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Top Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have said they will support further investigation of findings that Russian hackers meddled in the November election.

The House speaker and Senate majority leader said any foreign intervention in the polls was unacceptable.

Donald Trump has repeatedly poured scorn on the claims, made by the CIA.

The CIA concluded on December 9 that Russia’s motive was to help Donald Trump.

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan said their respective intelligence committees would investigate the allegations.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“Any foreign breach of our cyber-security measures is disturbing and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” Senator Mitch McConnell told reporters, adding that “the Russians are not our friends”.

Paul Ryan echoed these remarks, but warned against exploiting the work of the intelligence community for “partisan purposes”.

The remarks came amid suggestions by Donald Trump that the claims were politically motivated.

On December 11, the president-elect told Fox News the Democrats were disseminating the “ridiculous” hacking reports because they lost the election.

Then on the next day Donald Trump tweeted: “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!


“Unless you catch <<hackers>> in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?”

The FBI said two month ago that it believed Russia was behind the Democratic Party hacks, but on December 9 the CIA went further by concluding Russia’s motive was to help Donald Trump.

On December 12, the Hillary Clinton campaign, which lost to Donald Trump in last month’s election, said it was supporting an effort by a handful of members of the electoral college to request an intelligence briefing on the latest hacking allegations.

The Electoral College meets next week to ratify the results of the election.

Last week, President Barack Obama has ordered a complete review of the hacks, which targeted emails at the Democratic Party and John Podesta’s emails.

The contents of the emails, passed to WikiLeaks and posted online, were embarrassing to the Democrats and shook up the presidential campaign.

President-elect Donald Trump reportedly plans to pick ex-Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as his transportation secretary.

Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, served in President George W. Bush’s cabinet.

Donald Trump is still weighing his options in filling the posts of state, defense and treasury.

Image source Wikimedia

Image source Wikimedia

Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, became the first Asian-American woman to hold a position in a presidential cabinet when she led the Labor Department under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009.

The 63-year-old also served as deputy secretary of transportation and director of the Peace Corps in former President George H.W. Bush’s administration.

If confirmed by the Senate, Elaine Chao would become the second person to hold the positions of labor secretary, transportation secretary and the spouse of a Senate majority leader.

Elizabeth Dole previously held that title.

Elaine Chao will play a crucial role under Donald Trump, who has vowed to make infrastructure spending on the country’s roads, bridges and other public transit an integral part of his agenda.

She came to the US with her family at the age of 8 and settled in New York, where her father became a shipping magnate.

President Barack Obama was joined by the House and Senate leaders in holding cross-party talks aimed at ending political gridlock in Washington.

The White House luncheon came after the Republicans won control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections.

Barack Obama, a Democrat, and heads of both parties in the House of Representatives and Senate were to explore avenues of compromise after years of rancor.

Republicans have called their victory a rebuke of Barack Obama’s policies.

On November 7, the president was joined for lunch by 16 senior legislators including presumptive incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

“The American people just want to see work done here in Washington,” Barack Obama said, flanked at the dining table by John Boehner, outgoing Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

“They are frustrated by the gridlock. They’d like to see some co-operation, and I think all of us have the responsibility – me in particular – to try and make that happen.”

Barack Obama said he hoped to discuss university affordability, infrastructure investment, overhaul of the tax system, and deficit reduction.

President Barack Obama was joined by the House and Senate leaders in holding cross-party talks aimed at ending political gridlock in Washington

President Barack Obama was joined by the House and Senate leaders in holding cross-party talks aimed at ending political gridlock in Washington (photo Getty Images)

“Those are all going to be areas where I’m very interested in hearing and sharing ideas,” he said.

On November 6, the Republicans won control of the Senate and solidified their hold on the House of Representatives.

With the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, the party can complicate, if not block completely, Barack Obama’s agenda in the last two years of his tenure in the White House.

Control of the Senate could also enable the Republicans to stymie his ability to name new federal judges, cabinet members and senior government officials.

The new Congress will be sworn in on January 3.

Following the election, Barack Obama and senior Republicans pledged to work together to end the political gridlock that has virtually paralyzed Congress and that reached its culmination with the shutdown of the US government in a budget stalemate last year.

The midterm election campaign was characterized by widespread frustration expressed by voters about the inability of the two parties to work together.

In the wake of the Republican gains, Mitch McConnell vowed to make the Senate function and pass bills, after sessions that were the least productive in the chamber’s history.

