TRUMP TRANSITION WATCH: “A distressing slap in the face”
From NBC’s Robert Windrem and Alex Johnson: “President-elect Donald Trump's dismissal of U.S. intelligence findings that Russia tried to sway the presidential election is a distressing slap in the face to the intelligence community, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said Sunday. Trump on Sunday repeated his rejection of the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia actively worked to help him win the election, calling the idea "ridiculous" in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." The comment, like others that Trump made during the campaign, "is contrary to all that is sacred to national security professionals who work day and night to protect this country," a U.S. intelligence official told NBC News.”
The New York Times writes: “American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign. But they had conflicting views about the specific goals of the subterfuge… The C.I.A.’s conclusion does not appear to be the product of specific new intelligence obtained since the election, several American officials, including some who had read the agency’s briefing, said on Sunday. Rather, it was an analysis of what many believe is overwhelming circumstantial evidence — evidence that others feel does not support firm judgments — that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump, and got their desired outcome. It is unclear why the C.I.A. did not produce this formal assessment before the election, although several officials said that parts of it had been made available to President Obama in the presidential daily briefing in the weeks before the vote. But the conclusion that Moscow ran an operation to help install the next president is one of the most consequential analyses by American spy agencies in years.”
The Washington Post outlines the differing opinions between the FBI and CIA about Russia’s potential motives in the hack.
Key Republicans are joining with Democrats in asking for a probe of Russian intervention, but GOP leaders still aren’t weighing in.
John Bolton called the election season hacks a possible “false flag” conducted by the Obama administration.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported over the weekend that ExxonMobil head Rex Tillerson is Trump’s top candidate for the State Department, although Trump’s team insists that no announcement is official yet.
Writes the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Tillerson has known Mr. Putin since he represented Exxon’s interests in Russia during the regime of Boris Yeltsin. In a sign of the close relationship, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson after he struck a 2011 deal that gave Exxon access to prized Arctic resources and allowed Russia state oil company OAO Rosneft to invest in Exxon concessions around the world. Mr. Tillerson’s past opposition to sanctions on Russia is likely to trigger blowback among Senate Republicans, many of whom have rejected Mr. Trump’s more conciliatory stance toward the country and its president.”
The AP: “China said Monday that it had "serious concern" about President-elect Donald Trump's most recent comments about Taiwan, and warned that any changes to how America deals with the self-governing island could damage diplomatic ties between Washington and Beijing.”
The New York Times profiles Donald McGahn, Trump’s pick for White House counsel.
Trump’s selection of KT McFarland for deputy national security adviser is underscoring worries about his national security team, POLITICO writes.
TRUMP AGENDA: No daily intel briefings needed
Donald Trump once slammed Obama for skipping the daily intel briefings he now says he doesn’t need.
Another thing Trump voters have in common? A lower life expectancy.
“Republicans on Capitol Hill are already laying the groundwork for a rapid repeal of President Obama’s signature health-care law beginning on the first day of the new Congress, before President-elect Donald Trump is even sworn in,” writes the Washington Post. “But the urgent efforts to make good on a Republican campaign promise six years in the making obscure major GOP divisions over what exactly to replace Obamacare with and how to go about it, and how long a transition period to allow before the law’s insurance would go away.”
And there’s this: “Boeing Speaks in Trump Terms on Iran Deal: It’s About Jobs”
ICYMI: Trump spent $3 million on his own family business in the final weeks of the 2016 race.
Miss Meet the Press? Here’s this week’s ComPRESSed.
Finally, congratulations to our good friend, GOP pollster Micah Roberts, for being promoted to partner at Public Opinion Strategies. “Since January 2010, Roberts has managed The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll and is the Republican half of the bi-partisan team that conducts polling on economic trends for CNBC. Roberts frequently appears on cable news shows to discuss the findings from these polls,” per a release by Public Opinion Strategies.