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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior Republican senators urged President-elect Donald Trump to punish Russia in response to U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that President Vladimir Putin personally directed efforts aimed at influencing the outcome of the November election.

In a joint appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said evidence was conclusive that Putin sought to influence the election – a point that Trump has refuted repeatedly by arguing it might be impossible to tell who was responsible.

“In a couple weeks, Donald Trump will be the defender of the free world and democracy,” Graham said. “You should let everybody know in America, Republicans and Democrats, that you’re going to make Russia pay a price for trying to interfere.”

Both senators said they remain unsure if they will support Trump’s pick for secretary of state, former Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N> Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, who has been criticized for his close ties to Putin. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday to consider Tillerson’s nomination.

Three U.S. intelligence agencies released a joint report on Friday that concluded that Putin directed efforts to help Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Hackers penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s email server and separately stole emails from John Podesta, who chaired Clinton’s campaign. The emails were then posted online and used to embarrass Clinton, including by Trump who frequently used the content as political ammunition.

Russia was trying to undermine public faith in the democratic process, damage Clinton, making it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, the unclassified report said.

McCain said he supports continued investigations into the hacks.

“We need to come to grips with it and get to the bottom of it and overall come up with a strategy in this new form of warfare that can basically harm our economy, harm our elections, harm our national security,” he said.

Trump, whose views on Russia are out of step with his party, has repeatedly dismissed claims that the Russians were trying to help him, arguing that the charges against Russia are the product of his political opponents trying to undermine his victory.

On Friday, after receiving his intelligence briefing, Trump did not squarely address whether he was told of the agencies’ belief Russia carried out the hacking.

Instead, he said: “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations” including the DNC.

On Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that having a better relationship with Russia is a “good thing.”

“Only ‘stupid’ people or fools, would think that is bad!” he tweeted. “We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Mary Milliken)

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15 responses to “Republican Senators Urge Trump To Embrace Findings On Russia Hacking”

  1. Lynda Groom says:

    Do they really think the Donald will listen to reason and reality?

    • drdroad says:

      Maybe not, probably not, but you have to keep trying, right??

    • Dominick Vila says:

      He doesn’t have to. With Republicans in full control of Congress, and too scared to confront him, he can pretty much do as he pleases and get away with it. And he knows it.

  2. Thoughtopsy says:

    Pres-Elect Loser… Dumber than a sack of hammers, and desperately trying to keep anyone from looking too hard at his (and his campaign’s) connections to Russia.
    I bet this will end well.

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    • FireBaron says:

      Geez, Thought, you just insulted hammers by equating their intelligence with Teflon Donnie’s!

  3. Three basic reasons Trump won’t heed this advice:

    1) Putin is a pal of Trump, and he can’t bring himself to chastise his pal.
    2) Trump is too ignorant to understand the full implications of Russia’s meddling.
    3) Most important of all is Trump’s enormous ego that leads him first of all to put his
    foot in his mouth, and his abnormal degree of love for himself tells him not to
    remove said foot, and the ego prevents him from admitting his errors.

    The third item alone is dangerous enough to keep the entire planet on edge,
    while paralyzing him at the same time from taking steps to become a moral
    human being.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      It is not an easy move for a man who encouraged the Russians to spy on us and share their findings with the world to suddenly do an about face, and condemn the Russians for complying with what he encouraged them to do. If the Russians are held responsible for breaking our sovereignty, the “patriot” that served as a cheerleader for them is as guilty as they are.

    • Mama Bear says:

      and the forth is that Russian oligarchs own Trump. A “disproportional” amount of his debt is owned by them – according to his own son-in-law. He is screwed if he tries to screw them.

  4. Wolfesgang says:

    One more important reason for Putin’s plotting and scheming is that he and his KGB/FSB cronies have failed to modernize and diversify the Russian economy. Selling natural gas and oil remains by far their most profitable proposition, as before. It has added to their collective inferiority complex. And that is why for a few years now they’ve been promoting nationalism, militarism, etc. on state television, on a scale almost unprecedented: put the blame for anything untoward on the ‘West’ if at all possible! In the wake of their Crimean annexation and Eastern Ukrainian invasion, one of their cheerleaders actually appeared on state TV in front of a map of the U.S. in the background, gloating over the “fact” that Russia would be capable of turning so-and-so-many American cities into ashes. I’m not sure about the extent of coverage this was getting in the U.S. at the time, but it did shock a lot of people in Europe. For some ridiculous made-up reason, Putin also threatened Denmark with nuclear assault. In both operations, Putin and his ilk were probably trying to find out how much fear they might be able to engender in the ‘West’. He may be a smart operator, but his time appears to be running out, which makes him all the more dangerous.

  5. dpaano says:

    If Trump actually thinks that Russia respects us, he’s terribly misinformed! The fact that they did what they did shows NO respect for this country, its democracy, or its elections! The biggest problem with Trump is that his small, narcissistic mind just can’t wrap itself around the fact that he was NOT elected based on his campaign; he was ONLY elected because Russia made Hillary look so bad that people didn’t even notice all the really evil things being said about Trump! In my world, he is NOT the president and was elected illegally based on lies, conspiracy theories, false news stories, etc., put out by the Putin-backed social network trolls, many of whom we probably saw on this site in the past several months before and after the election!

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