Scott Horsley

America's new top diplomat received an enthusiastic welcome at the State Dept. Wednesday, as he promised to re-energize a department that's been largely sidelined in the first 15 months of the Trump administration.

"I want the State Department to get its swagger back. We need our men and women out at the front lines executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy," Pompeo said during his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony. "To represent the finest nation in the history of civilization, we should be proud of that."

White House officials are defending chief of staff John Kelly, after an NBC News report said President Trump had soured on his top aide — and that Kelly had repeatedly called Trump an "idiot."

Kelly issued a statement Monday calling the NBC story "total B.S."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders dismissed rumors that Kelly might soon be reassigned and nominated to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Trump administration has decided to hold off on imposing most of its tariffs on imported steel and aluminum until at least June 1.

Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on imports from Canada, the largest U.S. supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU.

A source familiar with the decision says the administration has reached an agreement in principle with Australia, Argentina and Brazil, which may avoid the need for tariffs against those countries altogether.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We're going to turn now to NPR's Scott Horsley, who was listening to Scott Pruitt's testimony today. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good afternoon, Ari.

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Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

Detailed new allegations surfaced Wednesday against President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, including charges that Dr. Ronny Jackson improperly dispensed pain medication and once wrecked a government vehicle while driving drunk.

Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET

President Trump is celebrating America's oldest alliance, with French President Emmanuel Macron. But even as they prepare for a lavish state dinner, the two leaders could not paper over stark differences on issues such as trade and the Iran nuclear deal.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would walk away from a planned meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, if it looked like the two sides were not going to be able to reach a deal.

"If we don't think it's going to be successful ... we won't have it," Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. "If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting."

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

President Trump opens two days of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday at his South Florida resort, under sunny blue skies that offer no hint of the clouds forming on the U.S.-Japan relationship.

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