The Latest: Romney says he has 'increasing hope' about Trump

The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump and his administration (all times EST):

9:45 p.m.

Mitt Romney is praising Donald Trump, saying he has "increasing hope" that the president-elect can lead the country to a "better future."

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee dined with Trump in Manhattan Tuesday night. It was their second meeting as Trump weighs whom to appoint as Secretary of State.

Speaking to reporters after the meal, Romney offered a glowing review of Trump's transition thus far and his winning campaign. Romney notes that "it's not easy to win," adding that Trump offered a vision that "connected with the American people in a very powerful way."

Romney was sharply critical of Trump during the campaign, calling him a "phony." But the former Massachusetts governor has been mending fences with Trump since his victory.


7:55 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will travel to Indiana Thursday for an event with officials from Carrier, the air conditioning company.

That's according to a transition official.

Trump pledged throughout the presidential campaign that he would stop companies like Carrier from moving jobs overseas. His focus on manufacturing was part of his unexpectedly strong appeal in states like Michigan and Wisconsin that long voted for Democrats in presidential contests.

Trump said last week that he was "making progress" on trying to get Carrier to stay in Indiana, where Pence has served as governor.

The transition official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the trip ahead of a formal announcement.


7:05 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Steven Mnuchin (mi-NOO-chin) to be the nation's 77th treasury secretary, a person familiar with the decision says.

Mnuchin is a financial executive who served as head of Trump's campaign finance operation.

When Mnuchin was chosen by Trump as his national finance director in May, he told The Associated Press the two men had been friends for 15 years.

If approved by the Senate, Mnuchin would follow in the tradition of two previous treasury secretaries, who all spent years working at Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. He would bring no government experience to the job.

The person familiar with the decision would only discuss it on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to reveal it ahead of the official announcement.

— By Julie Pace.


6:30 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Donald Trump says a top Trump adviser will tour Canada's oil sands separate from her responsibilities as adviser to the president-elect.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks says Kellyanne Conway's trip to Alberta is not related to her role as Trump's adviser.

Alberta Prosperity Fund spokesman Randy Kerr says Conway reached out to set up meetings, a tour and a speech at a fundraising dinner on Jan. 12.

The group bills itself as Canada's only conservative super PAC. The trip could be a boost for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama nixed it but Trump supports the pipeline.

Conway served as Trump's campaign manager and is part of his transition team.


5:40 p.m.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has delivered $3.5 million to the state of Wisconsin to guarantee a recount of the presidential vote there.

Stein faced a 4:30 p.m. Central Time deadline to deliver the money so a recount could start Thursday. The Wisconsin Elections Commission says it got a wire transfer shortly before Tuesday's deadline.

Stein says she worries the results were hacked, and says a recount is the only way to know for sure. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, and Stein was far behind.

Stein was in court Tuesday afternoon seeking to force the Wisconsin recount to be done by hand. She is also pursuing recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.


5:30 p.m.

Senate Democrats are pushing President-elect Donald Trump to fully sever his relationship with his private businesses.

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin and 22 other Democrats have introduced a non-binding resolution that would ask Trump to convert his assets to conflict-free holdings, create blind trusts managed by independent trustees and otherwise comply with the Constitution, which forbids public officials from receiving gifts from foreign governments and foreign-controlled companies without congressional consent.

Cardin is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He says the American people "need to know that the President of the United States is making decisions ... based on what is in the public interest and not because it would advance the president's private interests."


4:45 p.m.

Rep. Lou Barletta says he has discussed the role of labor secretary with President-elect Donald Trump.

The Pennsylvania congressman says he will "consider what we talked about."

Barletta says he and Trump discussed "his infrastructure plan" and "making sure there's a smooth transition and the role I could play in either in Congress or as part of his Cabinet."

Barletta says Trump's recent tweets did not come up. Asked if Trump should stop tweeting, the congressman says, "Well, it's his way of talking to the people and he's got a lot of people listening."


4:25 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are offering support to people in Tennessee affected by severe wildfires.

Pence says Trump has spoken to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and "expressed our concern and our prayers and our support for his efforts."

Pence says, "Our hearts and our prayers go out to the people of Tennessee who are struggling with the extraordinary wildfires."

The fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses near the Great Smoky Mountains. Three people have died.


3:35 p.m.

Sen. Bob Corker says he thinks Donald Trump has narrowed his choices for Secretary of State.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with the President-elect Tuesday amid speculation about whom Trump will select for the role. Corker says Trump's "instincts on foreign policy are obviously very, very good."

Corker says "it needs to be someone he's very comfortable with and he knows there's going to be no daylight between him and them."

Asked about his intentions, Corker says, "I'm here." The Tennessee Republican adds that anyone interested in promoting U.S. interests around the world "would obviously want to talk about that."

Trump is set to meet again today with 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He huddled yesterday with former CIA director David Petraeus.


2:17 p.m.

