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Friday November 24th, 2017 2:13AM

The Latest: Trump says Mexico will pay for border wall

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

12:50 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says he'll begin negotiations with Mexico on funding his promised wall along the southern border immediately after he takes office.

Trump's team and Republicans in Congress have been discussing a plan in which American taxpayers would initially cover the costs of the wall.

Trump says that's because he wants to get it started fast.

He asks, "What's the difference? I want to get the wall started."

He adds that, "Mexico will pay for the wall, but it will be reimbursed."

Trump is also pushing back on reports that his wall could wind up becoming more of a fence.

He insists, "It's not a fence, it's a wall. We're going to build a wall."

___

12:35 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says a replacement for "Obamacare" will be offered with the confirmation of his health secretary.

Trump says at a Wednesday news conference that his plan for President Barack Obama's health care law would be "repeal and replace," adding that it would be "essentially simultaneously."

Trump called the law "a complete and total disaster" and said it was "imploding." He argued that Republicans would do doing a "tremendous service" for Democrats by replacing the law.

Trump has repeatedly said that repealing and replacing "Obamacare" was a top priority, but he has never fully explained how he planned to do it. Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the House would seek to take both steps "concurrently."

But Trump's promise to repeal and replace the health care law "essentially simultaneously," even in the same day, week or hour, is almost certainly impossible to achieve.

___

12:25 p.m.

Donald Trump is recommitting to plans to impose a border tax on manufacturers who shutter plants and move production abroad.

Trump says at a Wednesday news conference: "There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder."

Border taxes may help retain jobs, but they carry the risk of increasing prices for consumers.

The president-elect has been meeting with chief executives and touting commitments by United Technologies and others to keep jobs in the United States. Such moves have done little so far to move the dial on job growth for the broader U.S. economy, although Trump stressed that he was using these deals to set a new tone that offshoring would be penalized.

Trump says: "What really is happening is the word is now out."

___

12:20 p.m.

Trump's lawyer says the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution does not apply to foreign payments to his company, as some ethics experts have said.

The lawyer, Sheri Dillon, says some have claimed that foreign leaders who pay for rooms and services at his various hotels across the globe would put the president-elect in violation of the clause.

Dillon says: "These people are wrong. That is not what the Constitution says."

She argues that "fair-value exchange," such as paying for a hotel room, does not run afoul of the Constitutional ban of foreign gifts or payments to the president.

Dillon says nonetheless the Trump Organization will voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments to his hotels to the U.S. Treasury.

___

12:05 p.m.

Ivanka Trump will not play a management role in the Trump Organization moving forward.

Trump attorney Sheri Dillon says Wednesday at a news conference that the future first daughter will have no involvement with or management authority at the family business. Ivanka Trump has been an executive vice president at the company.

Ivanka Trump is not taking an official role in her father's administration for now. But her husband, Jared Kushner, will be serving as a senior adviser, and the family is moving to Washington.

Dillon says that Ivanka Trump will be focused on getting her children settled in their new home and at their schools.

Ivanka Trump is also expected to step away from a leadership role at her own company selling clothes and jewelry

___

Noon

President-elect Donald Trump says that the Democratic National Committee was "totally open to be hacked" and argues that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they "would have released it."

At Wednesday's news conference, Trump took questions about the role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups. The intelligence community says the interference was intended to help the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump said the Democratic National Committee could have "had hacking defense." He praised his future chief of staff Reince Preibus, saying he ordered such a defense at the Republican National Committee.

Trump also said that "hacking is bad," but added "look at what we learned from that hacking."

___

11:50 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says that more factories open in the industrial Midwest, highlighting his direct outreach to companies and repeating his campaign pledge to be "the greatest jobs producer that God created."

At his first news conference since his election, Trump beamed over plans by Fiat Chrysler to add 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio. He also noted that Ford would not be building a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and would instead update an existing Michigan factory and add 700 jobs. Trump had called on Ford to not open a new factory in Mexico, although economic forces beyond the incoming administration's direct control such as gasoline prices also influenced the decision.

Trump said additional factory job announcements would be coming, saying, "I hope General Motors will be following."

The president-elect added that he wants to bring overseas pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the United States, although he plans to negotiate on the prices the government pays for medication.

___

11:40 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says he's finally settled on a candidate to lead the sprawling Veterans Affairs department.

Trump says his choice is David Shulkin, who is currently the department's undersecretary for health.

Trump made the announcement at a news conference in New York. He says Shulkin is "fantastic" and will do a "truly great job."

The president-elect focused on veterans' issues during the presidential campaign. He says veterans have been mistreated under the Obama administration and promises to straighten things out.

The VA secretary post was one of two Cabinet posts Trump still has to fill. Agriculture secretary is the other one.

___

11:31 a.m.

Donald Trump plans to put all his business assets in a trust and hand control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime business executive to allay concerns about conflicts of interest.

A lawyer who worked with the Trump Organization on the plan says Trump is planning to make the change by Inauguration Day, relinquish control over the Trump Organization and isolate himself from the business.

The lawyer says the company will do no new foreign deals but can pursue domestic ones, and says that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts.

The lawyer spoke to reporters before Trump's news conference, the first since his Nov. 8 election, and requested anonymity to discuss details of the plan.

—AP Business Writer Bernard Condon

___

11:30 a.m.

Donald Trump says intelligence agencies will have a "tremendous blot on their record" if they leaked a report claiming top intelligence officials told him about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had about him.

Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer also calls a report, first published Tuesday by CNN, "outrageous" and "irresponsible."

A U.S. official says top intelligence officials told Trump about an unsubstantiated report last week.

A summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia's suspected attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community's findings last week.

The dossier contains unproven information about close coordination between Trump's inner circle and Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump among other suggestions attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.

___

9:55 a.m.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says allegations that Russia has collected damaging personal and financial information on Donald Trump "shakes our democracy to its very core" and should be investigated by Congress.

In a brief interview, New York Rep. Eliot Engel says if the unsubstantiated charges that the Russians have compromising material on the president-elect are true, "It's a scary thing to have Putin in the driver's seat."

Trump and a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin have denied the allegations.

Engel says Trump needs to "come clean." He says simply denying the charges is insufficient and says Trump must "tell us everything he knows."

A U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that intelligence officials told Trump last week about the unproven report.

__

9: 15 a.m.

The Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee says he received sensitive information last year and turned it over to the FBI, an apparent reference to news that President-elect Donald Trump was told by intelligence officials about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona said in a statement Wednesday that he examined the contents of the material, was unable to make a judgment about the accuracy and delivered the information to the director of the FBI, James Comey.

McCain said: "That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue."

__

8:05 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is criticizing U.S. intelligence agencies over the leak of an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information on him.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

The tweet was part of an early morning Trump firestorm denouncing the reports, in which he said he has "nothing" to do with Russia. Various news outlets reported late Tuesday that U.S. intelligence officials briefed Trump last week on the unverified information Russia was said to have on him.

Trump insisted that the media reports were "very unfair" and payback for defeating other Republican presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"I win an election easily, a great "movement" is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!"

__

7:50 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is denouncing unsubstantiated reports that Russia had compromising secret information on him.

He tweeted Wednesday morning: "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me." In capital letters, he added: "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!" He called the unverified report paid for by political opponents "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE."

A few minutes earlier, he repeated Russia's denial of the reports, which he called, "Very unfair!"

A U.S. official told The Associated Press Tuesday that intelligence officials had informed Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. The briefing about the document was first reported by CNN.

The Associated Press has not been able to substantiate the information in the dossier, which misspelled the name of Russia's largest bank.

__

7 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump will hold his first full news conference Wednesday since winning the 2016 presidential election.

The last time Trump held a news conference, he was plunging into a heated general election campaign with Hillary Clinton and suggested Russia could help dig up some of his rival's emails.

Nearly six months and a presidential campaign victory later, Trump will finally step before reporters again Wednesday to face questions about what role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups — interference the intelligence community says was intended to help the Republican defeat Clinton. Trump has challenged that assessment and has yet to say whether a full briefing with intelligence officials last week did anything to sway

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