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5 things for Friday, February 17, 2017: Trump news conference, Syria, California storms
President Trump held an unexpected (in every manner of the word) news conference. For an hour and a half Thursday, he talked about fake news, nuclear holocaust, TV ratings and Hillary Clinton. You know, just normal president stuff.
He also insisted his administration is running "like a fine-tuned machine," despite early staff turnover and an ongoing problem with anonymous leaks. Asked about his travel ban, Trump called it a "smooth rollout." Collusion with Russia? "A ruse." Oh, right, and he announced his new pick for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta. (That was the point of the news conference.)
Trump supporters cheered the chaotic session, seeing it as a return to the bravado-filled days of his campaign.
In: Crossroads Media founder Mike Dubke is expected to be named White House communications director. Dubke founded the Republican media source in 2001 and is seen by some as an outsider who wasn't close to the President during his campaign.
Not In: Usually when a president asks you to serve, you say yes. Not retired Vice Adm. Bob Harward. He was supposed to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser. A Republican official said Harward declined the post because he thought he wouldn't be able to form his own team.
"Baba, carry me, baba!" That was the cry from a boy who has become the latest face of childhood tragedy in the nation's six-year civil war. His legs were maimed in an apparent air raid Thursday. Activists say his name is Abdul Bassit Al-Satouf, and he was treated in the hospital. You might remember another little boy, Omran Daqneesh, sitting in the back of an ambulance after an attack. Or Alan Kurdi, the toddler whose body was carried off a beach by a soldier. Grown-ups say they're working to stop the violence. For now, 250,000 children are estimated to be living in war-torn parts of Syria.
Be on the lookout for a new executive order on immigration next week. Trump has promised an order tailored to the federal court decision that paused his first ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries (including Syria). That travel ban is still tied up in appeals after a restraining order put the brakes on it nationwide. As for the new order, we don't have too many details, but the President says it will be "a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people."
Get your umbrella, California. A strong storm is expected to bring drenching rain and the threat of flash flooding and landslides to southern parts of the state late Friday and through the weekend. Northern California is also looking at heavy rain starting Sunday. It could be a huge problem for communities near the Oroville Dam, where a damaged spillway has prompted evacuations in case the dam overflows.
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