Mitch McConnell, the presumptive Republican leader of the US Senate, has vowed to “work together” with President Barack Obama on issues where they can agree.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said working within a two-party political system did not mean “we have to live in perpetual conflict”.

Mitch McConnell and a host of Republicans swept to victory in the Senate, and now control both chambers of Congress.

President Barack Obama will respond later to what was a terrible result for Democrats.

Mitch McConnell is the presumptive Republican leader of the US Senate

Mitch McConnell is the presumptive Republican leader of the US Senate

As the new Senate majority leader when the new Congress sits in January, Mitch McConnell will control the chamber’s legislative agenda and floor proceedings.

He has been a fierce critic of the president’s healthcare overhaul and once vowed to block Barack Obama at every turn. But in the glow of victory, he hinted at compromise.

“Tonight we begin another [race]… the race to turn this country around, to restore hope and confidence and optimism to this commonwealth and across this nation,” Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday evening.

“Too many in Washington have forgotten that their job is to serve,” he added.

“We do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree.”

Throughout the campaign, Republicans focused on voter dissatisfaction with Barack Obama, a Democrat, describing the vote as a referendum on his presidency.

As the first results came in late on November 4, it became clear they had made the six gains they needed to win control of the Senate.

The Republicans won in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. The party now controls 52 seats, and is tipped to win at least one more as votes are counted in other states.

The Republicans are also projected to increase their majority – by at least 10 seats – in the House of Representatives to levels not seen since before World War Two.

They also made gains among the 36 governorships up for re-election.

The Republicans will now have the power to complicate, if not block completely, Barack Obama’s agenda in the last two years of his tenure in the White House.

Control of the Senate will also enable the Republicans to stymie his ability to name new federal judges, cabinet members and senior government officials.

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The Republicans have won control of the Senate in the midterm elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The party won in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

It is expected to post more gains as votes are counted in other states.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, poised to lead the chamber, said the result was a vote against “a government that people can no longer trust”.

In the midterms, so-called because they fell half way into Barack Obama’s second four-year term in office, about one-third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives, 36 of 50 state governors, and countless state and local offices were up for election.

Throughout the campaign, Republicans focused on voter dissatisfaction with Barack Obama, a Democrat, describing the vote as a referendum on his presidency.

As the first results came in late on November 4, it became clear they had made convincing gains in the chamber.

With the votes still being counted in many states, the Republican Party easily won the six seats it needed to win control of the Senate.

The party controls 52 seats, and is tipped to win more.

The Republicans have won control of the Senate in the midterm elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency

The Republicans have won control of the Senate in the midterm elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency

When the new Congress is sworn in January, it will mark the first time the Republicans have held both chambers since 2006.

They will now have the power to complicate, if not block completely, Barack Obama’s agenda in the last two years of his tenure in the White House.

Control of the Senate will also enable the Republicans to stymie his ability to name new federal judges, cabinet members and senior government officials.

In addition to seats the party won from the Democrats, the Republicans retained seats in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

In Louisiana, neither of the top two candidates gained 50% of the vote, forcing a run-off election in early December.

In Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner was expected to retain his Senate seat amid a much tighter than expected race with Republican ex-lobbyist Ed Gillespie.

One of the night’s key early results came in Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, fended off Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Mitch McConnell will now become the Senate majority leader, giving him control over the chamber’s legislative agenda and floor proceedings.

“It wasn’t about me or my opponent,” he told supporters as he declared victory, “it was about a government that people can no longer trust.”

Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid congratulated Mitch McConnell in a short statement.

“The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together,” said Harry Reid of Nevada, whose role in the soon-to-be Democratic minority remains uncertain.

“I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”

As well as taking the Senate, the Republicans are projected to increase their majority in the House of Representatives, where all 435 members were up for re-election.

They also made gains among the 36 governorships up for re-election.

Republican governors survived tough re-election battles in Florida, Maine and Wisconsin.

In two results that illustrate the breadth of the Republican sweep, the party’s candidates won in Maryland and Massachusetts, two of the most Democratic-friendly states in the nation. Republican Bruce Rauner also won in Illinois – Barack Obama’s home state – against incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.

Political gridlock in Congress has already reached historic levels and was a major concern among voters, with many expressing their frustration with the lack of progress on the key issues facing the nation.

Analysts say the Republicans’ victory could make the situation even worse before the president poll in 2016.

