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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the president's record less than a week before the benchmark of the administration's first 100 days in office.

"When you look at the totality of what we've accomplished ... it is unbelievable what he has been able to do," Spicer said at Monday's press briefing.

He bristled at questions specifically asking whether the president would consider inaction or stalled action on issues that were regular parts of his campaign speeches a failure, including the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Spicer said "you can cherry pick" issues "to look and pick out two or three things" that were not completely addressed during the first 100 days but argued that it would be an inaccurate picture of the administration's work.

"It's easy to nitpick," Spicer said.

"I don't think there's any question that the president has done a significant amount on the issues that he put forward in the campaign," he said, citing how Trump has signed "a record number" of executive orders.

"We are very proud and the president is very proud of what he's been able to accomplish in the first 100 days ... but we also want to start talking about the next 100 days," Spicer said.

Spicer also said that while he "can't guarantee" a government shutdown will be avoided, he doesn't think it's going to happen.

"I can't guarantee," Spicer said of ongoing budget negotiations. "But I think that the work that [Office of Management and Budget] Director [Mick] Mulvaney and others have made in this front and negotiations have been very positive. They feel very confident that won't happen.

"We feel very confident that the government is not going to shut down," he said.

 

.@PressSec tells @jonkarl he's "confident" there won't be a government shutdown, but "can't guarantee" it. https://t.co/HhAaTPXHds pic.twitter.com/BwzxSRAbyc

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 24, 2017

 

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ABCNews.com(CHICAGO) -- Former President Obama on Monday offered a preview of what his "next job" might be during his first public remarks since leaving office, with no mention of his White House successor.

"So, what's been going on while I've been gone?" he joked at the start of a panel discussion.

Obama, who had taken some vacation time after handing the White House keys to President Trump, made his return to the public stage at the University of Chicago, where he taught constitutional law for years.

While there are a number of issues he cares about, Obama said, he hopes to help inspire the younger generation to get more involved in civic engagement.

"On the back end of my presidency, now that it's completed, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job?" said Obama, who was joined by six young adults from schools in the Chicago area.

Obama, 55, added: "The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world."

The former president didn't mention his successor once during the discussion, but he did comment on the polarizing political climate.

"Because of changes in the media, we now have a situation in which everybody's listening to people who already agree with them and are further and further reinforcing their own realities to the neglect of a common reality that allows us to have a healthy debate and then try to find common ground and actually move solutions forward," Obama said.

"I think a lot of us who have been in politics for a while do see a change from 20 years ago, certainly 30 years ago, where it used to be everybody kind of had the same information. And we had different opinions about it, but there were a common baseline of facts," Obama said.

He added: “If you're liberal, then you're on MSNBC and conservative, you're on Fox News. You're reading The Wall Street Journal or you're reading The New York Times, or whatever your choices are.”

"Or maybe you're just looking at cat videos, which is fine," Obama joked.

Obama also said he hopes that his foundation and presidential center, which is set to be built in the Windy City, will create more "pathways for young people getting involved" and "so that when somebody like me 35 years ago decides I have got something to contribute that we will have eased the path for them."

"Maybe they will learn from the mistakes I and others have made so that they can seize the future," Obama said.

The Democratic president, who was a U.S. senator from Illinois before winning the presidency in 2008 and a second term in 2012, also teased the latest book on which he’s working while reflecting on the value of failure in a political career.

"I'm writing a book about my political journey and as I was writing, I thought about that race," Obama said of his loss to Rep. Bobby Rush in a 2001 Congressional race in Illinois.

Obama, who was critical of President Trump during the election and as of late has had to watch key legislation and regulations he passed get rolled back, concluded on a positive note.

"I have to say that there is a reason why I am always optimistic even when things look like they are sometimes not going the way I want and it is because of young people like this," Obama said. "It gives you a sense of what is possible for this country."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the week that will mark his 100th day in office, President Trump will sign four new executive orders, including one calling for a review of offshore-drilling regulations and another directing a review of national-monument designations on federal lands.

The president also plans to to sign an order establishing an "office of accountability and whistleblower protection" at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new office will be charged with helping the Veterans Affairs secretary "discipline or terminate [Veterans Affairs] managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties in helping our veterans," according to a White House official.

Trump is also expected Tuesday to sign an executive order creating a task force "to examine the concerns of rural America and suggest legislative and regulatory changes to address them," the White House said.

