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.
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.
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.
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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."
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. Spicer's losing round in Washington's perpetual game of information Whack-a-mole was hardly a surprise. In trying to plug leaks from anonymous sources, President Donald Trump and his aides are going after one of the most entrenched practices in Washington politics and journalism, an exercise that has exposed corruption, fueled scandals and spread gossip for decades. But the practice has created several headaches for the new president, leading Trump, just weeks into his presidency, to publicly vow to try to punish "low-life leakers" in his own administration.
3 dead, 2 injured in plane that hits houses in California RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - Three people died and two were injured when a small plane carrying them home from a cheerleading competition crashed into two Southern California homes and sparked a major fire Monday, authorities said. A husband, wife and three teenagers were on the plane that had just taken off from Riverside Municipal Airport at 4:40 p.m. intending to return to San Jose after the weekend cheerleading event at Disneyland when it crashed in the residential neighborhood, Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said. One of the teenagers, a girl, was thrown from a back seat of the plane on impact but had only minor injuries, Moore said.
Jimmy Kimmel shares insights on best picture Oscar gaffe LOS ANGELES (AP) - Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel shared his perspective on the show's best-picture gaffe during his Monday monologue on "Jimmy Kimmel Live !" "As I'm sure you've at least heard, 'La La Land' was simultaneously somehow the biggest winner and loser last night," Kimmel said. Presenters announced "La La Land" as the best picture winner at Sunday's Academy Awards, though "Moonlight" was the actual winner. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had been given the best actress envelope to open instead of best picture. The accounting firm responsible for the integrity of the awards has taken responsibility for the error and apologized to all involved.
Historically black colleges push for financial support WASHINGTON (AP) - Presidents from a majority of the country's historically black colleges and universities are in Washington this week, calling for $25 billion in the upcoming budget to help address priorities including infrastructure, college readiness and financial aid as President Trump prepares to sign an executive order aimed at signaling his commitment to the schools. Trump met briefly with the college leaders on Monday, posing for a photograph in the Oval Office before the group met with Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Tuesday's order is expected to move the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from the Department of Education into the White House.