News Wrap: Top U.S. intelligence official addresses Trump criticism over Russia hacking

In our news wrap Thursday, the nation’s top intelligence official James Clapper told senators in a hearing he has “very high confidence” that Russia hacked Democratic Party computers in a bid to interfere with the U.S. election. Also, it was widely reported that former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats is the president-elect’s choice to be the next director of National Intelligence.

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    The director of national intelligence says he has — quote — "very high confidence" that Russia hacked Democratic Party computers in a bid to interfere with the U.S. election.

    James Clapper spoke at a Senate hearing today with Admiral Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency. He also addressed President-elect Trump's criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies.


    Who actually is the benefactor of someone who is about to become the commander in chief trashing the intelligence community?

    JAMES CLAPPER, Director of National Intelligence: I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policy-makers, to include policy-maker number one, should always have for intelligence, but I think there's a difference between skepticism and disparagement.


    Clapper confirmed that President Obama has now received a final report on the issue.

    Meanwhile, it was widely reported that former Indiana Senator Dan Coats is the president-elect's choice for the next director of national intelligence.

    Mr. Trump also walked back from his criticism of intelligence agencies. He tweeted — quote — "The media lies to make it look like I'm against intelligence, when, in fact, I'm a big fan."


    In Turkey, a senior official says police are closing in on the gunman who killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve. The deputy prime minister said today he's likely a member of the Muslim Uighur minority in China and part of a specialized terror cell.

    Meanwhile, in Iraq, new bombings killed at least 27 people today in Baghdad.


    The Obama administration released four more prisoners from Guantanamo today. That's despite President-elect Trump's vow to keep the military prison open. Those released were from Yemen, and had been held more than 14 years, but never charged. They were sent to Saudi Arabia; 35 inmates remain at Guantanamo.


    The battle over the fate of Obamacare's had President-elect Trump firing barbs today at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump criticized Democrats in general and branded Schumer the — quote — "head clown."

    The New York senator answered during a morning news conference.

  • SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, Minority Leader:

    I would say to the president-elect and the Republicans that this is not a time for calling names. It's time for them to step up to the plate if they want to repeal and show us what they'd replace it with.


    Vice President Biden also commented, and you will see that shortly in our interview.

    Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan said today that Republicans plan to act this year on both repealing and replacing the president's health care law.


    An assault in Chicago that was live-streamed on Facebook drew national attention today. Police charged four black suspects with hate crimes against a mentally challenged white male. The video showed the victim being threatened with a knife and shoved down. He was later beaten and forced to drink from a toilet. As the attack progressed, the assailants yelled obscenities about whites and President-elect Trump.


    President Obama is touting progress on criminal justice reform during his tenure and urging more. He wrote about it today in The Harvard Law Review and said — quote — "How we treat citizens who make mistakes, pay their debt to society reflects who we are as a people."

    Mr. Obama served as The Law Review's first black president in 1990.


    On Wall Street today, big banks and department stores struggled, but online retailer Amazon surged. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 43 points to close at 19899. The Nasdaq rose almost 11 points to a new record close, and the S&P 500 slipped a point.


    And there's word that living near a lot of traffic could make you more prone to dementia. A Canadian study found the risk is 7 percent greater for people living within 55 yards of high-traffic roads. Researchers say that it could come from breathing the pollution in car exhaust fumes. The findings appear in the medical journal "The Lancet."

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