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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Russia's U.S. ambassador said that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner wanted to set up a secret communications backchannel to communicate with Russian officials, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Kushner proposed using secure Russian diplomatic facilities to communicate with the Kremlin during the presidential transition, the Post report said, citing communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials as Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow.

Russia occasionally attempts to deliberately disclose misleading information when it believes it is being monitored, allowing for the possibility that the request from Kushner did not actually occur, the Post story noted.

ABC News has not independently confirmed this report.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was also present at the meeting between Kushner and Kislyak at which the ambassador "reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate," the Post reported.

This is not the first time reports of Kushner's relationships with Russians have surfaced: Kushner and Flynn met with Kislyak together in Trump Tower in December, and Kushner later met with Sergey Gorkov, who runs a bank that drew sanctions from the Obama administration after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Kislyak has been at the center of contacts between Trump administration officials and Russia. The ambassador's conversations with Flynn prior to Trump's inauguration led to Flynn's firing in February after it was revealed that Flynn misled White House officials about the nature of their discussions.

Meetings between Kislyak and Attorney General Jeff Sessions resulted in Sessions' recusal from investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election and the ambassador was also present two weeks ago when President Trump revealed classified intelligence information during an Oval Office meeting.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating an attempted overseas cyberattack against the Trump Organization, summoning President Donald Trump’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric, for an emergency session with the bureau’s cybersecurity agents and representatives of the CIA, officials tell ABC News.

Law enforcement officials who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity confirmed the attempted hack and said the subsequent meeting took place at the FBI’s New York headquarters on May 8, the day before Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Spokesmen for the FBI, CIA and Secret Service all declined to comment.

Reached by phone, Eric Trump, an executive vice president of the family company, would not confirm or deny that he and his brother had met with the FBI but told ABC News that the company had ultimately not been infiltrated.

“We absolutely weren’t hacked,” Eric Trump said during the brief call. “That’s crazy. We weren’t hacked, I can tell you that.”

As federal agencies monitor international computer networks in order to protect government and private sector computer infrastructure and data, the Trump Organization’s networks would be given high priority, according to Richard Frankel, a retired senior official with the FBI's New York office and an ABC News contributor.

"If there was a hack or an attempted hack of ... the company that was owned by the president, that would be at the top of the list of investigations," Frankel said. "If the FBI saw that kind of hack, they'd have to track that. There's no telling what a hacker could get that's connected to the president, corporate records, financial records, even things that were going on during the transition.”

The FBI’s involvement could come with some risks, Frankel said, both for the company and the president. In the course of its investigation, the FBI could get access to the Trump Organization’s computer network, meaning FBI agents could possibly find records connected to other investigations.

"There could be stuff in there that they do not want to become part of a separate criminal investigation," Frankel said.

In this case, if there had been communication between the Trump Organization and Russian entities, that information might be pertinent to the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. A key focus of that probe is to see whether there was any collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian hackers.

Because the unusual session involved two of the president’s children, agents sent a special alert, or VIP notice, to senior officials at 26 Federal Plaza, the fortress-like headquarters for the FBI’s New York area operations. Officials briefed on the meeting said the discussion centered on a suspected hack of computer systems used by the international real estate holding company, but they did not say who was suspected in the attempted intrusion.

The May 8 meeting came at a tense time for those closest to the president. The FBI was, and still is, in the midst of the widening probe into Russian meddling in 2016 presidential election. A grand jury empaneled in Virginia had issued subpoenas in connection with Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The session with the president's sons also occurred the same day former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified on Capitol Hill, and less than a week after Comey himself testified before Congress, officials say.

In addition to the meeting at the FBI's offices, FBI agents working on the cyber inquiry were also seen at Trump Tower during the week of May 8. Officials who spoke to ABC News would not say whether the subject of Russia’s hack of the 2016 election was raised during the discussions.

Over the past decade, both Don Jr. and Eric made trips to Russia on behalf of the Trump Organization, and both of them have been quoted in the past describing the significant sums coming into the company from Russian sources.

On May 5, golf writer James Dodson told WBUR radio that Eric Trump had bragged to him that Trump golf courses “have all the funding we need out of Russia,” a statement Eric Trump later denied making. In 2008, Don Jr. told investors in Moscow that the Trump Organization had trademarked the Donald Trump name in Russia as “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets … We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” according to an account on the real estate website eTurboNews.