Republican leaders have already pledged to move forward on their key policy priorities, pressing Barack Obama to negotiate on their terms

“It’s time for government to start getting results and implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country, starting with our still-struggling economy,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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Democrat and Republican leaders of the Senate have struck a cross-party deal to end a partial government shutdown and raise the US debt limit.

Their bill must also pass the House, where a small group of Republicans are expected to join Democrats to send the bill to President Barack Obama.

The bill extends the federal borrowing limit until February 7 and funds the government to January 15.

The move comes just a day before the deadline to raise the $16.7 trillion limit.

Democrat and Republican leaders of the Senate have struck a cross-party deal to end a partial government shutdown and raise the US debt limit

Democrat and Republican leaders of the Senate have struck a cross-party deal to end a partial government shutdown and raise the US debt limit

On the floor of the Senate, Democratic leader Harry Reid called the legislation “historic”, saying it would provide time for Congress to work toward a long-term budget agreement.

“Our country came to the brink of disaster,” Harry Reid said.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid’s negotiating partner, said he was “confident” the government could reopen and avoid default under the proposed bill.

“Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals,” Mitch McConnell said.

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The US shutdown negotiations have been shifted to the Senate.

The Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate held direct talks for the first time in weeks, but there is little sign of any breakthrough, correspondents say.

The shutdown began when Congress missed the October 1st deadline to pass a budget.

The US faces another deadline on Thursday to raise its debt limit.

If a deal is not reached by then, the US faces potential default, a prospect which has caused alarm both domestically and abroad.

Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, said the aim was to reach a deal on extending the debt limit before markets reopen on Monday.

The talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell earlier on Saturday represented the first face-to-face meeting between the two since July, the New York Times reported.

“The conversations were extremely cordial but very preliminary of course – nothing conclusive, but I hope that our talking is some solace to the American people and to the world,” said Harry Reid.

The US shutdown negotiations have been shifted to the Senate

The US shutdown negotiations have been shifted to the Senate

“We had a good meeting,” said Mitch McConnell, without elaborating.

Harry Reid then went to the White House for talks with President Barack Obama.

But he rejected a plan put forward by Republican Senator Susan Collins to allow the government to increase its debt limit until January 31st, 2014.

Democrats have a majority in the Senate, but could not muster enough support to advance a proposal to lift the debt ceiling there.

Talks between House Republicans and the White House had collapsed earlier.

Republicans have refused to pass a new budget unless President Barack Obama agrees to delay or eliminate the funding of the healthcare reform law of 2010.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been sent home as a result of the shutdown.

The White House has repeatedly said it would not undermine the law, known as Obamacare, nor negotiate over larger budget matters, until Republicans vote to end the threat of default.

It has also rejected a short-term deal over the debt limit.

“It wouldn’t be wise, as some suggest, to just kick the debt ceiling can down the road for a couple of months, and flirt with a first-ever intentional default right in the middle of the holiday shopping season,” President Barack Obama said.

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Hollywood actress Ashley Judd is reportedly poised to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate in May.

Speculation has been rife for days that Ashley Judd is planning to challenge incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in her home state of Kentucky.

Ashley Judd has reportedly set a date to publicly confirm the move, telling her key advisers and political figures that she’ll announce the run for the Democratic nomination around the Kentucky Derby – an event in early May that brings national focus to Louisville.

According to the Huffington Post, Ashley Judd has attempted to quash the claims.

“I am not sure who is saying this stuff, but it is not I!” the actress and social activist told the news website.

“I’d prefer as a fan of your journalism that you stay accurate and credible. We told everyone who called us [Friday] these stories are fabrications.”

Ashley Judd is reportedly poised to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate in May

Ashley Judd is reportedly poised to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate in May

But, according to the Huffington Post, Ashley Judd, 44, failed to directly respond to questions about whether or not she had decided to run or if she’d chosen when she would declare such plans.

“I know she knows she has to declare soon,” a highly placed elected official, who declined to be identified, told the website.

“She could always change her mind. I changed my mind twice before I finally declared. But as of now it is a done deal.”

According to the Huffington Post, sources have revealed Ashley Judd discussed her intentions with former Gov. Wendell H. Ford, 88, who is the dean of Kentucky Democrats.

President Barack Obama-supporter Ashley Judd has so far refused to speak publicly about her political aspirations, but all the signs are pointing towards a confirmation sooner rather than later.

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