The Trump administration hosted senators for an extraordinary White House briefing Wednesday at a perilous moment with North Korea, marked by nuclear threats from the unpredictable nation and stern talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States.
All 100 senators were invited and taken in buses for the unprecedented, classified briefing. President Trump's secretary of State, Defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director were to outline for them North Korea's escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options, officials said. The briefing team was to meet later with House members in the Capitol.
The unusual sessions don't necessarily presage the use of force along one of the world's most heavily militarized frontiers, and some lawmakers questioned whether the cross-Washington procession was largely show, with Trump expected to drop in on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building gathering of lawmakers.
The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific Ocean took personal responsibility Wednesday for a series of White House and Pentagon misstatements that led to global confusion about an aircraft carrier strike group supposedly headed to North Korea.
"That’s my fault," Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee. "I’ll take the hit for that."
The embarrassing episode began on April 8 when the Navy announced that the Carl Vinson strike force was being diverted north from Singapore as a show of force during rising tensions with North Korea.
President Trump plans to fight a U.S. judge's decision to freeze his order threatening funding to state and local governments that refuse to cooperate fully with immigration agents.
"We'll see them in the Supreme Court," Trump said Wednesday in response to a question from a reporter while signing an executive order to look into rolling back the designation of some national monuments.
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III ruled Tuesday that Trump's Jan. 25 order to cut some federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities and counties was unconstitutional.
A group of moderate Republicans was still reviewing the changes to the bill, and an unknown number remained opposed.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus is backing the latest healthcare proposal as the White House tries to revive efforts to repeal President Obama's signature law.
In a statement Wednesday, the 40 or so hard-line members who helped scuttle the earlier bill announced their support for the plan crafted by New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, a moderate, and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the House Freedom Caucus.
While the endorsement is a boost for the effort, some 50 moderate Republicans are still uncertain or oppose the latest plan.
President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday intended to eventually reduce or eliminate some national monument designations, in particular those that are at least 100,000 acres.
The monuments received federal protection under Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives presidents the power to limit use of public land for historic, cultural, scientific or other reasons.
The order could affect more than two dozen monuments that have been established since 1996. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said one region in particular will get special notice: the remote desert canyon lands of southeastern Utah. At the time, the designations of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument prompted an angry backlash from Utah's leaders.
Mexico's top diplomat called President Trump's proposal to build a border wall "an unfriendly, hostile act" that will further aggravate increasingly tense relations between the longtime allies.
While Trump has repeatedly vowed to build a wall and make Mexico pay for its construction, Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray told a meeting of Mexican legislators Tuesday that there is absolutely no way that will happen.
"It is not part of a bilateral discussion, and we will not collaborate in the construction," Videgaray said. "It's a waste of resources."
Independent budget experts say rate reductions proposed by the Trump administration could cost the federal government $2.4 trillion over a decade. (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)
President Trump wants to sharply reduce the tax rate for all businesses -- from multinational corporations to mom-and-pop shops -- to 15% in the "biggest tax cut" in U.S. history, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Wednesday.
But the Trump administration has not embraced a House Republican proposal to include a controversial border adjustment tax, Mnuchin said during a forum sponsored by the Hill newspaper.
The White House is set to announce "principles" for its tax overhaul later Wednesday although officials stressed it would not be a formal bill ready to go to Capitol Hill or to be formally analyzed by congressional number-crunchers.
Nine former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations on Tuesday warned against Trump administration plans to slash funding of the world body, portraying such a move as a grave danger to American power.
The ambassadors' warning, contained in a letter to congressional leaders, came a day after President Trump received members of the U.N. Security Council at the White House and gave them an undiplomatic lecture on what they've been doing wrong.
Trump has threatened to drastically reduce the sizable U.S. contribution to U.N. peacekeeping, health and other missions, which are made inefficient, as the president put it, by "bloat."