Three weeks before Election Day, Don Jr. was paid $50,000 to travel to Paris to speak at a private dinner in Paris organized by an obscure pro-Russia group that promotes Kremlin foreign policy initiatives and has since nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The revelation that Jared Kushner's meetings with Russians are under scrutiny brings the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election to Trump's inner circle.

The 36-year-old Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, has had a growing role in that circle over the past two years, from Trump family member to trusted campaign adviser to White House senior adviser.

Kushner is a focus in the Russia investigation over his meetings with at least two Russian officials, Moscow's ambassador to the U.S. and a banking executive, sources tell ABC News.

He is not a target of the FBI investigation and has not been accused of committing a crime, but sources said he is among a number of White House staffers and former Trump campaign officials who are likely to be interviewed by the FBI.

Here are the known meetings of Kushner with Russian officials since his father-in-law was elected.

Meeting the ambassador

Kushner's name is on the list of Trump team members who met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition between Trump's election victory and his inauguration. Kushner and Michael Flynn, who would go on to become Trump's first national security adviser, met with Kislyak together in Trump Tower in December.

The subject matter discussed during the meeting remains unclear.

"They generally discussed the [U.S.-Russia] relationship, and it made sense to establish a line of communication," White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement in March after the meeting was first publicly disclosed. "Jared has had meetings with many other foreign countries and representatives — as many as two dozen other foreign countries' leaders and representatives."

Other Trump associates who met with Kislyak before the inauguration include then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Trump himself met with Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on May 10 -- a meeting that raised questions afterward when it was revealed that the president disclosed classified information about ISIS to the Russian officials. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell were also present in the meeting

Kushner's meeting with Russian banker

Separately, the White House confirmed that in December, Kushner met with Sergei Gorkov of Russian bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador.

A senior White House official said the conversation was "general and inconsequential" and that Kushner took the meeting as part of his campaign role of interfacing with foreign dignitaries. But the bank described the discussion to ABC News as a "negotiation" in which "the parties discussed the business practices applied by foreign development banks, as well as most promising business lines and sectors."

The December meeting, which like Kushner's meeting with Kislyak came to light in March, happened as Kushner Companies, the real estate firm of Jared Kushner's family, was engaged in what has been described in public statements as "active, advanced negotiations ... with a number of potential investors" about the redevelopment of a skyscraper the company owns at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

To date, neither Kushner nor the family real estate firm has commented on the meeting with VEB. An official representing the Kushner firm responded to questions from ABC News on March 29, saying that Kushner was the only executive from his family's real estate firm to attend.

"VEB is not providing financing, lending or any other services to Kushner Companies," the official said.

In the wake of the revelations in March of Kushner's meetings, a senior administration official confirmed that Kushner has volunteered to speak with the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russia.

His role in the administration

Kushner in addition to being a senior adviser to the president was also named to head the new White House Office of American Innovation.

That is one of his more formal and visible roles, but he also has unofficial duties that are no less important, including helping to represent the administration in meetings with foreign leaders and serving as a point of contact for those trying to get a message through to the president.

Kushner was invited by Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit Iraq in April for an on-the-ground update on the fight against ISIS.

And the interest that Kushner, a practicing Orthodox Jew, has in brokering peace in the Middle East is widely known.

At an event for Republican donors and supporters the night before the inauguration, Trump publicly addressed Kushner in his remarks, saying, "If you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also highlighted his longstanding ties and familiarity with Kushner when he visited the White House in February.

"Can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you?" Netanyahu said while addressing Kushner, who was seated in the front row at the gathering.

"Well, he was never small. He was always big. He was always tall," Netanyahu said, alluding to Kushner's height even as a child.

"But I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time, and there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump," the Israeli leader concluded.

Kushner's apparent influence in the White House may stem from his close relationship with his father-in-law. Kushner was a part of the delegation that traveled with Trump this week on his first foreign trip as president. And perhaps because of his being a member of the president's immediate family, Kushner is included in some meetings that may be closed to other Trump associates, the most recent example being the audience with the pope at the Vatican.

In the U.S., Kushner is constantly spotted in the Oval Office and joins Trump on his frequent weekend trips to the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With the world’s spotlight fixed on President Trump during his first trip abroad, every handshake, thumbs-up, smile, and shove has been analyzed by viewers around the world.

