Donald Trump and his Cabinet picks are preparing to face public questioning over their business conflicts, their approach to Russia and other issues during a critical week of confirmation hearings and the president-elect’s first news conference in nearly six months.
His nominees to be the nation’s top diplomat, lead law enforcement officer and head of homeland security are among at least nine picks set to parade before Senate committees beginning Tuesday. A day later, Trump faces reporters about how he’ll disentangle his global empire from his administration, and more. Trump has pledged to step away from the Trump Organization during his time in office, but has yet to say specifically how he will do that.
Perhaps the most pressing issue is how Trump responds to the U.S. intelligence community’s briefing Friday on its conclusion that Russia meddled in the election to help him become president.
Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Sunday that Trump indeed has accepted that Russia was responsible for the hacking, which targeted the Democratic National Committee and a top aide to former rival Hillary Clinton.
“He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign,” Priebus said in an appearance on a Sunday television news show.
Intelligence officials allege that Moscow directed a series of hacks in order to help Trump win the White House in the race against Clinton. Trump has expressed skepticism about Russia’s role and declined to say whether he agrees that the meddling was done on his behalf. He’s also said improving relations with Russia would be a good thing and that only “stupid” people would disagree.
“My suspicion is these hopes will be dashed pretty quickly,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “The Russians are clearly a big adversary. And they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election.”
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