Today in Trump: March 29, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump smiles while attending a Women in Healthcare panel at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTX326YK

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Last Updated Mar 29, 2017 10:34 PM EDT

Today in the Trump Administration

Richard Burr: Senate Russia probe has seven full-time staffers

The Senate Intelligence Committee has seven full-time professional staff members working to evaluate intelligence and documents related to the committee’s investigation on Russian election interference, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Wednesday.

“This investigation’s scope will go wherever the intelligence leads it,” he said at a press conference at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon. “So it is absolutely crucial that every day we spend trying to separate fact from fiction and to find some intelligence thread that sends us to the factual side of all the names and all the places that you in this room have written about.”

Paul Ryan: US has “special responsibility” to protect allies from Russian meddling

Speaker Paul Ryan sat down for an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell in the Capitol Wednesday afternoon. They discussed the pressing issues of the day, including the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. More from the interview, including Ryan’s views on the failure of his health care legislation and his relationship with President Trump, will air Thursday morning on “CBS This Morning.”

Ryan: So the nation, the world super power, the American government needs to do everything we possibly can not only to undercut what they are trying to do but to uncover what they are trying to do and help our allies prevent this from happening. Because with Russia trying to influence elections in Eastern Europe and Europe, around the globe I think we have a special responsibility given our capabilities to make sure we help our allies guard against this meddling by Russia in their elections just like they tried to with our election.

Seattle sues Trump administration over “sanctuary city” threat

A lawsuit was filed by Seattle on Wednesday over President Trump’s executive order that threatens to withhold federal funds from communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

Mayor Ed Murray said the order issued in January punishing “sanctuary cities” is unconstitutional and creates uncertainty around the city’s budget.

Ivanka Trump will officially become a White House employee

Ivanka Trump will become an official — albeit unpaid — government employee subject to ethics rules as an assistant to her father in the White House, CBS News confirmed Wednesday.

Trump already has an office in the West Wing, and her husband, Jared Kushner, already serves President Donald Trump as an unpaid senior adviser. Mr. Trump’s 35-year-old daughter has contributed significantly to her father’s campaign, transition, and now, his presidency, drawing criticism because she hasn’t been subject to the same ethics rules as an official, on-the-books White House employee. 

Her title will be assistant to the president.

Can Trump make deals with Congress?

After the failure of the health care bill, looking ahead, there’s a large partisan divide on President Trump’s legislative prospects: most Democrats (83 percent) and independents (55 percent) are not confident in his ability to make deals with Congress, but nearly eight in ten Republicans are confident. - CBS News poll

Petition about Melania Trump continues to surge in popularity

Change.org petition about first lady Melania Trump continues to explode in popularity, attracting over 230,000 signatures and becoming the site’s most signed campaign this week. The petition calls for her to either move to the White House or personally pay for her New York City security expenses.

“The U.S. taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City,” the petition reads. “As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded.”

Republicans blame bill, not Trump, for health care defeat

President Donald Trump’s overall job approval is at 40 percent, underpinned by continuing strong support from Republicans who don’t appear to blame him for the failed health care bill, a new CBS News Poll shows.   

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The president’s approval rating is about where it has been since he took office in January. It was at 39 percent in late February and 40 percent in early February.

White House staff to skip correspondents’ dinner out of “solidarity” with Trump

White House staff said Tuesday that they won’t be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner out of “solidarity” with President Trump, who announced last month that he would not be attending the annual event.

“The WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic,” White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) President Jeff Mason said in a message to members.

Trump schedule

Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to attend opioid and drug abuse listening session with President Trump, according to a White House official.

Mr. Trump will drop by women’s empowerment panel hosted by Florida AG Pam Bondi. 3 p.m.

Melania Trump recognizes courageous women  

The first lady joins Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon  to present the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award to women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength and leadership. 11 a.m.

Recent Trump Administration News:

Trump executive order will dismantle Obama environmental regulations

President Trump will sign a sweeping executive order on Tuesday to begin the process of dismantling environmental regulations implemented under the Obama administration to aggressively fight climate change. 

The Energy Independence executive order, which Trump will sign at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), attacks the core of President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan. A senior White House official said Monday that the order will unwind the “Clean Power Plan,” which set new standards for power plants and restricted greenhouse gas emissions.

Former acting AG Sally Yates asked DOJ if she could testify at Russia hearing

CBS News has obtained a March 24th letter from the Justice Department to Sally Yates that says that DOJ lacks the authority to give Yates permission to testify before Congress about links between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. 

Yates had informed the Justice Department that she had intended to testify about the non-classified information related to her concerns “about the conduct of a senior official,” thought to be then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump signs executive order dismantling Obama environmental regulations

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Tuesday to begin the process of dismantling environmental regulations implemented under the Obama administration to aggressively fight climate change. 

Mr. Trump hailed it as “the start of a new era in American energy production” in remarks before signing the Energy Independence executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His order aims to unwind the core of President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan. The order “directs the EPA to suspend, revise, or rescind the Clean Power Plan.” The Clean Power Plan limits carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants. 

Petition: Move Melania Trump to White House, or she can foot security bill

More than 108,000 people have signed a petition urging First Lady Melania Trump to move to the White House or pay for security costs at Trump Tower herself.

The Change.org petition was started after a senior White House aide indicated the president’s wife and son, Barron, will remain in New York until the school year ends. It’ll be delivered to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren if at least 150,000 people sign.

Trump tax returns?

House Committee marks up a Democratic bill that would direct Treasury secretary to provide House with President Trump’s tax returns. 4 p.m.