For his part, Trump has shown an awareness about the importance of adhering to foreign customs. While touring Murabba Palace in Saudi Arabia, Trump turned to King Salman while enjoying a pastry and tea to ask, “Always use the right hand, right? Always use the right.” In Islam, eating or greeting with the left hand can be interpreted as disrespectful.

But while Trump appears to have avoided any serious errors in following local customs during his travels, he has come under scrutiny for sometimes awkward or forceful body language that could send mixed messages to an international community eager to understand the new U.S. president and how his “America First” policies will impact other countries.

From handshakes to hand swats, here are the top four awkward body language moments from Trump’s first trip abroad.

First Lady Melania Trump swats away President Trump’s hand

Upon disembarking from Air Force One in Israel, President Trump reached for First Lady Melania Trump’s hand as they made their way down the red carpet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. But the first lady appeared to swat Trump’s hand away in an awkward moment that was widely interpreted as a show of tension between the president and his wife. Aside from that moment of possible chilliness, the two were seen holding hands throughout their trip.

French President Emmanuel Macron asserts his political power with white-knuckled handshake

Pres. Trump and newly elected French Pres. Macron cap first meeting with lengthy handshake. https://t.co/TCs7dPeocQ pic.twitter.com/Y5WWYyncVd

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 25, 2017

Before heading to NATO meetings in Brussels, President Trump and the newly elected president of France, Emmanuel Macron, engaged in a jaw-clenching, white-knuckled handshake that lasted almost six seconds. Trump tried to pull his hand away, but the young French president persisted, perhaps in an effort to assert his political power.

President Macron appears to swerve away from President Trump

À Bruxelles, unis avec nos alliés de @NATO. pic.twitter.com/7nyaoI8hki

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 25, 2017

Later in the day, Macron met with NATO members on the red carpet as the group gathered for a special ceremony for the unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall memorials at NATO headquarters. But as Macron approached the other leaders, he appeared to swerve away from Trump to instead embrace German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump stood by waiting for his opportunity to greet the French president, and when the two shook hands again, it was equally forceful. Trump pulled Macron's hand close, and Macron laughed as he patted Trump on the arm.

President Trump pushes Montenegro’s prime minister out of the way at NATO Summit

Trump met with backlash after he pushed Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way as NATO leaders gathered for a group photo.

Trump grabbed the right arm of a surprised Markovic before pushing his way to the front of the group. The moment went viral and was met by criticism online from people who saw the move as undiplomatic.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained to reporters that the standing order at the photo was predetermined.

The leader of the United States typically stands at the front and center of the so-called “family photos," and in the past, President Obama has been in the front row.

Shortly before the photo was taken, Trump had scolded NATO leaders he thought had been falling short of meeting the financial obligations of member states.

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David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WELLESLEY, Mass.) — Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has shied away from the spotlight until recently, delivered a stinging rebuke of President Donald Trump’s behavior and policies on Friday, despite not mentioning him by name.

Under a tent in the rain, Clinton delivered the 2017 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College.

Clinton was met by cheers and applause when she made an indirect comparison between former President Richard Nixon and Trump.

“We were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice,” said Clinton, referring to the outrage her generation felt toward Nixon's presidency.

“But here is what I want you to know: We got through that time, and we started to thrive as our society changed laws and opened the circle of opportunity and rights wider and wider for more Americans,” she added.

Clinton, whose losing 2016 presidential campaign was the target of Russian hacking, told the 2017 graduates they face “a full-fledged assault on truth and reason.”

“Just log on, just log onto social media for 10 seconds, it will hit you right in the face,” said Clinton. “People denying science. Concocting elaborate hurtful conspiracy theories about child abuse rings in pizza parlors, undocumented fears about immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor.”

Clinton called the budget proposed by the Trump administration "a con."

"Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington," said Clinton. "It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us -- the youngest, oldest, poorest, and hard-working people that need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life. It grossly underfunds mental health and an attempt to combat the opioid epidemic. It puts our nation at risk. And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let's call it what it is. It is a con."

She also talked about how she has spent her time out of the public eye and what has helped her get over her election defeat.

“You may have heard that things didn't exactly go the way I planned,” said Clinton. “But you know what? I'm doing OK. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren.”

Clinton joked that long walks in the woods and organizing her closets have helped her move on, and added, “I won’t lie, Chardonnay helped a little too.”

