Fate of Biden agenda rests with Schumer in 50-50 Senate
In this Jan. 12, 2021, photo, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York. It's far easier, though often unsatisfying, to be a minority leader equipped with the tools of obstruction than it is to be a majority leader armed mostly with persuasion. Our capable majority leader!" Meanwhile, the prospect of an impeachment trial in the opening days of Biden's term adds a huge degree of uncertainty. The events of the past week, as damaging and unsettling as they were for the country, seem likely to assist Biden and Schumer.
AP Explains: Trump slams Russia probe; Dems cry foul
Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, has been working to declassify details about the Russia investigation, which culminated in the 2019 report by former special counsel Robert Mueller. (Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times via AP, Pool)WASHINGTON – The Russia probe is back in the political spotlight. Moreover, intelligence professionals blasted John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and a Trump loyalist, for going along with the declassification, saying it was a flagrant example of using intelligence for political purposes. Trump remains irritated by the Russia probe because he thinks it de-legitimizes his presidency. Trump detractors dismissed the intelligence as Russian disinformation, although Ratcliffe insisted it was not.
It's 'now or never' for ex-Trump aides weighing speaking out
“People need to understand how dangerous a moment we are in.”There are plenty of others weighing the same decision. But Mattis and Coats, like former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former national security adviser H.R. The White House punched back with an aggressive attack campaign aimed at discrediting her through a barrage of statements, interviews and denunciations from the lectern in the White House briefing room. “The White House knows if they show this is a very costly thing to do they will scare people from going forward," he said. He added that while more people are still considering coming forward, the White House tactics have worked to some extent — dissuading one senior official who had been on the cusp of speaking out.
Former DNI Dan Coats recommends social media execs help oversee election legitimacy
Social media executives should play a key role in ensuring the legitimacy of the 2020 election, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats suggested in a New York Times op-ed Thursday. Coats said such a panel should include "national leaders personally committed — by oath — to put partisan politics aside even in the midst of an electoral contest of such importance." American officials and Congress found that Russian agents used social media platforms in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to sow disinformation and division. But as the 2020 election rapidly approaches, social media companies have continued to grapple with many of the same — and new — challenges that they faced in 2016. Social media platforms will also have to remain vigilant about claims of victory in the days and weeks after the election, as the expected increase in mail-in voting will likely delay results past Election Day.cnbc.com
Book: Kim Jong Un told Trump about killing his uncle
As he engaged in nuclear arms talks with Kim, Trump dismissed intelligence officials' assessments that North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons. Trump told Woodward that the CIA has no idea how to handle Pyongyang. Critics said that by meeting Kim, Trump provided the North Korean leader with legitimacy on the world stage. Kim wrote to Trump that he believed the deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force." But the sources did not provide details and told Woodward, according to the book, that they were surprised Trump had disclosed it.
Divided Senate confirms Ratcliffe as intelligence chief
WASHINGTON A sharply divided Senate confirmed John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence on Thursday, with Democrats refusing to support the nomination over fears that he will politicize the intelligence community's work under President Donald Trump. At the same time, Trump has viewed the intelligence agencies with distrust and ousted or fired multiple officials. But senators warmed to him as they grew concerned about the upheaval in the intelligence community and wanted a permanent, confirmed director. Maine Sen. Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats and a member of the Senate intelligence panel, said he has concerns that Ratciffe has limited experience in the intelligence community yet extensive experience in politics. Still, the position carries unique challenges, given the presidents seeming inclinations to politicize intelligence and bend intelligence agencies to his will.
Senate speeds up confirmation vote for intelligence director
WASHINGTON The Senate is poised to vote Thursday on the nomination of Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe to be Director of National Intelligence, potentially confirming him sooner than expected, as senators are eager to quickly fill the post. Democrats have been opposed to Ratcliffe's nomination, and most are expected to vote against it. Democrats usually force procedural votes that slow the nomination process, but are allowing a quick vote Thursday before the Senate leaves town for the next week. Since then, Trump, who has long been skeptical of the nations intelligence community, has installed acting heads and ousted and fired multiple intelligence officials. He said he would communicate to Trump the intelligence communitys findings even if he knew Trump disagreed with them and might fire him.
Trump signs order to protect the U.S. electricity system: Energy Department
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that seeks to protect the U.S. electricity system from cyber and other attacks in a move that could eventually put barriers on some imports from China and Russia. A senior Energy Department official said that the order was not directed at any new threat, but the result of a process to bolster the power system. The order allows the energy secretary, in consultation with other officials, to prohibit acquisition, importation, transfer or installation of power equipment from an adversary that they determine poses a risk of sabotage to the U.S. power system. It is imperative the bulk-power system be secured against exploitation and attacks by foreign threats, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a news release. The power system not only delivers electricity to homes and businesses, but supports the military and emergency systems.feeds.reuters.com
Dan Coats feels 'so bad' for successor as Ukraine drama ramps up
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday said he feels "so bad" for acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who stepped into the role just as a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump launched an escalating political controversy. "Nothing came to me," Coats said Tuesday during an appearance at the Economic Club of Indiana, according to The Indianapolis Star. The very next day that was presented to Joe (Maguire). The whistleblower complaint deals, at least in part, with a phone call Trump had in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On Friday, CNN reported Trump pressed Zelensky in the call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Trump says spy chief Coats stepping down, says will nominate Ratcliffe
FILE PHOTO: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday the nations top intelligence official, Dan Coats, would leave his post next month and that he would nominate Republican congressman John Ratcliffe to replace him. I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence, Trump said on Twitter.feeds.reuters.com