WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is expected to face questions about Russia, his national security adviser’s ouster, intelligence leaks and other issues at a White House news conference Thursday.
Trump announced the hastily arranged appearance at a breakfast meeting with some of his staunchest House supporters, one day after he held a joint news conference with Israel’s leader.
It also comes a day after fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, Trump’s original choice for labor secretary, withdrew from consideration after losing support among Republican senators whose votes were critical to his winning confirmation. Puzder withdrew after it was revealed that he once employed a housekeeper who was not authorized to work in the U.S.
Trump opened Thursday’s “listening session” with House members by saying he would announce a replacement labor secretary candidate at the news conference.
“The man I’ll be announcing for labor is a star, great person,” said Trump, who has blamed Senate Democrats for complicating the confirmation process for several of his Cabinet nominees.
Trump is also expected to soon name a new national security adviser following this week’s ouster of Michael Flynn, who misled Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn’s contacts with Russia.
At Wednesday’s news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump blamed the media and “illegally leaked” intelligence information for Flynn’s downfall.
The White House has said Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation because Flynn had misled Pence over his dealings with Russia and whether he had discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Flynn previously had denied those conversations to Pence and other top officials.
Trump appeared Wednesday to side with his former aide, saying it was “really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
On Thursday, he warned in a pair of tweets that “low-life leakers” of classified information will be caught. As journalists were being escorted out of the breakfast meeting, Trump responded to a reporter’s question on the subject by saying: “We’re going to find the leakers” and “they’re going to pay a big price.”
Vice Adm. Robert Harward, Trump’s top pick to succeed Flynn, was expected to be at the White House later Thursday.
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