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Vladimir Putin has described allegations Russia holds compromising material on President-elect Donald Trump as “utter nonsense”.

The Russian president questioned what reason Russian intelligence would have had to spy on Donald Trump before he entered politics.

Vladimir Putin said those making the allegations were “worse than prostitutes”.

Memos published last week alleged Donald Trump’s election team colluded with Russia which also had salacious videos of his private life.

The allegations claim Russia has damaging information about Donald Trump’s business interests, and that Trump had been filmed with prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.

Donald Trump has dismissed the memos, said to have been prepared by a former British spy, as “fake news”.

Image NBC News

Speaking in Moscow, Vladimir Putin also said the published documents were “clearly fakes”, published by those trying to “undermine the legitimacy of the elected president”.

“When Trump came to Moscow, he was not a political figure, we were not even aware of his political ambitions,” he said.

“Does somebody think that our secret services are chasing every American billionaire? Of course not. It is utter nonsense.”

Vladimir Putin added that he did not see why Donald Trump would rush to meet prostitutes in Moscow, given he was organizing beauty pageants and meeting “the most beautiful women in the world”.

“I find it hard to imagine he ran to a hotel to meet our girls of <<low social responsibility>>… though they are of course also the best in the world. But I doubt Trump took that bait.”

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the UK ex-spy said to have prepared the memos is “some runaway crook from the MI6”.


US intelligence agencies considered the claims relevant enough to brief both Donald Trump and President Barack Obama.

Donald Trump accused US intelligence of leaking the content from a classified briefing – a claim denied by National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

Vladimir Putin also said reports that Russian hackers had interfered in the US election were “fake news”, though he told people to keep in mind that “the hackers didn’t make anything up – whoever they were – they just uncovered material”.

The hacking scandal dominated the US election campaign, with US spy agencies concluding Russia was behind the hacking and release of Democratic Party emails intended to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Russia has consistently denied it.

Signaling optimism that the US-Russia relationship will improve under the new administration, Sergei Lavrov said he was encouraged by some pragmatic comments from the Trump team so far.

Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to co-operate with the new administration on key issues including nuclear weapons and Syria. US representatives have been invited to Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan next week but are yet to respond, he added.

“I am convinced we will be able to restart a dialogue on strategic stability with Washington that was destroyed along with everything else by the Obama administration,” Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Reuters.

US-Russia relations have worsened significantly in recent years over the war in Ukraine, the Syrian conflict and cyber-hacking.

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Donald Trump has turned his fire on Hillary Clinton, after an investigation was launched into the action taken by the FBI during the election campaign.

The FBI and the DoJ face questions over their handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

FBI director James Comey’s decision to reopen an investigation 11 days before the election shook up the race.

Donald Trump tweeted that Hillary Clinton was “guilty as hell”.

He continues to fire out tweets on a range of subjects just a week before his inauguration.

In the latest batch his anger over alleged compromising material held on him by Russia shows no sign of abating, again calling it “fake news” and “phony allegations” put together by “my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued”.

Donald Trump then turned to January 12 announcement that a US government watchdog was to investigate the actions taken by the FBI and the justice department during the election campaign.

After he won the election, Donald Trump had toned down his rhetoric against his opponent, refusing to follow up on his election mantra that she should be “locked up” for criminal behavior.

On January 13, the president-elect tweeted: “What are Hillary Clinton’s people complaining about with respect to the FBI. Based on the information they had she should never have been allowed to run – guilty as hell.

“They were VERY nice to her. She lost because she campaigned in the wrong states – no enthusiasm!”

On January 12, the DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he would look into “certain actions” by the FBI and DoJ.

Although Hillary Clinton was cleared of any wrongdoing days before the US voted, her team blamed James Comey’s announcement as a key factor in her defeat.

Michael Horowitz said his review would look at a news conference in July 2016 when James Comey said he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton.

A letter to Congress on October 28, in which James Comey said there were more emails to look at, will also be subject to this new inquiry.

Michael Horowitz said his investigation had come in response to “numerous” requests from the public and from members of Congress.

Hillary Clinton said she had set up a home email server for reasons of convenience, but admitted it was a mistake.

