President-elect Donald Trump is set for a showdown with the U.S. intelligence community Friday when he will be presented with its conclusive findings that Russia was behind last year’s election-related hacks. Trump has refused to accept those conclusions, despite repeated briefings. It comes as President Barack Obama is set to release an unclassified version of the comprehensive investigation to the American public and after his administration has already sanctioned Russia for the actions. Trump continues to taunt the intelligence community over its failure in the run-up to the Iraq War, while spreading Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s claims that a 14 year old could have hacked the DNC and his denials that Russia was behind the hack. Intelligence officials are testifying under oath on Capitol Hill Thursday to the contrary, making clear the reasons they believe Russia was behind it. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan will be the highest-ranking officials to brief Trump on the issue on Friday.
The issue will hang over the Cabinet confirmation process and the beginning of the Trump administration, pitting the incoming president against Republicans on Capitol Hill who are confident in the intelligence community’s assessment. If Trump continues to doubt their conclusions, even after the latest briefing, members of his own party stand ready to grill his nominees for top national security positions.
Obama’s parting message to Democrats on Capitol Hill. The oil industry’s Trump fears. And Trump to face a deposition in the coming days.
Here are your must reads:
Putin is now Donald Trump’s problem, TIME’s Massimo Calabresi writes
Industry officials worry tax reform could target energy companies, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports
TIME’s Maya Rhodan on Obama’s parting message to the Hill
President-elect works on restructuring Office of the Director of National Intelligence, tweets again his doubts that Russia hacked Democrats [Wall Street Journal]
Little consensus on alternative [New York Times]
The headache related to a restaurant suit is just one of Trump’s many legal woes threatening to dog his presidency [Politico]
“The president elect is more skeptical of the conclusions drawn from the raw data, than the raw data that’s provided.” —Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on the President-elect’s view of the intelligence community.
“We’re going to keep our promise to the American people — we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government.” —Vice President-elect Mike Pence after a meeting with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Bits and Bites
John Kasich plans to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration [Columbus Dispatch]
U.S. Lending Support to Baltic States Fearing Russia [New York Times]
When Donald Trump Tweets, It Is News to Sean Spicer [Wall Street Journal]
Enough With the Tweets, China’s State Media Tells Trump [New York Times]
Trump labor meeting worries progressives [Politico]