Earlier this month, Clinton announced she is launching “Onward Together,” a political action group aimed at encouraging people to run for office. “More than ever, I believe citizen engagement is vital to our democracy. I'm so inspired by everyone stepping up to organize and lead,” Clinton tweeted.

Clinton gave the college’s first-ever student graduation speech in 1969, and returned in 1992 to deliver the commencement address when she was the first lady of Arkansas and wife of then-Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

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Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump’s views on the Paris climate agreement are “evolving,” his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters Friday.

“He came here to learn,” Cohn said. “So his views are evolving, which is exactly what they should be.”

The president’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, then chimed in to say that the president’s decision about whether to remain in the agreement would ultimately be based what’s best for the United States; Cohn concurred.

“The basis for the decision is ultimately going to be what’s best for the United States,” Cohn said.

The future of the United States’ involvement in the landmark agreement, which the president repeatedly criticized as a candidate, has been a sticking point at the ongoing summit, with the Italian prime minister pointing to it as an "open question" at the day's conclusion.

“There is one open question, which is the U.S. position on the Paris climate accords. … All others have confirmed their total agreement on the accord,” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said at the end of the first day’s session. “We are sure that after an internal reflection, the United States will also want to commit to it.”

The president is not expected to make a final decision on the accord until after he returns home. But Cohn indicated earlier Friday that the president was growing more attuned to the European stance on the issue.

"I think he is leaning to understand the European position,” Cohn said when asked which way the president was leaning. “Look as you know from the U.S. there's very strong views on both sides.”

In addition to getting pushed on the topic at the G7 summit, the president also got an earful at the Vatican, where the pope presented the president with one of his writings on the environment and the Cardinal secretary of state further raised the issue during a bilateral meeting.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A White House adviser is clearing up comments made by President Donald Trump that "the Germans are bad, very bad."

German publication Der Spiegel reported that Trump “voiced significant displeasure” about Germany’s trade surplus during a meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels, Belgium.

On Friday morning in Taormina, Sicily, the site of a meeting with G7 leaders, White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump’s comments were about trade.

"He said they're very bad on trade but he doesn't have a problem with Germany,” said Cohn. “He said his dad is from Germany. He said, 'I don't have a problem with Germany, I have a problem with German trade.'"

Trump has taken aim at the German car industry in the past. In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Trump described trade between the two countries as “out of balance.”

“If you go down Fifth Avenue everyone has a Mercedes-Benz in front of his house, isn’t that the case?” said Trump. “The fact is that … there is no reciprocity. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all it’s a one-way street. It must work both ways.”

Cohn also addressed Trump’s position on the Paris climate accord. G7 leaders have expressed concern over the United States potentially pulling out of the international agreement and setting back efforts to mitigate climate change.

Cohn said the president will be listening to concerns from European leaders.

"I think he's learning to understanding the European position,” said Cohn. “Look, as you know from the U.S., there's very strong views on both sides. Both sides are running ads. So he knows that in the U.S., there's very strong opinions on both sides but he also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say."

Trump is still deciding whether or not the U.S. will stay in the agreement. On Thursday, 22 Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sent a letter to the White House urging the president to pull out of the deal, citing concerns about jobs.

But even in the White House, Trump has been faced with two sides of the debate. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former chief executive of Exxon, supports the deal while Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt disagrees.

Pope Francis nudged Trump about climate change during their meeting at the Vatican this week. As a gift, the Pope presented Trump with his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si," which calls for global action on the issue.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Contacts between Russian officials and Jared Kushner, son-in-law of President Donald Trump and one of his senior advisers, are a focus of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, sources tell ABC News.

While Kushner is not a target of FBI investigation and has not been accused of committing a crime, sources said he is among a number of White House staffers and former Trump campaign officials who are likely to be interviewed by the FBI because of their interactions with former national security adviser Michael Flynn -- or because they had contact with Russian officials during the campaign or the transition.

Of particular interest is Kushner's participation in a meeting with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December and a separate meeting with a Russian financial executive with a bank that had been subject to U.S. sanctions, sources said. Both contacts have been previously reported and the White House has denied that they were inappropriate.

The sources told ABC News that Kushner has not yet been contacted by the FBI and has not been asked to turn over any documents.

"We don't know anything," a source close to Kushner told ABC News. "He hasn't been approached."

"Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry," Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday night called for Kushner's security clearance to be suspended until the FBI has completed its investigation.

