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Obama Dismisses Russia in Final Press Conference, China Seizes U.S. Drone and More You Missed In Politics Today

by Countable | 12.16.16

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. "Obama dismisses Russia as a ‘weaker country’"

"As tensions build between the U.S. and the Kremlin over election-related hacking, President Barack Obama on Friday dismissed Russia as a “smaller," “weaker country” that does not “produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms,” but warned that it could pose a serious threat if Americans “abandon” democratic values.”

"Responding to intelligence reports that Russia sought to disrupt the presidential election through cyberattacks, Obama was harsh in his assessment of the Kremlin: “The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us," he said at his end-of-year press conference on Friday. “They are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don't innovate.””

Read more at Politico.

2. "U.S. Demands Return of Survey Drone Taken by Chinese in South China Sea"

"The U.S. on Friday demanded the return of an underwater survey drone the Pentagon said was snatched by a Chinese navy vessel shadowing a U.S. Navy oceanographic survey ship in the South China Sea."

"“It’s ours, it was clearly marked, we want it back, and we don’t want this to happen again," said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

3. "FBI backs CIA view that Russia intervened to help Trump win election"

FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the presidency, according to U.S. officials.

Comey’s support for the CIA’s conclusion — and officials say that he never changed his position — suggests that the leaders of the three agencies are in agreement on Russian intentions, contrary to suggestions by some lawmakers that the FBI disagreed with the CIA.

Read more at The Washington Post.

4. "Trump picks a supporter of West Bank settlements for ambassador to Israel"

"President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will nominate New York bankruptcy lawyer David M. Friedman as his ambassador to Israel, saying in a statement issued by his transition office that Friedman’s “strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission."”

"Friedman said in the statement that he would work “tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries . . . and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem."”

Read more at The Washington Post.

You can tell your Senators whether to support or oppose his nomination using the "Take Action" button.

5. "Clinton Says ‘Personal Beef’ by Putin Led to Hacking Attacks"

"Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the hacking attacks carried out by Russia against her campaign and the Democratic National Committee were intended “to undermine our democracy" and were ordered by Vladimir V. Putin “because he has a personal beef against me.”

"Speaking to a group of donors in Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Putin, the Russian president, had never forgiven her for the accusation she made in 2011, when she was secretary of state, that parliamentary elections his country held that year were rigged."

Read more at The New York Times.

— Eric Revell

Countable

Written by Countable

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