Brian Naylor

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Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET

"We are well on our way to solving the horrible problem" of mass shootings, President Trump said Friday at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House.

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Despite his trying to stay out of politics, U.S. presidents often sought the counsel of Billy Graham. He met with and gave spiritual advice to a dozen presidents from Truman to Obama. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

Addressing the nation after Wednesday's Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, President Trump said no child or teacher "should ever be in danger in an American school."

He said he will meet with governors and attorneys general to deal with the issue of mental health.

Speaking from the White House, Trump said it was "not enough to simply take actions that make us feel we are making a difference, we must actually make that difference."

Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET

President Trump's personal attorney says he paid $130,000 to an adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump.

In a statement first provided to The New York Times, Michael Cohen says that "in a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly."

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter after media reports of domestic abuse allegations against him — allegations he has denied — raises some key questions about government security clearances, and how they're obtained.

More than 3 million government employees hold some type of security clearance, most in the Department of Defense. That's more than half of all federal jobs. Another 1.2 million government contractors held clearances, as of 2015.

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The past year has been a tough one for the federal workforce. There was a hiring freeze at many agencies. For three days earlier this month, there was a government shutdown, leaving many workers to wonder when their next paycheck would arrive.

Now, as President Trump prepares his first State of the Union address, one issue he is expected to take up, if not there then in his soon-to-follow proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, is reorganizing the federal bureaucracy.

It's a prospect that many in the federal workforce are dreading.

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Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET

So, here we go again.

The federal government is once more on the verge of a shutdown, and just like the last time, in October 2013, there will some things you'll notice that are shuttered and others you won't.

Updated at 4:43 p.m. ET

Former Sen. Bob Dole received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday, in recognition of his service to the nation as a "soldier, legislator and statesman."

He was presented the medal by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, as other bipartisan congressional leaders, along with President Trump looked on. Dole was an early backer of Trump, and the only former GOP presidential nominee to endorse the president.

The Secretary of Homeland Security testified Tuesday that she did not hear President Trump use a vulgarity in a meeting with lawmakers about immigration last week.

The president was widely reported to have used a disparaging word to describe African nations and wondered aloud why people from countries like Haiti were allowed to come to the United States.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday referred to African nations as "s***hole countries" during a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of senators, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the conversation.

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