The order on national monuments will direct the Interior Department to review prior monument designations under a more than 100-year-old law that authorizes the president to establish federal lands as national monuments.

And as part of the administration's push to expand offshore drilling, the president on Friday is expected to sign a directive called, America First Energy Executive Order, calling for a review of offshore oil and gas locations and rules.

The four new executive orders will bring Trump's total to 32 in his first 100 days, which the White House says is the highest number by any president since World War II.

Prior to his election, Trump criticized his predecessor's use of executive actions as a way of going around around Congress.

"I don't think he even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions," Trump said of then-President Obama in December 2015.

Trump pointed to the U.S. government's system of checks and balances.

"That's the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear, 'He tried, he can't do it,' and then, boom, and then another one, boom,” he said.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Saturday marks the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency. While Trump has called the symbolic marker a "ridiculous standard," he is nonetheless pulling out all the stops in the final days beforehand.

Among the plans are scheduled executive order signings, speeches and discussions with senators and heads of state. Members of his cabinet will also travel "outside the beltway, spreading the President's message across the country," the White House says.

Here's a breakdown of what Trump and his cabinet has planned for the week:

Monday

President Trump

  • Speaks with NASA Dr. Peggy Whitson, who will break the record for the most cumulative time spent in space for any American astronaut. The White House wrote that the two will speak about "the importance of empowering women to pursue educations and careers in STEM fields."
  • Hosts a working lunch with the ambassadors from the countries on the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.
  • Attends a reception with conservative media, which the White House wrote honors "his commitment to opening up the White House to a more diverse set of media outlets."
  • Has dinner with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Cabinet

  • U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao visits the Ohio State Transportation Research Center.

Tuesday

President Trump

  • Delivers remarks at the National Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Day of Remembrance.
  • Hosts a roundtable discussion with farmers and signs an executive order "to protect and provide relief for rural America." The White House said this executive order creates a task force to "examine the concerns of rural America and suggest legislative and regulatory changes to address them."
  • Has dinner with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Cabinet

  • Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon travels to Orlando, Florida for a roundtable with Hispanic business owners.

Wednesday

President Trump

  • Outlines principles for tax reform.

White House team

  • Hosts senators for National Security Council briefing on four principals on North Korea.

Cabinet

  • Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will visit Columbus, Ohio for a listening tour on urban housing.

Thursday

President Trump

  • Welcomes the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri.
  • Signs an executive order that will establish an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in the Department of Veterans Affairs. The office will "help the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to discipline or terminate VA managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties in helping our veterans" and will "identify barriers to the Secretary's authority to put the well-being of our veterans first," according to a White House official.

Cabinet

  • Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress.

Friday

President Trump

  • Signs several executive orders on energy, which the White House wrote will "move our country even further toward our goal of energy independence." One of the orders, which the White House is calling the "America First Energy Executive Order," orders a "review of the locations available for off-shore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing off-shore oil and gas exploration."
  • Travels to Atlanta to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association's Leadership Forum.

Cabinet

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chairs the U.N. Security Council meeting.
  • Sonny Perdue will complete a multi-day trip to Wisconsin. Perdue is expected to be confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture on Monday evening.

Saturday, Trump's 100th day in office

President Trump

  • President Trump will be skipping the White House Correspondent's dinner to "speak straight to the people" about his first 100 days as president during a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Trump is also expected to sign an executive order that directs the Department of the Interior to review monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which authorizes the president to declare federal lands to be national monuments and therefore restrict the usage of that land. The White House said this executive order will direct the Interior Department to "suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monument proclamations."
  • The White House also noted that the expected executive order signings this week will bring the number of executive orders signed by Trump up to 32 by Friday, which is "the most executive orders signed by a president since World War Two" in the first 100 days.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Multiple committee investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign will continue to push forward as Congress returns this week.

Here's where things stand and what to watch for in the next few days:

House Intelligence Committee


Members of the House Intelligence Committee are hoping to get back to work after chairman Devin Nunes withdrew himself from the panel's Russia investigation amid ethics complaints. The panel, whose Russia work is now headed by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), announced Friday that it invited FBI Director James Comey and Adm. Mike Rogers to appear for a closed door hearing on May 2. The committee also invited former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to testify in an open setting sometime after May 2. Nunes had previously cancelled an open hearing with those three former officials, a move his Democratic counterpart Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) quickly condemned as politically motivated.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK: Members and committee staff are in the process of reviewing National Security Agency documents at Ft. Meade, Maryland, related to former national security adviser Susan Rice's requests to "unmask" particular Trump campaign officials caught up in surveillance of foreign targets.

