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Questions about hacking swirl as Donald Trump enters critical week

According to Reince Priebus, Trump accepts that Russia was responsible for the hacking. But Trump has yet to say it himself.


 

 

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump, center, shakes hands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during an election night rally in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump, center, shakes hands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during an election night rally in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

NEW YORK — Donald Trump and his aides are entering a crucial week in his presidential transition as he and his Cabinet nominees undergo public questioning about their approach to Russia and potential conflicts of interests.

Most pressing during the upcoming days of confirmation hearings and Trump’s first press conference in six months likely will be whether he accepts the conclusion of U.S. intelligence officials that Russia meddled in the U.S. election to help him win the White House.

Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Sunday that Trump indeed has accepted that Russia was responsible for the hacking, which targeted the Democratic National Committee and a top aide to former rival Hillary Clinton.

“He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign,” Priebus said in a Sunday television interview.

That’s more than Trump himself has said. As for potential retaliation, aides said those are decisions that Trump will make after he becomes president on Jan. 20.

Intelligence officials allege that Moscow directed a series of hacks in order to help Trump win the White House in the race against Clinton. Trump has expressed skepticism about Russia’s role and declined to say whether he agrees that the meddling was done on his behalf.

In an interview with The Associated Press after a briefing on the findings, Trump said he “learned a lot” from his discussions with intelligence officials, but he declined to say whether he accepted their assertion about Russia’s motives. Trump has said that improving relations with Russia would be a good thing and that only “stupid” people would disagree.

“My suspicion is these hopes will be dashed pretty quickly,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “The Russians are clearly a big adversary. And they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election.”

An unclassified version of the report directly tied Russian President Vladimir Putin to election meddling and said that Moscow had a “clear preference” for Trump over Clinton. Trump and his allies have bristled at any implication that the meddling helped him win the election. He won the Electoral College vote with 306 votes, well over the 270 votes required to become president.

Accepting those findings would be a positive step, but not enough, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is calling for more penalties against Russia.

“He’s going to be the defender of the free world here pretty soon,” said Graham, a frequent Trump critic. “All I’m asking him is to acknowledge that Russia interfered, and push back. It could be Iran next time. It could be China.”

The developments come during a consequential week for Trump, who will become the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20.

Beginning Tuesday, the Senate is to hold the first of at least nine hearings this week on Trump’s Cabinet picks. But Democrats have voiced objections to the pace set by the Republican majority. The government ethics office says it hasn’t received even draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominees set to appear before Congress this week.

And on Wednesday, Trump is scheduled to hold a long-delayed news conference to describe his plans for his global business empire to avoid conflicts of interest while he’s president. While Trump has taken sporadic questions from reporters, it will be his first full-fledged news conference since July 27.

 


 

Questions about hacking swirl as Donald Trump enters critical week

  1. Trouble brewing with the Republicans and Trump. Time will tell who comes out on top. This dictator style leadership by Trump (via twitter) does not sit well with anybody. We all know that this is how bullies act. They pick off the low hanging fruit first which scares everyone else. He tweets names at will, destroying reputations and moving markets and defining foreign policy …then leaves his surrogates to soften the blows. When will the surrogates wake up?

    • “When will the sycophants wake up”

      TFTFY

  2. The problem with selling your soul to Trump is obvious. He’ll stiff you and not pay the bill. Kellyanne Conway is like one of the urchins in Victorian London who went around after the horses and picked up their dung. She must know that, when it suits him, he’ll throw her under the omnibus.

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