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No proof Russian hacking influenced U.S. election: Trump spokesman

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Chief Strategist & Communications Director for the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer arrives in the lobby of Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

No evidence has emerged to suggest Russian hacking influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and it would be irresponsible to jump to conclusions before receiving a final intelligence report, Donald Trump’s spokesman said on Monday.

“There is zero evidence that they influenced the election,” Sean Spicer told Fox News.

Due to become White House press secretary when Trump enters the White House on Jan. 20, Spicer told CNN the president-elect would see the intelligence report once it was completed later this week. On Saturday, Trump warned against being quick to pin the blame on Russia for the hacking of U.S. emails.

“The idea that we’re jumping to conclusions before we have a final report is irresponsible,” Spicer told CNN.

President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies last week for alleged Kremlin involvement in hacking that intelligence officials said aimed to help the Republican Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.

Leading lawmakers from both parties have voiced alarm at the suggestion of Russian interference, whether or not it made a difference in the outcome.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has scheduled a Thursday hearing on foreign cyber threats. The new Congress, elected on Nov. 8, takes office on Tuesday.

Calling for closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump has repeatedly played down the hacking affair.

Over the weekend Trump said he knew “things that other people don’t know” and would disclose some information on the issue on Tuesday or Wednesday. He gave no further detail.

“He’s going to talk about his conclusions and where he thinks things stand,” Spicer told CNN. “He’s not going to reveal anything that was privileged or shared with him classified.”

On Sunday Spicer said the White House may have disproportionately punished Russia.

“It’s baffling,” U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Monday. “President-elect Trump does not have any better information than President Obama.”

A Gallup Poll released on Monday showed less than half of Americans were confident in Trump’s ability to handle an international crisis, to use military force wisely or to prevent major scandals in his administration.

The poll said at least seven in 10 Americans were confident in presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in those areas before they took office.

(Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Trump says he should have left UCLA players in jail in China

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about his recent trip to Asia in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday upbraided the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players who had been detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting, tweeting he “should have left them in jail!”

Trump’s comments on Twitter came the day after LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, downplayed Trump’s involvement in the three athletes’ release.

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” the president tweeted.

Hours after the first tweet, Trump posted again on Twitter, saying Chinese officials told the students why they had been released.

“Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump wrote in the second tweet.

The three players from the University of California, Los Angeles, apologized last week and thanked Trump for helping secure their release by raising the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit.

All three players have been suspended indefinitely from the UCLA basketball team.

But LaVar Ball told the ESPN TV network on Saturday: “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” referring to Trump.

The White House declined to comment on Sunday on the president’s tweet. Attempts to reach LaVar Ball for comment were unsuccessful. Ball has stirred controversy with comments promoting the careers of his three basketball-playing sons, including Los Angeles Lakers rookie and former UCLA star Lonzo Ball.

The Republican president, while finishing up a 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia, said he had sought the help of the Chinese president in the case.

“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump told reporters in Manila last week, while describing Xi’s response as “terrific.”

The three players – Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – admitted to stealing items from three stores during a team trip to China. Before they thanked Trump on Wednesday for intervening with Xi, Trump had wondered whether they would express gratitude to him.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Trump’s remarks on Sunday provoked strong reactions on Twitter, including from one Democratic lawmaker who accused the president of personal pettiness.

“The President would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn’t lavish sufficient praise on him. How can someone in such a big office be so small?” U.S. Representative Adam Schiff wrote on Twitter.

Reporting by Ginger Gibson, Valerie Volcovici and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney

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Trump brags of his five-nation Asia tour as a “tremendous success”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017


In a televised speech, US President Donald Trump bragged his five-nation Asia tour as a tremendous success claiming America is back as a global leader.

“The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over. Other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves,” said Trump.

Trump returned on Tuesday night, from a tour that took him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The president claimed to have won agreement from countries in the region to exert “maximum pressure” on North Korea in its development of nuclear weapons in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

He also mentioned of other accomplishments that resulted from his meeting with ASEAN and other partner countries such as paving the way for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, and insisted on “free and reciprocal” trade relations with the Pacific Rim.

“At ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, we made it clear that no one owns the ocean. Freedom of navigation and overflight are critical to the security and prosperity of all nations,” said the US president.

On his trip to the Philippines, Trump vowed to deepen the US ties with the Philippines and preserve the long-standing alliance the following rift from his predecessor, citing the US help during the war in Marawi City.

“During our visit, President Duterte of the Philippines thanked the American people and our armed forces for supporting the recent liberation of Marawi from ISIS,” said Trump. — Reuters

 

 

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Lower House of Parliament approve legislation on media “foreign agents”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Russia’s Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday approved a bill that would give Moscow the power to force foreign media to brand the news they provide and also to disclose where they get their funding.

The legislation is part of the fallout from allegations that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. presidential election last year in favor of Donald Trump.

“They have declared a hybrid war against us and we have to answer to that in an integral way. They remove our flags from embassies. They do everything to humiliate our athletes. They have adopted a law on sanctions under which they try to dismantle our commodities-based complex which is the main currency production unit of the country,” said Gennady Zyuganov, a Communist party leader.

Under the 2012 law, “foreign agents” have to include in any information they publish or broadcast to Russian audiences a mention of their “foreign agent” designation.

They also have to apply for inclusion in a government register, submit regular reports on their sources of funding, on their objectives, on how they spend their money, and who their managers are.

They can be subject to spot checks by the authorities to make sure they comply with the rules, according to the 2012 law.

“We were forced to adopt these change [to the law]. This is not a directly applicable law. It gives an opportunity and a right to the ministry of justice of Russian Federation – after the law comes into force – to register the media as foreign agents. This norm is now applicable only and exclusively to the media of the United States which work in the media space of the Russian Federation. We are not talking about any other countries,” said Yevgeny Revenko, a member of parliament.

Putin has been fiercely critical of U.S. measures towards Russian media, but he has not given wholehearted support to the draft legislation, saying at the weekend it “might be a little too harsh”. — Reuters

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