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German Chancellor Angela Merkel first visited President Trump in the White House on March, 17, 2017.
Shealah Craighead / White House

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the second key European leader to visit the White House this week. 

Updated at 2:18 a.m. ET

President Trump acknowledged on Thursday that his longtime attorney Michael Cohen had "represented" him in what he called the "crazy" deal in which Cohen paid $130,000 to buy the silence of a porn actress just before the 2016 election.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn from consideration for the post amid allegations he had fostered a hostile work environment and behaved improperly while serving as the top doctor leading the White House medical unit.

Updated at 2:54 p.m. ET

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced withering criticism from congressional Democrats on Thursday, with one lawmaker calling him "unfit to hold public office." But Republican members of Congress — especially those representing states with large fossil fuel industries — rallied to Pruitt's defense.

Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

President Trump is hosting French President Emmanuel Macron for a state visit this week. The two leaders are holding a news conference ahead of Tuesday night's state dinner. Watch their remarks live.

Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET

President Trump is celebrating America's oldest alliance, with French President Emmanuel Macron. But even as they prepare for a lavish state dinner, the two leaders could not paper over stark differences on issues such as trade and the Iran nuclear deal.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, has been accused of creating a hostile work environment, drinking while on duty and improperly prescribing drugs to staff during his time as White House doctor to two administrations, according to Montana Sen. Jon Tester.

Updated at 11:24 p.m. ET

President Trump pointed his fingers at his own head and said then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had "serious judgment issues," according to a redacted, unclassified version of then-FBI Director James Comey's original memo about his fateful dinner with Trump.

That's one new detail included in copies of the memoranda sent by the Justice Department to Congress on Thursday evening in response to a request from the leaders of the Judiciary and intelligence committees.

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.

The embattled lawyer isn't conceding anything about the substance of what was detailed in the dossier, which is unverified, but says he has too much else on his plate to proceed now that he is dealing with a federal court case in New York.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," said a lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would walk away from a planned meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, if it looked like the two sides were not going to be able to reach a deal.

"If we don't think it's going to be successful ... we won't have it," Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. "If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting."

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Mike Pompeo, currently the director of the CIA, testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today as President Trump's nominee to be the next secretary of state. Pompeo faced a battery of questions not only on matters of diplomacy but also on whether he is willing to stand up to the president.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump unloaded on both Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, hours after federal agents raided the office of Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," Trump said on Monday. "When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness."

The Treasury Department wove a sprawling epic about global power and money on Friday in announcing new sanctions that target some of Russia's most powerful men — including three with ties to Trump world.

The announcement included everything necessary for a first-class soap opera, from arms trafficking to organized crime to the smuggling of millions in cash in suitcases.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the time has come for the United States to shine a light on what Russia is doing:

Special counsel Robert Mueller notified President Trump's lawyers last month that the president is being investigated as part of the Russia probe, but a source familiar with the situation says they were told Trump was not a criminal target at that time.

Fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin tells NPR's Morning Edition that political forces in the Trump administration want to privatize the VA — and that he was standing in the way.

"There are many political appointees in the VA that believe that we are moving in the wrong direction or weren't moving fast enough toward privatizing the VA," he said. "I think that it's essential for national security and for the country that we honor our commitment by having a strong VA. I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization."

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