by Louisa Twum-Baah

January 4, 2017

Donald Trump: New attack on US intelligence over Russia hacking

US President-elect Donald Trump has made a fresh assault on America’s intelligence community.

He said on Twitter that an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election – which is said to have benefited Mr Trump – had been delayed.

“Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” he wrote.

But US intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.

Several US agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, releasing embarrassing information through Wikileaks and other outlets to help Mr Trump win the election.

 

Mr Trump initially dismissed the claims as “ridiculous” but subsequently said he would meet US intelligence chiefs to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.

 

Ethics row

Meanwhile, Republicans have ditched a plan to gut the independent body that investigates political misconduct after a backlash.

The lawmakers’ surprise vote to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its independence prompted public uproar and a dressing down from Mr Trump on Twitter.

The secretive move, which overshadowed the first day of the 115th Congress, was reversed in an emergency meeting.

The ethics body was set up in 2008 following a slew of scandals that resulted in several House lawmakers being jailed.

Mr Trump made cleaning up corruption in Washington a key theme of his campaign.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had argued unsuccessfully against the rule change, which was adopted on Monday night in a closed-door meeting.

 

Busy day

As the news spread, internet searches for “who is my representative” rocketed, according to Google Trends.

House Republicans called an emergency meeting and abruptly voted to undo the change.

Mr Ryan – who was re-elected by fellow lawmakers on Tuesday as House Speaker – had urged his party to seek bipartisan support and to wait to push for the change later.

Mr Trump’s remarks about US intelligence agencies and the ethics committee came on a busy day for the president-elect’s Twitter account.

He also warned North Korea about its nuclear ambitions, attacked Obamacare costs and sparked a row with General Motors over its manufacturing operation in Mexico, which the car firm disputes.

Source: BBC

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