Former Vice President Dan Quayle says he stopped by Trump Tower to offer President-elect Donald Trump best wishes.

Quayle told reporters Tuesday that he offered "personal congratulations" to Trump after speaking recently by phone. He said he "supported" Trump during the election.

Quayle entered the Manhattan high-rise that's home to Trump accompanied by Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to the incoming commander in chief.

Quayle was President George H. W. Bush's vice president from 1989 to 1993.

Trump aides did not immediately respond to a request for more details on the reason for Quayle's visit.


2:15 p.m.

The top Republican in the Senate says he won't recuse himself when it comes to voting on President-elect Donald Trump's choice for transportation secretary.

Trump on Tuesday picked Elaine Chao — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's wife.

McConnell is telling reporters that he won't bow out of the Senate's role to advise and consent on presidential matters.

Chao and McConnell were married in 1993. Chao has served as labor secretary.


2:10 p.m.

A top Donald Trump adviser will tour Canada's oil sands ahead of the president elect's inauguration in January.

Alberta Prosperity Fund spokesman Randy Kerr said Tuesday that Kellyanne Conway reached out to set up meetings, a tour and a speech at a fundraising dinner on Jan. 12.

The group bills itself as Canada's only conservative super PAC. The trip could be a boost for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama nixed it but Trump supports the pipeline.

Messages left for Trump's transition team were not immediately returned.


1:19 p.m.

The British prime minister's office says Theresa May and President-elect Donald Trump have agreed that their national security advisers should meet before the end of the year.

May's 10 Downing St. office says the British leader called Trump Tuesday and that the pair "agreed that their teams should continue to build close relationships" through the transition period and that their national security advisers should meet in the U.S. before Christmas.

May's contacts with Trump have been overshadowed by the president-elect's warm relationship with Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party. Trump suggested last week that Farage would make a good British ambassador to the U.S., prompting May's office to retort that the post was not vacant.


12:51 p.m.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says there are no plans for Congress to take action against flag burning.

The California Republican was responding Tuesday to President-elect Donald Trump's tweet saying people should face jail time or lose their citizenship for burning the flag.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects flag burning as an exercise of the right to free speech. McCarthy was joining other Republicans who refused to back up Trump's approach.

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he does not "support or believe in the idea of people burning the American flag. I support the First Amendment."


12:27 p.m.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says Congress could vote to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law before coming up with a replacement.

The approach could allow congressional Republicans to take swift action on one of President-elect Donald Trump's campaign promises — while putting off the hard part.

McCarthy wasn't specific on timing in his comments Tuesday.

But the California Republican suggested Congress could vote on a repeal while putting off the date for it to take effect. He said that could help bring people to the table to come up with the best replacement.

Six years after Obamacare became law, congressional Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal it in part or full, but still haven't unified behind legislation to replace it.


12:14 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is kicking off a "thank-you" tour in Ohio.

Trump announced the plans Tuesday on his website. He and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will appear in Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Trump scored a decisive victory in Ohio.

Trump thrived on his large and often raucous rallies during the campaign. Trump has not announced any more stops on the tour, but his website also lists a rally with Pence in New Orleans on Saturday.


11:37 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Elaine Chao to become transportation secretary, according to a Trump source.

The source has knowledge of the pick by spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the pick, which is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon.

Chao, 63, was labor secretary under President George W. Bush and the first Asian American woman to serve in a president's Cabinet. She also is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Chao came to the United States from Taiwan with her family at 8 years old. Her family settled in New York, where her father became a wealthy shipping magnate. She became head of the Peace Corps and deputy secretary of Transportation before taking over the Labor Department.

As Labor secretary, her job was to protect the nation's workforce, including setting safety standards and addressing issues related to wages and retirement. She updated overtime regulations for "white-collar" workers and rules intended to force unions to disclose more details on their financial condition to members.

— By Jonathan Lemire


11:21 a.m.

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting with Donald Trump's pick for attorney general.

It's the first time a Trump Cabinet nominee has met with a member of Congress on Capitol Hill. Sessions is a Republican senator from Alabama who sits on Grassley's committee. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected have the votes to confirm Sessions to Trump's Cabinet.

Grassley says the panel plans to hold a confirmation hearing before Trump's inauguration Jan. 20.

Senate Democrats in a letter called for a "fair and thorough" hearing and said the attorney general must be "the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer."


10:35 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the election was "pretty fair," rejecting President-elect Donald Trump's talk of voter fraud and independent Jill Stein's recount effort.

The Wisconsin Republican was interviewed Tuesday by WCLO radio in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. Ryan said he didn't see "any evidence of systemic fraud."

Trump has claimed, without evidence, that millions voted illegally in three states that Democrat Hillary Clinton won — California, New Hampshire and Virginia. Stein has raised millions of dollars to finance recount votes in Wisconsin and is pressing for new counts in Pennsylvania and Michigan — states that Trump won.