Donald Trump Picks Perilous Russia Intelligence Fight

Dec 12, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump is going to war with the U.S. intelligence community, doubting their conclusions about Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential race and taunting them with criticism about the Iraq War. The comments come as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including the top Senate Republican, have endorsed a congressional investigation into Russia's meddling. “What this is is an attempt to delegitimize President-elect Trump’s win," spokesman Jason Miller said Monday morning, dealing a rebuke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sens. John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham. Beyond the historic rift already emerging between the intelligence community and a future president, there are also practical political concerns for Trump, who has floated Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. Each of Trump's nominees will be called to testify under oath before the U.S. Senate where questions about this precise issue will undoubtedly arise. Trump's continued efforts to deny the Russian hacks could push Republican senators to declare open season on the president-elect's picks. If they, like Trump, break with the intelligence community, their paths to the administration may turn rocky fast. The Republican majority is slim, and if even a few lawmakers refuse to vote for a Trump pick, they may well lose their confirmation fight.

Democrats try to win back Rust Belt voters. Trump's wartime counsel. And Trump rewrites the U.S. "One-China" policy.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

The Downside of Donald Trump’s Fight With the Intelligence Community

TIME's Massimo Calabresi on the president-elect's war with the CIA

Donald Trump Mulls Exxon Mobil CEO as Secretary of State

Close ties to Russia will make for tough confirmation fight [TIME]

Inside Democrats’ Plan to Beat Donald Trump at His Own Game

The fight is on for Rust Belt working class voters [TIME]

In Donald McGahn, Donald Trump Gets a Combative White House Counsel

And he'll likely need it [New York Times]

China says Trump's Taiwan comments cause 'serious concern'

Complaints after the president-elect seemingly rewrites U.S. foreign policy [Associated Press]

Top Tech Leaders to Meet With Trump

Possible topics for discussion are jobs, tax reform, antitrust laws and immigration rules [Wall Street Journal]

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Sound Off

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again’.” —Trump's transition in an unsigned statement released Friday on reports that the intelligence community believes Russia's hacks were designed to help the president-elect.

“I fully understand the one-China policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy." —President-elect Trump to Fox News Sunday.

Bits and Bites

Donald Trump’s Transition Team Is Asking the Energy Department to List Employees Who Worked on Climate Change [Associated Press]

Senators Want to Investigate Russia’s Interference in 2016 Election: ‘This Cannot Become a Partisan Issue’ [TIME]

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will attend Trump's tech summit [Yahoo]

Donald Trump’s Transition Team Dismisses Report on Russian Interference in U.S. Election [TIME]

Donald Trump Shuts Down Companies Tied to Saudi Arabia [Associated Press]

Potential Trump pick Bolton: Russian hacks could actually have been by Obama administration [Politico]

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