The Latest: Trump meets with states’ attorneys general

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

2:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is now open to an immigration bill and may address the topic during his address to Congress Tuesday night, according to a senior administration official.

It’s unclear what specific measures Trump would support in immigration legislation. Past efforts have included a pathway to citizenship or legal status for millions of people living in the United States illegally.

Earlier this month, White House officials said the president was believed that a 2013 Senate immigration bill amounted to “amnesty.” Last week, the administration unveiled new immigration policies making any immigrant in the county illegally and charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, an enforcement priority.

The official insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

-By Julie Pace


2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order mandating the review of a rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

Trump says at a White House signing ceremony that the rule is one of the “worst examples of federal regulation” and that “it has truly run amok.”

He also says the rule has been “a disaster.”

The order instructs the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the Obama-era rule that redefined which bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act.

Trump had railed against the rule during his campaign and Republicans have been fighting it since its inception, slamming it as an example of federal overreach.

Democrats have argued it safeguards drinking water for millions.


2:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed a pair of bills into law aimed at recruiting more women for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Trump said at an Oval Office ceremony that it’s unfair that only 1 in 4 women with a degree in one of these areas works in the field.

One measure authorizes the NASA administrator to encourage young women to study STEM fields and pursue careers that will help advance science and space exploration. It also requires NASA to report to Congress on its plans for achieving the goals spelled out in the legislation.

The second measure authorizes the National Science Foundation to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.


11:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with a group of states’ attorneys general at the White House.

Trump met with approximately two dozen members of the National Association of Attorneys General, which is comprised of states’ top law enforcement officials.

The president posed for a group photo in the East Room and saluted the “great people” posing behind him.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a longtime Trump ally who served on his transition team, stood next to the president and thanked him for his kind words.

She came under scrutiny during the campaign when it was revealed that she accepted a $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation around the same time her office was being asked about a New York investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University.

Others in attendance included Lawrence Wasden of Idaho and Chris Carr of Georgia.


9:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump has a Commerce secretary.

Vice President Mike Pence has administered the oath of office to Wilbur Ross on Tuesday, a day after the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm him.

Ross will help promote American business interests in the U.S. and abroad. He’ll also oversee agencies that manage fisheries, weather forecasting and the Census Bureau, which will conduct the next national headcount in 2020.

Ross has said the administration will work quickly to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

The 79-year-old Ross is worth an estimated $2.9 billion and has extensive business ties around the world. He has promised not to take any action as secretary that would benefit any company in which he has a financial interest.


8:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that a Navy SEAL who died in a raid in Yemen last month helped to collect “tremendous amounts of information.”

In an interview aired Tuesday on “Fox & Friends,” the president acknowledged reports that Bill Owens, the father of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, didn’t want to see him when Trump went to pay respects.

Trump said, “I can understand people saying that,” noting that “there’s nothing worse” than losing a child.

Trump says that the Yemen mission had been initiated under the Obama administration, adding that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said “it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”

Owens, 36, a married father of three, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office. Three other U.S. service members were wounded. At least 16 civilians and 14 militants died in the raid, which the Pentagon said was aimed at capturing information on potential al-Qaida attacks against the U.S. and its allies.


6:56 a.m.

President Donald Trump acknowledges that there remains hundreds of unfilled jobs in his administration, but says “they’re unnecessary to have.”

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” that aired Tuesday, Trump says he has no intention of filling many of the open positions.

He says, “I say, ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”

Trump also says that some are looking to criticize him for eliminating those positions, but he adds, “That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. We’re running a very good, efficient government.”


6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he believes President Barack Obama is behind some of the protests against Republican lawmakers across the country.

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” that aired Tuesday, Trump responded to a question about the protests, saying, “I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it.”

He adds that he thinks Obama loyalists are also behind White House leaks.

Trump concedes, “I also understand that’s politics. And in terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”

He says he’s not surprised, saying “I’m changing things that (Obama) wanted to do.” Trump said he’s tougher than Obama in terms of his efforts to deport anyone living in the country illegally.


6:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump denies that there’s a “major leak process” at the White House following reports that White House press secretary Sean Spicer targeted leaks from his own staff.

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” aired Tuesday, Trump responded to a Politico report that said Spicer convened an “emergency meeting” after details of a planning meeting got out, and conducted a “phone check” to prove they hadn’t been leaking information.

He says he “would have handled it differently than Sean. But Sean handles it his way and I’m OK with it.”

Trump says “Sean Spicer is a fine human being,” but adds, “I would have gone one-on-one with different people.”

Trump also White House officials have “sort of ideas” about who may have leaked information, adding that “we have people from other campaigns, we have people from other governments.”


5:00 a.m.

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

A senior White House official says the order will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined “waters of the United States” protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller creeks and wetlands.

The official briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, despite the president’s recent complaints about unnamed sources.

Trump had railed against the water rule during his campaign, slamming it as an example of federal overreach. Farmers and landowners have criticized the rule, saying there are already too many government regulations that affect their businesses, and Republicans have been working to thwart it since its inception.


3:30 a.m.

With his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump has an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. His allies hope it will help him move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he has dealt with so far.

Trump’s advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending.

The White House said Trump has been gathering ideas for the address from the series of listening sessions he’s been holding with law enforcement officials, union representatives, coal miners and others.