The Latest: Trump to meet with Pence to weigh appointments




WASHINGTON (AP) — Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

8:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team says the incoming president will meet with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in New York on Tuesday as he makes decisions on his senior staff and Cabinet.

Pence is overseeing the transition effort.

Spokesman Jason Miller tells reporters that Pence will meet with Trump at Trump Tower to review "a number of names" for the incoming administration.

Miller says, "This is an absolute top priority."

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions has been meeting with Trump officials on Monday evening. Miller says Trump "would be lucky to have him in any capacity and vice versa."

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8:10 p.m.

Rudy Giuliani is the favorite to be secretary of state in Donald Trump's administration.

That's according to a senior Trump official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source isn't authorized to speak on the record.

The official says there's no real competition for the job and that it's the former New York mayor's if he wants it.

Giuliani said at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council event in Washington that he won't be attorney general in Trump's administration.

That's one of the jobs the former federal prosecutor and top Trump adviser has been seen as a top contender for.

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4 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team says he has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump's advisers say the two leaders discussed a "range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia," along with economic issues and the U.S-Russian relationship.

Trump's transition team says that Trump told Putin he looks forward to "a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia."

In a statement issued after the Monday call, Kremlin says that Putin expressed readiness to establish a "partner-like" dialogue with Trump's incoming administration.

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3:25 p.m.

The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump have agreed in a phone call to work to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

The Kremlin says that Putin expressed readiness to establish a "partner-like" dialogue with Trump's administration.

In the U.S., Trump's office says the president-elect noted to Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia

The Kremlin says that Putin and Trump agreed that U.S.-Russian ties are "unsatisfactory" and spoke for joint efforts to normalize them and engage in a "constructive cooperation on a broad range of issues."

The Kremlin adds that they also agreed on the need to combine efforts in the fight against the No. 1 enemy — international terrorism and extremism." The Kremlin says they discussed the settlement of the Syrian crisis in that context.

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12:30 p.m.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence says he is recruiting people with "character and the competence" to implement Donald Trump's vision for the country.

The Republican Indiana governor was named chairman of Trump's presidential transition team on Friday and could wield considerable influence.

But he downplayed his role Monday to reporters in Indianapolis, saying he was humbled to play a "small part."

Pence did not respond to a question about the appointment of Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as a senior Trump adviser. The website specializes in button-pushing headlines, including one that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a "Republican spoiler, renegade Jew."

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12:05 p.m.

A top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump says the incoming president will make additional appointments to his team this week.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tells reporters at Trump Tower that the transition team is working on naming members of the incoming president's staff and Cabinet.

Trump on Sunday named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff and campaign adviser Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

Conway says incoming first lady Melania Trump is also interviewing potential aides and Trump's team is making plans to fill the vacancy of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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11:45 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is considering Richard Grenell as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to a person familiar with transition planning.

If selected, Grenell would be the first openly gay person to hold a Cabinet-level foreign policy post. Grenell served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. throughout President George W. Bush's administration.

Grenell briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

The person familiar with the transition planning insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the private deliberations.

-By Julie Pace

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11:40 a.m.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence says he is recruiting people with "character and the competence" to implement Donald Trump's vision for the country.

The Republican Indiana governor was named chairman of Trump's presidential transition team on Friday and could wield considerable influence.

But he downplayed his role Monday to reporters in Indianapolis, saying he was humbled to play a "small part."

Pence did not respond to a question about the appointment of Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as a senior Trump adviser. The website specializes in button-pushing headlines, including one that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a "Republican spoiler, renegade Jew."

Pence said the transition team will draw on people from across the country. He says he will present the president-elect with "a lot of great choices."

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11 a.m.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops are urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said serving and welcoming people fleeing conflict and violence is part of their identity as Roman Catholics. Church leaders said they would continue to offer that aid.

Trump talked tough about immigration on the campaign trail, including proposing building a wall along the border of U.S. and Mexico and deporting the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally. He later distanced himself from those statements.

In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday night, he said he would focus on deporting people with criminal records beyond their immigration status.

Trump also has called to suspend the admission of Syrian refugees in the country.

The bishops made the plea Monday, at the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore.

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11 a.m.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is defending President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Steve Bannon for senior counselor.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, a reporter read a list of offensive statements by Bannon, the far-right media mogul whose Breitbart site has pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda. McCarthy said the president-elect always gets to pick his team.

The California Republican said "the president has a right to select who he thinks is best."

In anticipation of Trump as president next year, McCarthy also said he and House GOP committee chairs were sending letters to government agencies telling them to stop issuing any new regulations.

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7:55 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is considering oil billionaire Harold Hamm and North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer to lead the Department of Energy.

Trump is also considering venture capitalist Robert Grady for the top energy job, according to a transition planning document obtained by The Associated Press. Grady, who worked in President George H.W. Bush's administration, is also listed on the document as a possible pick to lead the Interior Department.

The planning document includes several energy and environmental priorities for the next administration, including repealing the Clean Power Plan. The plan was introduced by the Obama administration and aims to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

The power plant plan is currently on hold awaiting a court ruling. The transition planning document says that if the court doesn't rule by the time Trump takes office, his administration will likely seek to have the case dismissed.

-By Julie Pace

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7:32 a.m.

Reince Priebus says Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon has been a hard worker and sober decision maker in the months the two have steered Donald Trump toward the presidency.

Trump's newly named White House chief of staff told NBC's "Today" show that Bannon has exhibited none of the racist, sexist or other qualities attributed to him and the Breitbart website.

The site specializes in button-pushing, traffic-trolling headlines, including one that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a "Republican spoiler, renegade Jew." Others asked, "Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?" and "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy."

Priebus says those things weren't Bannon's writing. He expects to work with Bannon as a partner in slightly different roles the Trump administration.

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7:05 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is making an overture to Republican circles by naming GOP chief Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff. He's also fired a shot across the Washington establishment's bow by tapping Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

The two men had made up the president-elect's chief of staff shortlist, and while Priebus received that job, Bannon's post also is expected to wield significant clout. The media executive with ties to the alt-right and white nationalist movement was given top billing in the press release announcing their appointments.

Trump's hires announced Sunday were, at first glance, contradictory. But they fit a pattern of the celebrity businessman creating a veritable Rorschach test that allowed his supporters to see what they wanted.
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