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Priebus: Trump ‘accepts’ U.S. intel blaming Russia for hack


    Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks with Reince Priebus, chief of staff for President-elect Donald Trump, right, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> President-elect Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia tried to interfere in the American presidential election, his incoming White House Chief of staff said Sunday.

“I think he accepts the findings,” Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign.”

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

On Friday, U.S. intelligence briefed the president-elect on their conclusions that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win the White House. Priebus attended along with Trump. In an interview with The Associated Press after the briefing, 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.

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 in his race against Hillary 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, topping the 270 votes required to become president.

Accepting those findings would be a positive step — but not enough, said one leading Senate Republican who is calling for more sanctions against Russia.

“He’s going to be the defender of the free world here pretty soon,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent Trump critic, said in remarks broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”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 pushback from Graham comes during a consequential week for Trump, who will become the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20.

On Wednesday, Trump is expected to hold a long-delayed press conference on how he’s organizing his global business empire to avoid conflicts of interest while he’s president. He has taken sporadic questions and done interviews, but it’ll be his first full-fledged news conference since July 27.

That same day on Capitol Hill, the Senate is holding at least nine hearings on Trump’s Cabinet and other nominees, a pace set by the Republican majority that Democrats have complained is too fast. The government ethics office says several of Trump’s Cabinet choices have not completed a full review to avoid conflicts of interest.

Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the allegations against Russia, alarming some who see a pattern of skepticism directed at U.S. intelligence agencies and a willingness to embrace the Russian leader. On Friday after receiving a classified briefing on the matter, Trump tried to change the subject to allegations that hadn’t been raised by U.S. intelligence. “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!”

He then declared in a series of tweets on Saturday that having a good relationship with Russia is “a good thing, not a bad thing.” Trump added, “only ‘stupid’ people or fools” would come to a different conclusion.

Trump had earlier urged Americans to get on with their lives. Graham retorted in the broadcast Sunday:

“Our lives are built around the idea that we’re free people. That we go to the ballot box. That we, you know, have political contests outside of foreign interference.”

There has been no official comment from Moscow on the report, which was released as Russia observed Orthodox Christmas.

But Alexei Pushkov, an influential member of the upper house of parliament, said on Twitter that “all the accusations against Russia are based on ‘confidence’ and suppositions. The USA in the same way was confident about (Iraqi leader Saddam) Hussein having weapons of mass destruction.”

During the election, Trump praised the Russian strongman as a decisive leader, and argued that the two countries would benefit from a better working relationship — though attempts by the Obama administration at a “Russian reset” have proved unsuccessful.

At the same time, intelligence officials believe that Russia isn’t done intruding in U.S. politics and policymaking.

Immediately after the Nov. 8 election, Russia began a “spear-phishing” campaign to try to trick people into revealing their email passwords, targeting U.S. government employees and think tanks that specialize in national security, defense and foreign policy, the unclassified version of the report said.

The report said Russian government provided hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The website’s founder, Julian Assange, has denied that it got the emails it released from the Russian government. The report noted that the emails could have been passed through middlemen.

Russia also used state-funded propaganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty comments on social media services, the report said. Intelligence officials say Moscow will apply lessons learned from its activities in the election to put its thumbprint on future elections in the United States and allied nations.

The public report was minus classified details that intelligence officials shared with President Barack Obama on Thursday.

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  • At the same time that they ram through confirmation hearings before the Office of Government Ethics completes its investigations of Trump’s nominees, many with significant ethical lapses and conflicts of interest, Republicans claim that they are “draining the swamp.” Looks more like swimming in the cesspool.

  • Countries from U.S. to Russia to China to England, are always making efforts to get information however they can to see what other countries are doing. Gathering information or some call it hacking.

    If Russia did get information on the crooked politicians in our government, they the Russians did us a favor. Continue to gather information and let the American people know what our crooked politicians have done or are doing. Now if they can find corruptness of president-elect or any other politicians in our government continue to inform the American people.

