First Lady Melania Trump, Sara Netanyahu visit African American Museum in D.C.

While President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, first lady Melania and Sara Netanyahu toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Melania Trump and Sara Netanyahu left the White House at about 2:30 p.m. Trump was wearing a white one-piece peplum dress with her hair down, while Netanyahu sported a pink knee-length coat over a pink dress.

Upon arrival at the museum, the duo met Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton and Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum directors escorted the first ladies around the facility and gave them a verbal tour of the 19th Smithsonian institution. They stopped by the Greensboro Lunch Counter, where four black residents of Greensboro, N.C., launched a sit-in at a restaurant inside the Woolworth department store on South Elm Street.

Trump and Netanyahu’s tour stopped at the statue of Thomas Jefferson to see the exhibit called “The Paradox of Liberty,” a reference to the founding father’s owning slaves.

Click here to read more from The Washington Examiner.

Trump plans to appoint Stephen A. Feinberg to conduct review of intelligence agencies

President Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.

The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.

There has been no announcement of Mr. Feinberg’s job, which would be based in the White House, but he recently told his company’s shareholders that he is in discussions to join the Trump administration. He is a member of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.

Click here to read more from The New York Times.

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump offers national security adviser post to Vice Admiral Robert Harward (sources)

The Trump administration has offered the job of White House national security adviser, vacated by former U.S. intelligence official Michael Flynn, to Vice Admiral Robert Harward, said two U.S. officials familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command who has Navy SEAL combat experience, had accepted the offer, according to sources. Continue reading “Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump offers national security adviser post to Vice Admiral Robert Harward (sources)”

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws

President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination, a senior Administration official told TIME.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Puzder did not give a reason for his withdrawal. “I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity,” he said in a statement. “I want [to] thank President Trump for his nomination. I also thank my family and my many supporters — employees, businesses, friends, and people who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as Secretary of Labor. While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team.”

–TIME, Charlotte Alter and Zeke J Miller

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump holds joint press conference with Netanyahu, asks him to ‘hold off’ on settlements (Video)

President Donald Trump said he would support the peace agreement Israel and Palestinians “like the best” in a joint press conference during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed against Palestinian efforts to reach a deal.

“I’m looking at two state and one state. And I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said when asked about a peace agreement. Continue reading “Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump holds joint press conference with Netanyahu, asks him to ‘hold off’ on settlements (Video)”

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump meets with heads of major retailers

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called tax code revisions a critical way to boost the nation’s economy as he kicked off a White House meeting with chief executive officers of Target Corp, Best Buy Co Inc and six other major retailers.

The retailers spoke with Trump about an overhaul of the corporate tax law and infrastructure improvements. While companies like Best Buy and Target support changes to the tax code, they urged Trump to oppose a proposal for a new border tax on imported goods. Continue reading “Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump meets with heads of major retailers”

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump denies Russian ‘conspiracy theories’ amid reports of his campaign’s contacts with Moscow

Facing renewed questions and investigations about contacts between his associates and Russia over last year’s election, President Trump denounced “conspiracy theories” that he claims are being spun by the media and illegal intelligence leaks.

“The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred,” Trump said during a morning tweetstorm. “@MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!”

This and other tweets came as The New York Times  reported that phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Trump’s campaign team “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election” in which Russia is accused of interfering via the hacking of Democratic officials.

In another tweet, Trump accused his critics of scandal-mongering out of deference to defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign,” Trump said.

Trump also complained about news leaks in a third tweet: “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia.”

Click here to read more from USA Today.

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017: Trump meets with Netanyahu at WH, holds retail industry session

10:15 am: Participates in a listening session with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and member company CEOs; Roosevelt Room

11:50 am: The president and Mrs. Trump greet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Mrs. Netanyahu; South Portico

Noon: Participates in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu; East Room

12:40 pm: Begins meetings with Netanyahu

4:15 pm: Speaks with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina

4:30 pm: Participates in a legislative affairs strategy session

6:30 pm: The president and first lady host Senator Marco Rubio and Mrs. Rubio for dinner; Blue Room