In clearing her in July, the FBI said Hillary Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in handling classified materials. However, there was no evidence of intentional wrongdoing, it said.

Then in October they briefly reopened the investigation after finding new related emails but nothing was found on them and the case was closed for a second time.

In another of his tweets, the president-elect repeated that: “My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”

In his press conference on January 11, Donald Trump said he wanted a report into hacking of all types, including defense and industry.

The president-elect also admitted for the first time “I think it was Russia” when asked about hacking of the election campaign, but said many others had also hacked the US.

US intelligence agencies this month released an unclassified version of a report alleging that the Russian government had a “clear preference” for Donald Trump to win the US election.

The report says Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered” a campaign aimed at influencing the outcome.

US intelligence agencies are also weighing claims that Moscow is holding compromising information about Donald Trump.

Unsubstantiated allegations suggest Donald Trump’s election team colluded with Russia and that there were salacious videos of his private life, including claims of using prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow.

In his series of tweets on January 13, Donald Trump called the claims “made-up facts by sleazebag political operatives”.

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has rejected President-elect Donald Trump’s claim that US intelligence leaked content from a classified briefing.

Donald Trump accused US spies of leaking allegations that Russia had compromising material on him.

However, James Clapper said he was “profoundly dismayed” by the leak.

James Clapper also said the intelligence community had not “made any judgment” that the information was reliable.

His statement said he had spoken to Donald Trump on January 11, after the president-elect’s first press conference.

James Clapper said: “I emphasized that this document is not a US Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC.”

He added that they agreed the security breach was “extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security” and the intelligence community “stands ready to serve his administration”.

Donald Trump gave a press conference in which he responded to unsubstantiated allegations that his election team colluded with Russia and there were salacious videos of his private life.

CNN first reported the claims on January 10, although did not give details, and then Buzzfeed published a 35-page dossier of allegations.

An enraged Donald Trump pointed the finger and said: “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press.”

The president-elect called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” and refused to take a question from a CNN reporter.

Tensions between Donald Trump and the intelligence agencies have been strained in recent weeks.

Donald Trump had failed to accept assessments that Russia had hacked the Democratic Party to help him win the election.

On January 10, FBI Director James Comey refused to say whether the FBI was investigating any possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

In his first press conference as president-elect, Donald Trump says allegations Russia has compromising material on him are “fake news, phoney stuff”, put together by “sick people”.

Donald Trump was replying to unsubstantiated allegations that his election team colluded with Russia and there were salacious videos of his private life.

Intelligence agencies considered the claims relevant enough to brief both President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama last week.

Donald Trump also said for the first time that Russia was behind hacking attacks.

He went on to confirm he was handing total control of his businesses to his two sons.

His first briefing was scheduled in order for Donald Trump to give details about his business affairs, but was dominated by the allegations of compromising material.

Donald Trump said the information “should never have entered paper… it should never have been released”.

Image source Flickr

“It’s all fake news, it’s phoney stuff, it didn’t happen,” he said, adding that “sick people” had “put that crap together… it’s an absolute disgrace”.

Donald Trump thanked the news organizations that chose not to run with the claims, which have been circulating for months.

He said he could not talk about what he heard in last week’s intelligence agency briefing, but said there had been “many witnesses” there and that it would be a “tremendous blot” on the reputation of intelligence agencies if they had been responsible for leaking the details.

“That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done,” he said.

In response White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was “deeply misguided for anybody, at any level, to question the integrity and motives of the patriots” in the nation’s intelligence agencies.

A 35-page dossier of allegations has been published in full on Buzzfeed and reported by CNN.

Donald Trump called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” and accused CNN of “going out of their way to build it up”.

The allegations claim Russia has damaging information about Donald Trump’s business interests, and salacious video evidence of his private life, including claims of using prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow.

Denying any such claims, Donald Trump said that as a high-profile person he was extremely cautious about all that he did when travelling abroad.

Russia has also strongly denied the allegations.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said they were “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”.

Donald Trump said he “respected” Vladimir Putin for putting out a statement.

He was also asked about the hacking scandal that dominated the US election campaign, with the intelligences concluding Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails.

Donald Trump said for the first time “I think it was Russia”, but added that “we get hacked by other people”.