Senate Intelligence Committee

The Senate Intelligence Committee is still interviewing analysts involved in the 2016 intelligence community report on Russia’s interference that was ordered up by President Obama. Once they are done with those interviews, which could still take months given the amount of records they’re sifting through, Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-Va.) has said the committee will then receive testimony from top Trump officials who have had contact with Russian officials, including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“We’ve gotta make sure we have all our information first so we know the appropriate questions to ask,” Warner said.

In terms of timing, Warner said he and Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) may not wrap up their investigation until after the August congressional recess. Warner has also not ruled out interviewing Rice as part of his panel's investigation but has said he has seen no evidence that Rice did anything wrong.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK: Committee staff are expected to continue their off-site interviews with intelligence analysts. The full committee also has its two weekly closed hearings in which it gets updates on all intelligence matters, and on Wednesday, the committee will hold a hearing into the confirmation of the CIA chief counsel.

House Oversight Committee

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has said he wants to investigate potential leaks of classified information to reporters about Russia-Trump contacts as well as investigating Mike Flynn’s business dealings in Russia. The committee is investigating payments President Trump's former national security adviser received from foreign governments and also reviewing security protocol at Mar-a-Lago and various issues regarding the Trump Organization.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK: The committee has no hearings scheduled on Russia, focusing instead on unrelated issues like “the unintended consequences of the foreign account tax compliance act.” They are also asking the Trump Organization how it plans to donate profits from foreign government payments to the U.S. Treasury, which might involve Russia but only tangentially.

Graham and the Senate Judiciary Committee

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Crime and Terrorism, are investigating Russian efforts to influence democratic elections in the U.S. and abroad. They met in early March with FBI director Comey and plan to announce a second hearing date and witness panel in the next few weeks.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK: We await the committee’s announcement of its upcoming hearing.

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Barbara Kinney for Hillary For America(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton's warnings to speak to swing voters fell upon deaf ears during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, according to the authors of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, a new book about purported dysfunction inside the campaign team.

Political journalists Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen spoke with ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the newest episode of the Powerhouse Politics podcast about the findings they detailed in their book and the backlash they’re getting from the staffers at the center of it all.

The 2016 Clinton team painted itself as "a joyful campaign," Amie Parnes said. "It actually wasn't."

In the book, the authors describe how the campaign ignored the advice of Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, to reach out to communities that weren't already on board with her policies.

"He thought, these egg heads don't really know politics. They don't understand persuasion," Allen said, adding that he wanted to go to suburban and rural areas where they likely wouldn't win the majority. "He knew there was some power just in showing up."

Allen said that in Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid, Bill Clinton was blamed for asserting himself too much in the primary campaign's strategy and ultimately obstructing her chances at the presidency. This time around, he tried to stay behind the scenes "because he didn't want to be blamed for defeating his wife again."

Allen and Parnes also detail in the book the night of the presidential election, when Clinton chose to wait until morning to give a concession speech -- a move many found to be odd.

Allen said she simply "wasn't ready to make that speech." She hadn't reviewed her concession speech, there wasn't a speech location available and some believed there was a possibility that more votes could come in. Her team had also said she wanted to "gather her thoughts."

That night, Parnes and Allen wrote, she apologized to former President Barrack Obama on the phone.

"It's a painful moment for her, she's feeling the weight of that moment," Parnes said.

Several Clinton campaign staffers have since come out in force denying the book's revelations and making jokes about "infighting" along with pictures of happy staffers on Twitter.

"It's hard to read a depiction of the campaign that paints a dedicated, cohesive team as mercenaries with questionable motives," Clinton's deputy communications director Christina Reynolds wrote in a Medium post on Wednesday. "That's just not the campaign, the staff or the candidate I was in the trenches with for 18 months."

Jessie Lehrich, Clinton's foreign policy spokesman, disputed depictions of internal tensions after the election. On Wednesday, he tweeted that "the aftermath of the election was a hug-fest" at Clinton headquarters.

