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DC Daily: Trump rallies in Florida, Pence tempers EU worries

Posted at 8:07 AM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-19 09:57:18-05

Today, President Donald trump plans to hold a rally in Florida, amid a week of criticism for blasting the media and two failed picks for national security advisor. Vice President Mike Pence spoke Saturday to European leaders as well, in efforts to calm international leaders' worries over the administration's stance on NATO and recent actions by Russia.

What's happening today

Pres. Trump rallies fan base

President Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida Saturday, in effort to rally his supporters and hit the reset button on negative coverage his administration has garnered over the last week.

Watch the full rally here: http://bit.ly/2kAcwJR

During the rally, the president covered everything from his take on media coverage of him, his plans for job creation, and his plans to address rising global concerns regarding the country's participation in NATO and trade.

"Streamlined" version of immigration order in the works

President. Trump's administration is working on a new, "streamlined" version of the president's immigration order released in January, according to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Kelly said at a conference in Munich that the president's original order was a, "temporary pause" to give him the chance to "see where our immigration and vetting system has gaps — and gaps it has — that could be exploited."

The original order singed by Pres. Trump included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Kelly mentioned "seven nations" again on Saturday, leading to speculation they will all be included again.

President Trump to hit post-presidency campaign trail in Florida

After a tumultuous week, President Trump is returning to the campaign trail - so to speak. The president returned to the Winter White House in Mar-A-Lago this weekend to prepare for meetings and a rally in Melbourne, Fla., later Saturday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Pres. Trump was holding the event as a way to go around the media, which he lashed out at throughout the week.

"So he can do that very easily by taking the stage and talking directly to the people of America, addressing their concerns and being able to properly express exactly what he's doing and what his administration has done over the last month," Sanders said on Air Force One to reporters.

Pence takes firm stance against Russia, says will hold them accountable

Vice President Pence told European leaders in Germany Saturday that the U.S. intends to continue to hold Russia accountable for its actions, even as President Trump's administration looks for common ground with the country.

"Know this: the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found," Pence said during remarks at the Munich Security Conference.

The move comes as the vice president tries to ease concerns regarding the administration's ties to Russia, after national security advisor pick Gen. Michael T. Flynn resigned for misleading Pence about his conversations with a Russian ambassador.

Further complicating matters, it was revealed that Russia had possibly violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by launching a cruise missile, according to a senior military official.

Pence also used the opportunity to quell worries about the country's stance on NATO and fighting terrorism alongside allies.

"Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance," Pence said. "The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to our transatlantic alliance."

Pres. Trump blasted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as "obsolete" on the campaign trail.

ICYMI

Associated Press reveals DHS draft memo on use of National Guard in immigration roundups

The White House continued to downplay a draft memo Friday from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the use of National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. 

The 11-page document published by the AP proposes using as many as 100,000 National Guard troops for immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

White House Press Secretary said the report was not true and claimed, "DHS also confirms it is 100% false." 

A DHS official said the document was a very early draft and was not seriously considered or ever brought to DHS Secretary John Kelly. DHS staffers told the AP Thursday that the proposal was reportedly still being considered as recently as a week ago.
 
DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen declined to tell AP who wrote the memo, how long it had been under consideration or when it had been rejected.
 
Scott Pruitt confirmed as head of EPA
 
 
Pruitt was confirmed largely on party lines 52-46. 
 
"He's exceptionally qualified," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "He's dedicated to environmental protection. And, as someone with state government experience, he understands the real-world consequences of EPA actions and knows that balance is the key to making policies that are sustainable over the long-term."
 
The vote came a day a federal judge ruled the state attorney general's office had to turn over thousands of emails related to Pruitt's communications with fossil fuel companies, which have a large presence in Oklahoma. The first batch of emails will be released on Tuesday, with a second batch released on February 26.