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HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on Feb. 2 at 8:40 p.m. EST/0140 GMT
February 2, 2017 / 1:48 PM / 10 months ago

HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on Feb. 2 at 8:40 p.m. EST/0140 GMT

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President
Donald Trump's administration on Thursday:

    Trump is poised to impose new sanctions on multiple Iranian
entities, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Tehran while
crafting a broader strategy to counter what he sees as its
destabilizing behavior, people familiar with the matter say.
    U.S. ties with staunch ally Australia become strained after
details about an acrimonious phone call between its leaders
emerge and Trump says a deal between the two nations on refugee
resettlement is "dumb." 
    The Trump administration says Israel's building of new
settlements or expansion of existing ones in occupied
territories may not be helpful in achieving peace with
Palestinians, adopting a more measured tone than its previous
pro-Israel announcements. 
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blames
Russia for the recent surge of violence in eastern Ukraine and
warns Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will not be
lifted until Moscow returns Crimea to Kiev.
    Trump's Treasury Department adjusts sanctions on the Russian
intelligence agency FSB, making limited exceptions to measures
put in place by the Obama administration over accusations Moscow
meddled in the U.S. presidential election. 
    Trump vows to free churches and other tax-exempt
institutions from a 1954 U.S. law banning political activity,
drawing fire from critics who accuse him of rewarding his
evangelical Christian supporters and turning houses of worship
into political machines. 
    Trump defends his order to temporarily bar entry to people
from seven majority-Muslim nations, saying it is crucial to
ensure religious freedom and tolerance in America; he discusses
establishing safe zones in Syria with Jordan's King Abdullah.
    A Department of Homeland Security watchdog agency says it is
planning to review how Trump's executive order to temporarily
suspend travel from seven majority-Muslim nations was
    Trump reiterates his concerns about the North American Free
Trade Agreement and says he would like to speed up talks to
either renegotiate or replace it.  
    A Senate committee suspends rules to approve Scott Pruitt,
Trump's controversial choice to lead the Environmental
Protection Agency, amid a boycott by Democratic panel members.
Representative Mick Mulvaney is approved as budget director.
    A veteran CIA clandestine service officer who ran one of the
agency's "black site" prisons set up after the 9/11 attacks is
named deputy director of the U.S. spy agency. 
    Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick quit
Trump's business advisory group after coming under criticism for
taking part, the company says. 


 (Compiled by Bill Trott, Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis;
Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Toni Reinhold and Cynthia Osterman)

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