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Jan 16, 11:35 AM EST

The Latest: DHS secretary doesn't recall Trump vulgarity

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

11:30 a.m.

The secretary of the Homeland Security Department is testifying under oath that she "did not hear" President Donald Trump use a certain vulgarity to describe African countries. But she says she doesn't "dispute the president was using tough language."

Trump has been accused of using the word "shithole" to describe African countries during an Oval Office meeting Thursday with a bipartisan group of six senators, according to people briefed on the conversation.

HHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked her specifically if she heard the vulgarity used or a "substantially similar word" to describe certain countries.

Nielsen says the conversation was impassioned and the president was using tough language. She says "others in the room were also using tough language."

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10:40 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin is standing by his description of last week's White House immigration meeting at which he and others have said President Donald Trump described African nations with a profanity.

Asked Tuesday about Trump and some Republicans challenging his honesty, Durbin tells reporters, "Politics ain't beanbag. I understand that. But I'll tell you this: I stand by every word I said about what was said and what happened."

The Illinois Democrat says he and a handful of other senators who crafted a bipartisan immigration deal are working to win over additional supporters.

Trump and some Republicans have said the senators' agreement is insufficient.

Durbin says he wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to let the Senate debate the immigration measure this week as lawmakers try figuring out by Friday how to avoid a government shutdown.

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9:15 a.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump is "not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system," as the fall-out continues from Trump's reported use of a vulgarity to describe some African countries.

Sanders tells reporters that Trump "hasn't said he didn't use strong language" in the meeting with bipartisan in the heated immigration debate last week. He was said to have used "shithole" to describe some nations in Africa.

Responding to Democrats' assertions that Trump's comments were "racist," Sanders calls the claim "outrageous," citing their previous embrace of Trump. She said: "Why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV. Why did Chuck Schumer and all of his colleagues come and beg Donald Trump for money?"

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12:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump tweets that Sen. Dick Durbin misrepresented what he had said about African nations and Haiti and, in the process, undermined the trust needed to make a deal.

Several people who were at the meeting last week or familiar with the discussions, said Trump disparaged those countries in vulgar, racially tinged terms.

Without explicitly denying using the vulgarity, Trump on Monday lashed out at the Democratic senator, who said Trump uttered it on several occasions.

Durbin said Monday the White House should release whatever recording it might have of the meeting.

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