On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, his transition team has attempted to distance itself from reports that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have intercepted communications and financial transactions into links between Russian officials and associates of the president-elect.
“We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation,” said Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump's transition team.
The FBI and five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies are collaborating on an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to two people familiar with the inquiry who spoke on condition of anonymity to McClatchy, whose DC bureau broke the story.
Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, was the first nominee to have a Senate hearing without completing an ethics review on how she planned to avoid conflicts of interest. DeVos, a billionaire who has donated millions to Republican candidates and holds a host of investments, including in companies that influence federal education policy, has no experience in the education sector, has never attended a public school or sent her children to public schools and has never taken out a student loan. These facts did not escape Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).
“So you have no personal experience with college financial aid?” Warren asked.
European nations reacted with shock and defiance at President-elect Donald Trump's skepticism of the European Union–he suggested that the 28-nation alliance will eventually break up–and his claim that NATO is "obsolete."
"I said a long time ago that NATO had problems," Trump said in a joint interview with the Times of London and the German publication Bild. "Number one it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago. Number two the countries weren't paying what they're supposed to be paying."
"Your organization's terrible." That was President-elect Trump’s response to CNN's Jim Acosta in today’s press conference, the first in over 160 days. "I'm not going to give you a question, you are fake news," he added.
Trump took aim at CNN because it had reported Tuesday that the heads of U.S. intelligence had briefed the President-elect and other top officials on purported claims by Russian agents that they possessed “compromising personal and financial information” on Trump. CNN stated that the allegations were summarized in a two-page memo based on reports by a former British intelligence operative.
The Affordable Care Act may have found an unlikely ally in Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who could stymie Republican efforts to repeal it. Paul waded into the debate over the promised repeal of “Obamacare” on Tuesday when he said he would oppose a budget resolution on the ground that it adds significantly to the national deficit.
Paul’s opposition on budget grounds is significant. Party leaders believed they had cooked up an airtight method by which they could repeal much of the ACA even before Trump takes office January 20. They plan to use reconciliation, a special budgetary procedure that cannot be filibustered.
A number of prominent conservatives have signed on to a letter warning that Trump risks "seriously damaging the presidency" if he does not sell his businesses to address his conflicts of interest.
"As long as you continue to maintain ownership of The Trump Organization, no other steps that you take will prevent the serious conflicts of interest, appearance of conflicts, and Emoluments Clause problems that will exist throughout your presidency," the letter reads in part. "In these circumstances, you cannot separate the presidency from your business enterprises."