But Parnes said: "We stand by our reporting." She said they talked to more than 100 sources, most of which were inside the campaign and many in the team's top ranks.

Besides, Parnes said, they didn't portray Clinton as a "sinister" person.

"There are actually very sympathetic moments... It's not like we're bashing someone over the head with how bad Hillary Clinton is," Parnes said.

Allen agreed that there are moments in the book that will likely be painful for Democrats to read, but there are also pieces that document bright moments, like when they won a string of states in the primaries.

"There’s a little bit of everything in this book because it's really just documenting what happened," Allen said.

As for what's next for Clinton, Parnes said she expects Americans will see more of her, though she'll likely stay out of the epicenter.

Allen said she may be instrumental in Democratic races going forward, especially for those seeking her most fervent admirers.

"There are some unique aspects of her candidacy and what she means historically that you could see some candidates wanting to go toward her and get an endorsement," Allen said. "I think there are a lot of women who feel like this election exposed misogyny in the electorate. I think there are a lot of women who felt like she was robbed."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- There's no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945 -- yet 96 percent of those who supported him in November say they'd do it again today.

His challenges are considerable. Majorities say Trump lacks the judgment and the temperament it takes to serve effectively. Six in 10 doubt his honesty and trustworthiness, see him as out of touch and don't think he understands the problems of people like them. Fifty-six percent say he hasn't accomplished much in his first 100 days. And 55 percent say he doesn't follow a consistent set of principles in setting policy (though fewer see this as a problem, 48 percent).

All told, 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump's performance as president, while 53 percent disapprove. That compares to an average of 69-19 percent for past presidents at or near 100 days in office -– for example, 69-26 percent for Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

Still, the national survey also finds some brighter spots for the president –- chiefly in pushing for jobs and in foreign policy –- as well as deep popularity problems for the opposition party. Sixty-seven percent say the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most Americans, even more than say the same about Trump, and similar to the Republican Party (62 percent). That's a steeply negative turn for the Democrats, 19 percentage points more critical than when last asked three years ago, including especially steep losses in their own base.

Trump's better grades include broad 73 percent approval of his pressuring companies to keep jobs in the United States –- even most Democrats, liberals and nonwhites approve, three groups that are broadly critical of Trump more generally. And more than half, 53 percent, see him as a strong leader, although that compares with 77 percent for Obama at this stage.

On one specific issue, a plurality, 46 percent, says he's handling the situation with North Korea "about right," as opposed to being too aggressive (37 percent) or too cautious (just 7 percent). Similarly, a recent ABC/Post poll found 51 percent support for Trump's missile strikes on Syria; together these results make his foreign policy a comparative bright spot. They're also a contrast with Obama, seen by 53 percent as too cautious in his foreign policy in fall 2014, as he dealt with Syria and Russian intervention in Ukraine.

As noted, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds no evidence of buyer's remorse among Trump supporters. Among those who report having voted for him in November, 96 percent today say it was the right thing to do; a mere 2 percent regret it. And if a rerun of the election were held today, the poll indicates even the possibility of a Trump victory in the popular vote among 2016 voters.

In two break-even results, Americans divide, 44-41 percent, on whether Trump is keeping most of his campaign promises, and likewise divide, 35-35 percent, on whether he's doing a better or worse job than they expected. Views turn negative, as noted, on how much Trump has accomplished in his first three months. Forty-two percent say a great deal or good amount, but 56 percent say not much or nothing.

Again, Obama scored far better on all three of these measures at his 100th day, 60-26 percent on keeping his promises, 54-18 percent on performing better vs. worse than expected and 63-36 percent on his accomplishments.

There are difficulties for Trump in other results, as well. Just 37 percent approve of the major changes in federal spending he's proposed (50 percent disapprove) and only 34 percent approve of his having given his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, major positions in his administration (61 percent disapprove). (There are only three groups in which more than half approve of these appointments –- Republicans, 69 percent; evangelical white Protestants, 56 percent; and conservatives, 51 percent.) And rejecting Trump's criticisms, the public by 58-36 percent says the federal courts that have blocked his immigration orders are "acting rightly as a check on the president's powers" rather than wrongly interfering with them.

The president does better on another item on which he's been criticized in some quarters –- spending substantial time at commercial properties he owns, chiefly his Mar-a-Lago resort. Forty-three percent see this as a conflict of interest because it promotes those properties, but 54 percent say it's not a conflict because he has the right to go where he wants.

