The Latest: Trump looking to 're-doing' NAFTA

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST): 2 p.m. President Donald Trump says he's looking at "re-doing" the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he says has been a "catastrophe for our county." The president made the comments in a pair of meetings Thursday...

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

2 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's looking at "re-doing" the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he says has been a "catastrophe for our county."

The president made the comments in a pair of meetings Thursday with lawmakers and employees from the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company.

Trump has long railed about the country's trade deals, claiming they put American workers and companies at a disadvantage.

Trump says he doesn't care if "it's a renovation of NAFTA or a brand new NAFTA," as long as it's fairer for U.S. workers.

He says, "All of the statutory guidelines we're adhering to I would like to speed it up if possible."

He says his Commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, will lead the negotiations.

Economists generally attribute the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, not Mexico.


1:50 p.m.

Organizers have canceled a planned weekend protest march outside President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, saying they had concerns about safety.

Lead organizer Stephen Milo said in statement Thursday that Saturday's March to Mar-a-Lago is being canceled because of "the possibility of the march turning into an angry confrontational demonstration vs. a joyful show of unity" as originally envisioned.

The president is scheduled to be at Mar-a-Lago this weekend and will likely attend an American Red Cross fundraiser there Saturday night. The protest was to be aimed at the president's moratorium on refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Milo said the decision came after meetings with West Palm Beach, Florida, police officials.

More than 2,000 people had registered on Facebook to attend the march.


1:20 p.m.

The White House says a new Treasury Department action does not mean the U.S. is easing sanctions on Russia.

Treasury had amended the sanctions former President Barack Obama slapped on Moscow in retaliation for election-related hacking to allow "certain transactions" with Russia's Federal Security Service, or the FSB. White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the move part of the "regular course of action."

Some U.S. companies had expressed concern that the sanctions would limit their ability to sell electronics to Russia. The FSB has control over imports to Russia of devices with encryption technology.

Obama levied the sanctions after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the presidential election on Trump's behalf. Trump had frequently talked about wanting a warmer relationship with Russia, sparking concern among allies.


1:10 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump was briefed about plans for a raid by U.S. special operations forces in Yemen four days after his inauguration, and he authorized the plan last week.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says planning for the raid originated under President Barack Obama's team. He says the plan was first sent to the Defense Department the day before the November 2016 presidential election.

Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the assault, and three other U.S. service members were wounded in the firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. That's the group's Yemen affiliate.

Spicer says it's difficult to call it a success because of Owens' death, but the administration considers it a "successful operation."


12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says bikers were with him all the way during his campaign.

Trump met a group from Harley-Davidson Thursday after they rolled up to the south lawn of the White House. He greeted the five bikers warmly, saying, "Made in America, Harley-Davidson."

Trump added that during the campaign, bikers "were with me all the way."

But he did not hop on for a ride. Trump joked to the journalists gathered to watch the welcome: "Boy, would you like to see me fall off one of these!"

Earlier this week, Trump cancelled a Thursday trip to Wisconsin, where Harley-Davidson is located.


10:20 a.m.

A Trump administration official says President Donald Trump was "very strong" in his recent call with Australia's prime minister.

The official says Trump was particularly concerned about an Obama administration deal that would allow mostly Muslim refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the United States.

According to the official, the Saturday call ended early, after about 30 minutes. That's about half as long as some of Trump's recent calls with other leaders.

The tensions between Trump and Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull were first reported by the Washington Post.

The official disputed a report that Trump ended the call by hanging up on Turnbull. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

—Julie Pace


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll work on developing a system to make sure that people entering the United States "fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty."

That's what he's saying in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

He also says the U.S. must "protect religious liberty" and be "safe and secure."

Trump says America has the "most generous immigration system in the world" and "there are those that would exploit that generosity." He says there are people who would enter the country with the "purpose of spreading violence."


9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Americans shouldn't worry about his "tough" phone calls with world leaders.

Trump says: "We have to be tough."

The president is speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast. He says the world is "in trouble" and other countries have been taking advantage of the United States, but his administration will "straighten it out."

Trump's comments come amid reports about his calls with leaders from Mexico and Australia.

The White House says Trump's comment to Mexico's president that he would send U.S. troops to stop "bad hombres down there" was "lighthearted."


9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll work to "get rid of and totally destroy" a provision that bars churches and other tax-exempt organizations from supporting candidates for political office.

Trump — in an appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington — says religious freedom is a "sacred right." He's not saying how or when he'd try to repeal what's known as the Johnson Amendment — after then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, who pushed for it to be enacted.

Trump thanked Americans for their prayers as he begins his administration, saying they've been a "constant source of strength."

The president also took a dig at Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's the new host of "The Apprentice," the show Trump previously hosted. Trump says that since Schwarzenegger took over, the show's rating have been down, and Trump asked the audience to "pray for Arnold."


7:28 a.m.

President Donald Trump is questioning whether the University of California at Berkeley should be granted federal funding. Trump urges the school to honor free speech.

Protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire prompting university officials to cancel a talk Wednesday by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos out of safety concerns.

Trump tweeted Thursday, "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"

Berkeley cancelled Yiannopoulos' appearance after a crowd of some 1,500 gathered outside the venue.

The 32-year-old right-wing provocateur is a vocal Trump supporter and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.


7:25 a.m.

Germany's foreign minister is heading for Washington to meet newly sworn-in U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to convey what he calls an "offer of friendship and trust."

Sigmar Gabriel's trip on Thursday follows criticism by Chancellor Angela Merkel of President Donald Trump's restrictions on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

It also comes amid concern in Berlin about the new administration's intentions on trade.

Gabriel is also expected to meet with Vice President Mike Pence. He stresses the United States' longstanding status as his country's closest ally outside Europe.

Gabriel says, "The friendship between two nations is far more than thriving cooperation between governments, but without good and trusting relations between both governments, it can't go well."


7:21 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Iran was on the verge of collapse until the U.S. gave it a "lifeline" in the form of the Iran deal.

The president tweeted Thursday, "Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile." He adds, "Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!"

Trump was repeating comments made by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn,

Trump also tweeted, "Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion."

Flynn said Wednesday the "Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran's malign actions" and put Iran "on notice," without elaborating on what actions may be taken.