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The American Journal

Writing Americas history since 1980

The Trump Transition: Here come the hearings


This week is shaping up to be one of the most consequential of Presidentelect Donald Trumps transition, as senators prepare to consider as many as
seven Cabinet nominees in committee.
Republicans are under fire from Democrats and ethics officials for
scheduling confirmation hearings before investigators complete a
background examination for each nominee, a precedent that goes back
decades. But Sunday, Republican leaders vowed to press ahead, saying
there are no plans to change the schedule.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CBSs Face the Nation on Sunday that Democrats
should grow up and get past the election result.
We confirmed seven Cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in, he said, noting
Republicans were a comparable position in 2009. We didnt like most of them, either. But he won the
election, McConnell said. So all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration at
having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate.

Obama: I didnt underestimate the threats from


Vladimir Putin
President Obama said in an interview that he did not misjudge the
potential threats of Vladimir Putin, despite the U.S. intelligence report
that the Russian president personally ordered an influence campaign
to meddle in the U.S. presidential elections.
I dont think I underestimated him, Obama told ABC Newss This
Week in an interview broadcast Sunday, but I think that I
underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is
possible for misinformation, for cyberhacking and so forth, to have an
impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate
themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating.
This Week host George Stephanopolous reminded Obama that he had dismissed Republican Mitt
Romneys contention during a debate in the 2012 campaign that Russia was the biggest geopolitical threat to
the United States. The report released Friday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said
Russian operatives hacked into the emails of Democratic Party officials and released them publicly to harm
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and, ultimately, help Republican Donald Trump, who emerged
victorious.
Obama said he ordered the intelligence review to make sure that we understand this is something that Putin
has been doing for quite some time in Europe, initially in the former satellite states where there are a lot of
Russian speakers, but increasingly in Western democracies.
Trump, who has expressed skepticism over the findings, received a private briefing on the report from U.S.
officials Friday in New York. In a statement afterward, Trump acknowledged that foreign actors from China,
Russia and other countries attempt to hack into U.S. institutions, but he emphasized that the election
outcomes were not altered in any way by foreign actors. The intelligence report stated that officials did not
attempt to assess the effect on the outcome.