The 100-day point has been used as a benchmark since Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, but, like any such time stamp, it has questionable predictive value. As noted, it usually marks the height of a president's honeymoon in public opinion. It's also situational. In available data, the highest rating at or near 100 days was Harry Truman's 87 percent in a Gallup poll when he took office after the Roosevelt's death; yet Truman's career average was 47 percent approval. The lowest at 100 days was Gerald Ford's 48 percent after he succeeded (and pardoned) Richard Nixon, yet Ford's career average was about the same as Truman's. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush had 63 and 71 percent 100-day approval ratings –- yet neither won a second term.

Current politics, moreover, are marked by especially sharp partisanship, a central reason for Trump's comparatively poor rating. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of his job performance; just 12 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents agree. Obama at 100 days did better in his base, with 93 percent approval from leaned Democrats, but also had 40 percent from leaned Republicans.

As mentioned, Trump's challenges don't mean the opposition is in good shape. In March 2014, 48 percent of Americans said the Democratic Party was out of touch with the concerns of most people. Today 67 percent say so. And the biggest change has occurred chiefly among the party's own typical loyalists, with "out of touch" ratings up 33 points among liberals, 30 points among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 26 points among moderates and nonwhites alike.

Vote again?

Among Americans who say they voted in the 2016 election, 46 percent say they voted for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, very close to the 2-point margin in the actual popular vote results. However, while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton's supporters say they’d stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in this hypothetical re-do among self-reported 2016 voters.

That's not because former Clinton supporters would now back Trump; only 2 percent of them say they'd do so, similar to the 1 percent of Trump voters who say they'd switch to Clinton. Instead, they're more apt to say they'd vote for a third-party candidate or wouldn’t vote.

In a cautionary note to her party, Clinton's 6-point drop in a hypothetical mulligan election relates to views of whether the Democratic Party is in touch with peoples' concerns. Although the sample sizes are small, those who say the party is out of touch are less likely to say they'd support Clinton again, compared with those who see it as in touch.

Still, there's no strong evidence that defectors primarily come from groups that favored Bernie Sanders in the primary. There are no broad differences by age, and liberals are 9 points more likely than moderates and conservatives to stick with Clinton. Similarly, nonwhites are 10 points more likely than whites to say they would not support Clinton again, with more than a third of them heading to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

Approval groups

Trump's approval rating among groups differs in familiar patterns from the election. Fifty-four percent of whites approve of his job performance; just 19 percent of nonwhites (including 22 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of blacks) agree. His approval rating is 15 points lower among the youngest adults compared with seniors. It's 67 percent among conservatives vs. 37 percent among moderates and 9 percent among liberals. And it's 73 percent among evangelical white Protestants, a GOP mainstay.

Trump's rating is 10 points higher among whites who lack a college degree than among those who have one. Indeed, again echoing the election, he reaches 65 percent approval among non-college white men, vs. 40 percent among college-educated white women.

The economys another factor; while it doesn’t guarantee presidential approval, a strong or improving economy at least makes it easier to achieve. Today 30 percent say the economy is improving, vs. 18 percent who say it’s getting worse, with a plurality, 49 percent, saying it’s staying the same. Among those who think it’s improving, 83 percent approve of Trump’s job performance, while among those who think it’s staying the same, just 29 percent approve, as do only 10 percent of those who say it’s getting worse.

Of course, the result likely is bi-directional – views of the economy color views of the president, but views of the president also influence views of the economy. Indeed, 62 percent of Republicans think the economy’s improving; just a quarter of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

 There are notable differences among groups on other questions as well. One is a large age effect on whether or not Trump is in touch with people’s concerns – 71 percent of under 30s say not, as do 65 percent of those age 30 to 39, declining to 52 percent – still a majority – among those 40 .

Additionally, 62 percent of Democrats say Trump is not keeping his promises, while 77 percent of Republicans say he is keeping them. (Independents split evenly.) As with views of the future economy, that’s an example of motivated reasoning – sharply different assessments of the same object, informed by partisan predispositions. Whatever changes in the Trump administration, this phenomenon – typical of all politics – likely won’t.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone April 17-20, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

See the full results here.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members of Congress will return to Washington next week to confront a government shutdown deadline and a White House eager to notch some legislative victories, especially on health care.

