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Trump Meets with Homeland Security Head, Tweets about DNC Hacking

  • VOA News

President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally at the Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 16, 2016.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met Friday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, days after the state of Georgia asked the incoming president to investigate "failed cyberattacks" on a computer network that have been traced to DHS.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose agency oversees voting in the state, said DHS was responsible for multiple cyberattacks on his agency's network shortly before and after the November 8 presidential election.

After an initial review of the matter, Johnson said a federal contractor was routinely assessing the network to determine whether new contractors and employees were properly licensed.

United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, exits an elevator at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, Dec. 16, 2016.
United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, exits an elevator at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, Dec. 16, 2016.

Early Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter again, this time in an apparent attempt to de-emphasize Russia's involvement in the U.S. presidential election by suggesting the attacks on Democratic National Committee servers were beneficial to the United States.

"Are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that the head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?" Trump asked.

The Twitter post was an apparent reference to an email that was stolen from the DNC and published by WikiLeaks. The email, from interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile, included a question that was shared with Hillary Clinton's campaign before her televised primary election debate with then-Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders.

Infrastructure rebuilding

Separately, in remarks before a group of New York business leaders Friday morning, the president-elect's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, said Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure rebuilding plan was more consistent with Democratic Senator Charles Schumer's than with Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's. Schumer and other Democrats have said they favor a plan with lots of direct federal spending instead of tax credits for wealthy developers.

FILE - Vice President-elect Mike Pence, second from left, and Jared Kushner, son in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, right, depart Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 7, 2016.
FILE - Vice President-elect Mike Pence, second from left, and Jared Kushner, son in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, right, depart Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 7, 2016.

McConnell said earlier this week he was opposed to a "trillion-dollar stimulus" to finance an infrastructure improvement program, potentially setting the stage for a confrontation with the incoming Trump administration.

Meetings and thank-yous

Trump, meanwhile, was also meeting Friday with his incoming national security adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, billionaire securities trader Vincent Viola, singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli and presidential inauguration adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.

The president-elect resumed his "thank you" tour with a visit Friday evening in Orlando, Florida. He will attend a rally in Mobile, Alabama, Saturday afternoon before flying to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where a transition spokesman said Trump will host additional meetings and spend the Christmas holiday with his family.

Top posts

In continuing to fill his Cabinet and top leadership posts, Trump officially nominated bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as ambassador to Israel. Friedman has expressed his opposition to a key tenet of U.S. policy in the region: the two-state solution of an Israeli and Palestinian state living peacefully side by side.

"This is another like-minded individual who shares the same viewpoints" as the president-elect, said Trump’s spokesman, Jason Miller, in a conference call with reporters.

Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney will also be nominated Monday to head the White House Office of Management and Budget, a senior Trump transition official said Friday.

The post of OMB director, who assists the president in preparing a federal budget reflecting the administration's legislative priorities, requires Senate confirmation.

Mulvaney, 49, represents the southeastern state of South Carolina and is known as a fiscal conservative.

Trump also nominated Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana as interior secretary Thursday.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, is a proponent of keeping public lands under federal ownership. That position would put him at odds with those in the Republican Party who favor privatization, or placing federal lands under the control of states. Zinke's position is on par with Trump, who also has said he does not think public land should be placed under state control.

Many environmental groups oppose Zinke, who has advocated for increased energy drilling and mining on public lands and has expressed skepticism about the urgency of climate change.

The Interior Department has more than 70,000 employees across the United States and oversees more than 20 percent of federal land, including national parks.

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