President-elect Trump promised new revelations about Russian hacking this week
The new Congress will be sworn in, and President Obama will visit Democrats
President-elect Donald Trump claims to have inside information on Russia’s meddling in the United States’ election – and promises to reveal it “Tuesday or Wednesday.”
At a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-A-Lago estate, a tuxedoed Trump maintained that another culprit aside from Russia could have been behind the election intrusion.”It could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation,” he said.
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Asked to describe what undisclosed information he knew, Trump said: “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
The latest developments in Trump’s denial of the American intelligence community’s assessment – widely accepted by both Democrats and Republicans – that Russia hacked Democratic operatives’ emails in a bid to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton will be among the leading political stories this week, as Trump’s transition efforts resume and a new Congress is sworn in.
Here are five other political stories to watch this week:
Trump vs. the GOP on Russia
The Russia hacks aren’t just driving a wedge between Trump and the Obama administration.
Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are backing Obama’s moves last week to sanction Russia, and are calling for legislation to add even more sanctions on top of those announced by the White House.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, will hold a hearing on cyberthreats and the election-related hacking Thursday.
The issue could set the tone for relations between Trump and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
New Congress kicks off
The newly elected Congress will begin its work Tuesday at noon with a vote to officially re-elect Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as House speaker.
Several new faces will appear in Congress, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and former Republican Florida governor and Senate candidate Charlie Crist, who is set to become a Democratic congressman. So will Florida’s Brian Mast, a Republican and Army veteran who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan.
An old face, meanwhile, will appear in the Senate. Vice President Joe Biden will be back in the body where he spent more than three decades to swear in new senators, including California’s Kamala Harris and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, who replaces retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
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The Senate will quickly move toward confirmation battles over Trump’s nominees – with Democrats complaining that nominees aren’t submitting materials they’ve requested, including their financial information and shouldn’t get hearings and votes until those are provided.
House Republicans, meanwhile, will condemn the Obama administration’s handling of a United Nations vote on Israeli settlements on the West Bank. And House Democrats are opposing a GOP-backed rule change that would impose new fines for members who break rules of decorum. It’s an effort to stop Democrats from using platforms such as Periscope and Meerkat to live-stream sit-ins on the House floor, as they did last year.
Obamacare strategy session
President Barack Obama will make an unusual trip for a lame-duck president – visiting Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to meet with congressional Democrats and discuss how to fight Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is set to push the repeal of Obama’s signature domestic achievement in the first week of the new Congress.
Democrats, meanwhile, face a defining moment in the early stages of the Trump era: If party members pledge not to help the GOP pass any replacement, it would place enormous pressure on Trump and congressional Republicans to come up with a way to keep 20 million Americans insured – and get Congress to approve such a program.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will hold a conference call with House Democrats Monday on Obamacare.
What else can Obama get done before leaving office? He’s still working toward closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and could make additional pardons. His farewell speech will also be formally announced Monday.
Filling out the Cabinet
After a holiday getaway at his Mar-A-Lago estate, Trump has several cabinet positions left to fill.
He’s expected to soon announce his choices for secretary of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture.
Other key roles remain unfilled, as well – including solicitor general, where top aide Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway is reportedly a candidate, as well as Director of National Intelligence and deputy secretary of state.
Trump to give deposition
Trump will attempt to conclude a piece of older business this week with a deposition at Trump Tower this week.
The deposition comes as part of Trump’s legal battle with the chef Jose Andres.
Andres was supposed to launch a restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel in Washington. But after Trump’s attacks on Mexicans as he began his presidential campaign in June 2015, Andres withdrew, and Trump sued him for breach of contract.
CNN’s Steve Brusk, Deirdre Walsh and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
This story has been updated.