday record.

Metro tweeted Sunday that 1,001,616 trips were taken on the rail system on Saturday, the day of the Women’s March on Washington.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel had said that on Friday, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, just over 570,000 trips were taken on the rail system.

Saturday’s ridership number topped the previous Saturday ridership record set in 2010 on the day of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. More than 825,000 trips were taken that day.


11 a.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is joining Sen. John McCain in saying he will support Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

Graham confirmed his position on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and in a joint statement with McCain.

The two GOP senators have urged Trump to back tougher U.S. sanctions against Russia for trying to influence U.S. voters by hacking Democratic emails.

In a joint statement Sunday, the senators said: “Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests.”

Graham told CBS that he is “begging this president to understand that if we don’t help others over there we’re always going to be endangered here.”


10:40 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will speak to congressional Republicans at their strategy conference in Philadelphia on Thursday before an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump the next day.

She’s expected to be the first world leader to hold direct talks with Trump since he took office.

The British Embassy says the meeting is a chance for the leaders to become acquainted and “establish the basis for a productive working relationship.”

Among the expect topics: terrorism, Syria, Russia and NATO.

The embassy’s statement says May would be the first serving head of state or government from outside the United States to address the annual GOP retreat.


10:25 a.m.

Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, is saying that President Donald Trump’s first full week in office will include action on trade, immigration and national security.

Priebus suggested Trump will sign some executive orders to order some of the President Obama’s policies but did not outline specifics.

The chief of staff, during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” also said that Trump was feeling the “enormity” of the presidency when he stepped into the Oval Office for the first time.

But Priebus said that Trump was “still the same person” and was “remarkably consistent.”

Priebus said: “I can promise you he wants to make people proud.”


10:20 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes the Senate will confirm all of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Only two Cabinet members, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have been confirmed so far.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the Kentucky Senator urged Democrats to give expedient hearings for both Cabinet picks and Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

McConnell also said that Republican leadership in the Senate and House of Representatives were working with the White House on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act but declined to provide details.


10:10 a.m.

A top aide to President Donald Trump says crowd size at an inauguration doesn’t matter.

Kellyanne Conway tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it was unfair for the media to report that Trump’s inauguration was smaller than President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Prior to his inauguration, Trump predicted his inauguration would have “an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout.”

Conway said she believes the threat of rain might have deterred supporters and said, “I don’t think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration. I think they are judged by their accomplishments.”

When asked why Trump press secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the inauguration as the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration - period - both in person and around the globe,” Conway said he was merely offering “alternative facts.”


10:05 a.m.

Sen. John McCain says he’s now supporting Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson.

The Arizona senator says the decision “wasn’t an easy call” but he says the former Exxon Mobil CEO assuaged worries about his positions on Russia in a series of private meetings. McCain says he also believes in giving incoming presidents “the benefit of the doubt” on their picks.

McCain had raised concerns about Tillerson’s perceived coziness with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on Tillerson’s nomination on Monday afternoon.

McCain made his remarks in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”


10 a.m.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is defending President Donald Trump’s anger at the media for correctly reporting that his inauguration drew a smaller crowd than his predecessor.

Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer were trying to keep the media “honest” when they levied charges of false reporting the day before.

Priebus claimed there “is an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president and we are not going to sit around and let it happen.”

Trump turned a visit to the CIA into an occasion to bash the media.

Photos the National Mall clearly show that President Barack Obama drew a much larger crowd to his inauguration in 2009. Official crowd counts were not released.


9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is doing a quick about-face about the protests that swept through Washington and around the world on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy.”

He then continued, “Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

That came less than two hours after he first denounced the protests, which drew more than 1 million people. He tweeted he was “under the impression that we just had an election!” and adds: “Why didn’t these people vote?”

While Trump is claiming these protesters didn’t vote, that seems unlikely.

Trump won the vote in the Electoral College, putting him in the White House, but Democrat Hillary Clinton captured the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.


9:35 a.m.

The Senate’s top Democrat says his party won’t be rushing into confirming President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Already on the job are retired Gens. James Mattis at the Defense Department and John Kelly at Homeland Security.

And there’s a vote expected Monday evening on a Republican congressman, Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh), to lead the CIA.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says that for many other nominees, “there’s going to be a thorough debate.” He tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that he’s “dubious” about eight or nine of Trump’s picks, and he’s citing potential conflicts of interests and policy stands, but says he hasn’t made final decisions about how he’ll vote.

The New York Democrat is making his view clear that “advise and consent does not mean ram it through.”


8:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he watched some of the protests from Saturday - when more than 1 million people rallied at women’s marches in Washington and around the world.

But he doesn’t seem to think much of the demonstrations.

He says in a tweet Sunday morning that he was “under the impression that we just had an election!” and adds: “Why didn’t these people vote?”

While Trump is claiming these protesters didn’t vote, that seems unlikely.

Trump won the vote in the Electoral College, putting him in the White House, but Democrat Hillary Clinton captured the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.


8:05 a.m.

Germany’s foreign ministers says Donald Trump’s election as president means “the old world of the 20th century is finally over.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier writes in Bild newspaper that Germany will act quickly to secure “close and trusting trans-Atlantic cooperation based on common values” with the new administration.

He says that with any power change there are “uncertainties, doubts and question marks,” but a lot more is at stake “in these times of a new global disorder.”


6:30 a.m.

Britain’s prime minister says she plans to discuss free trade and the importance of NATO when she becomes the first foreign leader to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington.

The White House’s invitation for Theresa May to meet with Trump on Friday is seen in Britain as affirmation that Trump values the vaunted “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.

May tells the BBC that the Trump team is interested in discussing a new trade arrangement with Britain despite the “America first” theme of Trump’s inaugural address and his pledge to evaluate every trade deal for its possible benefits to the United States.

May says she’ll bring up NATO during the meeting, and she calls the alliance the “bulwark” of Europe’s defense system.

Trump has rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is “obsolete” and that the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don’t meet targets for their own defense spending.


4:15 a.m.

The Dalai Lama says he hopes President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will work together for global peace.

The exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists says the world needs leaders with compassion.

According to a press statement, he made the remarks Saturday at a program in New Delhi organized by the women’s chapter of an industry group.


4 a.m.

Turkey’s president says he’s interested in hearing President Donald Trump’s policies on the Middle East.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) tells reporters before leaving on a trip to Africa that Turkey wants a Mideast where countries’ territorial integrity is upheld and the region is not “shattered.”

Turkey is especially concerned about the possible disintegration of neighbors Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan says efforts are underway to set a date for a possible meeting with Trump.

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