Trump Presidency: Day One: signs memo to leave TPP trade pact

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

12:30 p.m. – The Pentagon has held its first news briefing since Defense Secretary James Mattis was sworn in on Friday.

A spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, on Monday described several of Mattis’ first activities as Pentagon chief but declined to discuss any policy issues. That includes potential changes in the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, which President Donald Trump has singled out as a priority.

Davis said Mattis has made retired Navy Rear Adm. Kevin M. Sweeney his chief of staff and Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller his senior military assistant.

The spokesman said Mattis would be meeting with the military service chiefs and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, on Tuesday, and had conducted a phone conversation with his Canadian counterpart.

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12: 15 p.m. – President Donald Trump calls a lawsuit filed Monday against him “without merit, totally without merit.”

Ethics attorneys are suing him for allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was filed Monday in the Southern District of New York by the liberal-funded watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Trump says he has handed over control of his global real estate and licensing empire to his two adult sons. But he is retaining his financial stake in the business even while in the White House, a break from the tradition of previous presidents to divest.

Trump made the comments in response to a reporter’s question after he signed his first few executive orders in the Oval Office.

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11:59 a.m. – President Donald Trump is signing a memorandum that freezes hiring for some federal government workers as a way to reduce payrolls and rein in the size of the federal workforce.

Trump’s directive is fulfilling one of his campaign promises. He tells reporters that members of the military will be exempted from the hiring freeze.

The new president has vowed to take on the federal bureaucracy and the action could be the first step in an attempt to curtail government employment.

The memorandum signed by Trump’s is similar to one that President George W. Bush signed at the start of his administration in 2001.

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11:55 a.m. – President Donald Trump is reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option.

The regulation has been something of a political football, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.

Most recently, President Barack Obama ended the ban in 2009.

Trump signed it one day after the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, the date which is traditionally when presidents take action on the policy.

The policy also prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.

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AP News Alert: 11:52am – WASHINGTON (AP) – Trump places hiring freeze on some federal workers, cuts off funding for international groups that perform abortions .


11:50 a.m. – President Donald Trump is signing a memorandum to leave the proposed Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The move is basically a formality, since the agreement had yet to receive required Senate ratification. Trade experts say that approval was unlikely to happen given voters’ anxiety about trade deals and the potential for job losses.

Trump called the move “a great thing for the American workers”

It remains unclear if Trump would seek individual deals with the 11 other nations in TPP- a group that represents roughly 13.5 percent of the global economy, according to World Bank figures.

Trump has blamed past trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization for a decline in U.S. factory jobs.

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11:05 a.m. – President Donald Trump has tasked a group of top business leaders with coming up with a series of actions to help stimulate the American manufacturing sector.

Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, says Trump has given them 30 days to come up a plan.

Trump met Monday morning with a group of top manufacturing leaders, including Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX, and the executives from Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, among others.

Mark Fields of the Ford Motor Company says he left the meeting confident Trump will work to create jobs.

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10:30 a.m. – President Donald Trump is planning to nominate Heather Wilson as secretary of the Air Force.

A White House statement said Monday that Wilson, a former New Mexico congresswoman and president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, would be the first Air Force Academy graduate to hold the position, if confirmed.

Wilson served in Congress from 1998 to 2009, where she was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.

She also served on the House Armed Services Committee.

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10:20 a.m. – President Donald Trump is speaking with the Egyptian president. Trump and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi were scheduled to speak Monday morning. The details of the call have not yet been made public.

Trump and el-Sissi have already shown a certain bond. Trump said there was “good chemistry” when they met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September.

El-Sissi said Trump would “without a doubt” make a strong leader and said he believes Trump will be “vigorously engaged” with issues in the Middle East.

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9:35 a.m. – President Donald Trump is vowing to cut taxes on his first official business day in office.

The newly-inaugurated president told business leaders Monday that he wants to lower taxes for the middle class and for companies to “anywhere from 15 to 25 percent,” down from 35 percent.

He told the business leaders that the deal is contingent upon keeping business operations inside the United States: “All you have to do is stay. Don’t leave. Don’t fire your people in the United States.”

One of the campaign promises Trump listed on his website was to “reform the entire regulatory code to ensure that we keep jobs and wealth in America.”

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9:30 a.m. – President Donald Trump is opening what his team has dubbed “Day One” of his presidency by meeting with business leaders in the White House.

Trump said Monday there will “be advantages” to companies that make their products in the United States and suggested he will impose a “substantial border tax” on foreign goods entering the country.

The president also repeated a campaign promise to cut regulations “by 75 percent, maybe more.”

Trump hosted the breakfast with about a dozen leaders in the Roosevelt Room.

Among those in attendance were Kevin Plank of Under Armour, Elon Musk of Tesla, Marilyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin and Mario Longhi of US Steel.

Trump suggested he wanted to hold these meetings quarterly.

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3:20 a.m. – President Donald Trump is meeting with congressional leaders from both parties to discuss his agenda, as he enters his first official week in the White House and works to begin delivering on his ambitious campaign promises.

Trump says he considers Monday to be his first real day in office. And he’s packing it with meetings that suggest he’s keeping an open ear.

There’s a breakfast and what the White House calls a listening session with business leaders in the morning; another listening session with union leaders and workers in the afternoon; and a reception later on with members of Congress he’ll need on board to overhaul the nation’s health care system, among other goals. He’ll also hold his first meeting as president with the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

 

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