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White House downplays role of two former aides...Trump to lobby for health bill...Evacuees return home

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 20, 2017 at 12:50 p.m.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is distancing itself from two former senior members of Donald Trump's team, amid an FBI investigation into possible connections between Trump "associates" and Russia. White House press secretary Sean Spicer today referred to Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as a "volunteer of the campaign." And he said Paul Manafort, who ran Trump's campaign leading up to the Republican National Convention, "played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time." Flynn resigned from the White House last month after he was found to have misled senior members of the administration about his contacts with Russia's top diplomat to the U.S.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to visit Capitol Hill tomorrow to make an in-person pitch for House Republican lawmakers to support a GOP plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law. House Speaker Paul Ryan's office says Trump plans to speak to the House Republican conference meeting to urge passage of the health care bill, which is expected to reach the House floor on Thursday. The bill has generated criticism from both conservative and moderates within the Republican-led House.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is defending proposed cuts to popular federal programs like Meals on Wheels amid President Donald Trump's taxpayer-funded trips to his Florida beach resort. Meals on Wheels, the popular service that provides food to the elderly, faces a sharp funding cut under Trump's budget proposal, drawing bipartisan criticism. The exact amount of the cut is unknown, but budget director Mick Mulvaney says the government "can't spend money on programs just because they sound good." Spokesman Sean Spicer tells reporters today that there are "false narratives" being reported about the cuts. He adds, "only in Washington" do people judge success "by how much money you throw at the problem."

PARIS (AP) — Video of a suspected Islamic extremist at Paris' Orly airport shows a soldier caught by surprise when an attacker drops a shopping bag and grabs her from behind. The Associated Press has obtained security footage of Saturday's attack, which caused panic and shut down the French capital's second-biggest airport. It shows the attacker grabbing the soldier around the shoulders as her companion patrols slightly ahead. The attacker was shot dead within three minutes during a standoff with the companion and another soldier.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Hundreds of residents have been allowed to return to their homes in the foothills near Boulder, Colorado, as firefighters make progress against a wildfire possibly sparked by transient campers in the area. The fire was burning on about 70 acres just west of downtown and is about 50 percent contained.

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The Associated Press


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