HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on March 20 at 9:20 P.M. EDT/March 21 0120 GMT

by Reuters
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 01:20 GMT

March 20 (Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday:

RUSSIA AND SURVEILLANCE

FBI Director James Comey confirms for the first time that the bureau is investigating possible ties between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia as Moscow sought to influence the 2016 U.S. election.

SUPREME COURT NOMINEE

Neil Gorsuch, Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, emphasizes the need for judicial independence even as the president castigates jurists who have ruled against him, while Democrats question whether Gorsuch would rule against abortion rights and gun control while favoring corporations.

HEALTHCARE

Congressional Republicans recraft their Obamacare replacement bill in hopes of satisfying critics as Trump prepares to promote his first major legislative initiative on Capitol Hill.

IRAQ

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he wins assurances of greater U.S. support in fighting Islamic State militants in talks with Trump and top advisers, but cautions that military might alone would not be sufficient.

NORTH KOREA

The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior U.S. official says.

DIPLOMACY

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials say, a step allies may see as putting Moscow's concerns ahead of theirs.

FOREIGN AID

European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini expresses concern about the Trump administration's proposed deep cut in U.S. foreign assistance, saying it will destabilize major parts of the world and hurt American national security.

REFUGEES

U.S. officials are taking fingerprints of asylum seekers in an Australian-run camp on the Pacific island of Nauru, signaling that vetting of applicants for resettlement in what Trump calls a "dumb deal" has restarted.

TRADE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a G7 leaders' summit in May will be a good opportunity to address differences with Trump on how to secure free trade while making commerce fairer.

CHINA

The Chinese government is seeking advice from its think tanks and policy advisers on how to counter potential trade penalties from Trump, preparing for the worst even as it hopes for business-like negotiations.

FAMILY

Trump's daughter Ivanka is getting an office in the White House West Wing, stepping up her highly visible role in helping advise her father. (Compiled by Bill Trott, Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.