The president-elect said: “We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done.”

But he added: “Look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking… Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it.”

Donald Trump added: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”

He did not answer directly when asked whether his team had communicated with Russia during the election campaign, but he did say that any hacking by Vladimir Putin must stop.

“He shouldn’t be doing it. He won’t be doing it.”

Before today’s briefing, the Trump team acted to dismiss news of the compromising material.

Michael Cohen, a lawyer to Donald Trump named in the 35-page dossier, denied a specific claim that he went to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet Kremlin representatives to talk about the hacking.

He tweeted: “I’ve never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.”

Reince Priebus, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, called the dossier report “phoney baloney garbage”.

US media suggest the alleged salacious videos were prepared as “kompromat” – material collected about a politician or public figure in order to create a threat of negative publicity, if needed.

The allegations began circulating in political and media circles in recent months. The existence of the documents was first reported by Mother Jones in October 2016.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Donald Trump’s pick as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said it is a “fair assumption” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind US election hacks.

The former CEO of Exxon Mobil told the hearing committee the intelligence report on Russian tampering “clearly is troubling”.

Rex Tillerson’s comments came after Senator Marco Rubio pressed him to admit Vladimir Putin’s role in the cyber-breach.

His reported good ties with Vladimir Putin have alarmed some in the United States.

Rex Tillerson, 64, faced tough questions from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 11.

In a heated exchange, Marco Rubio grilled him on whether intelligence reports about Russia’s involvement in hacks on the US election were accurate and if Vladimir Putin had directed the attacks.

Rex Tillerson said he had no inside information on the detailed intelligence about Russia’s hacking, but he had read the declassified US report released last week on the issue.

The Florida senator suggested that Vladimir Putin was responsible for war crimes because of Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and bombing of Aleppo.

However, the Texan multimillionaire told Marco Rubio he would not describe Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.

Image source Flickr

Rex Tillerson said: “I would not use that term.”

“Those are very, very serious charges to make and I’d want to have much more information before reaching that conclusion,” he added.

Marco Rubio – who was one of Donald Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination – said he had “serious concerns” about Rex Tillerson as America’s top diplomat.

While Rex Tillerson was grilled by senators in Washington DC, up in New York Donald Trump was rejecting claims that Russian intelligence agencies have compromising information about the president-elect.

In his first news conference in nearly six months on January 11, at Trump Tower, Donald Trump dismissed the allegations against him as “fake news” and “phony stuff” crafted by “sick people”.

Russia has called the allegations “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”.

In his Senate statement, Rex Tillerson warned that Americans should be “clear-eyed about our relationship with Russia”.

“Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. It has invaded Ukraine, including the taking of Crimea, and supported Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war,” he said.

“Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia,” he added.

It is Rex Tillerson’s connections to Russia that have drawn the most flak in recent months.

Rex Tillerson has forged multi-billion-dollar deals with Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, spoken out against international sanctions imposed on Moscow and in 2013 was awarded an Order of Friendship by the Kremlin.

The Kremlin has strongly denied claims Russia’s intelligence agencies have compromising material about Donald Trump.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the allegations were “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”.

The unsubstantiated claims say Donald Trump’s presidential campaign secretly communicated with Moscow. They also say Russia has information about Donald Trump involving prostitutes.

The president-elect has condemned the reports.

He responded on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Later on January 11, Donald Trump went on to write: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

Image NBC News

Donald Trump is due to hold a news conference on January 11, nine days before he takes office.

It was meant to be about his attempts to separate himself from his business commitments, to address concerns about conflicts of interest.

However, it now comes at an awkward time for Donald Trump.

Last week, US intelligence agencies released an unclassified report saying Russia ran a hacking campaign to influence the US presidential elections.

Separate reports circulating in media now say Russia has damaging information about Donald Trump’s business interests and salacious video evidence of his private life.

Among the claims included in a 35-page dossier are that Donald Trump’s aides were involved with the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic Party of his rival Hillary Clinton.

Michael Cohen, a lawyer to Donald Trump named in the memos, has denied a specific claim that he went to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet Kremlin representatives to talk about the hacking.

“I’ve never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews,” he tweeted.

