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Obama punts on Russian interference in 2016 election

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At a Friday afternoon press conference in the White House’s Brady Briefing Room, President Barack Obama said that he hopes President-elect Trump will vigorously pursue investigations into Russian tampering in the 2016 election.

The president began by touting his record at home and abroad and by saying that after everything the U.S. has accomplished in the last eight years, “I could not be prouder to be your president.”

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“Being an American means bearing burdens and meeting obligations to others,” he said, and assured the throng of media present that the U.S. will continue to meet its obligations to its allies around the world.

“We have done everything we can to ensure” that the Trump transition team will be successful, he said.

Obama said that he hopes that President-elect Trump will vigorously pursue investigations into the hacking of the 2016 election.

He said that the reason that the current administration did not pursue questions about the integrity of the election prior to the election is because it would have done the leakers’ work for them.

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In our current “hyper-partisan” environment, he said, to pursue action against the hackers would have become “just another political scrum.”

“There was nobody here who didn’t have some sense of what kind of effect it might have,” he said. “I’m finding it a little curious that you guys are suddenly talking about how it disadvantaged Hillary Clinton” when the media ran with the stories so eagerly.

He expressed bafflement that such an important election became vulnerable to “these kinds of manipulations.”

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“That concerns me and it should concern all of us,” he said, “but the truth of the matter is that we all had the information that was out there.”

He said this brings up two major points:

The first is the need for constant vigilance with regard to cyber security. Our infrastructure and, yes, elections are vulnerable and the country needs to take on a systematic plan to defend them.

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We should also, he said, “warn other countries against these kinds of attacks.”

He said that some measures taken against the Russians will be public, but others will not be visible to the public at large.

“Public shaming” on the matter, he said, fails to understand how the Russians view the situation.

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Obama was addressing reports by intelligence groups that Russian state actors subverted the U.S. election process through cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns and other means.

The president spoke to the press before he and the First Family were to depart for Hawaii on their annual Christmas trip. It is their last Christmas in the White House.


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‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor

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On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.

"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."

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‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid

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On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."

Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:

CORRECTION:

I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.

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‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado

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The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.

Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.

It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.

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