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Iran nuclear deal delegations Friday in Vienna
Iran nuclear deal delegations Friday in Vienna (AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. official working to save the Iran nuclear deal said Wednesday that he held “very constructive” talks with key European allies, but could not say whether it would satisfy President Trump, the chief critic of the disarmament accord.

Brian Hook, the State Department director for policy planning, said a round of talks in Vienna last week with diplomats from Germany, France, Britain and other signatories to the 2015 accord were aimed at fixing what Trump sees as major flaws.

The talks left several issues unresolved, Hook told reporters on a conference call.

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The president and the porn star sounds like a twisted variant on a fairy tale, or one of those Hollywood rom-coms, or maybe something from the oeuvre of Stephanie Clifford.

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Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday forecast that economic growth will be faster through 2019 than they had expected in December before Congress enacted large tax cuts — but signaled they did not plan to accelerate the pace of interest rate hikes this year to keep the economy from overheating.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions (Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump faulted the Justice Department on Wednesday for its handling of a case involving the young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” citing the punditry of Fox Business Network analyst Lou Dobbs.

“Department of Justice should have urged the Supreme Court to at least hear the Drivers License case on illegal immigrants in Arizona,” Trump tweeted. “I agree with @LouDobbs. Should have sought review.”

Dobbs, long an anti-immigration hardliner, is not a lawyer.

President Trump faced new legal and political jeopardy Tuesday as a former Playboy Playmate and alleged paramour sued to break a confidentiality agreement and a judge rejected his move to quash a lawsuit stemming from a charge of sexual assault.

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Theodore Olson speaks while flanked by then-GOP presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani in Washington on March 12, 2007.
Theodore Olson speaks while flanked by then-GOP presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani in Washington on March 12, 2007. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's legal team reached out in recent days to Theodore Olson, one of the country's most high-profile and seasoned litigators, to join forces amid mounting challenges in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

The overture came as Trump, feeling more vulnerable to the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has told confidants he wants to recruit top-tier talent and shake up his group of lawyers, the people said.

But after reviewing the offer and weighing potential conflicts with his clients at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he is a partner, Olson is not planning to join Trump's team, a top executive at the firm said Tuesday.

  • White House
  • Immigration
Rep. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican, said Trump’s famous promise to build a wall with along the Mexican border should be extended — to protect her state from the liberals to the west.

President Trump hosted a round-table discussion at the White House on Tuesday in which conservative politicians and law enforcement officials from across the country and the federal government took turns one-upping each other with disgust over California’s “sanctuary city” law.

But one elected leader bested them all. Rep. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican, said Trump’s famous promise to build a wall with along the Mexican border should be extended — to protect her state from the liberals to the west.

“As we look in Arizona, we often look into the dangers of the southern border,” McSally said. “But if these dangerous policies continue out of California, we might need to build a wall between California and Arizona as well.”

(Kevin Dietsch / EPA / Shutterstock)

Sen. John McCain on Tuesday blasted President Trump for his call earlier in the day congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection, saying Trump had “insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

McCain, the Arizona Republican who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer yet continues to be outspoken on Trump’s friendship with Putin, also said in a statement and on Twitter, “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is McCain’s close friend but less publicly critical of Trump, made a similar point about Putin’s reelection without commenting on Trump. “Congratulations to Russian President Putin on his Fake Victory in the Fake Election,” Graham said. “Heaven help the 25% who didn't vote for him!”

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  • Russia
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly at the Kremlin on March 1 in Moscow.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly at the Kremlin on March 1 in Moscow. (Alexei Druzhinin / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate the Kremlin leader on his re-election win Sunday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The Kremlin press service said the two presidents also spoke about the need for closer coordination in strategic stability and counter-terrorism. 

"In general, the conversation was constructive, businesslike and focused on overcoming the accumulated problems in Russian-American relations," the Kremlin statement said.

President Trump last month
President Trump last month (Associated Press)

President Trump said Tuesday that he would meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “in the not too distant future” to discuss “the arms race, which is getting out of control.”

The president made the comment to reporters at the White House  as he confirmed that he’d congratulated Putin that morning in a phone call for the Russian’s “electoral victory.” Putin was reelected on Sunday with more than 77% of the vote against a weak field of opposition candidates.

Trump said they discussed Ukraine, North Korea and Syria. But he did not mention Russian hacking and disinformation efforts in the 2016 U.S. election, nor the recent nerve-agent assassination attempt in Britain against a former Russian spy and his daughter, which the British and others have blamed on Russia.