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Today in Trump: February 24, 2017

Trump at CPAC

Today in the Trump Administration

WH spokesman Sean Spicer defends Priebus’ contacts with FBI

In an afternoon briefing Friday, Sean Spicer defended the White House over a CNN report that Reince Priebus had inappropriately pressured the FBI to dispute a New York Times story that alleged multiple contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian intelligence officials during the presidential campaign.

At issue were communications between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about the accuracy of the story published by the Times.  

On Thursday, CNN suggested that Priebus’ contact with the FBI may have been inappropriate, given that there is a pending investigation into the alleged Russian contacts. 

Trump appeals to conservatives at CPAC, vows to keep campaign promises

President Trump returned to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday after skipping the event last year in order to campaign in Kansas during the presidential primary season.

For the first half of the speech, Mr. Trump bashed what he called “the dishonest press” and said that “fake news” is “the enemy of the people.” 

“They have no sources, they just make it up,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he’s “not against” the media or the press and that he doesn’t mind bad stories about him.

He then went on to discuss his election victory last November and outlined all of the policy promises he intends to keep as president. He discussed his plan to dismantle Obamacare, lower taxes for the middle class, rebuild the military, build a border wall and deport “bad dudes” from the U.S.

“By stopping the flow of illegal immigration, we will save countless tax dollars,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re not coming back in, folks.”

Trump signs executive order targeting regulations that are deemed unnecessary

President Trump on Friday signed an executive order that calls on all executive agencies to evaluate federal regulations and identify any that are unnecessary, according to the White House pool report.

“Excessive regulations are killing jobs, driving companies out of our country like never before,’’ Mr. Trump said with a dozen or more CEOs standing behind him in the Oval Office.

“Today, this executive order directs each agency to establish a regulatory reform task force. It will ensure that every agency has a team of dedicated people to research all regulations that are unnecessary, burdensome and harmful to the economy, and harmful to the creation of jobs and business.’’

Trump slams FBI for failing to track down leakers

President Trump on Friday blasted the FBI for failing to track down people who are leaking information to journalists about the new administration.

Mr. Trump went on say that classified information is being relayed to the press, which he said could have a “devastating effect” on the U.S. He demanded that the leakers be found immediately. -- Rebecca Shabad

Poll: Hispanics divided over what Trump presidency means about their place in U.S.

Hispanic people in the U.S. are divided about what Donald Trump’s presidency means for them, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

The poll found that 54 percent of Hispanics said that they’re confident about their place in America after Mr. Trump’s election and 41 percent said they have serious concerns.

Among undocumented immigrants, 55 percent said that they have serious concerns about their place in the U.S. The same was said by 38 percent of U.S.-born Hispanic and 34 percent of Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. Forty-nine percent of Hispanic lawful permanent residents said they have serious concerns, too.

The Takeout: What to expect from Trump’s first joint address to Congress

Next week’s must-watch political television is the president’s joint address to Congress Tuesday. How will the president command the podium in the august House chamber? What will it feel like in the room?   

Though Mr. Trump claims his White House has run like a “fine-tuned machine,” there have been a few stalls and false starts. For instance, a key executive order, the travel ban, has been stayed by the courts, forcing him to write a new one. Mr. Trump and his top aides are at war with the media -- he declared several TV networks the “enemy of the people last week.”

A new CBS News poll this week shows the president’s approval ratings are low -- 39 percent -- similar to other recent polls over the last couple of weeks. 

Just over a month after his inauguration, it seems likely that Mr. Trump could use this speech to turn his attention from the solo executive actions and cabinet appointments toward the agenda that will require working with Congress.

How will all of this be manifest in the president’s Tuesday address? Correspondent Margaret Brennan, who covers the White House and foreign affairs for CBS News, joined Major Garrett for this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast.

Listen to this episode on Stitcher

CPAC

President Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference, 10:20 a.m. 

Caitlyn Jenner tells Trump his reversal on transgender rights is “a disaster”

Caitlyn Jenner is taking President Trump to task for his administration’s reversal of a directive on transgender access to public school bathrooms.

Jenner addresses Mr. Trump in a video posted Thursday night on Twitter. She says, “From one Republican to another, this is a disaster.”

The Trump White House has ended a directive issued during Obama’s presidency that told public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.

Kasich

Mr. Trump meets with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The National Governors and the Republican governors are in Washington this weekend for their annual meeting. Mike Pence will host the GOP governors for lunch, 12:30 p.m. Later, Pence will travel to Las Vegas to address the Republican Jewish Coalition, 10:30 p.m.

What you missed yesterday

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.     

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.

CPAC

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.