Tamara Keith

Trump And North Korea

Mar 9, 2018

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In the boardroom on The Apprentice, the stakes seemed high. A quick decision from Donald Trump could end with winning, losing and embarrassment on network TV.

But in the Cabinet Room at the White House, people's lives and livelihoods are at stake.

In recent weeks, as President Trump led televised listening sessions about school safety and immigration in the Cabinet Room, former Apprentice producer Bill Pruitt watched with a feeling of familiarity or, as he puts it, "a minor form of PTSD."

President Trump insists his isn't a White House in chaos, but it's hard to deny the near constant churn of key aides, including Tuesday's announced departure of economic adviser Gary Cohn. A full 43 percent of top-level positions in the Trump White House have seen turnover. That is not normal.

In fact, the Trump White House has had more turnover among senior aides in the first 13 1/2 months of Trump's term than his four most recent predecessors had after two years.

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President Trump is losing another key member of his senior White House staff. His top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is stepping down. His departure comes less than a week after Trump's longest-serving aide, Hope Hicks, announced she's leaving.

Updated at 7:06 p.m. ET

President Trump, in a joint news conference with the Swedish prime minister, acknowledged Russian "meddling" in the 2016 presidential election and said his administration is working to counteract any interference in elections in 2018 — even as he downplayed the effect of Russia's 2016 influence campaign.

"The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever," Trump said. "But certainly there was meddling and probably there was meddling from other countries and maybe other individuals."

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Updated on March 2 at 10:47 a.m. ET

The White House convened a summit on the opioid epidemic Thursday, where first lady Melania Trump said she is proud of the what the administration has already accomplished on the issue, but that "we all know there is much work still to be done."

Although he had not been expected to participate, President Trump briefly joined the event.

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It didn't take long for attention to turn from the resignation of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter to scrutiny of how chief of staff John Kelly handled the allegations of spousal abuse lodged against his close aide.

And as a chief of staff, that spotlight is not where you want to be.

"Frankly, the last thing you can afford to do as chief of staff to the president is become the headline rather than the person working in the background," said Leon Panetta, a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration who also knows Kelly well.

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Now, President Trump cleared the way for the release of this memo when he declassified it earlier today. Trump said what the memo reveals is, quote, "terrible."

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President Trump is keeping a low profile today as his team talks up his performance in last night's State of the Union address. We'll hear responses and analysis of that speech all through the show.

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President Trump took a shot at selling himself to the global elite today.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You are national leaders, business titans, industry giants and many of the brightest minds in many fields.

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Let's go to the Middle East now, where Vice President Mike Pence spoke today at the Israeli Knesset, where he praised a recent decision by President Trump about Jerusalem.

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