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HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on March 20 at 4:36 P.M. EDT/2036 GMT

March 20 (Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday:

RUSSIA AND SURVEILLANCE

The FBI's chief publicly challenges Trump by denying the Republican's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 election campaign and confirming the agency had launched a criminal investigation into any collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.


SUPREME COURT NOMINEE

Neil Gorsuch, Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, emphasizes the need for judicial independence even as the president castigates jurists who have ruled against him, while Democrats question whether Gorsuch would rule against abortion rights and gun control while favoring corporations.


HEALTHCARE

The House of Representatives Rules Committee announces it will hold a final hearing on the Republican healthcare bill on Wednesday, a day before lawmakers are expected to vote on it.


FOREIGN AID

European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini expresses concern about the Trump administration’s proposed deep cut in U.S. foreign assistance, saying it will destabilize major parts of the world and hurt American national security.

REFUGEES

U.S. officials are taking fingerprints of asylum seekers in an Australian-run camp on the Pacific island of Nauru, signaling that vetting of applicants for resettlement in what Trump calls a "dumb deal" has restarted.


TRADE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a G7 leaders' summit in May will be a good opportunity to address differences with Trump on how to secure free trade while making commerce fairer.

G20 officials who interacted with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a weekend meeting in Germany opted not to challenge him on the Trump administration's protectionism language.


CHINA

The Chinese government is seeking advice from its think tanks and policy advisers on how to counter potential trade penalties from Trump, preparing for the worst even as it hopes for business-like negotiations.

Taiwan's government, worried about being used as a pawn by China and the United States, says it must protect its own interests as concerns in Taipei rise ahead of an expected meeting of U.S and Chinese leaders.

After Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's weekend visit to Beijing, China is preparing for a meeting of Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Ministry says.


FCC CHIEF

The head of the Federal Communications Commission tells Congress he does not agree that "the media is the enemy of the American people" and says he will act independently of the White House on media-related matters.


(Compiled by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)