The Latest: Trump jokes about destroying Texas lawmaker

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

4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has told a Texas sheriff they could “destroy” the career of a state lawmaker trying to reform asset forfeiture laws that critics say police abuse as a funding source.

Trump’s comment Tuesday drew laughs during a meeting with sheriffs in the White House. The remark followed Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson’s criticism of an unnamed state senator who believes police shouldn’t receive forfeiture money unless a case ends in conviction.

Trump responded: “Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”

The sheriff wouldn’t say and it was unclear to whom Eavenson was referring.

Republican state Sen. Konni Burton has proposed the most sweeping forfeiture reforms but wouldn’t stop to answer questions Tuesday outside the Senate in Austin, Texas.

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4:20 p.m.

The 2016 election is never far from President Donald Trump’s mind.

When Trump met Tuesday with a group of sheriffs from around the country, he saw not just lawmen but battleground states.

Trump talked about his victories with officials from Pennsylvania and North Carolina. And when a sheriff from Minnesota introduced himself, Trump said if he had campaigned in the state one more time he would have won it.

More than two weeks into his presidency, the president is still fixated on the 2016 campaign.

Many of his public comments include references to his election performance. At times, the comments appear to be light and boastful while in other moments, he’s awkwardly interjected election talk into forums that are decidedly apolitical.

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3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump plans to welcome the New England Patriots to the White House to honor their fifth Super Bowl win.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump was looking forward to hosting the team. He called the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons a “spectacular game.”

The Super Bowl-winning team traditionally visits the White House. But some players have already said they won’t attend this year, the first time Trump will be the host.

Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett has said he won’t attend. And Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty told Time Magazine Monday that he would skip it as well.

Team owner Robert Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a dinner in Washington for him before the inauguration.

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3:05 p.m.

Mexico’s presidential spokesman says that the president’s office did not record a call with U.S. President Donald Trump last month and foreign troops would never be allowed to operate in Mexico.

Eduardo Sanchez made the comments Tuesday on a television news show in Mexico.

The Associated Press reported last week on an excerpt from the conversation’s transcript in which Trump told Enrique Pena Nieto he might send U.S. troops to deal with Mexican drug cartels. Mexico’s government denied the comments.

A White House official later confirmed the comments, but said they were meant to be “lighthearted.”

Trump said in a weekend interview with Fox News that he made the offer and Pena Nieto seemed interested in help.

But Sanchez said the Mexican constitution would not allow that.

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2:10 p.m.

The White House is asserting that President Donald Trump “respects the judicial branch” despite his tough talk over the pushback against his immigration ban.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer asserted Tuesday that there is “no question” over the president’s respect of the courts.

Earlier, the president told members of the National Sheriff’s Association that the court fight over his refugee and immigration executive order could end up in the Supreme Court.

Trump said he’s going to take his fight to uphold the directive “through the system.”

Trump lashed out last weekend over a court order to block the ban, saying on Twitter, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

2 p.m.

A White House spokesman says President Donald Trump will host Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago this weekend.

Trump has been calling his resort the “Winter White House,” and Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that Abe’s trip there is a testament to the close relationship between the U.S. and Japan. Abe will first visit the White House before traveling to Palm Beach, Florida, with Trump, Spicer says.

Trump was at Mar-a-Lago this past weekend, where he visited with his wife, first lady Melania Trump, and attended a fundraiser for the Red Cross, among other events.

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10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the court fight over his refugee and immigration executive order could end up in the Supreme Court.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump says he’s going to take his fight to uphold the directive “through the system.” Still, he says he hopes the measure doesn’t have to go to the high court because he believes it is “common sense.”

Trump’s order paused the entire U.S. refugee program and banned entries to the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries. Over the weekend, Seattle U.S. District Judge James Robart temporarily blocked the order, sparking harsh criticism from the president of both the judge and his decision.

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10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he can’t believe his administration has to fight in the courts to uphold his refugee and immigration ban, a policy he says will protect the country.

Trump says some people with “the wrong intentions” are trying to “take a lot of our powers away.” He says that more Americans support his policies than those protesting against his executive order, which temporarily halted the entire U.S. refugee program and blocked entries from seven Muslim-majority countries.

On Tuesday, state and federal lawyers will argue over the ban before a panel of federal appellate court judges.

Trump says his order will keep bad people out of the U.S. His comments came during a White House meeting with county sheriffs.

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10 a.m.

Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump — their first since the American leader took office.

Officials from Erdogan’s office said the conversation would take place around 2100 GMT, or 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Turkey’s relations with the United States under the Obama administration were strained, with Ankara frequently expressing frustrations over what it perceives as U.S. reluctance to extradite U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the failed July 15 military coup.

Turkey has also been angered by U.S. support to Syrian Kurdish militia fighting the Islamic State group. Ankara considers the fighters “terrorists” because of their links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

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8:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary says a housekeeper he previously employed at his home was an undocumented worker.

Andrew Puzder said in a statement that he and his wife employed a housekeeper for a few years and they were unaware that “she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S.”

He says that when they learned of her status, “we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status.”

Puzder, a fast food chain executive, adds that he and his wife have “fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the State of California.”

The revelation could complicate Puzder’s nomination.

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7:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says it’s no fair “the haters” tie him to Russian President Vladimir Putin when President Barack Obama was the one who struck a deal with Iran.

He tweeted Monday: “I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!”

Obama helped orchestrate a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers, in which Tehran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Trump has criticized that deal. He also once bragged about how well he knew Putin, but he has since walked back those comments, amid accusations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.

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