“The FBI’s Russia investigation reached Trump’s backyard, and now it’s in his house," the statement read. "Kushner’s security clearance should be suspended until the FBI’s findings are complete.”

Last week, ABC News confirmed that the FBI's inquiry had extended to at least one current White House staffer.

The White House provided a statement at the time in response to a Washington Post report on that matter, denying any collusion between associates of the president and Russia.

"As the president has stated before -- a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity," said press secretary Sean Spicer in the statement.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is renewing his request for documents pertaining to former FBI Director James Comey.

The FBI responded to Chaffetz in a letter Thursday citing Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in the bureau’s investigation of Russia as justification to delay fulfilling the committee’s request.

"In light of this development and other considerations, we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated," wrote Gregory Brower, assistant director of the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs.

Chaffetz responded to Brower’s letter, emphasizing his panel "has its own, Constitutionally-based prerogative to conduct investigations” and that it’s not his intent to "impede or interfere" with Mueller’s investigation.

"In fact, the Committee's investigation will complement the work of the Special Counsel. Whereas the Special Counsel is conducting a criminal or counterintelligence investigation that will occur largely behind closed doors, the Committee's work will shed light on matters of high public interest, regardless of whether there is evidence of criminal conduct," Chaffetz wrote.

"In this case, the focus of the Committee's investigation is the independence of the FBI, including conversations between the President and Comey and the process by which Comey was removed from his role as director," he continued. "The records being withheld are central to those questions, even more so in light of Comey's decision not to testify before the Committee at this time."

Chaffetz makes a new request for documents “outside the scope” of Mueller’s investigation “as soon as possible, but no later than June 8, 2017.”

Those documents include all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communication between Comey and any White House employee, including the president and the vice president, ranging back to Comey's first day in September 2013, as well as between Comey and the attorney general or deputy attorney general.

Chaffetz further requests that the FBI identify all responsive documents, regardless of whether the document is within the scope of the special counsel's investigation.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A federal appeals court upheld Thursday a lower court's temporary block of key provisions of President Donald Trump's revised executive order banning travel from some Middle East and African countries.

In the decision, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Roger Gregory writes that the executive order "in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination." The opinion continues that while the president has power to limit entry to the country, "that power is not absolute."

"It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation," Gregory writes.

Trump's order was his second attempt to limit immigration and travel to the United States. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a bid for an emergency stay from the Department of Justice in response to a Washington state federal judge's temporary restraining order blocking the president's original order.

In March, Trump issued the revised order which he would later call a "watered-down" version of the first. Trump's and his associates' comments about their desire to prevent Muslims from entering the country during the presidential campaign were highlighted in rulings by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocking the latest attempt. The government argued that the order was not intended to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Both the White House and Department of Justice released statements critical of the decision Thursday, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledging that his department "will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court."

"This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger," read the department's statement.

The White House wrote that the country needs "every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence."

"As Judge Shedd's dissent notes, 'the real losers in this case are the millions of individual Americans whose security is threatened on a daily basis by those who seek to do us harm,'" the White House statement continued. "We are confident the President's executive order to protect the country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Judiciary."

The appellate court took the deepest dive yet into the issue of whether statements made by candidate Trump should be considered in evaluating the executive order he issued after he became president.

"The campaign statements here are probative of purpose because they are closely related in time, attributable to the primary decision maker, and specific and easily connected to the challenged action," read the majority opinion.

"In this highly unique set of circumstances, there is a direct link between the President’s numerous campaign statements promising a Muslim ban that targets territories, the discrete action he took only one week into office executing that exact plan," the opinion added.

"These statements, taken together, provide direct, specific evidence of what motivated both [the original and revised travel bans]: President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States," wrote Gregory. "We need not probe anyone's heart of hearts to discover the purpose of [the order], for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms."

The judges found that the Trump administration's alleged intent to discriminate against Muslims could violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another.

The court's opinion additionally found that the government's national security justifications for parts of the ban inadequate. The travel ban's "text does little to bolster any national security rationale: the only examples it provides of immigrants born abroad and convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States include two Iraqis," even though Iraq is no longer a designated country under the ban, and "a Somalian refugee who entered the United States as a child and was radicalized here as an adult," Gregory wrote.

