CIA Says Russia Interfered with Election, Trump Team Says to Move On

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USA Today

While prior reports stated that Russian election interference was mainly intended to only cause mass distrust in the U.S. electoral system, a new, secretive CIA study concludes that this was not the case. Rather, officials are saying that Russia particularly intervened in order to assist Donald Trump in winning the presidency. The CIA states that there have been individuals tied to the Russian government identified as the hackers who provided WikiLeaks with Hillary Clinton’s emails shortly before the election. However, they as of yet do not have definite proof showing that the Russian government instructed those hackers to release the hacked emails. The intelligence agency presented their findings to U.S. senators, one of whom told the Washington Post that, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”

Friday night, the Trump team issued a statement regarding the findings. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

With Trump’s Cabinet nominees taking over headlines, one survey decided to see exactly what the American public thought about the president-elect’s top picks. According to the Pew Research Center study, approximately 40 percent of adults approve of the chosen Cabinet members, and 41 percent approve of Trump’s behavior as president-elect thus far. This is significantly lower than approval ratings following previous elections. During the same time period following presidential wins, Obama received an approval rating of 71 percent, and Bush received an approval rating of 50 percent.

The United States will send 200 more troops to Syria, said U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a meeting yesterday in Bahrain. The increased military presence will assist in fighting ISIS in Raqqa. Currently, 300 U.S. special forces are already based in Syria, alongside a U.S. backed group of Kurdish and Arab forces that are working toward capturing Raqqa, the ISIS Syrian stronghold and capital. The added troops, said Carter, will continue to organize, train, equip and enable the local forces in their fight against ISIS. Turkey and the Gulf states are backing the same troops receiving assistance from the United States, as they face up against not only ISIS, but also Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is being backed by Russia.

The state of emergency throughout France following terrorist attacks in Paris has been extended through 2017 elections. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve wants the status to remain through the presidential and parliamentary elections in the spring, and Bastille Day July 14, with the status officially ending July 15. The French Parliament will decide on whether or not to officially extended the state of emergency early next week. If passed, it will be the fifth extension after the Nov. 13 attacks of 2015. However, some are calling the state of emergency a violation of human rights. It allows police extraneous abilities to rightfully carry out searches and place citizens under house arrest. Since November 2015, more than 3,000 homes have been raided and more than 400 arrested.

The Dylan Roof trial continues on, with the drama increasing on both sides of the court room. According to court documents, earlier this week, when the prosecution began explaining to jurors the ways in which Roof planned his attack, Roof’s own mother collapsed. After receiving medical attention, it was determined that she had experienced a heart attack. The heart attack was mentioned as part of another request for a mistrial, with some thinking that the testimony given was exceedingly emotional. The same day, jurors were shown 360-degree images of the crime scene, with victims lying in pools of blood within the church, as well as surveillance footage of Roof entering and then leaving the church. The next day, jurors viewed an hours-long recording of Roof being questioned by FBI agents. Also presented as evidence was Roof’s personal journal, wherein he writes entries defending George Zimmerman. The journal also includes Nazi swastikas and white supremacist symbols. Throughout the emotional testimonies, his mother’s courtroom heart attack and the open sobs of victims’ family members, Roof has shown barely any interest.

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