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The Latest: Energy Dept. pushes back against Trump team

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/13/2016
President-elect Donald Trump talks with Kanye West in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press President-elect Donald Trump talks with Kanye West in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump's transition to the White House (all times EST):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) © The Associated Press Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

4:15 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West pose for a picture in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West pose for a picture in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Energy Department says it won't provide the names of staffers who worked on climate issues to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, even as it pledges to cooperate with the incoming administration.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, laughs as he hugs an unidentified man in the lobby at Trump Tower, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) © The Associated Press Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, laughs as he hugs an unidentified man in the lobby at Trump Tower, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Trump's transition team is seeking information about agency operations and personnel, including a list of employees and contractors who attended international meetings on climate change over the past five years.

Kanye West enters Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press Kanye West enters Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

An Energy Department spokesman said Tuesday that while officials "will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information, we will not be providing any individual names to the transition team."

FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015 file photo, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the release of a report by the National Petroleum Council on oil drilling in the Arctic, in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump selected Tillerson to lead the State Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015 file photo, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the release of a report by the National Petroleum Council on oil drilling in the Arctic, in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump selected Tillerson to lead the State Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder says some of the questions asked by Trump's team left DOE workers "unsettled." He says DOE officials "respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department."

FILE- In this June 15, 2012, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson shake hands at a signing ceremony of an agreement between state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft and ExxonMobil at the Black Sea port of Tuapse, southern Russia. President-elect Donald Trump selected Tillerson to lead the State Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA-Novosti, Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool, File) © The Associated Press FILE- In this June 15, 2012, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson shake hands at a signing ceremony of an agreement between state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft and ExxonMobil at the Black Sea port of Tuapse, southern Russia. President-elect Donald Trump selected Tillerson to lead the State Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA-Novosti, Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool, File)

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1:53 p.m.

Bill Gates says he and Donald Trump talked big ideas Tuesday in Trump Tower.

The co-founder of Microsoft Corp. told reporters that he and the president-elect had a "good conversation about innovation, how it can help in health, education, the impact of foreign aid and energy," as well as "a wide-ranging conversation about power of innovation."

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1:48 p.m.

Donald Trump is expected to be invited to the National Prayer Breakfast in February.

Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Chris Coons, D-Del., are co-chairmen of the breakfast and expected to issue the invitation to Trump on Wednesday. A release about the meeting said they will discuss the long tradition of the breakfast "as an inclusive, positive event focused on prayer."

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The event has been held for more than six decades and has often seen as a chance for politicians to pause the debate of the day and gather in fellowship and reflection. But it doesn't always happen that way.

Keynote speaker Ben Carson in 2013 drew attention for complaining about tax laws and offering suggestions for health care changes. Carson was then a neurosurgeon who is now Trump's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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12:40 p.m.

New York City police say they've arrested a teenager who showed up at the Trump Tower security checkpoint with a knife, handcuffs, fireworks and a water pistol.

Authorities say 19-year-old Alexander Wang of upstate Poughquag, New York was arrested at around 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said Tuesday afternoon that he was awaiting arraignment. There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

The Secret Service runs the checkpoint. The NYPD has a security detail at the tower.

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11:55 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is considering major Republican fundraiser Wayne Berman as the U.S. Trade Representative.

That's according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Berman is a senior adviser at the Blackstone Group and was a strong supporter of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's failed 2016 presidential campaign. He served in the Commerce Department during President George H.W. Bush's administration.

Trump made his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact and other multilateral trade deals a central part of his campaign. He's pledged to negotiate bilateral trade agreements, work that would fall in part to the trade representative.

The people with knowledge of the discussions insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations.

-By Julie Pace and Julie Bykowicz

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11:25 a.m.

Brazilian President Michel Temer and President-elect Donald Trump have spoken about a "U.S.-Brazil agenda for economic growth."

That's according to a statement from Temer's office, which said the phone call took place Tuesday. The two planned for their teams to meet on the issue in February.

Temer's office said Brazil wants his country to have more U.S. investment and said that Brazilians will continue investing in the United States.

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11:05 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he "look(s) forward" to supporting Donald Trump's nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.

The Kentucky Republican predicted in a statement Tuesday that Tillerson will "face each problem head on with American interests and security as his top priority." McConnell added that he looks "forward to supporting his nomination."

HIs positive words could carry considerable sway with Senate Republicans, a few of which have said they have serious concerns about Tillerson's ties with Russia. McConnell on Monday told reporters that "the Russians are not our friends." But he made no mention of the ExxonMobil chief's close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump says he regards Tillerson's Russia ties an asset for a secretary of state.

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10:32 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says he is "humbled" that President-elect Donald Trump considered him to be secretary of energy.

The West Virginian, whose state voted overwhelmingly for Trump last month, said he can best serve the Mountaineer State in the Senate. Manchin is up for re-election in 2018.