The panel further examined the travel ban's impact on plaintiffs who are Muslim Americans or permanent U.S. residents. An unnamed "John Doe" plaintiff has applied for a spousal immigration visa for his wife, an Iranian national. He is “feeling the direct, painful effects of the Second Executive Order—both its alleged message of religious condemnation and the prolonged separation it causes between him and his wife—in his everyday life,” the decision stated.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Journalists and politicians are speaking out about the treatment of the press following the alleged assault of a political reporter at the hands of the Republican candidate in Montana's congressional special election -- though not all are in agreement and some appeared split along partisan lines.

Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday after Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs said the GOP candidate body slammed him to the ground. Jacobs said he was attempting to ask the congressional candidate a question about his response to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the American Health Care Act.

The Radio Television Digital News Association released a statement condemning the incident on Thursday morning.

"If the criminal charges are proven true, this would be an outrageous escalation of the recent trend toward elected officials and those seeking elected office obstructing and even, now, assaulting reporters who are merely trying to do their jobs,” said Dan Shelley, the incoming executive director of the RTDNA in the statement.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that advocates for press freedom around the world, said that the incident "sends an unacceptable signal that physical assault is an appropriate response to unwanted questioning by a journalist," in a release.

 The U.S. editor of Jacob's employer, The Guardian, put out a statement Wednesday evening expressing support Jacobs.

"The Guardian is deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election," said the editor, Lee Glendinning. "We are committed to holding power to account and we stand by Ben Jacobs and our team of reporters for the questions they ask and the reporting that is produced."

Vice News, which works with The Guardian on segments for its television program, "Vice News Tonight," also released a statement.

"Vice News joins our partners at The Guardian in condemning the attack on journalist Ben Jacobs. It’s controversial, we know, to oppose violence against a person asking a question of a candidate for public office, but apparently that’s where we are. For any public official who wishes to live in a scrutiny free society we have one word of advice: move."

Conservative media personalities and some Republican politicians downplayed the incident.

Laura Ingraham, a conservative commentator and the editor-in-chief of the website LifeZette, wrote on Twitter, "Did anyone get his lunch money stolen today and then run to tell the recess monitor?"

 Derek Hunter, a radio host in Baltimore and contributing editor to the Daily Caller downplayed the incident at first before later tweeting that "it sounds bad" after reading the accounts of witnesses.

"What kind of a wuss files charges over broken glasses? Someone who wants to influence an outcome, that's who," tweeted Hunter in the aftermath

 On Capitol Hill, a number of representatives condemned Gianforte's behavior while still backing the candidate.

"I believe that we should all treat the press with respect and I try to lead by example," said Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. "I, of course, hope the Republican is successful today because I think his views are the views of the people of Montana."

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. offered a mixed response on the incident to an Associated Press reporter.

"It’s not appropriate behavior," said Hunter. "Unless the reporter deserved it."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump isn't afraid to mix it up in the boardroom, and today in Brussels he showed he could throw some proverbial elbows.

One of the more surprising moments caught on camera today at the NATO summit in Belgium came when Trump pushed aside Prime Minister Dusko Markovic of Montenegro to get to the front of the group of leaders.

Markovic appeared to smile and turn toward Trump as if for a conversation, but none ensued.

The moment may have been fleeting, but the internet seemed to enjoy it Thursday.

“I have not seen the video,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

Trump is set to head back to the U.S. on Saturday, May 27.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Former Sen. Joe Lieberman sent a letter to President Donald Trump Wednesday withdrawing his name from consideration for FBI director, citing a potential conflict of interest.

In the letter, Lieberman cites the decision by the White House to enlist Marc Kasowitz — who works at the same law firm as Lieberman — as outside counsel to coordinate the administration’s response to the Russia investigation.

“With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as a senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner," Lieberman wrote in the letter.

"Just being thought of for this position was a great honor because of my enormous respect for the men and women of the FBI and the critical and courageous work they do in protecting the American people from criminals and terrorists, and upholding our finest values," Lieberman wrote.

Last week Trump said he was "very close" to choosing the new FBI director.

The president, who is currently on his first overseas trip, revealed on May 18 that Lieberman was his top pick to replace James Comey. Lieberman, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2013, was also former Vice President Al Gore's running mate in the 2000 election.

According to sources, some on the president’s team thought Lieberman would be a good choice and would actually appeal to Democrats.

