The Latest: Freedom Caucus member defends against Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law (all times local): 10:31 a.m. A House Freedom Caucus member is defending the group's opposition to the failed GOP health care bill. That's after President Donald Trump lashed out at the Republican conservative group Thursday morning. Jim Jordan of Ohio says, "I respect the president, but our focus is on the legislation.

The Latest: Hawaii AG: An appeal of travel ban ruling likely

HONOLULU (AP) -- The Latest on a federal court's ruling in Hawaii on President Donald Trump's travel ban (all times local): 3:05 a.m. Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin says there is likely to be an appeal by the Department of Justice of the ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who extended his previous block of President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

Back to burgers: Carl's Jr. ditches bikini-clad ads

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are ditching the bikinis and getting back to the burgers. The chains are famous for advertisements featuring models and celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kate Upton and Emily Ratajkowski munching on burgers while scantily clad. A new commercial for the chains shows the imagined Carl Hardee Sr. taking back control of the operation from immature son Carl Hardee Jr. Carl Sr.

US economy grew at 2.1 percent rate in Q4

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster rate in the fourth quarter than earlier estimates, as consumers powered economic momentum heading into 2017. The gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services, expanded at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the October-December period, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That is an improvement from the previous estimate of 1.9 percent.

The Latest: Senator says Russia undermined trust in media

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the Senate intelligence committee's hearing on Russian interference in last year's presidential election (all times local): 10:40 a.m. Sen. Mark Warner is alleging that Russia continually sought to undermine American trust in the U.S. media. Speaking at a congressional hearing on Russian meddling in the presidential election on Thursday, Warner calls the tactic Russian propaganda "on steroids.

Putin ready to meet Trump in Finland if it hosts summit

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin says he is ready to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump if Finland hosts an Arctic summit. Putin and Finland's president, Sauli Niinisto, both expressed openness for such a meeting when they spoke at an Arctic forum in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk Thursday.

Voters in Meadows' district watch his health care stance

MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) -- The voters in western North Carolina who sent U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows to office expected him to remain a Republican outsider. So they aren't surprised he helped lead an effort that scuttled his party's attempt to reform the nation's health care laws. But his supporters are also carefully watching to make sure he works as hard to find solutions as he has at fighting establishment Republicans and Democrats.

AP SPIN METER: Was Trump joking on health care?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- To believe or not to believe? That is the question, when it comes to President Donald Trump's comments about what comes next on health care. Since the Republicans' coverage bill died in the House last week, marking the defeat of Trump's first major legislative initiative, the president has sent conflicting signals about trying again and has left people guessing about whether his words on the subject are meant to be taken literally.

Poll: Americans dislike GOP's, Trump's plan on health care

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Note to President Donald Trump and House Republicans: People really don't like your approach to overhauling America's health care. If you're hoping to revive the effort, you may want to try something different. Sixty-two percent of Americans turned thumbs down on Trump's handling of health care during the initial weeks of his presidency, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday.

China's Xi to meet Trump in Mar-a-Lago on April 6-7

BEIJING (AP) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time on April 6-7 at Trump's Florida resort, China's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday, amid a range of pressing issues including trade, North Korea and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The relationship between the world's No. 1 and No.

Republican foes of health care bill win praise in districts

BUCKNER, Kentucky (AP) -- One of the House Republican rebels, Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie, wasn't just "no" on the GOP health care bill to replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Massie was "hell no." That won over Mary Broecker, president of the Oldham County Republican Women's Club and a strong proponent of a full-blown repeal of the 2010 law.

Amid US' Afghanistan uncertainty, Russia resurrects interest

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As America's 16-year war in Afghanistan drags on, Russia is resurrecting its own interest in the "graveyard of empires." The jockeying includes engaging the Taliban and leading a new diplomatic effort to tackle Afghanistan's future, all while Washington leaves the world guessing on its strategy for ending the conflict.

Casino mogul Phil Ruffin among Trump's closest friends

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Billionaire Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin has never been to the White House. On Thursday, he'll have dinner there with his friend, Donald Trump. "It's a lonely job, and I have been friends with him for a long time. It'll be nice to catch up," Ruffin said.

Senate hearing to focus on Russian disinformation tactics

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some tactics Russia used to meddle in last year's presidential election would give shivers to anyone who believes in American democracy, the Senate intelligence committee's top Democrat says. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia spoke ahead of a committee session Thursday that will address how the Kremlin allegedly uses technology to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Europe. Warner and the panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Mosul shows difficulty of removing militants from urban area

BAGHDAD (AP) -- As the fight for the Iraqi city of Mosul drags on, many might ask: Why has it taken the combined militaries of the United States and Iraq backed by an international coalition more than two years to dislodge a relatively small force of militants lacking heavy weaponry? Donald Trump raised the question during his campaign, promising to turn up the heat against the Islamic State group if he became president.

Federal agency refuses to ban pesticide used on crops

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's administration denied a petition by environmental groups that sought to ban a common pesticide used on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops, reversing a push by the Obama administration to revoke all uses of the pesticide on food after a government review concluded it could harm children's brains.

Trump University lawsuits face final hurdle to settlement

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- President Donald Trump faces one last hurdle to ending nearly seven years of lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University when a judge decides Thursday whether to approve a $25 million settlement with former customers. When attorneys reached a deal 10 days after Trump's election, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said he hoped it would be part of "a healing process that this country very sorely needs.

A look at latest ruling on Trump administration travel ban

HONOLULU (AP) -- A federal judge in Hawaii who temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's revised travel ban hours before it was set to take effect issued a longer-lasting order Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson held a hearing Wednesday on Hawaii's request to extend his temporary hold. Several hours later, he issued a 24-page order blocking the government from suspending new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and from halting the U.S. refugee program.