Donald Trump

Although candidate Donald Trump had little good to say about China, by the time President Trump visited Beijing as part of his Asian tour last month, he was touting the "great chemistry" enjoyed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

A Senate election in Alabama. A Republican tax bill moving through Congress. Violent protests in the Middle East following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

What could these widely disparate matters have in common, besides heavy news coverage? It turns out that they all have enabled President Trump to send a message to one distinct and crucial category of his supporters.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

President Trump outlined his goals for military modernization and economic advancement Monday, as he unveiled his national security strategy in a speech in Washington.

The strategy document — which every president is required by law to produce — offers a blueprint for Trump's military and foreign policy. It could help to guide future decisions on defense spending, trade negotiations and international cooperation.

Despite some last-minute challenges, Republicans appear to have the votes to give President Trump his first legislative victory.

Final passage of the bill that will reshape the tax system and touch nearly every American is expected early this week, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday.

It will be Trump's first significant legislative accomplishment, not a bad Christmas gift for a president, who often boasts of lesser successes.

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

A viral video making the rounds Friday has one of President Trump's judicial nominees in an uncomfortable spotlight.

Matthew Petersen has been nominated for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, one of the nation's most important federal courts. Petersen is now a member of the Federal Election Commission.

But his trouble began during Wednesday's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee when, among a panel of five nominees, he alone told Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., that he had never tried a case in court.

President Trump, minutes before heading to speak at the FBI's National Academy, lashed out at the bureau, saying, "It's a shame what's happened with the FBI" and claiming there are "a lot of very angry people that are seeing it."

The New Year will bring a new test for President Trump and the United States' relationship with Russia.

Five years ago, President Obama signed a bill imposing sanctions on a group of powerful people there charged with involvement in the death of a Russian lawyer who uncovered a $230 million tax fraud scheme — and then died in government custody. The sanctions infuriated Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump SoHo is a high rise in lower Manhattan, part hotel, part condos; it's 46 stories tall, all slick grey glass. Conflicts, from zoning battles to accusations of fraud, have followed the project since it was announced during a 2006 episode of The Apprentice.

According to reports by Bloomberg News, Trump SoHo has attracted the interest of Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible ties between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials.

Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET

President Trump said thank you Wednesday evening to Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice contestant turned White House aide, who is stepping down from her post.

"I wish you continued success," Trump posted on Twitter.

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