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Today in Trump: February 23, 2017

Secretary of state largely silent
Secretary of state largely silent 01:31

Today in the Trump Administration

CBS News poll: Immigration is most important problem for Trump and Congress

The CBS News poll released this morning also shows that six in 10 Americans say the economy is in good shape, the highest that figure has been in a decade.     

Just over a month after taking office, President Trump’s overall job approval rating is 39 percent -- similar to what it was earlier this month. Fifty-one percent of Americans disapprove, and 10 percent don’t have an opinion.    

Nearly six in 10 don’t think Trump understands the complicated problems a president faces

There continues to be some concern about Mr. Trump’s ability to handle an international crisis. Sixty-two percent are uneasy about his approach, and only 35 percent say they’re confident about his ability to deal with an international crisis. However, among Republicans, 75 percent are confident, and 22 percent are not. 

The opposite is true for Democrats -- 92 percent are uneasy with his approach, and only six percent are comfortable. Sixty-four percent of independents are also uneasy about the president’s approach to international crises. 

Secretaries of State, Homeland Security head to Mexico

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will spend Wednesday night and Thursday in Mexico City, meeting with government officials including Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

As the first visit of US officials to the neighboring country since President Trump’s inauguration, which has strained U.S.-Mexico relations, it will be a stark reminder of the complexities that shape the relationship between the two countries. Before leaving for the trip, Tillerson met with President Trump at the White House. --Kylie Atwood

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Mr. Trump said in an interview with Reuters that he wants to expand and update the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He said in the interview Thursday that he wants U.S. nuclear capability to be at the “top of the pack,” but that the country has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.”

DHS secretary says “no use of military forces in immigration”

In Mexico City, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly promised there will not be any mass deportations of illegal immigrants. Kelly also said that there will not be any military force used in immigration enforcement.

“There will be no use of military forces in immigration,” Kelly declared in a statement at the Mexican Foreign Ministry. “There will be no -- repeat -- no, mass deportations.”

Will President Trump slash the Office of Drug Policy?

Drug policy and advocacy groups, alarmed by a New York Times report that the Office of Management and Budget has placed the White House’s Office of National Drug Control and Policy (ONDCP) on the chopping block, have banded together in the midst of a national opioid crisis to author a letter forcefully opposing the move.  --Jacqueline Alemany

And amid talk of plans to cut the office, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta are being considered for roles in the war on drugs.


Vice President Pence (7:30 p.m.), top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (12:50 p.m.), Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon (1 p.m.) address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Oxon Hill, Maryland. 

During a panel discussion Thursday afternoon, Bannon said the relationship between Mr. Trump and the media will get worse, not better.

“It’s not going to get better -- it’s going to get worse every day,” he predicted in a joint interview with Priebus. He went on to say of the “corporatist, globalist media” that it’s “adamantly opposed to a economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has.”

Tillerson in Mexico City

The secretary of State meets with Mexican Foreign Secretary Videgaray (joint statement, 12:10 p.m. ET), Secretary of Government Osorio, and Secretary of Finance Meade. He’ll then have a closed meeting with President Pena Nieto. Striking the right note in this conversation will be key, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan notes. Mexico’s president abruptly cancelled his previously scheduled trip to Washington in the wake of the Trump administration’s executive order to construct a border wall, which Mr. Trump has described as being paid for by Mexico.

Manufacturing CEOs 

President Trump hosts a listening session with manufacturing CEOs about removing barriers to job creation. Vice President Pence is expected to meet with the group before the president, 10:30 a.m., at the White House.

 Legislative strategy

 Mr. Trump hosts a closed legislative affairs strategy session at 2:30 p.m.

Business Council

President Trump dines with the Business Council at 7:50 p.m.

What you missed yesterday

What do we know about Trump’s revised travel ban? 

Almost a month after President Donald Trump signed his initial travel ban restricting entry to the U.S. from seven countries -- Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya -- his administration was expected to release a revised version of the executive order this week.

However, late Thursday afternoon, the White House said that the travel ban is no longer coming this week, reports Jacqueline Alemany. The White House says that it will now be issued next week. There is still discussion about the treatment of Syrian refugees, whose immigration to the U.S. in the original ban was indefinitely suspended. 

Though we won’t know exactly what’s in the revised order until the White House releases it, administration officials have made reference to some changes that are expected in the new version.

Here’s a CBS News guide to what we know so faraccording to Emily Schultheis.

Transgender bathrooms

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the administration will issue guidance clarifying its position on transgender bathrooms today. The president has long held that transgender bathroom laws should be left to states.  His position will not change, Spicer said.

The White House will update the guidance issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education under the Obama administration. Spicer said there were legal and procedural problems with the Obama administration guidance, and the president has to “decide whether or not this administration wants to continue this track that they were on.” -- Arden Farhi

Rex Tillerson: The silent man at the State Department

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has largely been silent during his almost three weeks on the job, says CBS News’ Margaret Brennan. Some of America’s past top diplomats have practiced deliberative diplomacy (Madeleine Albright famously said diplomatic talks, like mushrooms, grow best in the dark), but Tillerson seems to be taking this idea to new extremes.

He has yet to hold a news conference, and many of his meetings and calls are not publicly disclosed. That is a change from past practice, and it means foreign governments are often describing American policy, rather than the U.S. itself. For instance, just this week, details of Tillerson’s phone call Tuesday with the foreign minister of Russia – Sergey Lavrov – were posted on Twitter by Moscow, but not read out by the State Department. 

Polling on Putin

People in the United States view Russian President Vladimir Putin more positively now than they did two years ago, with his image rising sharply among Republicans, according to a new Gallup survey.

The poll found that 22 percent of the public have a favorable view of Putin, up from 13 percent in 2015 and the highest rating he’s received since 2003.

Nearly three-quarters of people, 72 percent, however, view Putin unfavorably, Gallup found.

AP: What would happen if Trump rolls back transgender bathroom directive

The Trump administration could revise or withdraw an Obama-era directive requiring public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday the Justice Department is working on a new set of guidelines on bathroom access but offered no other details.

AP fact check: Did immigration officers really have their hands “cuffed behind them” under Obama? 

Assertions from the White House that immigration-enforcement agents had their hands tied in the last administration are difficult to square with the massive deportations of Barack Obama’s presidency.  

SEAN SPICER: “For so long, the people at ICE and CBP had their hands cuffed behind them.” The Obama administration had so many exceptions for who could be adjudicated “that it made it very difficult for the customs and enforcement people to do their job and enforce the laws of this country.”  

Strategic Initiative Group meeting    

President Trump lunches with strategic initiative group at the White House, 12:30pm.  Steve Bannon leads the group, which has been described as a kind of mini-think-tank within the White House. 

Legislative Affairs strategy session   

Mr. Trump hosts a closed legislative affairs strategy session, 4:00pm. 

Tillerson, Bishop 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Australian Foreign Minister Julie  Bishop. 10:00am.  

Tillerson then travels to Mexico, where he’ll be joined by DHS Secretary John Kelly. The two will be meeting with Mexican officials

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