The Latest: GOP chief hopes Trump will meet more lawmakers

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Posted: May 13, 2016 3:13 PM
The Latest: GOP chief hopes Trump will meet more lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times local):

3 p.m.

The chairman of the Republican Party says Donald Trump has been trying hard to be presidential and doing that well lately.

In a brief interview Friday with The Associated Press, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also said the party's presumptive presidential nominee should keep having conversations with GOP leaders. Trump met Thursday with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders.

A Trump supporter, California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, says he's heard that Trump plans to meet rank-and-file GOP lawmakers in coming weeks.

Priebus says it's up to Trump and the public whether the billionaire should release his tax returns. Trump says he won't do that until IRS audits are complete.

Priebus also said he didn't know what to make of a report in The Washington Post that Trump posed as his own spokesman more than two decades ago when speaking to a reporter about his personal relationships.

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2:50 p.m.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he's "sympathetic with someone like Mr. Trump" and wants to give him time to get up to speed on policy issues before pressing fellow Republicans to endorse him.

Johnson tells The Associated Press he identifies with Trump because they both entered politics from the business world. Johnson says he wants to give the billionaire "a chance to get the briefings" to see where he can agree with Republicans.

Johnson has endorsed Trump. The senator is running for re-election against Democrat Russ Feingold.

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2 p.m.

A congressional supporter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says the candidate expects to meet rank-and-file House members in the next few weeks.

California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter says two Trump operatives told him of the plans Friday morning at a meeting of about 30 House supporters of Trump.

Hunter said the two are Rick Dearborn, chief of staff to Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, another Trump supporter, and Scott Mason, who is Trump's liaison to Congress.

Hunter and another Trump backer — Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tom Marino — said that in a mark of how Trump's backing in Congress is growing, only a small number of Republican lawmakers attended a previous meeting of Trump's House supporters just a few weeks ago.

Trump met Thursday with Senate and House GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has yet to endorse the billionaire's candidacy.

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10:15 a.m.

Back when Donald Trump's love life was tabloid heaven, a Trump spokesman with intimate knowledge of the businessman's personal relationships offered juicy stories about a failing marriage, a new live-in paramour and three other girlfriends he was juggling at once.

The spokesman identified himself as John Miller. But The Washington Post says it was actually Trump, posing as his own spokesman on the phone with a reporter who wondered why Miller's voice sounded so familiar.

The Post has unearthed a recording of that 1991 phone call.

On NBC's "Today" show Friday, Trump denied being the voice on the phone. He says: "I don't know anything about it."

The Post says Trump was known in those days for posing as public relations men to advocate for himself, under several alter egos.

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9 a.m.

Donald Trump's plan to fund what could be a $1 billion general-election bid is coming into focus.

The presumptive Republican nominee has hired a finance team and scheduled fundraisers, including one in Los Angeles. His finance team plans a telethon at Trump Tower to raise cash.

Trump's campaign also is completing a deal with Republican officials that will enable him to solicit six-figure checks from donors.

And super PACs are forming to help him. One that was announced Thursday aims to raise $20 million by the Republican convention in July. Former Ronald Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins was recently hired and will meet next month with billionaire Texas oil investor T. Boone Pickens.

Asking for financial help is a major change for Trump, who largely self-funded his primary bid.

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8:15 a.m.

Donald Trump says he doesn't keep money in Swiss banks or offshore accounts and his tax rate is no one's business.

In interviews televised Friday, the Republican presidential candidate was defending his refusal to release his tax returns until an IRS audit is complete.

Trump says he doesn't think the public has a right to review his tax returns before people vote in November. Still, Trump says he will "gladly" do so if the audit is finished by then.

He told ABC's "Good Morning America" ''I've built a massive business. I want to make sure everything is perfect."

When asked his tax rate, Trump said: "It's none of your business. You'll see it when it's released."

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8:10 a.m.

Donald Trump says Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is using his newspaper to help the online retailer avoid taxes.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee tells Fox News that Bezos is "using The Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don't tax Amazon like they should be taxed."

The comments came after the newspaper's associate editor, Bob Woodward, was quoted as saying the Post has "20 people working on Trump." The newspaper has also announced plans to publish a book on Trump.

In a statement, Post executive editor Martin Baron says he's "received no instructions from Jeff Bezos" regarding campaign coverage, and the decision to write a book came from the newsroom. Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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3:40 a.m.

Pressure is mounting on Bernie Sanders to end his campaign for president. Democratic Party leaders are raising alarms that his continued presence in the race is undermining efforts to beat presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump this fall.

The new concerns come after Sanders' recent wins over front-runner Hillary Clinton in Indiana and West Virginia.

While those victories have provided his supporters a fresh sense of momentum heading into next week's primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, they did almost nothing to help Sanders cut into Clinton's nearly insurmountable lead in the delegates who will decide their party's nomination.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Clinton hasn't been able to focus on the general election in the way she should.

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This story corrects the Post editor's name.