Ranking Republican, Democrat on committee release joint statement; Top-seeded teams advance in early play; Trump budget slashes EPA; GOP health care overhaul moves out of budget committee; another judge places temporary injunction on travel ban; stocks end mixed after hot start

There is no indication that Trump Tower was "the subject of surveillance" by the U.S. government before or after the 2016 election, the top two members of the Senate intelligence committee said Thursday, directly contradicting President Donald Trump's claims.

 

"Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016," Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a one-sentence joint statement Thursday afternoon.

 

 

GONZAGA, NOTRE DAME, BUTLER AMONG EARLY WINNERS

 

Both No. 5 seeds that took the court during the opening day of the NCAA Tournament's first round earned victories, avoiding the dreaded upset by a No. 12 seed. Notre Dame edged Princeton, 60-58, and Virginia beat UNC Wilmington, 76-71.

 

Gonzaga, the only No. 1 seed in action early, easily advanced past South Dakota State, 66-46.

 

 

TRUMP BUDGET DROPS CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH

 

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the Trump administration is cutting spending for climate change efforts because "we consider that to be a waste of your money."

 

Mulvaney says: "I think the president is fairly straightforward. We're not spending money on that."

 

 

GOP HEALTH OVERHAUL EDGES OUT OF BUDGET COMMITTEE

 

The House Budget Committee has voted to advance the troubled Republican health care bill.

 

Three conservative GOP lawmakers voted against the measure. That's one vote shy of what would have been needed to deal a damaging and embarrassing — but not fatal — setback to the party's showpiece legislation.

 

 

MARYLAND JUDGE PLACES SECOND INJUNCTION ON TRAVEL BAN

 

GREENBELT, Md. — Rejecting arguments from the government that President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was substantially different from the first one, judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the executive order from taking effect as scheduled on Thursday, using the president's own words as evidence that the order discriminates against Muslims.

 

The rulings in Hawaii late Wednesday and in Maryland early Thursday were victories for civil liberties groups and advocates for immigrants and refugees, who argued that a temporary ban on travel from six predominantly Muslim countries violated the First Amendment. The Trump administration argued that the ban was intended to protect the United States from terrorism.

 

 

US STOCK INDEXES HOLD STEADY AFTER HOT START

 

NEW YORK — Stocks held steady on Wall Street Thursday, and bond prices gave back some of their big gains from the prior day as a rally fueled by the Federal Reserve's announcement on interest rates Wednesday faded.

 

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 3.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,381.38. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15.55 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,934.55. The Nasdaq composite, meanwhile, rose 0.71 points, or 0.01 percent, to 5,900.76. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks also rose slightly, up 3.20 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,386.03.