    Implications from Clinton made it such that leaders in our government knew of her private server. Now these leaders are suppose to be intelligent enough to know that her doing this was not safe to begin with. Made it easier not only for the Russians but every country who wanted to “hack” her and the rest of her democratic followers.

    • Bumby, Hillary email server was never hacked. Russians hacked everything else. And why do you think that Russia would provide the US with all hacks? Don’t be stupid, they would only provide tidbits for their purpose. Why do you loonies think that Russia is a good friend? The commies have fooled 48 % of America with the help of Comrade trumpf.

        • Russia is also responsible for providing loans to Trump after U.S. banks refused, due to Trump’s multiple foreclosures and failed businesses. LOLOLOL

  • seems that putin was retaliating against clinton for supporting the protests and marches in russia against putin in 2011 and 2012 by reading her mail.

    very different from obama and clinton upsetting the political status quo in lybia that led to qadaffi being murdered and the rise of isis to a world terrorist organization.

    also, obama sent u.s. funds to a group opposed to netenyahu’s election in israel.

    and, don’t forget obama giving iran billions of dollars so that iran can continue to fund worldwide terrorism.

  • The report has no concrete proof that it was Russia. Oddly the report was done by 3 Intel agencies, not the 17 it was supposed to be. There is no dissenting opinion, which is unusual. This was a political move by Obama, he just gave Trump one more problem to deal with. I also question why nothing was done when 20 million personnel files were stolen by the Chinese? What all this revealed was that the DNC and Clinton weren’t playing fair and they got caught. Lastly, the mentality of the left is if you don’t agree with us then you are psychotic and dumb. Bullying from the left oz rabid. Trying to destroy people’s lives if they participate in the inauguration, boycotting any designer that has the nerve to want to dress the new FLOTUS, yelling at PE Trump’s daughter on a flight in front if her kids. I have never seen such disrespect for our soon to be President but you don’t hear one thing coming out if the Obama administration condemning such actions.

    • Nalogirl respect needs to be earned. The Chump through out his campaign has never ever shown any respect to anyone including Muslim parents whose son was killed defending our country. It is beyond any decent persons imagination that someone with that kind of character would command any respect period.

        • Nobody’s crying but the bottom line is that the ball is in the Chumps court so either put up or shut up. I will honestly tell you that I am glad that I am not on the Chumps team. Don’t ever want to follow someone that doesn’t know where he’s going.

    • nalogirl is RIGHT…This type of disrespect for Trump has NEVER occurred in the history of America…You didn’t see ANY name calling or disrespect towards OBAMA in his 8 years as President…HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! #MAGA

      • Obama never bragged about grabbing puxxy. So hahaha to you. The Chump is a sick mo–erfuc–r and his transition team has their hands full. Trying to toilet train a 70 year old is impossible and their biggest expense will be baby wipes and powder for the diaper rash.

      • Not even during the election cycle was there any disrespect displayed, right? There was no mocking/imitating a handicapped man, no making fun of the appearance of a female Presidential candidate, no bragging about how someone could make a woman do anything, nothing wrong, right?

  • What’s the difference???? Clinton won the majority of the votes but who cared about those votes. Trump got the college votes and those guys too intelligent to be swayed by social media to not vote for Clinton. No matter what Trump would of won with or without hacking. I voted for Clinton. Sure didn’t help her win.

    • What matters is that the Chump is acting like he is going to be a CEO instead of a PE. He fails to realize that in a democracy ” we the people” are truly the ones who have the power. My belief is that if the Chump continues with his bizarre behavior the common folk wil not stand for it and the pressure will be so insurmountable that he WILL be forced out of office. Cowards like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan need to get rid of the yellow streak that run down their as-es or leave D.C.

  • from the report:

    “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

    “Hign confidence generally indicates that judgments are based on high-quality information from multiple sources. High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

    in other words, the report made no determination that russia influenced the outcome of the election. further, the report’s judgments and assessments are not facts and probably wrong.

  • Puppet master Putin likely told his pudgy Presidiot-elect Trump puppet to accept it, as the public will likely forget it within a month. In that time, Puppet master Putin will be pulling the strings of his, now Presidiot Trump, puppet for other nefarious deeds.

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