President Trump today

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN
4:12 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018
3:29 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

White House calls nerve agent attack an "outrage" — but doesn't pin blame on Russia

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House is closely monitoring the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in the United Kingdom and taking the matter "very seriously," press secretary Sarah Sanders says.

But she stopped short of pinning blame for the attack on Moscow, saying only the US stood with the UK as it investigates the incident.

Sanders described the episode as an "outrage," calling it "reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible."

But asked whether the US can assign blame on Russia, Sanders said only that the White House supports May in investigating the attack.

"We stand with our ally and fully support them and are ready if we can be of any assistance to them," she said.

"They’re still working through some of the details of that," she said when asked about who was to blame for the attack.

3:24 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Sarah Sanders isn't sure if Trump saw Betsy DeVos' whole interview

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to weigh in on Betsy DeVos’ recent performance in televised interviews, saying school safety and other policies are the “focus of the President – not one or two interviews, but actual policy.”

Asked whether President Trump tuned in to 60 Minutes, Sanders said, “I’m not sure if he saw the whole thing or not.”

Some White House officials said they were alarmed by DeVos' struggle to answer basic questions about the nation's schools and failure to defend the administration's newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday, according to two sources familiar with their reaction.

Watch more:

3:20 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Trump didn’t ‘chicken out’ of raising the age to buy guns, White House says

Reporters pressed Sarah Sanders on the White House gun proposal which, critics say, falls short of what the President seemed to support in the days following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Reporter A: "A couple of weeks ago the president said that he wanted to raise the age on purchasing assault weapons. He talked about supporting universal background checks, about taking guns away from those identified as a threat, even without due process. What happened to all those proposals?"

Sanders: "Right now the president's primary focus is on pushing through things that we know have broad bipartisan support or things that we can do from an administrative perspective that we can do immediately..."

Reporter B: "Based on the plan last night, it seemed like president trump was the one petrified of the NRA because he backed away from some of the ideas he brought into the discussion and I'm asking why he chickened out, why he didn't go forward with what he had proposed earlier."

Sanders: "Look, he hasn't backed away from these things at all. They're still outlined in the plan. But he can't make them happen with a broad stroke of the pen. You have to have some congressional component to do some of these things and without that support, it's not as possible."

3:12 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

White House: "We fully expect" Trump-Kim meeting will happen

President Trump spoke of meeting Kim Jong Un as an "if" at his Saturday night rally -- not a when. At her press briefing, Sarah Sanders said "we fully expect that it will" happen, and that, "North Korea made several promises. We hope that they would stick to those promises. If so the meeting will go go on as planned."

2:56 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

6 questions that could come up during today's White House press briefing

Guns: The White House unveiled school safety proposals — which do not include Trump's idea of increasing the minimum age to buy certain firearms. Does the President still support that? Or, if he doesn't, why did he change his mind?

Stormy Daniels: Will Trump accept the porn star's offer to return the $130,000 payment she received from the President's attorney in exchange for dissolving a so-called "Hush Agreement"?

Betsy DeVos: Does Trump still have confidence in his Education Secretary after she struggled to answer basic questions about the nation's schools during Sunday TV interviews?

Pennsylvania 18: How is the President feeling about tomorrow's special election in Pennsylvania (where even a win could be bad news for the GOP in November)?

California trip: What details can you give us about the President's overnight trip to Southern California tomorrow?

Russian spy poisoning: British Prime Minister Theresa May says it's "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the attempted murder of a former Russian double agent. Does the President agree with that assessment?

1:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Trump to Astros: You're one "hell of a team"

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Trump honored the World Series Champion Houston Astros to the White House, speaking on Hurricane Harvey and the team’s involvement in the recovery. Trump made it through the event without any gaffes or controversial comments on sports.

Trump talked about being a “big baseball fan” who supports the Yankees but said the Astros “were just a little bit tougher” last season. 

“Thank you for being true champions on and off the field,” Trump told the Astros adding they are a “hell of a team.”

The Astros also gifted Trump with his own Astros jersey, that read “TRUMP” on the back.

Trump ended the event touting the economy and said he’s “not letting the world take advantage of us anymore,” which was met with applause from the room and some players.

12:42 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Trump's honors Astros: "You were Houston Strong" after Hurricane Harvey

President Trump welcomed the 2017 World Series champions, the Houston Astros, to the White House today.

He congratulated the team on the win, which came just months after the city was hit by Hurricane Harvey.

"After the devastating Hurricane Harvey — incredible that with what you went through, you’re the champions with what you went through," he said. "It's a really befitting tribute."

"You were Houston Strong," Trump added.

12:24 p.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Stormy Daniels offers to return $130,000 payment

From CNN's Sara Sidner

Stormy Daniels is offering to return the $130,000 payment she received from Michael Cohen in exchange for dissolving the so-called “Hush Agreement.” 

Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, sent Cohen a letter offering to wire $130,000 by Friday to an account designated by the President.

In exchange, the Confidential Settlement Agreement between Daniels, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen’s company would be “deemed null and void in their entirety.” That would allow Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to speak publicly about her allegations of an affair with Trump, and according to the letter “use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.”

11:57 a.m. ET, March 12, 2018

Why the Astros are visiting the White House today

President Trump is hosting the Houston Astros this afternoon to celebrate their November World Series win.

The Astros — whose first season was in 1962 — became World Series champions for the first time in franchise history. They defeated the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Trump sent out this congratulatory message after the win: