It’s a busy week in the transition, with news planned and unplanned. Here’s what’s going on:
Does Russia have compromising information about President-elect Donald Trump?
The classified intelligence report delivered to Trump and President Obama last week contained unverified allegations that it does, CNN first reported Tuesday. Trump dismissed the allegations Tuesday night, calling them “fake news,” but the story is gaining steam and seems poised to overshadow Wednesday’s spate of transition events.
TRUMP, OBAMA BRIEFED ON RUSSIA CLAIMS
The classified intelligence report delivered to Obama and Trump last week about Russian interference in the election contained a section summarizing allegations that Russian intelligence services have compromising information on Trump’s personal life and finances, officials told The Post.
While the claims are not verified, the allegation “adds a disturbing new dimension to existing concerns about Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy,” our colleagues wrote, and if true, means Russia could possibly use its information to coerce the next U.S. president.
Here’s how Trump responded on Twitter:
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Expect plenty of talk about the allegations at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson on Capitol Hill, which begins at 9:15 a.m. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), nominated to be attorney general, has the second day of his Judiciary Committee hearing starting at 9:30 a.m. Finally, transportation secretary nominee Elaine L. Chao goes before the Senate Commerce Committee at 10:15 a.m.
That’s just Congress’s schedule. In New York, Trump is scheduled to hold his first news conference since last summer starting at 11 a.m. It’ll be a major test for the president-elect.
Keep up with all the confirmation hearing details here at The Post.
SESSIONS, KELLY UNDERGO HEARINGS
Sessions’s first day of hearings before the Judiciary Committee was the dominant story of the afternoon, as the longtime Alabama politician vowed not to let his personal views interfere with his enforcement of the law. For example, the ultraconservative Sessions said he would abide by the Supreme Court decisions underpinning abortion rights and same-sex marriage and recuse himself from any investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, Trump’s nominee for Homeland Security secretary, struck a markedly different tone than the president-elect, urging more outreach to Muslims and downplaying the likelihood of immediate construction of a southern border wall.
KENNEDY, VACCINE SKEPTIC, TO LEAD PANEL?
Doctors cringed Tuesday when Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a proponent of the widely discredited theory that vaccines cause autism, told reporters that Trump asked him to chair a new commission on vaccine safety.
While a spokeswoman for Trump’s transition said no final decision has been made, Kennedy’s remark that Trump has “some doubts about the current vaccine policies” points to another potential source of controversy for the new administration.