The Latest: Trump picks Huntsman for Russia ambassador

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 8, 2017 at 5:06 p.m.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

7 p.m.

A White House official says former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is President Donald Trump's choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Huntsman will be nominated for the diplomatic post as senior members of Trump's administration face questions about their contacts with the Russian government.

The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Huntsman served as the ambassador to China during the Obama administration and speaks Mandarin. He had been considering a Senate run in 2018, a decision that would depend on whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, runs again.

Huntsman in October called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race after the release of a recording on which Trump bragged about groping women.

— By Vivian Salama


6:25 p.m.

If it's St. Patrick's Day, it means Ireland's prime minister will be at the White House.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer says Taoiseach (TEE'-shuk) Enda Kenny will make the traditional St. Patrick's Day visit with President Donald Trump this year on March 16. That's one day before the official holiday, though it's not unusual for the meeting to fall on a day other than March 17.

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced earlier this week that Kenny and Trump are expected to attend the annual "Friends of Ireland" luncheon on Capitol Hill, also March 16.

Trump earlier this month proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month.


4:25 p.m.

Two House Democrats say President Donald Trump was "enthusiastic" about their proposal to address the high cost of prescription drugs.

Congressmen Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont met with Trump at the White House to discuss their plan to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices.

Cummings says the president was enthusiastic and made clear to them that he wants to do something about it.

The Maryland lawmaker says he also urged Trump to consider voter suppression in any voter fraud investigation.

Cummings also told Trump that most black neighborhoods are not places of depression — in response to how the president referred to inner cities as "ghettos" during his campaign. Cummings says, "I think he got it."


4:20 p.m.

The White House is struggling to answer whether it believes President Donald Trump is the target of a counterintelligence investigation.

When first asked whether Trump is the subject of such a probe, press secretary Sean Spicer said the White House needed to find that out. He said that's why Trump has asked Congress to include that issue in its investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.

Minutes later, an aide handed Spicer a note, prompting him to revise his response.

Spicer then said the White House has no reason to believe Trump is the target of "any investigation, whatsoever."

Over the weekend, Trump alleged on Twitter that then-President Barack Obama had Trump's telephones tapped during last year's presidential election. Trump cited no evidence. An Obama spokesman denies the allegation.

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