Media suggest the videos were prepared as “kompromat” – compromising material collected about a politician or public figure in order to create a threat of negative publicity, if needed.

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Five prominent Russians have been blacklisted by the Obama administration, just 11 days before the president leaves office.

Chief federal investigator Alexander Bastrykin and two men wanted in the UK for the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko are among them.

The US sanctions come amid worsening ties, including claims Russia ran a cyber campaign to influence the November 8 election.

President-elect Donald Trump is seeking to restore closer relations with Russia.

According to officials, the sanctions are not related to the hacking but come under a 2012 law designed to punish human rights violators.

Under the act named after Russian tax fraud whistleblower Sergey Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009, people on the list have their US assets blocked and are banned from travelling to the United States.

It originally targeted officials implicated in Sergey Magnitsky’s death, but has since been broadened to cover other human rights cases.

Image source Moscow Times

The five persons to be blacklisted are: Alexander Bastrykin, a close aide to President Vladimir Putin and head of the federal investigative agency, who has led campaigns against domestic dissidents and foreign NGOs working in Russia. US officials say he was complicit in the Magnitsky case; Gennady Plaksin, former head of the Universal Savings Bank, and Stanislav Gordiyevsky, former investigative agency official. Both are said to be involved in covering up Magnitsky’s death; Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, the main suspects in the poisoning of former KGB agent and London exile Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with a rare radioactive substance at a hotel in London.

Both Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun deny any involvement in the killing, and efforts to extradite the men to the UK have failed.

Last month, Washington expelled 35 Russian diplomats following allegations by US intelligence services that Russia had ordered the hacking of Democratic Party emails to damage Donald Trump’s Democrat rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton.

Russia denies the allegations and on January 9 described them as a witch-hunt, but has so far not responded to the expulsions.

After the 35 were thrown out, Russia declined to respond in kind, with President Vladimir Putin saying his country would not stoop to “irresponsible diplomacy”.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, is said to have accepted the findings of the report but has declined to single out Russia as the source of the hacking.

President-elect Donald Trump says Democrats have shown “gross negligence” by allowing their servers to be hacked in the run-up to the November 8 presidential election.

Donald Trump made the comments after an intelligence report said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “sought to help Donald Trump win”.

He has stopped short of accusing Russia of interfering, saying only that the election outcome was not affected.

The Kremlin has not commented, but Russia has previously denied the claims.

Following the report’s findings, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that voting machines and other election databases would be classified as “critical infrastructure” and given more protection from cyber-attacks.

Emphasizing that the election outcome was not affected, Donald Trump added on January 7: “Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!”

Image source Flickr

In an interview with ABC, President Barack Obama said that he was concerned that there had been “Republicans or pundits or cable commentators who seem to have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Americans because those fellow Americans are Democrats.

“That cannot be.”

Asked whether Donald Trump was among them, President Obama said: “We have to remind ourselves we’re on the same team. Vladimir Putin’s not on our team.”

The unclassified report says that Russia developed a “clear preference” for Donald Trump.

Russia’s goals, the document added, were to “undermine public faith” in the US democratic process and “denigrate” Hillary Clinton, harming her electability and potential presidency.

However, the report gives no detailed evidence of Vladimir Putin’s alleged role.

The report says the Russian president liked Donald Trump because he had vowed to work with Russia and the Russian leader had had “many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder”.

In contrast, Vladimir Putin had blamed Hillary Clinton for inciting anti-government protests in 2011 and early 2012 “and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him”.

According to an intelligence report, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Donald Trump win the presidential election.

The unclassified report says Vladimir Putin “ordered” a campaign aimed at influencing the election.

Moscow has not commented, but Russia has previously denied the claims.

After being briefed on the findings, Donald Trump stopped short of accusing Russia of interfering, saying only that the election outcome was not affected.

The president-elect later went on to blame “gross negligence” by the DNC for “allowing” the hacking to take place.

Following the report’s findings, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that voting machines and other election databases would be classified as “critical infrastructure” and given more protection from cyber-attack.

The 25-page report says that Russia developed a “clear preference” for Donald Trump.

Russia’s goals, the document added, were to “undermine public faith” in the US democratic process and “denigrate” Hillary Clinton, harming her electability and potential presidency.

