The Latest: Sanders says Trump may be right about his voters

AP News
Posted: Feb 02, 2017 8:52 PM
The Latest: Sanders says Trump may be right about his voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

8:30 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says President Donald Trump may be right in claiming he won the general election votes of some former Sanders supporters.

A participant in a White House meeting Thursday says Trump said he got those votes because he and the Vermont independent think some trade treaties have hurt Americans. The participant spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

Sanders was not present. He said in an interview later that many working-class Democrats who backed him in the presidential primaries are "disgusted" with U.S. trade policy and probably voted for Trump.

An early November ABC News-Washington Post poll showed 8 percent of Sanders supporters planned to back Trump.

— Alan Fram


6:45 p.m.

The White House says new Israeli settlements or the expansion of existing ones beyond their current borders may not help achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Spokesman Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump's administration doesn't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, although it has yet to take an official position on settlement construction.

Spicer says Trump looks forward to continuing to discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits the White House on Feb. 15.

In Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu vowed to establish the first new West Bank settlement in more than two decades "as soon as possible."

Trump has signaled a softer line toward settlements, which most of the international community views as illegal.


6:25 p.m.

The White House is trying to clean up after President Donald Trump's contentious phone call with Australia's prime minister.

Chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon met with Joe Hockey, Australia's ambassador to the U.S., at the White House Thursday. The White House says they conveyed to the ambassador Trump's "deep admiration" for the Australian people.

Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke by phone over the weekend, but the call ended earlier than scheduled. The president expressed frustration during the call over an Obama administration refugee deal with Australia.

The White House deepened its condemnation of the deal Thursday, saying Trump was "unbelievably disappointed" in the agreement.


6: 20 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is planning a trip to Europe later this month to attend the Munich Security Conference and visit Brussels.

The White House says Pence will be engaging with allies in Europe "about how to deepen and strengthen the Trans-Atlantic alliance."

Pence met Thursday with German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel.

The White House says the pair discussed the trip as well as the importance of close German-American ties.

They also agreed on what the White House called "NATO's centrality in ensuring the security and stability of North America and Europe" while saying NATO "must adapt to confront threats to our countries such as violent extremism and terrorism."


6:15 p.m.

Donald Trump's longtime physician tells The New York Times the president takes a prostate-related medication for hair growth.

Dr. Harold Bornstein said Trump takes small doses of finasteride, which is marketed as the male pattern baldness treatment Propecia, The Times reported Thursday. The drug also lowers levels of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker for prostate cancer.

The newspaper reported that Trump also takes antibiotics for rosacea, a skin condition, and a statin for elevated blood cholesterol and lipids. He takes baby aspirin for heart attack prevention.

The White House would not comment.

When the 70-year-old Trump was a candidate, Bornstein wrote a note declaring that, if elected, he would be the healthiest president in history. Bornstein later said he had written the letter in five minutes.


5:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump and the king of Jordan have discussed with the possibility of establishing safe zones for refugees in Syria.

Trump met briefly Thursday with King Abdullah II at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

A White House statement on the meeting says Trump "highlighted Jordan's critical contributions to defeating ISIS and discussed the possibility of establishing safe zones in Syria."

The president also addressed the importance of strengthening Jordan's security and economy, as well as "Jordan's essential role in serving as a model of tolerance and moderation in the region."


4:45 p.m.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has quit President Donald Trump's business leaders' forum, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Kalanick wrote that he'd spoken with Trump Thursday and "let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that."

The ride-sharing company has been buffeted all week by boycott campaigns that began when people perceived it as trying to break a taxi strike at New York's JFK Airport. The strike was inspired by Trump's executive order temporarily suspending the country's refugee program.

Kalanick subsequently condemned the executive order and has contributed to relief groups, but calls for a boycott have continued.


4:40 p.m.

A planned weekend protest march outside President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is back on after two other groups took over its organization.

Alex Newell Taylor of Women's March Florida said Thursday that her group and South Florida Activism have taken over the march from Stephen Milo. He had issued a statement earlier saying Saturday's March to Mar-a-Lago was being canceled because of safety concerns.

Newell Taylor says the groups have more experience organizing demonstrations than Milo and believe they have the expertise to keep it peaceful.

The president is scheduled to be at Mar-a-Lago this weekend for the first time as president. The protest will be aimed at the president's moratorium on refugees from seven primarily Islamic countries and other issues.

More than 2,000 people have registered on Facebook to attend.


3:45 p.m.

A participant in a White House meeting with Donald Trump says the president says he ended up getting votes from a lot of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The person says Trump said he received those votes because both he and the Vermont independent have long complained that some trade treaties have been bad deals for Americans. The participant said Trump offered no evidence of how he knew he received backing from Sanders supporters.

Trump met Thursday with four leading members of Congress in a session that focused chiefly on trade.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted days before the November election showed 8 percent of former Sanders supporters said they planned to vote for Trump.

The participant spoke on condition of anonymity to describe discussions in a closed-door meeting.


3:05 p.m.

A third congressional committee will investigate Russia's interference into the 2016 presidential election.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island announced the Senate judiciary panel they lead will investigate Russia's interference in the U.S. election as well as elections of other democratic nations. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia has tried to influence other democratic elections in Europe.

The senators say the goal of the investigation is to "shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy."

The House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting their own investigations into the intelligence agency findings that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails and tried to influence the election to help President Donald Trump win.

Trump has said he wants to improve U.S. relations with Russia, even as he acknowledged Russia was behind the election hacks.


2 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's looking at "re-doing" the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he says has been a "catastrophe for our county."

The president made the comments in a pair of meetings Thursday with lawmakers and employees from the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company.

Trump has long railed about the country's trade deals, claiming they put American workers and companies at a disadvantage.

