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Former Trump aide blames chaos on disloyalty

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

7:05 a.m.

A former Donald Trump associate and campaign official is blaming the bumpy start of the billionaire’s presidency on mixed loyalties in the White House.

Roger Stone declined to name names in an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday, but he discussed “a division between those who are loyal to the president and those who are loyal to the Republican National Committee.”

When asked if he was referring to Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus), who headed the RNC before joining Trump’s team and becoming chief of staff in the West Wing, Stone demurred, indicating he didn’t want to say who he was talking about.

Stone says, “The leaking that is coming out of the White House is a manifestation of the fact” that some of the people Trump hired “are not loyal.”

He adds, “I think it’s healthier to have people in the administration who share the president’s vision of where he wants to take the country.”

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7:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning “low-life leakers” of classified information that they will be caught.

In a pair of tweets Thursday, Trump says, “Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!”

Trump writes, “the spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!”

Trump’s national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned at Trump’s urging this week after a series of reports revealed Flynn held addressed the issue of sanctions with a Russian diplomat before Trump was in office.

On Wednesday, Trump said it was “really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”

He tweeted Wednesday that “classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!”

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6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is celebrating gains on Wall Street, hailing it as an era of “confidence and optimism.”

Trump tweeted early Thursday, “Stock market hits new high with longest winning streak in decades. Great level of confidence and optimism – even before tax plan rollout!”

The stock market has gotten a jolt since November, when Trump’s surprise White House victory raised hopes for tax cuts and other business-friendly policies from Washington.

Trump’s economic program is expected to include deep tax cuts, stimulus spending and deregulation.

His initiatives are intended to achieve his goal of doubling growth to around 4 percent, up from the 2 percent pace that prevailed since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

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3:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is blaming the media and “illegally leaked” intelligence information for bringing down his national security adviser Michael Flynn, one day after the White House said Trump had asked Flynn to resign because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia.

Flynn’s ouster has sparked a new swirl of controversy over Trump’s potential ties to Moscow. Flynn resigned Monday night — at Trump’s behest, the White House later said — after reports that the national security adviser had discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before the inauguration, despite previously denying those conversations to Pence and other top officials.

But in Trump’s first public comments on Flynn Wednesday, he appeared to side with his former aide, saying it was “really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”



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