U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs.

HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. EST/2230 GMT

March 12 (Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Sunday: HEALTHCARE Aides to Trump attack the credibility of the nonpartisan agency that will analyze the costs of a replacement for Obamacare, as the White House seeks to quell opposition from many conservative Republicans.

U.S. ATTORNEYS Two days before U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired, Trump tried to call the high-profile New York prosecutor in what a White House official says was an effort to "thank him for his service and to wish him good luck." MERKEL TALKS German Chancellor Angela Merkel is controlled and cautious, a physicist from East Germany who takes her time making decisions and has never relished the attention that comes from being Europe's most powerful leader. Trump is a wealthy real estate magnate from New York who shoots from the hip and enjoys the spotlight. On Tuesday, they meet for the first time.

FEDERAL RESERVE White House economic adviser Gary Cohn says the Federal Reserve "has been doing a good job" and the Trump administration respects its independence, even if the U.S. central bank raises interest rates this week.

(Compiled by Peter Cooney; Editing by Sandra Maler)