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HUFFPOST HILL - Trump/Schumer Diss Contest A Surprise Letdown

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John McCain will create a cybersecurity committee just as soon as his grandchild can come over and free up some room on his Gateway 2000 by deleting Flight Simulator 95. Congressional Republicans plan to hold six confirmation hearings on the same day, because purple smoke pellets aren’t an option in making a nominee’s unpalatable record disappear. And Paul Ryan responded to Democratic attacks on President-elect Trump’s victory by noting Russia didn’t “put the stuff on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.” It reminded us that Paul Ryan’s desktop is likely comprised entirely of Laffer Curve gifs, photos of himself wearing a tie to school in second grade and a Kazaa download folder only containing a file titled slapshotmoviefull(4).avi. This is HUFFPOST HILL ― clearly having a lot of thoughts about mid-90s-to-early 2000s computers ― for Thursday, January 5th, 2016:

LA LA LA LA LA LOOK OVER THERE LA LA LA LA - Or they could save the Senate a hectic day and just ensure that Donald Trump tweets every day between now and March. Igor Bobic: “The Senate is set to hold confirmation hearings next week for six of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees. On the same day. The nominees preparing to go in front of the Senate on Wednesday are: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) for CIA director, Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general, John Kelly for secretary of homeland security, and Elaine Chao for secretary of transportation. Trump is also scheduled to hold a long-awaited press conference that day ― his first since the November election. The president-elect will undoubtedly make news by addressing a number of backlogged issues, including his ongoing feud with the intelligence community over Russia’s meddling in the election and the matter of his business conflicts.” [HuffPost]

Senate Democrats are trying to make a villain out of kindly country doctor/day trader/congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services. Also, Paul Ryan said he plans to defund Planned Parenthood in the House’s Obamacare repeal bill.

Random transition scenes: One Senate office getting a request from the transition for a meeting with a Cabinet nominee that was addressed to the wrong senator. In a less disturbing development, Trump’s pick for Labor, Andrew Puzder, was spotted eating at the Senate’s worst eatery, Inside Scoop.

RUSSIA HACKING REPORT DUE - Jessica Schulberg: “The intelligence community plans to release an unclassified report early next week, detailing its findings on Russian cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the 2016 presidential election. Last month, President Barack Obama ordered a full review of foreign hacking efforts aimed at interfering with U.S. elections dating back to 2008, asking that it be completed before he leaves office. Intelligence officials plan to brief lawmakers on the full classified version of its findings next week, in addition to testifying at public hearings, outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday. The report will build on an Oct. 7 joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, which concluded that the Russian government had directed a widely publicized hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails. ‘We stand more resolutely on the strength of that statement’ than ever before, Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.” [HuffPost]

Guess we’ll learn how easily the intelligence services can be gaslighted: “Donald Trump described himself as a ‘big fan’ of intelligence agencies despite casting doubt on their findings that Moscow orchestrated the hacks. ‘The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange - wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people...to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!’ [Trump tweeted]. Trump is due to be briefed by intelligence agency chiefs on Friday on hacks that targeted the Democratic Party. President Barack Obama will be briefed on Thursday.” [Reuters’ Dustin Volz and Patricia Zengerle]

Oooohhhh snap: “A day after calling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a ‘sycophant for Russia,’ House Speaker Paul Ryan said it’s clear Moscow tried to meddle in the U.S. presidential election — but that wasn’t the reason for President-elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory in November. ‘He won fair and square,’ Ryan said during a Thursday press briefing in Washington. ‘He won clearly and convincingly. Russia didn’t tell Hillary Clinton not to go to Wisconsin or Michigan. They didn’t put the server in her basement or put the stuff on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.’” [Yahoo News’ Dylan Stableford]

SÍ SE PUEDE? Roque Planas: “Immigrant rights groups plan to hold rallies and marches in more than 40 cities across the United States next week, aimed at pressing President-elect Donald Trump to back away from the hardline policies he trumpeted during his campaign…. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to cut federal funding to cities where local police do not help funnel undocumented immigrants into the federal deportation system. In his first post-election interview, the president-elect said he would deport between 2 and 3 million people. That figure would roughly double the Obama administration’s record-setting deportation pace, if Trump managed the effort over one term.” [HuffPost]

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COATS EXPECTED TO BE NAMED DNI - Still sucks Omarosa didn’t get the job. Sean Sullivan: “President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to be his director of national intelligence, according to a Trump transition team official. Coats, who is seen as a traditional Republican, served two stints in the Senate and was ambassador to Germany during George W. Bush’s presidency. The transition official confirmed the expected selection of Coats on the condition of anonymity since it has not been announced. The news was first reported by the New York Times. The Indiana Republican’s most recent term in the Senate ended earlier this week when the 114th Congress concluded. He also served in the chamber from 1989-1999.” [WaPo]