Image NBC News

The report said: “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”

The unclassified version contained no detailed evidence of Vladimir Putin’s alleged role, but it said Russia’s actions included: hacking into the email accounts of the DNC and top Democrats; using intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, DCLeaks.com and Guccifer 2.0 persona to release the information acquired from the hackings; using state-funded propaganda and paying social media users or “trolls” to make nasty comments.

The identities of the Russian agents allegedly directly responsible for the hack are known to US authorities but have not been released publicly, reports say, citing intelligence sources.

The report, a cut-down version of the classified document presented to President Barack Obama on January 5, was released shortly after intelligence chiefs briefed Donald Trump on their findings.

Since winning the election on November 8, Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned US intelligence claims of Russian hacking.

In a statement after the briefing, Donald Trump declined to single out Russia, but said he had “tremendous respect for the work and service done” by those in the US intelligence community.

He said: “While 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 Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.

“Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyber-attacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office.”

The meeting at Trump Tower involved National Intelligence Director Gen. James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey.

Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated on January 20, described their talks as “constructive”.

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Vice-President Joe Biden has told Donald Trump to “grow up” and criticized his attacks on the intelligence community.

On January 6, Donald Trump will be briefed on allegations that Russia meddled in the US presidential election – claims he has cast doubt on.

Joe Biden said it was “absolutely mindless” for Donald Trump not to have faith in intelligence agencies.

Russia denies hacking alleged to have helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

On January 5, the president-elect questioned how intelligence agencies were confident about the alleged Russian hacking “if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers” belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

In an interview with the PBS, Donald Trump: “For a president not to have confidence in, not to be prepared to listen to, the myriad intelligence agencies, from defense intelligence to the CIA, is absolutely mindless.

“The idea that you may know more than the intelligence community knows – it’s like saying I know more about physics than my professor. I didn’t read the book, I just know I know more.”

When asked what he thought of Donald Trump’s regular attacks on Twitter, Joe Biden said: “Grow up Donald, grow up, time to be an adult, you’re president. Time to do something. Show us what you have.”

Photo AP

The VP went on to call Donald Trump “a good man”.

Joe Biden said he had read a US intelligence agencies report outlining Russian involvement, the details of which are starting to emerge in media.

According to the Washington Post and NBC News citing intelligence sources, agencies had intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election showing senior Russian government officials celebrating Donald Trump’s win over rival Hillary Clinton.

US authorities had also identified Russian actors who delivered stolen Democratic emails to the WikiLeaks website.

NBC News says the alleged Russian hacking targeted not just the DNC but also the White House, joint chiefs of staff, the department of state and large US corporations.

An unclassified version will be made public next week.

Joe Biden said the report clearly details “that the Russians did, as a matter of policy, attempt to affect and… discredit the US electoral process”.

He said the hacking was part of a systematic campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was among those hacked on the DNC server.

On January 5, the Director of National Intelligence, Gen James Clapper, told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack, and said the motive would be revealed next week.

President Barack Obama last week ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US over the alleged hacking. Russia has said it will not reciprocate.

Donald Trump has repeatedly rejected allegations that the Russian government hacked into the computers of John Podesta or the servers of the DNC.

On January 4, the president-elect repeated a suggestion that “a 14-year-old” may have been responsible for the breach.

On January 5, he said he was a “big fan” of intelligence agencies, after months of casting doubt on the Russian link, but later went on to raise questions over how the Democratic Party responded to the security breach.

Last week, Donald Trump said he would announce information about hacking “on Tuesday or Wednesday”, but no announcement came.

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Donald Trump has backed Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian hacking the US election.

The WikiLeaks founder said Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party.

The president-elect has now backed that view in a tweet, writting: “Assange… said Russians did not give him the info!”

Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions of the US intelligence community.

Several US agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The information, released through WikiLeaks and other outlets, was intended to help Donald Trump win the election, say the FBI and CIA.

Image source RT

On January 3, Donald Trump said an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on the issue had been delayed.

“Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” he wrote.

However, intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.

In an interview with Fox News, Julian Assange repeated his claim that Russia was not behind the leak.