The most pressing business is government funding: The House and Senate have until midnight Friday to cut a trillion-dollar spending deal to prevent a partial government shutdown on President Trump's 100th day in office.

While bipartisan negotiations continue on Capitol Hill, Trump is driving a hard bargain, insisting on money to begin construction on a border wall and boost defense spending.

Democrats insist they won't support a downpayment on the Southwest border wall, and are pushing back against Trump's threat of stopping key federal subsidy payments to health insurers under Obamacare.

Sources close to negotiations expect Congress to pass a short-term funding measure -– anywhere between one and three weeks -- to give appropriators more time to finalize a larger spending deal to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September.

Beyond keeping the government's lights on, Republicans, encouraged by the White House, are still hoping to revive the GOP health care bill that was pulled from the House floor roughly a month ago.

Moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, has floated a proposed amendment that would give states the ability to request to opt out of certain Obamacare regulations while making essential health benefits –- the requirement that all plans cover things like prescription drugs and mental health services -– the federal standard.

Members are waiting to review legislative text for the proposal, and a vote could come midweek after members return to Washington on Tuesday.

Despite pressure from the White House to put points on the board ahead of Trump's 100th day in office, it's not clear that the underlying political dynamics that sank the health care bill initially have changed, and that the amended version could garner 216 votes on the House floor.

In a conference call with members Saturday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said legislative language for the MacArthur amendment is being finalized, according to a GOP source on the call.

He made clear that there will be a vote only when it's clear the bill has enough support, and that votes will drive the timing, according to the source.

Additionally, Trump has said that starting "next week" he will be unveiling his tax reform package with "massive" tax cuts for all Americans.

"It really formally begins on Wednesday," he told reporters on Friday.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said in a statement that his committee is "ready to work" with the White House, although it's not clear what exactly will materialize next week.

The White House and Republicans also have their sights on the Dodd-Frank Act signed by President Obama following the 2008 financial crisis. The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing this week on a GOP replacement to the law.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- California's top law enforcement officer said his state is "ready" to confront the Trump administration over its funding threats against so-called sanctuary cities.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded in an interview on ABC's This Week Sunday to warnings by the Trump administration that it could cut funding to sanctuary cities, which are places that limit how much local police forces can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Becerra contrasted the role of the federal government with California’s law enforcement agencies.

"We fully respect that they have the responsibility to enforce immigration law," he told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "We are in the business of public safety. We're not in the business of deportation."

He said California abides by federal laws on immigration and asserted that the U.S. government cannot order state or local jurisdictions to change their approach to public safety.

"We're going to continue to abide by federal law and the U.S. Constitution,” Becerra said. “And we're hoping the federal government will also abide by the U.S. Constitution, which gives my state the right to decide how to do public safety.”

The Trump administration on Friday sent letters to officials in California and major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, warning them that they may lose coveted law-enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Stephanopoulos asked Becerra about Sessions' remarks in an earlier This Week interview Sunday. "You heard him. He's saying, especially in California, you're not fulfilling that duty" of cooperation, Stephanopoulos said.

"We can prove anywhere we need to ... that we are protecting our people," Becerra responded. "And we're doing it by keeping families together, not separating them." Stephanopoulos also asked the attorney general about the apparently confusing messages from the Trump administration on the status of DREAMers, unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who are currently protected from deportation by orders signed by former President Obama.

Trump on Friday said DREAMers should "rest easy," but Sessions said on "This Week" that they, like all unauthorized immigrants, are "subject to being deported."

 "It's not clear what we can trust, what statement we can believe in" regarding DREAMers, Becerra said. "And that causes a great deal of not just anxiety, but confusion, not just for those immigrant families, but for our law enforcement personnel."

"I've been trying to reach out to Attorney General Sessions and to [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary Kelly, to get a sense of really what is their policy when it comes to the DREAMers," the California attorney general said. "We'd like to know, is it in fact a policy of this president and this administration and this Attorney General Sessions to abide by the ... policy that allows DREAMers to continue to go to school, to go to work, to believe that they're not going to be out there and be apprehended by [immigration] agents simply because they look like people who weren't born here?"

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Striking a different tone than President Trump on DREAMers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said they like “everyone that enters the country unlawfully” are “subject to being deported.”

