WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):
8:00 a.m. – Vice President-elect Mike Pence says the conspiracy-minded son of a key adviser to Donald Trump has no role in the president-elect’s transition. Pence told MSNBC Tuesday that the son of retired Gen. Mike Flynn “has no involvement in the transition whatsoever.”
The statement comes after Mike Flynn Jr. sent numerous posts on Twitter about the conspiracy theories of Pizzagate, a fake news story suggesting a Washington, D.C., pizza shop, Comet Ping Pong, plays a key role in a child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton. Police say the conspiracy theory led to violence Sunday when a North Carolina man fired a rifle in the restaurant as he sought to investigate the accusations. No one was injured, and the man was arrested.
Flynn Jr., who has accompanied his father to presidential transition meetings inside Trump Tower and lists the presidential transition website as part of his Twitter bio, tweeted Sunday night that, “Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story.”
7:44 a.m. – Donald Trump’s choice for defense secretary will be with him at a Tuesday night rally in North Carolina.
That’s according to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The Indiana governor told MSNBC Tuesday that Trump intends to officially announce the nomination of James Mattis to the helm of the Pentagon. The retired general will escort Trump to the rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The rally is part of Trump’s tour of battleground states where voters helped him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. He’ll be in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday and Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday.
7:14 a.m. – NATO’s chief says the alliance and the European Union are moving forward on deepening cooperation, as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump insists European allies start pulling their own military weight.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters before chairing talks between NATO foreign ministers Tuesday that “we have a momentum now.”
He said NATO and the EU would endorse 40 proposals for boosting cooperation on cyber security and hybrid threats, operations at sea and helping neighboring countries better defend themselves.
Stoltenberg said “questions have been asked with respect to the strength of the trans-Atlantic bond” and that the best way to respond is to boost NATO-EU cooperation.
Trump lambasted Europeans during the U.S. campaign for not paying their fair share of defense budgets and wants NATO to do more against terrorism.
3:33 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump is taking his show back on the road.
Trump is slated to hold the second stop of this “thank you” tour Tuesday in North Carolina, less than a week after his bombastic return to rallies at an Ohio appearance that felt more like a raucous campaign stop than a traditional speech by a president-to-be.
At that Cincinnati stop, Trump disparaged the media as “dishonest,” inspired loud “Build the wall” chants and stunned his own aides with his surprise announcement from the stage that that he was appointing retired Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense.
The Tuesday appearance in Fayetteville will be followed by rallies in Iowa and Michigan later this week as Trump barnstorms the country to salute his supporters.