He also said a 14-year-old boy could have carried out one of the hacks, on the email account of Hillary Clinton’s aide, John Podesta.

In 2010, several leading Republican figures were calling for Julian Assange to be imprisoned after his website published thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables leaked by former Army Pte. Chelsea Manning.

Donald Trump tweeted twice on January 4 in support of what Julian Assange said on Fox News.

However, the president-elect has previously been critical of the WikiLeaks organization.

When asked by a Fox News reporter in 2010 to comment on leaks, Donald Trump responded: “I think it’s disgraceful, I think there should be like death penalty or something.”

Donald Trump has made a fresh assault on America’s intelligence community.

The president-elect tweeted that an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election – which is said to have benefited Donald Trump – had been delayed.

He wrote: “Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

However, intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.

Image NBC News

Several intelligence agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, releasing embarrassing information through WikiLeaks and other outlets to help Donald Trump win the election.

The president-elect initially dismissed the claims as “ridiculous” but subsequently said he would meet US intelligence chiefs to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said once again on January 3 that Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party in the run-up to the US presidential election.

Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson has agreed he will cut all ties with Exxon Mobil and comply with conflict-of-interest requirements.

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Donald Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin after he ruled out expelling American diplomats, despite a similar move by Washington in response to alleged hacking.

The president-elect tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”

Vladimir Putin had earlier said Russia would not stoop to “irresponsible diplomacy”.

On December 29, Washington expelled 35 diplomats over hacking related to the US election. Moscow denies any involvement.

Donald Trump emphasized his statement on the row by pinning his tweet to the top of his account.

It was unclear exactly what he was referring to with the term “delay”.

Donald Trump has previously dismissed the hacking claims as “ridiculous” and said that Americans should “get on with our lives” when asked about the possibility of sanctions.

However, speaking before Vladimir Putin’s decision, Donald Trump did say he would meet US intelligence chiefs next week to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.

Donald Trump’s senior aide Kellyanne Conway said on December 29: “Even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote <<box in>>President-elect Trump.

“That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here. We can’t help but think that’s often true.”

Under the US action, 35 diplomats from Russia’s Washington embassy and its consulate in San Francisco were given 72 hours to leave the United States with their families; two compounds said to have been used by Russian intelligence services in New York and Maryland were closed.

Sanctions were announced against nine entities and individuals including two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB.

President Barack Obama, who will be replaced by Donald Trump on January 20, had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations that it directed cyber-attacks on the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and from the servers of the DNC – some containing embarrassing information for Democrats – were released during the election campaign.

In a statement on the Kremlin website, President Putin said: “We won’t be expelling anyone.

“We won’t be banning their families and children from the places where they usually spend the New Year holidays. Furthermore, I invite all children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas Tree in the Kremlin.”

Vladimir Putin wished Barack Obama and his family a happy New Year, as well as Donald Trump and “the whole American people”.

The Russian president’s comments rebuffed his foreign ministry which had reportedly suggested expelling 31 American diplomats from Moscow and four from St Petersburg.

The Russian foreign ministry also suggested banning US diplomats from their dachas (holiday homes) in Serebryany Bor near Moscow and a warehouse on Moscow’s Dorozhnaya Street.

There has been no response yet to Vladimir Putin’s move from the Obama administration.

However, Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, described the Russian hacking as an “act of war”, adding: “And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay, so that we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop these kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy.”

John McCain said a lot more needed to be done in response to the hacking, with many sanctions possible.

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President Vladimir Putin has ruled out the eviction of US envoys after the United States expelled 35 Russian diplomats amid a row over hacking.

Vladimir Putin said Russia would not “stoop” to the level of “irresponsible diplomacy” but would work to restore ties with the US under President-elect Donald Trump.

Russia’s foreign ministry had formally asked President Putin to expel 35 US envoys.

The country denies involvement in hacking related to the US election, calling US sanctions “ungrounded”.

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev accused the outgoing US administration of President Obama of ending in “anti-Russian death throes”.

President Obama, who will be replaced by Donald Trump on January 20, had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations that it directed cyber-attacks on the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Image NBC News

Emails stolen from her campaign manager and from the servers of the DNC – some containing embarrassing information for Democrats – were released during the election campaign.