Trump says he doesn't care if "it's a renovation of NAFTA or a brand new NAFTA," as long as it's fairer for U.S. workers.

He says, "All of the statutory guidelines we're adhering to I would like to speed it up if possible."

He says his Commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, will lead the negotiations.

Economists generally attribute the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, not Mexico.


1:50 p.m.

Organizers have canceled a planned weekend protest march outside President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, saying they had concerns about safety.

Lead organizer Stephen Milo said in statement Thursday that Saturday's March to Mar-a-Lago is being canceled because of "the possibility of the march turning into an angry confrontational demonstration vs. a joyful show of unity" as originally envisioned.

The president is scheduled to be at Mar-a-Lago this weekend and will likely attend an American Red Cross fundraiser there Saturday night. The protest was to be aimed at the president's moratorium on refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Milo said the decision came after meetings with West Palm Beach, Florida, police officials.

More than 2,000 people had registered on Facebook to attend the march.


1:20 p.m.

The White House says a new Treasury Department action does not mean the U.S. is easing sanctions on Russia.

Treasury had amended the sanctions former President Barack Obama slapped on Moscow in retaliation for election-related hacking to allow "certain transactions" with Russia's Federal Security Service, or the FSB. White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the move part of the "regular course of action."

Some U.S. companies had expressed concern that the sanctions would limit their ability to sell electronics to Russia. The FSB has control over imports to Russia of devices with encryption technology.

Obama levied the sanctions after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the presidential election on Trump's behalf. Trump had frequently talked about wanting a warmer relationship with Russia, sparking concern among allies.


1:10 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump was briefed about plans for a raid by U.S. special operations forces in Yemen four days after his inauguration, and he authorized the plan last week.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says planning for the raid originated under President Barack Obama's team. He says the plan was first sent to the Defense Department the day before the November 2016 presidential election.

Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the assault, and three other U.S. service members were wounded in the firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. That's the group's Yemen affiliate.

Spicer says it's difficult to call it a success because of Owens' death, but the administration considers it a "successful operation."


12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says bikers were with him all the way during his campaign.

Trump met a group from Harley-Davidson Thursday after they rolled up to the south lawn of the White House. He greeted the five bikers warmly, saying, "Made in America, Harley-Davidson."

Trump added that during the campaign, bikers "were with me all the way."

But he did not hop on for a ride. Trump joked to the journalists gathered to watch the welcome: "Boy, would you like to see me fall off one of these!"

Earlier this week, Trump cancelled a Thursday trip to Wisconsin, where Harley-Davidson is located.


10:20 a.m.

A Trump administration official says President Donald Trump was "very strong" in his recent call with Australia's prime minister.

The official says Trump was particularly concerned about an Obama administration deal that would allow mostly Muslim refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the United States.

According to the official, the Saturday call ended early, after about 30 minutes. That's about half as long as some of Trump's recent calls with other leaders.

The tensions between Trump and Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull were first reported by the Washington Post.

The official disputed a report that Trump ended the call by hanging up on Turnbull. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

—Julie Pace


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll work on developing a system to make sure that people entering the United States "fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty."

That's what he's saying in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

He also says the U.S. must "protect religious liberty" and be "safe and secure."

Trump says America has the "most generous immigration system in the world" and "there are those that would exploit that generosity." He says there are people who would enter the country with the "purpose of spreading violence."


9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Americans shouldn't worry about his "tough" phone calls with world leaders.

Trump says: "We have to be tough."

The president is speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast. He says the world is "in trouble" and other countries have been taking advantage of the United States, but his administration will "straighten it out."

Trump's comments come amid reports about his calls with leaders from Mexico and Australia.

The White House says Trump's comment to Mexico's president that he would send U.S. troops to stop "bad hombres down there" was "lighthearted."


9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll work to "get rid of and totally destroy" a provision that bars churches and other tax-exempt organizations from supporting candidates for political office.

Trump — in an appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington — says religious freedom is a "sacred right." He's not saying how or when he'd try to repeal what's known as the Johnson Amendment — after then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, who pushed for it to be enacted.

Trump thanked Americans for their prayers as he begins his administration, saying they've been a "constant source of strength."

The president also took a dig at Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's the new host of "The Apprentice," the show Trump previously hosted. Trump says that since Schwarzenegger took over, the show's rating have been down, and Trump asked the audience to "pray for Arnold."


7:28 a.m.

President Donald Trump is questioning whether the University of California at Berkeley should be granted federal funding. Trump urges the school to honor free speech.

Protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire prompting university officials to cancel a talk Wednesday by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos out of safety concerns.

Trump tweeted Thursday, "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"

Berkeley cancelled Yiannopoulos' appearance after a crowd of some 1,500 gathered outside the venue.

The 32-year-old right-wing provocateur is a vocal Trump supporter and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.


7:25 a.m.

Germany's foreign minister is heading for Washington to meet newly sworn-in U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to convey what he calls an "offer of friendship and trust."

Sigmar Gabriel's trip on Thursday follows criticism by Chancellor Angela Merkel of President Donald Trump's restrictions on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

It also comes amid concern in Berlin about the new administration's intentions on trade.

Gabriel is also expected to meet with Vice President Mike Pence. He stresses the United States' longstanding status as his country's closest ally outside Europe.

Gabriel says, "The friendship between two nations is far more than thriving cooperation between governments, but without good and trusting relations between both governments, it can't go well."


7:21 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Iran was on the verge of collapse until the U.S. gave it a "lifeline" in the form of the Iran deal.

The president tweeted Thursday, "Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile." He adds, "Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!"

Trump was repeating comments made by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn,

Trump also tweeted, "Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion."

Flynn said Wednesday the "Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran's malign actions" and put Iran "on notice," without elaborating on what actions may be taken.