Politics

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks on Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, during the signing ceremony for the 21st Century Cures Act. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) With less than hour to spare, the Senate late Friday backed legislation averting a government shutdown as coal-state Democrats retreated on long-term health care benefits for retired miners and promised a renewed fight for the working class next year. The 63-36 vote sent the stop-gap spending bill to President Barack Obama, who signed the measure early Saturday morning. The Senate also passed and sent the president a $10 billion water bill with money to respond to lead-tainted drinking water in Michigan and drought in California. The vote was 78-21. The votes came hours after Democrats dropped threats to block the spending measure in hopes of using the shutdown deadline to try to win a one-year respite for 16,500 miners facing the loss of health care benefits …

WASHINGTON The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that as the 2016 presidential campaign drew on, Russian government officials devoted increasing attention to assisting Donald Trump’s effort to win the election, the U.S. official familiar with the finding told Reuters on Friday night on condition of anonymity. Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post reported on Friday that intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he …

WASHINGTON The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks. The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton’s chances of winning the election. “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,” the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.” The Post said the …

WASHINGTON/PARIS Key U.S. allies in Europe are quietly expressing concern over President-elect Donald Trump’s approach to Syria, warning that his pledge to work more closely with Russia, Damascus’ main backer, will do little to diminish the terrorist threat emanating from Syria. The diplomatic persuasion campaign has taken on new importance in recent days as the Syrian army, backed by Russia, Iran and Shi’ite militias, appears poised to retake all of Aleppo city in a major defeat for Western-backed rebels. Moscow and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are expected to cast Aleppo’s fall as the end of a revolt against Assad that began in March 2011, although Western analysts predict the civil war, which has killed more than 300,000 people and made more than half of Syrians homeless, will continue, perhaps for years. Western diplomats, who described discussions with Trump advisers on condition of anonymity, said their message was that a U.S. alliance with Russia, and by …

GENEVA The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to expand Obamacare and ensure all Americans have access to healthcare. The real estate magnate takes office next month after promising to repeal outgoing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy which helped millions more Americans get medical insurance but has been a target of Republican attacks. Agnes Soucat, the WHO’s director of health system governance and financing, said there were various ways of providing health cover to more people, and it amounted to “political choices.” “We as the WHO really encourage the new administration to make sure that the social contract is expanded and that all U.S. citizens have access to health care,” Soucat told a news briefing in Geneva. The United States is the only country among the 35 member states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) not to provide universal health care, a key U.N. Sustainable Development …

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, were meeting on Friday to discuss their policy agenda, a spokeswoman for Ryan said. The spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, gave no details. Officials in Trump’s team said the meeting was taking place but did not elaborate. Differences between Ryan and Trump during the presidential campaign have given way to a working relationship as the Republican president-elect prepares to take office on Jan. 20. Ryan, the top House Republican, has said the two men speak almost every day. Trump has been meeting with experts, advisers and candidates for senior positions in his administration since winning the Nov. 8 election. He has nominated a dozen people already. He has yet to fill the position of secretary of state. The long list of possible candidates for that job now includes former Ford Motor Co (F.N) CEO Alan Mulally, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway …

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK U.S. President-elect Donald Trump pumped a total of $66 million of his own money into his campaign – far from the $100 million he frequently boasted he was going to spend, according to campaign finance disclosures filed on Thursday night. Trump-related business industries – those bearing his own name, including his private jet and the Manhattan building that served as his campaign headquarters – received $11 million in payments from his campaign. Trump shocked the political world when he defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election for the White House, overcoming a spending deficit and outperforming polls in several swing states to propel him to victory. Earlier this week, Trump’s campaign revealed that he sold his entire stock portfolio in June, a holding that was estimated at about $40 million. Opting to liquidate his assets could have been a move to pump cash into his campaign, which at the time …

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich./WASHINGTON When President-elect Donald Trump returns to this factory town on Friday for a victory celebration, he will find a region that is already experiencing the manufacturing renaissance he promised on the campaign trail. With local factories employing more workers than any time since the late 1990s, assembly line jobs are not hard to find. Those that pay a decent wage, however, are harder to come by. “We can barely make ends meet and we’re stuck going nowhere,” said auto parts worker Michael Baum, 22, as he smoked a cigarette in the parking lot of a Family Dollar discount store. Trump won the White House thanks to strong support from workers in Midwestern cities like Grand Rapids who have seen their living standards erode as the United States shed manufacturing jobs. He beat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by a margin of 14 percent in the four counties that make up the Grand Rapids …

WASHINGTON Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called “fake news” a danger that must be addressed quickly, in a rare public appearance on Thursday, a month after she lost the presidential election in a campaign marked by a flood of such propaganda. “We must stand up for our democracy,” Clinton said during a tribute to retiring Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, referring to what she called “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.” Clinton urged action from both the private and public sectors to combat the false reports. “It’s now clear that so-called ‘fake news’ can have real-world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities,” she said. Clinton herself has been a target of fake news, with internet postings claiming that a …

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