In a statement on the Kremlin website, President Vladimir Putin said: “We won’t be expelling anyone.

“We won’t be banning their families and children from the places where they usually spend the New Year holidays. Furthermore, I invite all children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas Tree in the Kremlin.”

Vladimir Putin wished Barack Obama and his family a happy New Year, as well as Donald Trump and “the whole American people”.

In a message on the presidential website, Vladimir Putin said that, with the accession of Donald Trump, “the two states, acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner, can take real steps for restoration of mechanisms for bilateral co-operation”.

Donald Trump has dismissed the hacking claims as “ridiculous” and said Americans should “get on with our lives” when asked previously about the possibility of sanctions.

However, the president-elect said on December 29 he would meet US intelligence chiefs next week to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.

Russia’s foreign ministry had reportedly suggested expelling 31 US diplomats from Moscow and four from St Petersburg.

It also suggested banning US diplomats from their dachas (holiday homes) in Serebryany Bor near Moscow and a warehouse on Moscow’s Dorozhnaya Street.

According to Russian media, the Russians facing expulsion from the embassy in Washington are struggling to buy plane tickets because flights are full ahead of the New Year holiday.

They will be forced to travel to New York, where their chances of finding plane seats are better, an “informed source” told Interfax news agency.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has denied a report by CNN that Moscow is shutting down a school attended by diplomats’ children.

Maria Zakharova said it was a “lie” that the Anglo-American School faced closure as retaliation.

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Thirty five Russian diplomats have been expelled from the United States as punishment for alleged interference into this year’s presidential election.

The US will also close two Russian compounds used for intelligence-gathering, in Maryland and New York, as part of a raft of retaliatory measures.

President Barack Obama had vowed action against Russia amid accusations it directed hacks against the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Russia has denied any involvement.

The 35 Russian diplomats from the Washington DC embassy and the consulate in San Francisco have been declared “persona non grata” by state department, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the US.

The Russian government is expected to respond in turn by expelling US diplomats.

The state department move follows calls from senior senators to sanction Russian officials who are believed to have played a role in the hacking, which some lawmakers referred to as America’s “political Pearl Harbor”.

President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed the claims as “ridiculous” and said Americans should “get on with our lives” when asked about the possibility of sanctions before the announcement on December 28.

Sanctions have also been announced against nine entities and individuals including the GRU and FSB Russian intelligence agencies.

The US Department of Treasury said that the move targeted those responsible for “undermining election processes or institutions”.

Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, told the RIA news agency the expulsion represented “the death throes of political corpses”.

In a statement President Barack Obama said “all Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions”.

The outgoing president called the moves a “necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests”, adding it would not be “the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities”.

Barack Obama also announced the US would declassify technical information related to Russian cyber activity to “help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities”.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said in a statement that despite the measures being overdue “it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia”.

Paul Ryan added that “it serves as a prime example of this administration’s ineffective foreign policy that has left America weaker in the eyes of the world”.

Maryland Democrat Senator Ben Cardin applauded sanctions against Russia but called them insufficient.

Ben Cardin called for Congress to take action separately from the White House, and plans to introduce legislation to establish a committee “to further examine the attack and Russian’s efforts to interfere in our election”.

In a joint statement by the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Security, and the FBI, officials appeal to companies to “look back within their network traffic” and report any signs of “malicious cyber activity” to law enforcement.

The Russian hacking, which the intelligence agencies describe as a “decade-long campaign” included methods such as “spearphishing, campaigns targeting government organizations, critical infrastructure, think tanks, universities, political organizations, and corporations; theft of information from these organizations; and the recent public release of some of this stolen information”.

Emails stolen from John Podesta and from the servers of the DNC were released during the 2016 presidential election by WikiLeaks.

Several US agencies, including the FBI and CIA have concluded that the hacked information was released to cause damage to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in order to favor Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has won the Electoral College vote being certified as president, despite a last-ditch effort to deny him the White House.

Six weeks after winning the polls, Donald Trump has secured the 270 votes needed to formalize his victory.

Electors had been flooded with emails, letters and phone calls urging them not to support Donald Trump.

The process is usually a formality, but was beset this year by claims Russian hackers tried to sway the public vote.

