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Today in Trump: February 18, 2017

Four weeks in
Four weeks in 05:35

Today in the Trump Administration

Petraeus out of the running for National Security Adviser

Sources close to retired Gen. David Petraeus say the White House eliminated the former CIA director from consideration for the open national security adviser post after he weighed in on the job during a conference in Germany this week. 

Trump’s Navy secretary pick could withdraw soon

Two sources close to the situation tell CBS News that President Trump’s Navy Secretary nominee Philip Bilden is likely to withdraw his nomination.

The sources said Bilden, a former Army Reserve military officer with little naval experience, has drawn resistance to his lack of familiarity with Navy issues and has encountered difficulty separating himself from his financial interests.

But the White House has publicly denied that Bilden is reconsidering his nomination.


President Trump holds rally at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport, 5:20 p.m.

After a week batting down a string of controversies, the president is holding his first post-inauguration campaign-style rally early Saturday evening.

Meetings at the “Southern White House”

Mr. Trump tweeted about meetings this weekend in Mar-a-Lago. It’s not known yet whom Mr. Trump will be meeting.


John McCain blasts Trump in Munich speech

McCain, who has openly quarreled with the president, said at the Munich Security Council that “more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”

The senator lamented the “hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.” During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump promised to stop Muslims from entering the U.S. and shortly after taking office issued an executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Mike Pence on Russia

AP: Vice President Mike Pence vowed Saturday that the United States will “hold Russia accountable” even as President Trump searches for new common ground with Moscow at the start of his presidency. 

What you missed yesterday

Trump yells at CIA director over reports intel officials are keeping info from him

CBS News has learned that on Thursday, an angry President Trump called CIA Director Mike Pompeo and yelled at him for not pushing back hard enough against reports that the intelligence community was withholding information from the commander-in-chief.

The agency then drafted a strongly worded statement rebutting the claim. “We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred,” read Pompeo’s statement. “It is CIA’s mission to provide the President with the best intelligence possible and to explain the basis for that intelligence. The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the President, period.” 


The president visited the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the Dreamliner 787-10 is built. He’ll make remarks at 12:45 p.m. after touring the newest version of the plane.

The president told workers at the plant, “we don’t have a level playing field,” but promised that “very shortly,” there would be a level playing field.

His message today, he told them, was that America “is going to start winning again,” and he promised to fight for more jobs and more better-paying jobs “for the loyal citizens of our country.” 

The president’s visit came just after the workers at the plant overwhelmingly voted against unionizing. 

From Charleston, he travels to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.

State Dept. layoffs 06:02

State Dept layoffs under Rex Tillerson being carried out

While Rex Tillerson is on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State, his aides laid off staff at the State Department on Thursday

Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed. 

These staffers in particular are often the conduit between the secretary’s office to the country bureaus, where the regional expertise is centered. Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy.

“The Takeout” - The leakers and the liars

Russia headlines dominated the week with the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Monday. But the question of whether he talked about retaliatory sanctions against Russia with Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak prior to inauguration may not be the primary concern for the intelligence community.

CBS News Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues says that in fact, what the agencies are worried about goes back further -- to the presidential campaign and whether and how much Trump campaign officials including then-Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and former adviser Carter Page -- communicated with Russian officials or operatives.

“There are some people in the intelligence community who are concerned about some of the information related to this investigation being suppressed,” Pegues told “The Takeout” with Major Garrett

Listen to this episode on Stitcher

That information has been filtering out in leaks to major news outlets, a trend that’s angering the president, who has railed against leaking in tweets and speeches, as well as in Thursday’s news 

Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel says he regrets inflammatory remarks

The combative attorney President Donald Trump picked to be his ambassador to Israel said Thursday that he regrets using “inflammatory rhetoric” during the “highly charged” 2016 presidential campaign.

At his confirmation hearing, David Friedman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that language he used “has come in for criticism - and rightfully so.” He says his use of incendiary comments is “entirely over.” 

Friedman had called J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group, “worse than kapos,” a reference to Jews who helped the Nazis imprison fellow Jews during the Holocaust. J Street worked closely with the Obama administration and is critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The group says Friedman “lacks the temperament and responsibility required for such a sensitive diplomatic assignment.”

White House to name Mike Dubke as communications director

The White House is set to name Mike Dubke, founder of the conservative Crossroads Media group, as its communications director, an administration official confirmed to CBS News.

Dubke will take the job that was offered to Jason Miller, who declined to accept the the White House job shortly after he was tapped to lead the communications office in December.

Dubke currently serves as a partner for the political advertising group Crossroads Media, which describes itself as “the premier Republican media services firm.” Dubke also leads the Virginia-based Black Rock Group, a strategic communications and public affairs firm.  

Rep. Elijah Cummings is “excited about meeting” Trump

During his hastily arranged news conference, Donald Trump talked about a meeting with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings that has yet to take place.

“I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings, and he was all excited,” the president recalled. “And then he said, ‘Well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting.’”

“Very nice guy,” though, Mr. Trump said of Cummings. He speculated that Cummings “probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that, some other lightweight. He was probably told - he was probably told ‘don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.’”

Cummings, as it turned out, watched the entire hour and 15 minute presser by the president, and he told CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds and Alan He that he didn’t expect Mr. Trump to bring up their yet-unscheduled meeting.


While Mr. Trump is stateside, his vice president, secretary of state, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs are traveling abroad. 

Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis will be attending the Munich Security Council meeting -- an annual gathering where world leaders discuss global security challenges.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson participates in the G20 summit in Bonn, Germany, where he’ll be meeting with Foreign Ministers Wang of China and Alfano of Italy.

The Cabinet

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