Others pointed out that some Democrats actually dislike Lieberman and that the wiser move would be to appoint a career FBI person or somebody else with a law enforcement background — a choice with credibility in the Bureau and on Capitol Hill.

In keeping with those predictions, reactions to the reports that Lieberman was in the running were mixed. Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called on Trump to choose an FBI director who had experience in law enforcement.

"It is a very bad idea to appoint a politician to head the FBI right now. We need a law enforcement professional. #bipartisan support," McCaskill wrote on Twitter.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took offense at the criticism.

"Joe Lieberman has more experience than all of my Democratic colleagues combined. So screw them. And you can quote me," he said on May 18.

The search comes after Trump abruptly fired Comey earlier this month amid an investigation into his campaign's potential ties to Russian officials.

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The White House(BRUSSELS) — President Trump on Thursday called for a Department of Justice investigation into an alleged leak of British intelligence information from its investigation into the Manchester bombing.

In a statement sent out upon his arrival at the NATO Leaders Summit in Brussels, President Trump called the alleged leaks — which he says were from "government agencies" — "deeply troubling."

"These leaks have been going on for a long time and my Administration will get to the bottom of this," Trump said. "The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security."

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would be confronting Trump directly at the summit following the publication of forensic photographs from the site of Monday night's bombing in the New York Times, subsequently published elsewhere including ABC News.

It is not clear where the photos came from.

The episode follows last week's revelation that Trump personally divulged highly classified information in an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister that could have compromised an Israeli intelligence asset.

White House officials have said the leaked details of that meeting by intelligence officials are similarly under investigation. Trump denied that he mentioned Israel in the conversation and said he had an "absolute right" to reveal the information.

His national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said that the president did not reveal intelligence sources or methods.

President Trump said should the individual who leaked the Manchester photographs to the New York Times be found, they "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

"There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom," the president said.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he shared the president's concern and had already been in contact with British Home Secretary Amber Rudd Wednesday.

“These leaks cannot be tolerated and we will make every effort to put an end to it," Sessions said. "We have already initiated appropriate steps to address these rampant leaks that undermine our national security.”

The CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

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Michele Tantussi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BERLIN) — Sitting in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate -- one of Germany's most famous landmarks -- former U.S. President Barack Obama made a thinly veiled jab at President Donald Trump at a conference celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

“In this new world that we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves, we can’t hide behind a wall,” Obama said in regards to immigration and foreign aid.

Obama was joined onstage with the most powerful leader in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The two leaders -- who worked closely together during Obama’s presidency -- held a discussion on “Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally.” Civic engagement has emerged as an important theme in Obama’s early post-presidency, and the Obama Foundation chose to sponsor the event as a way to highlight the role of faith-based organizations in local communities.

Obama’s first foreign speaking engagement comes at a time when all eyes are on Trump’s first trip abroad. Merkel sat down with Obama just hours before she travels to Brussels to meet with Trump and NATO leaders.

And while Obama did not mention Trump by name, the conversation steered toward politics and his differing worldview. Both Obama and Merkel reflected on their policies on health care, foreign aid and refugees.

Obama said progress toward universal healthcare in the U.S. is “in peril” as Republicans try to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"We are unique among advance countries in that we don't have universal health care. My hope was that I was able to get 100 percent of people health care while I was president. We didn't quite achieve that but we were able to get 20 million people healthcare who didn't have it before," Obama said. "Certainly I have some regrets that we weren't able to get everybody health care and obviously some of the progress that we made is now in peril...but the point is that for those 20 million people their lives have been better."

Obama also discussed human rights, saying it's important to "push back against those trends that would violate human rights or that would suppress democracy or that would restrict individuals freedoms of conscious or religion."

He went on, "For example I look at a place like Syria that despite our best efforts you still have a war taking place, millions of people displaced, hundreds of thousands killed...it is going to require everything we can do to recognize that what happens on the other side of the world or in these other countries...that it has an impact on us and we're going to have to be invested in trying to help those countries achieve peace and prosperity. And as president I did not always have the tools that I wanted to affect those kinds of changes, but at least we tried.”

Reflecting on his life post-White House, Obama said he's mostly been trying to catch up on sleep.

"It's only been four months so I'm not sure I have the best historical perspective. Mostly I've been trying to catch up with my sleep. I've been trying to make sure that I'm spending more time with Michelle so that she forgives me for all the times that I've been away. I've been spending time with my daughters," he said.
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