Trump Tweetstorm Disputes Russian Interference in 2016 Election - NECN
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Trump Tweetstorm Disputes Russian Interference in 2016 Election

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    Jeh Johnson, former Homeland Security Secretary under President Barack Obama, testified Tuesday before Congress, claiming Russian leader Vladimir Putin orchestrated cyberattacks during last year's presidential elections, but that such attacks did not change the final vote count. (Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017)

    President Donald Trump appeared to cast doubt on the assessment of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that blame Russia for election meddling, questioning Thursday why the Obama administration didn't try to stop it.

    "By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin.," the president tweeted. "Why didn't they stop them?"

    All 17 intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind the hack of Democratic email systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. The findings are at the heart of an investigation into contacts that members of Trump's campaign team may have had with Russian officials during the campaign and the transition.

    Trump frequently lashes out at the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt" spearheaded by Democrats.

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    [NATL] Health Care Bill Protesters Forcibly Removed From Senate Finance Committee Room

    Protesters chanting "No cuts for Medicaid, save our liberty!" were forcibly removed from the Senate Finance Committee room Monday as lawmakers attempted to convene a hearing into the Republican Graham Cassidy health care bill.

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    He tweeted Thursday that the Democratic National Committee turned down an offer from the Department of Homeland Security "to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It's all a big Dem HOAX!"

    "...Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn't? It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!" he wrote.

    When asked what the president meant by "Dem HOAX," White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she "believe[s] the reference is about the fact they [Democrats] are trying to delegitimize his win, and less about hack itself."

    A day earlier, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House intelligence committee that in the late summer and into the fall, he was very concerned about the meddling in state election systems and that the department encouraged states to seek assistance from DHS. He said he was frustrated DHS learned of the hack into the DNC late in the game and that the committee refused help because it was using a private cyber security firm.

    "In retrospect, it would be easy for me to say that I should have bought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the DNC in late summer," Johnson said.

    Johnson also addressed the Obama administration's political sensitivity when it came to warning of the Russian meddling, and alluded to problems created at the time by Trump's own statements.

    North Korean Minister: Trump Tweet Declared War

    [NATL] North Korean Foreign Minister: 'The United States Declared War'

    North Korea's top diplomat says President Donald Trump's tweet that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" amounted to a declaration of war against his country.

    Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters Monday that what he called Trump's "declaration of war" gives North Korea "every right" under the U.N. Charter to take countermeasures, "including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country."

    Ri Yong also said that "all options will be on the operations table" for the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Ri referred to Trump's tweet Saturday that said: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    "One of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way. And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the — of the election process itself," Johnson said.

    Last month, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the agency's Russia probe. The president has come under harsh criticism by some who claim he threatened to undermine the investigation by firing Comey.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller was later named to lead the investigation, and The Washington Post reported that Mueller is considering investigating Trump for obstruction of justice because he fired Comey.

    The investigation has shadowed Trump from the outset, though he's denied any ties to Russia or knowledge of any campaign coordination with Moscow.

    Trump also claimed Thursday that Johnson "is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia." But Johnson didn't say that Wednesday. He said he wasn't aware of efforts by Trump or his campaign to collude with Russia beyond what the intelligence community already knows. Johnson also said Russian hacking didn't change election totals, but added that he can't be sure other meddling didn't influence public opinion.

    "It is not for me to know to what extent the Russian hacks influenced public opinion and thereby influence the outcome of the election," he said.

    NFL Players Protest During National Anthem

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    AP reporters counted more than 200 NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem before their games on Sunday. Six refused to stand the week before, mainly protesting police brutality.
    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    Trump has picked fights with intelligence agencies in the past, blaming them for leaks about his associates' Russia ties. During the transition before his inauguration, he ripped into the intelligence community for being behind the leaks and even compared them to Nazi propaganda. "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?" he tweeted in January.