A Russian shadow grows over the White House

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with teachers, school administrators and parents in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump.

Welcome to Trump Today, a one-stop entry point for the latest news on the 45th president of the United States.

Afternoon update

At a news conference and photo opportunity, President Donald J. Trump did not answer questions on a bombshell report by the New York Times that members of his campaign and other associates had multiple contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. He did, however, speak out in support of Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as his national security adviser over misleading the White House about post-election calls to the Russian ambassador.


Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on building Jewish settlements in land the Palestinians claim for their future state. He also said he wasn’t committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said.

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The chaos enveloping Trump’s White House is generating growing frustrations among Republicans in Congress as they are put on the defensive by Democrats who are redoubling demands for tough investigations of the new administration’s ties to Russia, the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Astead W. Herndon report.

Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department, withdrew, just a day before he was set to appear in front of a Senate committee for a confirmation hearing, Globe correspondent Tyler Pager reports.

Galvanized by Trump’s win, Massachusetts women are planning campaigns, the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports.

Make no mistake: This is what a White House in crisis looks like, the Globe’s James Pindell writes in his Ground Game analysis.


Today’s schedule

Trump and Netanyahu were slated to hold meetings and a working lunch, as well as hold the news conference.

Trump also participated in a listening session with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and member company CEOs and was slated to speak with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina by telephone. In the evening, Trump will host Senator Marco Rubio, his former bitter rival for the Republican nomination, for dinner.

What’s he been tweeting?

Trump launched a tweetstorm at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday, first lashing out at MSNBC and CNN, then lauding a Fox News show.


The Republican then charged that the “Russian connection” story was an attempt to cover up the flaws in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

He criticized the New York Times and Washington Post and their use of sources and said it was — “Just like Russia.”

He criticized the leaks further.

Then he referred to the Russian takeover of Crimea from the Ukraine, which happened during the Obama administration.

Finally, he returned to criticism of news leaks, calling them “Very un-American!”

Stepping back

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz says we are witnessing the “public humbling of a new president.”

More headlines

Before national security adviser Flynn was forced to resign Monday night, Trump was aware for “weeks” that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and White House officials about his his pre-inauguration phone calls to the Russian ambassador.

A White House spokesman said Flynn was forced to resign not because of any legal issues, but because Trump had lost trust in him.

Kellyanne Conway, the high-profile Trump adviser, should be disciplined for publicly endorsing Ivanka Trump’s product line, the US government’s chief ethics watchdog found.

House Republicans blocked a Democratic attempt to use an obscure law to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.

President Trump’s travel ban targeting nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries may not have held up in court, but it appears quite successful at keeping tourists out of the United States, the Globe Christopher Muther reports.

Some people weren’t happy after Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself seated at the Oval Office desk with her father and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flanking her.

The briefing

Clearly feeling the heat, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer gamely battled reporters at Tuesday’s briefing. Go to 15:23 on the video to see the Q and A portion of the briefing, which leads off with Spicer sidestepping a question on whether the Russians had been in contact with the Trump campaign.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.