Highlights: The Trump presidency on April 12 at 2:40 P.M. EDT/1840 GMT Wednesday

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 12, 2017 2:44 PM

(Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday:


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says after talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that some progress has been made on Syria and that a working group will be set up to examine the poor state of U.S.-Russia ties.

The United States tells Russia at the United Nations that it is isolating itself by continuing to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Britain says its scientists found sarin was used in a deadly gas attack on Syrian civilians last week.


Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for a peaceful resolution of rising tension on the Korean peninsula in a telephone conversation with Trump, as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group heads toward the region.

Foreign journalists visiting North Korea are told to prepare for a "big and important event" on Thursday, although there are no indications it is directly linked to tensions in the region over its nuclear weapons program.


White House spokesman Sean Spicer says he had let Trump down with his "inexcusable and reprehensible" comments comparing the use of poison gas by Assad to the atrocities of Adolf Hitler.


Civil liberties groups say they are filing a series of lawsuits against the U.S. government seeking details on how federal agencies enforced Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.


Trump says he does not like the "border adjustment" tax cooked up by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans in the House of Representatives and would rather call it "an import tax" or "a reciprocal tax."


The United States says there are credible reports that Russia attempted to interfere in elections last October in Montenegro, which formally became a NATO member this week.


Billionaire investor Carl Icahn's oil refining company, CVR Energy, made a massive bet last year that prices for U.S. government biofuels credits would fall, just before Icahn started advising Trump on regulations driving that market, Reuters reports.


Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, tells reporters he will be instructing agencies to outline how they will comply with the president's budget, which slashed spending for foreign aid and many domestic programs.


Britain's Daily Mail agrees to pay Melania Trump an undisclosed sum and issue an apology, and retracts an article saying the first lady offered "services beyond simply modeling" in her former job.

(Compiled by Jonathan Oatis; Editing by James Dalgleish and Meredith Mazzilli)