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Trump weighs next executive orders on national security: White House

By Steve Holland

By Steve Holland

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is considering several more executive orders concerning national security that could be issued as early as Friday but has not yet made decisions on their scope or sequencing, the White House said on Thursday.

Drafts of executive orders on a series of issues have leaked recently, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to comment specifically on what was under consideration.'

"I think the president sometime later today will be presented with some options by his senior team and decide whether or not they meet his intent and whether or not all of them are ones that he wants to go either by the end of this week or into next week," Spicer told reporters traveling with Trump to Philadelphia, where the president will meet with Republican lawmakers.

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Responding to questions about reports that Trump was looking at reducing the U.S. role in the United Nations and other international institutions, Spicer said Trump was reviewing all federal government spending, in the United States and abroad.

"I'm not ready to make any announcements on funding or action on any of those institutions," Spicer said.

Asked whether Trump was considering executive action to bring back a program to hold terrorism suspects in secret overseas "black site" prisons, Spicer declined to comment.

"There is a question of what he wants and whether or not those documents represent his current thinking, what his desires are. There's inputs that can be shared with individuals or with the White House or with staff, it doesn't necessarily reflect the president's current thinking," he said.

Trump plans to sign an executive order later on Thursday ordering an investigation into U.S. voter fraud, which repeated studies have shown is rare and isolated.

On Friday, he intends to visit the Pentagon where he will participate in a ceremonial swearing-in of new Defense Secretary James Mattis, and meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others to get assessments on a broad range of national security issues.

"There's a lot of issues that he continues to be updated on on a daily basis, from a national security standpoint, from military hot spots, whether it's Syria, our efforts there or our efforts to fight ISIS - other threats that we face, whether it’s the Middle East or South China Sea," Spicer said.

"But he's going to continue to get briefed and have a discussion on their assessment of the current national security situation."

Trump will also hold a press conference on Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, his first meeting with a foreign leader at the White House, Spicer said.

The president had planned to meet with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch and U.S. Representative Kevin Brady on trade issues later on Thursday, but that meeting was postponed, Spicer said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Paul Simao)

 
 
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