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Trump insists his views on a border wall have not 'evolved'
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump insisted Thursday his views on a border wall with Mexico have not evolved, pushing back against his own chief of staff's comments to lawmakers. Trump said on Twitter: "The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it." Some Democrats who met with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday say Kelly told them parts of the border don't need a wall - and that Trump didn't know that when making campaign promises. Trump tweeted Thursday that some of the wall will be "see through," and he wrote that the wall was never supposed to be built where there are natural barriers.


Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's White House is relying on a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege that is rankling members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as current and former advisers parade to Capitol Hill for questioning about possible connections with Russia. The White House's contention: Pretty much everything is off limits until the president says it's not. The argument was laid bare this week during former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's interview with the House Intelligence Committee. As lawmakers in the closed-door session probed Bannon's time working for Trump, his attorney got on the phone with the White House counsel's office, relaying questions and asking what Bannon could tell Congress, according to a White House official and a second person familiar with the interview.


Trump to Pennsylvania, but don't call it a campaign trip
President Donald Trump is tiptoeing around the first congressional election of the new year as he heads to southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday to hail the Republican tax cuts he signed last year. Trump will appear with the Republican nominee for a Pittsburgh-area House seat. But the White House said Trump won't mention Rick Saccone in his remarks. And the event isn't actually in the 18th Congressional District, which holds the special election March 13. Democrats, meanwhile, aren't necessarily any more confident in the chances that lawyer and former Marine Conor Lamb can flip the district to their side. The handling of the race shows both sides' reluctance to put too much emphasis on one contest amid the high stakes of this midterm election year.


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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. HAITIANS FACE HURDLES AFTER PROTECTED STATUS RENEWAL DELAYS A bureaucratic delay by U.S. immigration officials has cost some of them their jobs, others the chance to travel for family emergencies and many feeling like it was intentional. 2. WHERE TRUMP IS HEADED Southwestern Pennsylvania to celebrate the Republican tax overhaul - and perhaps give a boost to the GOP candidate in the year's first congressional election. 3. WHY PENCE'S VISIT IS A DILEMMA FOR MIDEAST LEADERS The U.S. vice president's upcoming visit comes at a time of friction between his administration and the Palestinian leadership, posing a dilemma for host nations Egypt and Jordan.


Grandparents shocked by reports of 13 starved grandchildren
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The grandparents of 13 starved and tortured children say their son's family looked happy and healthy when they last visited California six years ago. "They were just like any ordinary family," said Betty Turpin, the 81-year-old mother of David Turpin. "And they had such good relationships. I'm not just saying this stuff. These kids, we were amazed. They were 'sweetie' this and 'sweetie' that to each other." Betty Turpin and her husband James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia visited her son's family for five days at their previous home in Murrieta, California. Betty Turpin told the Southern California News Group on Wednesday that they are still in shock from learning that her son and his wife were arrested this week, their children, ages 2 to 29, found malnourished with some in shackles.


Pence visit showcases dilemma facing Egypt, Jordan leaders
CAIRO (AP) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming visit to the Middle East comes at a time of intensely publicized friction between his administration and the Palestinian leadership, posing a dilemma for his Arab hosts - Egypt's president and Jordan's king - on how to safeguard their vital ties with Washington without appearing to ignore Palestinian misgivings. Both countries are heavily dependent on U.S. military and economic aid, and talks with a senior Trump administration official like Pence offer them an opportunity to strengthen those ties. It's a tall order given that Pence is visiting at a time of rising anti-U.S.


Federal responsibility in nuclear attack alerts is unclear
HONOLULU (AP) - A timeline shows Hawaii officials botched efforts to immediately correct a false missile alert over the weekend, taking more than 20 minutes to contact federal authorities for approval they didn't need and then taking another 15 minutes to cancel the alert that was sent to mobile devices statewide. The astonishing error and dismal response has prompted both state and federal investigations and left one of the state's U.S. senators wondering aloud if top brass at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency should be replaced. "I think (Gov.) David Ige has a tough decision in front of him, and it's his call," Sen.


Slow-moving winter storm leaves lingering effect in South
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Several Southern states were dealing Thursday with the lingering effects of a slow-moving winter storm that dumped up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow in central North Carolina, dusted the Deep South and killed at least 10 people. From Charlotte to Raleigh, North Carolina's five most populous cities all saw significant snow from a system that followed an atypical west-to-east path across the state - and moved more slowly than forecasters had predicted. One foot (30 centimeters) of snow was reported in Durham County by early Thursday morning. Winston-Salem and Greensboro each had about 7 inches (18 centimeters),


Has #MeToo gone too far? Ansari story sparks debate
The #MeToo movement has been embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct. This week, more so than at any point in the movement's brief history, there's visceral discussion about its potential for causing harm. The catalyst was the publication by Babe.net of an account by a woman identified only as "Grace" detailing her 2017 encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari. The article intimated that Ansari deserved inclusion in the ranks of abusive perpetrators, yet many readers - women and men - concluded the encounter amounted to an all-too-common instance of bad sex during a date gone awry.


APNewsBreak: GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in 'Danica Double'
Danica Patrick is going back to green. GoDaddy Green, to be exact - a fitting color for her farewell tour. The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming "Danica Double" that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month's Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off. This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world's most recognizable athletes. "There's this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I'm most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate," Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

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