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AP Top Political News at 7:17 p.m. EST

Trump chooses hardliners but talks softer on immigration
NEW YORK (AP) -- Donald Trump embraced new Cabinet officers Wednesday whose backgrounds suggest he's primed to put tough actions behind his campaign rhetoric on immigration and the environment, even as he seemed to soften his yearlong stance on immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children....

Trumps taps retired Marine general for homeland security
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly carved out a reputation as a highly respected, but often outspoken commander who could roil debate with blunt assessments or unpopular directives on issues ranging from women in combat to the treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center....

Trump chooses former WWE exec McMahon for small business
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump is adding former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to his Cabinet as leader of the Small Business Administration....

AP source: Trump to tap Oklahoma AG Pruitt to head EPA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a source close to Pruitt said Wednesday....

You're Hired? Inside the interviews as Trump picks Cabinet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, arrived to a recent meeting with Donald Trump, the president-elect greeted him with a blunt question....

US envoy nominee Branstad member of Masons, banned in China
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- If Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad becomes the next U.S. Ambassador to China, he may want to leave any Masonic symbols at home....

Congress cracks down on "bots" that snap up concert tickets
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress sent legislation to President Barack Obama that could make it easier to get tickets to popular shows, sports events and concerts....

'Mr. President' Biden as GOP, Dem senators pay tribute
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For one afternoon, Senate Republicans and Democrats gleefully referred to Joe Biden as "Mr. President."...

Ohio GOP official's US Senate bid could mean bitter rematch
Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel will again challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018, setting up what could be a rematch of what was one of the country's most bitter, expensive and closely watched Senate races four years ago....

Final rules for K-12 standardized testing released
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aiming to reduce test-taking in America's classrooms, the Obama administration released final rules Wednesday to help states and school districts take a new approach to the standardized tests students must take each year....