Today in Trump: March 21, 2017

Last Updated Mar 21, 2017 7:13 PM EDT

Today in the Trump Administration

Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is in for a long day of testimony at his confirmation hearings Tuesday. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, indicated it would be a 10-hour day -- and that’s without including any breaks. Grassley plans to let each of the 20 senators on the committee question Gorsuch for a half-hour each. 

His hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. Here’s our live blog of Day two of the Gorsuch hearings

5 things to know from Gorsuch confirmation hearing

Senators got their first opportunity to pose questions to President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday on the second day of confirmation hearings.

Gorsuch mostly batted away Democrats’ efforts to get him to reveal his views on abortion, guns and other controversial issues, insisting he keeps “an open mind for the entire process” when he issues rulings. He answered friendly questions from majority Republicans in the same way as they tried to help him highlight his neutrality in face of Democratic attempts to link him to Mr. Trump, who nominated him.

Trump tells House GOP if they fail to pass health-care bill, it’ll cost them

President Trump told the House GOP conference that failure to pass their health-care bill would cost many of them their seats, if not Republican control of the House, a person in the room told CBS News. 

On a trip to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, the president, who was greeted by the conference with a loud and enthusiastic standing ovation, spent much of his time with them trying to convince them to vote for the GOP health care bill. He reminded them that many of them had been elected on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. He told them, I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done. 

Moreover, if the House doesn’t pass this bill, he predicted that Republicans would lose the House in 2018. The House is scheduled to vote on the Republican health-care bill, named the American Healthcare Act, on Thursday.  

House Republicans

The president addresses House Republicans in a closed session Tuesday morning. GOP leaders on Monday evening announced proposed changes to their health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. 

On the way into the Republican conference, asked whether he was confident the bill would pass the House, Mr. Trump responded, “Pretty much.” Another reporter asked him, “Do you have the votes?”  

“I think so,” the president said.

Iraqi prime minister on Trump, oil and building bridges

President Trump welcomed Iraq’s prime minister to the White House for the first time since taking office.

In the past, Mr. Trump said the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil. Iraq was included in his original travel ban, though not in the second version. But despite these tensions, the two men will need to work together.

It was a high-stakes meeting Monday, as both leaders need each other’s help to defeat ISIS, reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan. Mr. Trump pledged to accelerate U.S. support, but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also said Mr. Trump’s calls to seize Iraqi oil aren’t helpful.

First daughter Ivanka Trump given West Wing office, access to classified information

Ivanka Trump is working out of a West Wing office and will get access to classified information as a way of cementing her role as a powerful White House influence, though she’s not technically serving as a government employee, according to an attorney for the first daughter.

Since President Trump took office, his eldest daughter has been a visible presence in the White House, where her husband, Jared Kushner, already serves as a senior adviser. On Friday, she participated in a meeting on vocational training with the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What is “ramspecking”?

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s reference to an obscure law at Tuesday’s briefing left many members of the press corps scratching their heads — and turning to Google.

A reporter asked Spicer if President Donald Trump believes in the “deep state” — a conspiracy theory circulated among some Trump supporters that purports Obama holdovers in the federal government are attempting to undercut the president’s agenda.

“There are people that burrow into government after an administration — this has been going back since the beginning of time,” Spicer answered. “They used to call it ‘ramspecking.’”

Look who’s looking for foreign workers: Trump Winery

A Virginia winery owned by President Donald Trump’s son has applied to hire foreign workers to pick grapes after the company was unable to find U.S. citizens who want the job.

Trump Vineyard Estates, better known as Trump Winery, has asked to bring in 29 workers this season through the federal H-2A visa program, The Daily Progress reported.

The Charlottesville-area winery is owned by Eric Trump, whose father has called on businesses to hire Americans.

The H-2A program enables agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or other temporary or seasonal services. To apply, employers say they’ve been unable to find American citizens to fill the jobs. At least three other local vineyards also applied to hire foreign workers.

Roger Stone denies colluding with Russia to meddle in 2016 election

Longtime GOP operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone on Tuesday doubled down on his assertion that he did not collude with Russia to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.

“I have said that repeatedly and I say that again today,” Stone said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”

Stone said he’s aware that he’s under investigation by the FBI, but that he has not spoken to the bureau. He said he is following the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request to preserve documents.

“I assume I have been under surveillance now for some time,” Stone said. “What probable cause there is, or what evidence that would dictate that, I don’t know.”

White House tries to distance Trump from Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn

The White House is distancing itself from two former senior members of Donald Trump’s team, amid an FBI investigation into possible connections between Trump “associates” and Russia.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday referred to Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as a “volunteer of the campaign.” And he said Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s campaign for months, “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”

“And so to start to look at some individual that was there for a short period of time or, separately, individuals who really didn’t play any role in the campaign and to suggest that those are the basis for anything is a bit ridiculous,” he said.

Trump says he wants to finish health care so he can move on

President Trump is trying to give the teetering Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare a new sense of urgency by saying he’d like to get it over with and move on to the agenda items he cares about.

In an arena filled with thousands of cheering Kentuckians Monday evening, the president tied the future of the House-crafted health care proposal to his ability to fulfill other campaign pledges, like reducing taxes and renegotiating trade deals.

NRCC dinner

Trump keynotes NRCC dinner, 7 p.m.

Recent Trump Administration News:

Dickerson: What Trump’s address to House Republicans will mean

On Tuesday President Trump will address House Republicans in advance of their vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). President Obama gave a similar speech almost seven years to the day to House Democrats, encouraging them to vote for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

President Obama’s speech was built on a central pitch: Democrats should vote for the bill because it was a part of their political identity. 

GOP leaders unveil health bill changes to help older Americans

Top House Republicans hunting votes for their health care overhaul are proposing amendments aimed at providing more help for older people, curbing Medicaid and accelerating the repeal of some tax increases.

The bill would let people deduct more medical costs from taxes. It would repeal many tax increases boosted by President Barack Obama’s 2010 statute this year instead of 2018.

First daughter Ivanka Trump given West Wing office, access to classified information

Ivanka Trump is working out of a West Wing office and will get access to classified information as a way of cementing her role as a powerful White House influence, though she’s not technically serving as a government employee, according to an attorney for the first daughter.

Since President Trump took office, his eldest daughter has been a visible presence in the White House, where her husband, Jared Kushner, already serves as a senior adviser. On Friday, she participated in a meeting on vocational training with the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings

Neil Gorsuch, the man President Donald Trump chose to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, will begin his Senate confirmation hearings on Monday at 11 a.m.

Due to Republican control of the Senate, Gorsuch is expected to eventually be confirmed to the court. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he expects the entire process to last roughly six weeks, and hopes to have Gorsuch on the court before the Senate leaves for its Easter recess. 

Who is Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court justice nominee?

This week, Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies at his confirmation hearings to be Supreme Court justice, filling the vacancy left over a year ago by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The hearings begin Monday are expected to continue for several days. Day One will feature 10-minute opening statements by the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as by Gorsuch. On Day Two, the questioning begins.

Here’s a refresher on what to know about Gorsuch.

FBI Director James Comey to testify at Russia hearing

FBI Director James Comey will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, at 10 a.m., alongside National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers, at a hearing about Russian interference in the 2016 election.