Texas ultimately put Donald Trump over the 270 threshold, despite two of its electors voting against him.

Photo AP

According to the New York Times, four Democratic electors also cast their votes for someone other than Hillary Clinton.

The result will be officially announced on January 6 in a special joint session of Congress.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence hailed Donald Trump on Twitter as the results came in: “Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump; officially elected President of the United States today by the Electoral College!”

The movement to block Donald Trump had fought hard to convince Republican electors to abandon their party’s candidate.

Thousands of anti-Trump protesters had gathered at state capitols across the country.

In Pennsylvania, over 200 demonstrators braved sub-zero temperatures, chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” and “No treason, no Trump!'”

In Maine, protesters beat drums and waved signs saying, “Don’t let Putin Pick Our President,” – a reference to allegations that Kremlin-backed hackers tried to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has claimed his campaign email account was hacked by Russians.

Sen. Lindsey Graham also told CNN that he believed “the Russians” hacked into the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and accused them of trying to “destabilize democracy all over the world”.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied hacking accusations.

Donald Trump rejected a CIA report that Russian hackers tried to sway the election in his favor.

Also this week, NBC News reported that US intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in a covert Russian campaign to interfere in November’s presidential election.

The attack targeted emails of the Democratic Party and of Hillary Clinton’s aide, John Podesta. The contents, passed to WikiLeaks and posted online, were embarrassing to the Democrats and shook up the presidential campaign.

The NBC report, quoting two unnamed senior officials, says that new intelligence shows how the hacked material was leaked and used.

According to the NBC report, the operation began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton before becoming “an effort to show corruption in American politics and split off key American allies”.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Lindsey Graham, a member of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CNN that “we were told by the FBI in August that we were hacked in June”.

He said: “I do believe the Russians hacked into the [DNC]. I do believe they hacked into [John] Podesta’s email account. They hacked into my campaign account.”

Lindsey Graham also said that he believed that “all the information released publicly hurt Clinton and didn’t hurt Trump.”

However, he stressed that the outcome of the election was not in doubt.

“I think Hillary Clinton lost because she wasn’t an agent of change and she tried to disqualify Trump and she wasn’t able to do it.”

He added that this was not “a Republican or Democratic issue” and must be tackled on a bipartisan basis.

Lindsey Graham accused Russia of attempting to destabilize democracy: “We should tell the Russians that on no uncertain terms, you interfere in our elections, we don’t care why, we’re going to hit you and hit you hard, we’re going to introduce sanctions.”

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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.

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Donald Trump has rejected as “ridiculous” a CIA assessment that Russian hackers tried to sway the US election in his favor.

The president-elect told Fox News the Democrats were putting out the reports because they were embarrassed at the scale of the election defeat.

On December 9, CIA officials told media they had concluded that Russians hackers were trying to help Donald Trump.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied the hacking accusations.

Donald Trump said it might have been Russia but it was impossible to know.

“They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody sitting in a bed some place,” he said.Donald Trump hails Brexit referendum result

President Barack Obama has ordered a complete review of the hacks, which targeted emails at the DNC and the emails of John Podesta, a key aide to presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

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

Senior Republicans have now joined Democrats in calling for a full investigation.

Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a joint statement on December 11 with top Democrats that the CIA’s report “should alarm every American”.

John McCain said in an interview that the congressional investigation should be more thorough than the one ordered by the White House.

In October, US government officials pointed the finger at Russia, accusing it of meddling in the campaign to undermine the electoral process.

On December 9, the intelligence community went further when media reports said the CIA had “high confidence” that Russians were trying to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Russians had hacked the Republican Party but chose not to reveal the contents of what they found, the reports said.

Donald Trump told Fox News on December 11: “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.”

The president-elect said the Democrats were behind the news reports, not the CIA, because they suffered such a big defeat.

While backing the Obama review, Donald Trump warned that it should not pin the blame solely on Russia but on other countries or individuals too.

GOP spokesman Sean Spicer said the party had not been hacked and the intelligence report was wrong.

Donald Trump also said in the interview he did not need daily intelligence briefings.

“I’m a smart person, I don’t need to be told the same thing in the same way for eight years.”