Manchin's comments came after reports that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been selected to run the Energy Department.

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10:04 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says he and musician Kanye West talked "life" in Trump Tower.

The two posed for photos after their meeting Tuesday.

Asked why the musician was visiting, Trump said the two were "just friends" and called West a "good man."

The two did not answer questions on whether West would perform at Trump's inauguration in January.

West stood silently next to Trump. Asked why he wasn't speaking, West said: "I just want to take a picture right now."

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9:32 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department.

That's according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

The two-time presidential candidate had been a harsh critic of Trump during the 2016 race, calling him a "cancer to conservatism." He later endorsed the Republican nominee and said he'd be willing to work in a Trump administration.

One of Perry's best-remembered moments from his first White House run was when he couldn't remember in a debate the third of three federal agencies he promised to eliminate if elected. The one he forgot was the Energy Department.

The two people with knowledge of Trump's pick insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the decision ahead of the official announcement.

-By Ken Thomas and Julie Pace

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9:25 a.m.

Kanye West is visiting Trump Tower this morning.

The musician entered the building shortly after 9 a.m. with a large entourage. West was not accompanied by wife Kim Kardashian West.

The 39-year-old recently spent over a week in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles for stress and exhaustion.

West did not stop to talk to reporters gathered in the lobby.

At a concert in November, West said he didn't vote, but if he had he "would have voted for Trump."

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9:21 a.m.

An aide to President Vladimir Putin is praising President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said Tuesday in remarks reported by the TASS news agency described Tillerson as a "very credible figure" and a "big professional."

The CEO of ExxonMobil has met Putin several times and he received Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013. ExxonMobil works closely with Russian oil giant Rosneft and in 2013 the two companies struck a multi-billion dollar Arctic oil exploration deal.

Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also praised Tillerson's "pragmatism."

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8:50 a.m.

Rudy Giuliani says Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson would do a good job as secretary of state.

Giuliani, at one time in the running for the post, says President-elect Donald Trump has chosen someone who has the experience to understand the world.

"I'm okay with the choice," Giuliani told CNN on Tuesday morning. "I think Donald Trump has selected somebody who knows the world and can advise him on the world."

Giuliani says Trump had several solid candidates on his short list, such as former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. "I thought John Bolton would have been a great secretary of state," he said. Giuliani said he took himself out of the running last month.

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8:40 a.m.

Russia's foreign minister says the "pragmatism" of the nominee for the next U.S. secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, is good basis for future relations.

Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in the Serbian capital that both President-elect Donald Trump and Tillerson "have not been against our cooperation."

Lavrov says, "we expect that this pragmatism will be a good foundation for building mutually beneficial cooperation" between the U.S. and Russia.

Tillerson has close ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin, which is certain to draw scrutiny and fuel a potential Senate confirmation fight.

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7:44 a.m.

A top adviser to Donald Trump says the president-elect "hit it off" with his choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Reince Priebus said Tuesday that the president-elect chose Tillerson in part because the ExxonMobil CEO is a diplomat who "happens to be able to drill oil."

The Republican National Committee chairman said, "Tillerson had to maintain relationships across the world in many places that aren't the easiest places to have relationships, during many different (presidential) administrations."

Some Republicans and Democrats said they have concerns about Tillerson's longtime business ties to Russia, raising questions about whether he could win Senate confirmation.

Priebus spoke Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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7:00 a.m.

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President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday he has settled on ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state.

The real estate mogul said in a predawn statement that Tillerson is "among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world."

Trump added that Tillerson's career is "the embodiment of the American dream."

Senate Democrats and some Republicans have said they're concerned about Tillerson's business ties to Russia. The subject is likely to come up during Tillerson's Senate confirmation proceedings.

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4:00 a.m.

President Barack Obama is criticizing Trump for saying he'll shun daily intelligence briefings when he takes office.

Appearing Monday evening on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," Obama said that a president who isn't getting the benefit of such regular briefings from the intelligence community is likely "flying blind" in managing national security issues for the country.

Trump said in a television interview Sunday that he wasn't interested in getting daily intelligence briefings, a practice that's been a fixture for chief executives of both parties for several years.

Obama also said the reason he's ordered a wide-ranging probe into purported Russian hacking against the U.S. election process is to "really just gather all of the threads of the investigation." He says notions of meddling in the campaign "was not a secret" before Election Day, Nov. 8, in the United States.

3:15 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department, dismissing concerns about the businessman's close ties to Russia and bringing a long public audition process to a conclusion.

Two people close to Trump's transition team said Monday night that Trump had selected Tillerson. They insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the pick ahead of that announcement.

Trump was set to announce his nomination Tuesday morning. The selection could set him up for a potential fight with Congress over confirming Tillerson, who has connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leading Republicans have already expressed anxieties about Tillerson, as they contend with intelligence assessments saying Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.

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