The Trump administration has let stand former President Obama's order protecting so-called DREAMers, unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, from deportation. And President Trump said Friday that young people protected under this policy “should rest easy.”

Sessions, in an exclusive interview Sunday on This Week, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, “There’s no doubt the president has sympathy for young people who were brought here at early ages.”

He also said the Department of Homeland Security's “first and strongest priority -- no doubt about it" is to arrest unauthorized immigrants who have committed crimes. "They’re focusing primarily on that,” he said.

“We don't have the ability to round up everybody and there's no plans to do that,” Sessions said. “But we're going to focus first, as the president has directed us, on the criminal element and we've got to get that under control.”

Pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether DREAMers can “rest easy” as the president said, Sessions said, “Well, we’ll see. I believe that everyone who enters the country illegally is subject to being deported.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, President Trump said, “We aren't looking to do anything right now” about DREAMers.

When the president was asked if the official policy of his administration is to allow DREAMers to stay in the country, he gave a definitive “yes.”

“That's our policy,” Trump said. “Long-term we are going to have to fix the problem, the whole immigration problem ... Here is what they can hear: The DREAMers should rest easy. OK? I'll give you that. The DREAMers should rest easy.”

Striking a different tone than President Trump on DREAMers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “everyone that enters the country unlawfully is subject to being deported.”

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Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump made his first visit as president to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday, awarding the Purple Heart to Army Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos.

"I heard about this and I wanted to do it myself," the president said before pinning the Purple Heart on Barrientos in a small ceremony at the military hospital facility also known as "The President's Hospital."

"Congratulations on behalf of Melania, myself, and the entire nation," the president told Barrientos, with the first lady and Barrientos' wife standing nearby. "Tremendous job."

Barrientos received the medal for wounds he received last month in Afghanistan. The injury resulted in the amputation of part of his right leg.

Following the ceremony, the president and first lady spent time away from cameras privately greeting other wounded warriors recovering at the medical facility.

The president announced his visit to Walter Reed shortly before departing the White House, saying in a tweet that he was "looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!"

Getting ready to visit Walter Reed Medical Center with Melania. Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017

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wellphoto/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump, who previously announced that he would not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner next Saturday night, said today that he will instead hold a rally for supporters that night in Pennsylvania.

The president announced the rally in a tweet on Saturday.

Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017

The rally will take place at 7:30 p.m. the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In addition to the president's absence at the correspondents dinner, no members of the White House staff are planning to attend either.

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Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was removed from his post by the Trump administration and has been replaced temporarily by his deputy.

Murthy, an appointee of former President Obama, announced on Friday that he resigned.

A Department of Health and Human Services Spokesperson Alleigh Marré said in a statement to ABC News on Saturday that he was asked to step down.

"Dr. Murthy, the leader of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was asked to resign from his duties as Surgeon General after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration," said Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Alleigh Marré in the statement.

The statement continued, "Dr. Murthy has been relieved of his duties as Surgeon General and will continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps. Secretary [Tom] Price thanks him for his dedicated service to the nation,"

Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, a nurse who served as Murthy's deputy, will serve as the acting Surgeon General, according to the statement.

Murthy, a physician, began serving in the post in December 2014.

He wrote in a Facebook post announcing his departure, "While I had hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served."

He continued, "For the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the president to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and uniquely American story. I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve."

"As my colleague Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams takes over as acting Surgeon General, know that our nation is in capable and compassionate hands," Murthy wrote.

As of Friday evening, Trent-Adams' photo had replaced Murthy's on the surgeon general's Twitter and Facebook pages, and her biography on the Surgeon General's website cited her new title.

In addition to her duties as deputy Surgeon General, Trent-Adams also served as the chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service from November 2013 through May 2016. In this role, she advised the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of Corps nurse professionals.

Prior to joining the Office of the Surgeon General, Trent-Adams was the deputy associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration.

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Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Intelligence Committee has invited a number of former senior Obama administration officials, including former acting attorney general Sally Yates, to testify before the panel in a public setting, the latest indication that the committee is working to put its Russia investigation back on track after Chairman Devin Nunes stepped away from the probe.

In a pair of letters, ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), and Rep. Mike Conaway, (R-Texas), invited FBI Director Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency to testify behind closed doors on May 2, and requested former CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Yates to appear in public before the panel at a later date.

