U.S. Intel Hacks Blame Putin for Intel Hacks

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Reports of Russian interference in the already divisive election have roiled Washington, even as the U.S. Congress on Friday certified Trump’s victory in the Electoral College.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Republican Donald Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, U.S. intelligence agencies said in an assessment on Friday.

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

Russia’s objectives were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate former Secretary of State Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, an unclassified report released by the top U.S. intelligence agency said.

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[ALSO SEE – Four Key Truths of the Wikileaks Mess by David French]

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

The report, although it omitted classified details, was the U.S. government’s starkest public description of what it says was an unprecedented Russian campaign to manipulate the American body politic.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, foreground right center, says goodbye to Dr. Darrell Scott, foreground left center, the senior pastor of New Spirit Revival Ministries in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in the middle of a media crush in the Trump Tower lobby in New York, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Trump met with a coalition of 100 African-American evangelical pastors and religious leaders in a private meeting at Trump Tower. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Reports of Russian interference in the already divisive election have roiled Washington, even as the U.S. Congress on Friday certified Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.

“The report neither assessed ‘the impact Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election’ nor did it provide details on the evidence underpinning its conclusions, a fact likely to keep alive the controversy over what Moscow may have done.”

The report’s conclusions, though lacking details of how the Russians may have relayed the material to WikiLeaks and others, will give ammunition to Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress who want tougher action against Russia, setting the scene for a potential showdown with Trump.

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“The report’s conclusions, though lacking details of how the Russians may have relayed the material to WikiLeaks and others, will give ammunition to Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress who want tougher action against Russia, setting the scene for a potential showdown with Trump.”

It could also give a boost to members of Congress seeking an independent, bipartisan investigation of Russian hacking.
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[VIDEO] Senator Amy Klobuchar: ‘Power Panstuit Nation Day’ at Minnesota Polls 

Expressing her confidence that Hillary Clinton would do well, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar declared it “Power Pantsuit Nation Day” in Minnesota. It is unclear whether this less-than-scientific method of predicting voting results will prove accurate, but Klobuchar appears to be trying to give progressive feminists another slogan to use in the event of a Clinton victory. Or not use, one could hope.

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Republicans Scrub Early Digital Praise of Bergdahl Release, Senate Democrats Go Silent

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Republicans Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release

For MashableBrian Ries writes: 

At least three prominent Republicans appeared to offer praise on Twitter for the rescue of American POW Bowe Bergdahl — only to later backtrack, scrubbing their tweets or websites of any mention of the soldier after questions arose over the prisoner swap that freed him.

Republicans have widely criticized the Obama administration for swapping five high-level Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who many believe defected from his base because he was unhappy with the U.S. military’s actions in Afghanistan.

But before those criticisms mounted, some members of the GOP didn’t hesitate to welcome Bergdahl’s release with open arms…(read more)

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Senate Democrats Go AWOL

They had Obama’s back on the Bergdahl/Taliban trade. Now they’re walking away.

For The Weekly StandardJohn McCormack and Michael Warren write:

On Sunday, Senator Claire McCaskill gave a full-throated defense of the president’s decision to release five Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo prison in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. “We saved this man’s life. The commander-in-chief acted within his constitutional authority, which he should have done,” McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “I’m very proud that we have no POWs left in Afghanistan and the president should be proud of it also.”Claire_McCaskill-zipper

But following multiple reports that Bergdahl deserted his post and soldiers died searching for him, McCaskill will no longer say she still supports the deal she was “very proud” of just 48 hours ago….

“It depends on all the facts and circumstances of the case,” Levin added. “I’m not going to give you a conclusion in the case because I don’t know all the circumstances.”

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declined to comment when asked if it was a good deal. In addition, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Mark Begich of Alaska said they’re reserving judgment.

The only senator who explicitly supported the deal on Tuesday was Majority Leader Harry Reid(read more)

 


[VIDEO] Awkward silence Falls upon Dem Lawmakers when Constituents Ask about Obamacare, Laughter Ensues…

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From Red Alert Politics reports:  Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz must have forgotten to share her talking points with a trio of Minnesota Democrats asked about the Obamacare train wreck, as their only response to constituents about the failing law was awkward silence.

Members of Minnesota’s delegation, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) and Reps. Tim Walz (D) and Collin Peterson (D), gathered for an agricultural symposium at South Central College in North Mankato, Minn. Though the trio addressed issues surrounding the recently passed farm bill, they also fielded questions about the Affordable Care Act. And one left the Democrats speechless. Watch:

“I thought the Affordable Healthcare Act would save $2,500 per family,” an attendee asked. “What happened?”

A silence quickly fell over the room as Klobuchar and Walz exchanged nervous glances. The audience then burst out laughing…

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Amy Klobuchar Cites Rolling Stones in United Arab Emirates Fight

'I figure if Mick Jagger can play Abu Dhabi, these guys shouldn’t be in jail,' she said. | AP Photo

‘I figure if Mick Jagger can play Abu Dhabi, these guys shouldn’t be in jail,’ she said. | AP Photo

Lucy McCalmont reports:  Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Friday came to the defense of an American jailed in the United Arab Emirates over a parody video he made mocking youth culture — and she dragged the Rolling Stones into the controversy.

Shezanne Cassim, 29, was sentenced this week to a year in jail for a video, which was created and posted online in October 2012 and pokes fun at teenagers in Dubai’s suburbs acting tougher than they are, influenced by hip-hop culture and calling themselves “gangstas,” according to reports.

The Stones concert, which was announced earlier in December, will be held in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 21. The concert will be the first time the rock band has played in the country.

Cassim, a U.S. citizen who moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating from the University of Minnesota, was arrested in April and charged with violating cybercrimes and endangering national security, The Associated Press reported. He entered a not guilty plea and has been held at a maximum-security prison since June.

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