The Latest: Israeli president invites Trump to Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):
Israel’s president has congratulated President Donald Trump on his inauguration and invited him to Jerusalem.
Reuven Rivlin sent a letter Saturday, at the end of the Jewish Sabbath, and thanked Trump for being “a longstanding friend” of Israel.
Israel made great efforts to refrain from taking sides in the election. But after repeated clashes with ex-President Barack Obama, Israel’s nationalist right has high expectations for Trump.
Trump’s chosen ambassador to Israel has close ties to Jewish West Bank settlements, as does the foundation run by the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Tax records show Trump himself also donated money to a Jewish seminary located in a settlement.
President Donald Trump has had some trouble with his spelling.
Trump tweeted Saturday that “I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” He misspelled “honored” by swapping in an “e” for an “o.”
The president posted the incorrectly spelled tweet at 11:57 a.m. Twelve minutes later, it was deleted and the message was re-posted, this time with the correct spelling.
Trump posted the incorrect tweet from his original realdonaldtrump account, not his new POTUS handle. He then posted the same message, with a photo, from the new account.
The deletion raises questions about whether a deleted Trump tweet would run afoul of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of presidential communications.
The State Department says the American ambassador to Kazakhstan will represent the United States at international talks on Syria set for Monday in the Kazakh capital.
The talks are being sponsored by Russia and Turkey. The invitation for the U.S. to be an observer came from Russia’s ambassador in Washington in a telephone call with Michael Flynn, the new White House national security adviser.
That call took place on Dec. 29 – the same day the Obama administration levied sanctions on Russia in relation for election-related hacking in the 2016 White House campaign.
The talks are seen as a prelude to a new round of U.N.-led negotiations in Geneva next month between the Syrian government and the opposition.
The U.S. envoy in Kazakhstan is George Krol, a career foreign service officer.
The State Department’s acting spokesman, Mark Toner, says a U.S. delegation isn’t attending because of the presidential inauguration and the “immediate demands” of the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations.
President Donald Trump is opening his first full day in office by attending a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.
Trump entered the cathedral holding hands with his wife, Melania, and took his place in the first pew alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Trump smiled and nodded to those who passed him during the procession.
The cathedral has for years hosted a prayer service for the new president. But keeping the tradition has sparked debate this year among Episcopalians opposed to Trump’s policies.
Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that she shared “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions” but also felt an obligation to welcome all people.
The Justice Department says federal anti-nepotism laws do not prevent President Donald Trump from appointing his son-in-law to his administration.
The decision clears the way for Jared Kushner to take a post as a senior adviser.
Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and became one of his closest advisers later in the campaign.
The Justice Department released a memo to the White House counsel Friday concluding that the president’s “special hiring authority” allows him to make the appointment to the West Wing staff.
Federal anti-nepotism laws prevent relatives from being appointed to government positions. The Trump transition team argued the laws apply to federal agencies, not White House posts.
The Interior Department has suspended its Twitter activity.
This, after a bureau of the department – the National Park Service – retweeted a pair of posts Friday that appeared unsympathetic to President Donald Trump.
The first noted that the crowd for Trump was far smaller than the one that turned out for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
The second pointed out that webpages about some issues, including climate change, had been removed from the White House site.
A spokesman for the National Park Service, Tom Crosson, said Saturday the retweets “were inconsistent with the agency’s approach to engaging the public.”
The spokesman says the Interior Department’s account will resume tweeting over the weekend.
Britain’s prime minister says she’s confident President Donald Trump understands the strategic value of the NATO alliance.
Theresa May tells the Financial Times that Trump “recognized the importance and significance of NATO.”
The new U.S. president has alarmed European allies by suggesting NATO may be obsolete. He’s said alliance members must pay more for their defense and not rely so much on U.S. military contributions.
May also says she believes Britain can work out a new trade deal with the U.S.
The prime minister expects to meet Trump in Washington soon.
It’s the first full day in office for President Donald Trump – after his first night in the White House.
And first up on his schedule: a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.
For years, the cathedral has hosted such a service for the new president. But this year, some in the largely liberal congregation have objected to hosting it this year.
Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has written in blog post that she shares “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions” – but that she feels an obligation to welcome all people without qualification.
Later Saturday, Trump is expected to visit the CIA. Trump has been critical of intelligence officials for their assertions about Russian election hacking and about leaks about his briefings in the weeks before he was sworn in.
The Kremlin is hoping for a constructive dialogue with President Donald Trump’s administration, but also warning that differences will remain.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman tells Russian state television that it would be an “illusion” to expect that U.S.-Russian relations would be free of disagreements.
Dmitry Peskov notes the intricacy of nuclear arms control and the complexity of the situation in Syria among other challenges.
Trump’s victory has elated Russian political elites amid bitter tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.
Peskov says “successful development of bilateral ties will depend on our ability to solve these differences through dialogue.”
He says Putin will call Trump soon to congratulate him.