Nunes withdrew from the committee’s broad investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as he faced a series of ethics complaints charging that he revealed classified information without authorization.

The California Republican has disputed the allegations, which were made after he announced that Trump campaign associates may have been picked up "incidentally in intelligence surveillance of foreign targets."

Several White House officials played a role in revealing the documents behind Nunes’s announcement, which he viewed on White House grounds the day before his comments.

The disclosure, and calls for his recusal, had stopped the committee’s work in its tracks several weeks ago.

As they return to Washington next week, Democrats and Republicans on the secretive panel hope to keep their heads down and conduct their investigation without political distractions.

"Let’s just get back to work," said Rep. Mike Quigley, (D-Ill.), in an interview after his trip to Cyprus to review Russian money laundering as part of the committee’s investigation. "There’s hopeful optimism that we get this back on track."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his recent comments about Hawaii that have been criticized by many as offensive or, at best, insensitive.

His reference this week to the state as “an island in the Pacific” when discussing the judge who blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban was not meant as criticism of the “judge or the island,” he told CNN Friday.

When asked whether he wished he had phrased his words differently, Sessions said, “Well, I don’t know that I said anything that I would want to phrase differently. Ah, no.”

The controversy started Tuesday when Sessions called into conservative radio host Mark Levin’s show to say, “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president from the United States what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.”

Sessions was referring to U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who in March issued a nationwide restraining order on President Trump’s revised executive order that calls for suspending the entire refugee program for 120 days and halting immigration from six countries in the Middle East and Africa for 90 days.

Sessions’ comments prompted backlash from Hawaii’s senators and one of its representatives who are all Democrats.

“The suggestion that being from Hawaii somehow disqualifies Judge Watson from performing his Constitutional duty is dangerous, ignorant, and prejudiced," Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said in a statement Thursday. "I am frankly dumbfounded that our nation’s top lawyer would attack our independent judiciary. But we shouldn’t be surprised. This is just the latest in the Trump Administration’s attacks against the very tenets of our Constitution and democracy.”

The other Democratic senator representing Hawaii, Brian Schatz, also tweeted Thursday, “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge.” As a Republican U.S. senator representing Alabama, Sessions did indeed vote “yea” on Watson’s confirmation. Watson was confirmed 94-0 on April 18, 2013, after been nominated by President Obama.

Referring to the part of Hawaii where Watson issued the order from, Schatz added, “And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect.”

Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect. https://t.co/sW9z3vqBqG

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 20, 2017

State of Hawaii has many islands, not one island. We have around 1.5 m people. Island of Hawaii has 186,000 people. Please use the google. https://t.co/aoZewx7jzT

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 20, 2017

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, tweeted that Sessions’ comments are "another reason Sessions should step down."

Amazed @USAGSessions doesn’t know Hawaii is a State, not just an "#IslandinthePacific." Another reason Sessions should step down.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 20, 2017

In responding to the criticism, a spokesman from the Department of Justice said in a statement that “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific – a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born.”

“The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the President’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe,” the statement continued.

The attorney general himself responded to the backlash Friday during the interview with CNN.

“We're going to defend the president’s order,” Sessions said. “We believe it's constitutional. We believe there is specific statutory authority for everything in that order that he did and he has a right to do and protect this country.”

In an op-ed for CNN, Sen. Hirono wrote that, “In spite of the Justice Department's attempt to walk back the attorney general's comments, his words reflect this administration's discriminatory attitude.”

Sen. Schatz also seemed to be unsatisfied with the Department of Justice’s statement.

"Try: 'I'm sorry. That was offensive. I disagree with the ruling, but I respect the judiciary and shouldn't have taken such a cheap shot,'" Schatz tweeted.

Try: "I'm sorry. That was offensive. I disagree with the ruling, but I respect the judiciary and shouldn't have taken such a cheap shot." https://t.co/aoZewx7jzT

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 20, 2017

In his interview on the “Mark Levin Show,” Sessions also said that the “very, very liberal 9th circuit,” which includes Hawaii, -has been “hostile to the order.”

“I think our president - having seen some of these really interpretations of the executive orders that he’s put out - I think he’s more understanding now that we need judges who follow the law, not make law,” Sessions said.

“Judges don't get to psychoanalyze the president and see if the law, the order he’s issued is lawful. It’s either lawful or it’s not.”

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