AP Top News at 2:14 a.m. EST

AP Exclusive: DHS report disputes threat from banned nations
WASHINGTON (AP) - Analysts at the Homeland Security Department's intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump's travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States. A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria's civil war started in 2011. Trump cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason he signed the sweeping temporary travel ban in late January, which also halted the U.S.


Syrian who worked on nominated film can't attend Oscars
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation's civil war, "The White Helmets," that has been nominated for an Academy Award. According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. Khateeb was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after U.S. officials reported finding "derogatory information" regarding Khateeb.


White House defends contacts with FBI over Russia reports
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House on Friday defended chief of staff Reince Priebus against accusations he breached a government firewall when he asked FBI Director James Comey to publicly dispute media reports that Trump campaign advisers had been frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents. President Donald Trump's spokesman, Sean Spicer, argued Priebus had little choice but to seek Comey's assistance in rebutting what Spicer said were inaccurate reports about contacts during last year's presidential campaign. The FBI did not issue the statement requested by Priebus and has given no sign one is forthcoming. "I don't know what else we were supposed to do," Spicer said.


Watch Top News Video




Trump blasts media, anonymous sources _ after WH uses them
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump unloaded on the news media Friday for using anonymous sources - just hours after members of his own staff insisted on briefing reporters only on condition their names be concealed. Unleashing a line of attack that energized an enthusiastic crowd at the nation's largest gathering of conservative activists, Trump said unethical reporters "make up stories and make up sources." "They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name," he declared. "Let their name be put out there." Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference that while not all reporters are bad, the "fake news" crowd "doesn't represent the people.


White House bars major news outlets from informal briefing
News organizations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing Friday. The Associated Press chose not to participate in the briefing after White House press secretary Sean Spicer restricted the number of journalists included. Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organizations credentialed to cover the White House. "The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible," Lauren Easton, the AP's director of media relations, said in a statement. On Friday, hours after President Donald Trump delivered a speech blasting the media, Spicer invited only a pool of news organizations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps.


Kansas community tries to heal from shooting; bar to reopen
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - In the middle of a crowded bar, Adam Purinton yelled at two Indian men to "get out of my country," witnesses said, then opened fire in an attack that killed one of the men and wounded the other, as well as a third man who tried to help. Hours later, the 51-year-old former air traffic controller reportedly told a bartender in another town that he needed a place to hide because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men. In India, the father of one of the wounded men called Wednesday's attack in the Kansas City suburbs a hate crime, but authorities on Friday declined to discuss a motive as they investigated.


Pence tells Jewish group world will know US supports Israel
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence assured the Republican Jewish Coalition that he and President Donald Trump will work tirelessly on foreign and domestic issues important to the group, such as enacting business-friendly policies at home and supporting Israel abroad. "If the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel," Pence told the group Friday night. The Republican administration is "assessing" whether to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he said, and has put Iran "on notice." Pence's words served as evidence of the fruits of years of the politically active group's labors. Its annual conference at billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson's casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip has become a de facto campaign stop for Republican presidential candidates over the past few years.


AP Analysis: Will China be North Korea's Trump card?
TOKYO (AP) - China's announcement it has suspended North Korean coal imports may have been its first test of whether the Trump administration is ready to do something about a major, and mutual, security problem: North Korea's nukes. While China is Pyongyang's biggest enabler, it is also the biggest outside agent of regime-challenging change - just not in the way Washington has wanted. Judging from Trump's limited comments so far, and the gaping chasm between Washington's long-held focus on sanctions and punishment and Beijing's equally deep commitment to diplomatic talks that don't require the North to first give up its arsenal, a deal between the two won't come easily.


Malaysia awaits lab tests after nerve agent used in airport
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - One day after Malaysia revealed that VX nerve agent was used in a bizarre killing at the Kuala Lumpur airport, police said Saturday that they have raided a condominium and were awaiting lab results on what they found. The public poisoning of Kim Jong Nam, which took place amid crowds of travelers in a budget airport terminal, has boosted speculation that North Korea dispatched two killers to take out an outcast member of the ruling family. Kim's younger half brother is Kim Jong Un, the ruler of North Korea. Though Kim Jong Nam was not an obvious political threat to his sibling, he may have been seen as a potential rival in the country's dynastic dictatorship.


Bill Cosby won't face a barrage of accusers at his trial
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In a major break for Bill Cosby, a judge ruled Friday that just one of the comedian's multitude of other accusers can testify at his trial to bolster charges he drugged and violated a woman more than a decade ago. The 79-year-old TV star is set to go on trial in June, accused of sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Prosecutors wanted to put 13 more women on the stand to show that his alleged conduct was part of a distinct pattern of behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill disallowed all but one of those women, saying in a one-page ruling that he carefully weighed the possible value of their testimony against the potential prejudice to Cosby.