HERE’S A BIG HEAPING SERVING OF POLITICALLY MOTIVATED DEPARTMENT STARVING -  Damian Paletta and Julian E. Barnes: “President-elect Donald Trump, a harsh critic of U.S. intelligence agencies, is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency, people familiar with the planning said. The move is prompted by his belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized, these people said…. One of the people familiar with Mr. Trump’s planning said advisers also are working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world. The CIA declined to comment.” [WSJ]

THAT’S A CLOWN QUESTION - Michael McAuliff: “If President-elect Donald Trump wants to call Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) a ‘clown,’ he can expect an answer from his famously loquacious fellow New Yorker. And Schumer was all too happy to offer one on Thursday when reporters asked about it at a news conference on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services…. ‘I’d say to president-elect that this is serious, serious stuff. People’s health is at stake, people’s lives are at stake,’ Schumer said, also trolling Trump with the reality that it will be extremely difficult to craft a genuine replacement plan for Obamacare. ‘Now, we understand that President-elect Trump is in a difficult spot, that Republicans are in a difficult spot,’ Schumer said. ‘They want to repeal the ACA, and they have no idea how to replace it.’” [HuffPost]

Speaking of Obamacare, Paul Ryan says the GOP “replacement” bill will totally be finished this year, he swears he really means it now, no more delays, so stop asking him about it, jeez. Just in time!

THAT’S A LOT OF LAWYERS - They obviously forgot that Jeff Sessions was once told to sign some documents and absentmindedly did. Jennifer Bendery: “More than 1,300 law professors are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. attorney general, citing a lousy record on civil rights and that time he was rejected as a federal judge for being too racist. In an open letter to leaders of the committee, which will hold confirmation hearings for Sessions next week, professors from 178 law schools raise concerns about the Alabama senator’s ability to treat black people fairly given what happened during his 1986 bid to be a federal judge. His nomination was rejected, in a bipartisan vote, over allegations he called a black attorney ‘boy’ and suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a race traitor, among other issues. ‘Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge,’ reads the letter.” [HuffPost]

SERIES OF TUBES TO GET NEW WATCHDOG - Maybe now is as good of a time as any for that national dialogue on replacing the word “cybersecurity.” Jessica Schulberg: “Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) will create a new subcommittee focused on cybersecurity. The panel, which McCain said will be created within the next several days, will draft legislation related to cybersecurity and call on the incoming Trump administration to develop a strategy to deter and respond to cyberattacks. The Obama administration, McCain charged on Thursday, failed to develop a cohesive cyber strategy. ‘They’ve reacted to every attack in a different way,’ McCain said. ‘It’s just crazy.’ Cybersecurity currently falls under the purview of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats & Capabilities, which also oversees issues related to counterterrorism and weapons proliferation. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will head the new subcommittee, McCain told reporters. ‘He has some old pics of me so I have to do whatever he wants,’ McCain joked about his longtime friend.” [HuffPost]

SOME OTHER DUDE WANTS TO BE DNC CHAIR - Sure, why not? Maureen Groppe: “South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday he is seeking to head the national Democratic Party, which is reeling from 2016 election losses. ‘It’s time for new leadership to deliver a fresh start for our party,’ Buttigieg, 34, tweeted. Harvard University-educated, a Rhodes Scholar and a U.S. Navy Reserve officer, Buttigieg became the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with more than 100,000 residents when he took office in 2012 at age 30. In 2015, he publicly announced he was gay in a newspaper op-ed following the firestorm over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriages.” [Indianapolis Star]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a Chrome extension that tries to identify everything in web images.

WHITE GUY GETS JOB AT WHITE GUY PLACE - Michael Calderone: “Fox News host Tucker Carlson will take over Megyn Kelly’s 9 p.m. time slot, the network announced Thursday.  Carlson, a veteran conservative journalist and commentator, joined Fox News in 2009 as a contributor after previously hosting shows on MSNBC and CNN. He launched news and opinion site The Daily Caller the following year, and in 2013, stepped up to co-host the weekend edition of ‘Fox & Friends.’ … Carlson had only been in the 7 p.m. slot, vacated by Greta Van Susteren, since November. It’s a rapid rise for Carlson, though he has quickly succeeded with his show in producing strong ratings, sparking debate and generating viral moments ― metrics prized by cable news executives.” [HuffPost]

NBC News leaning backward a bit: “Former Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren will have a new show on MSNBC, the network announced Thursday. Van Susteren will have a daily weekday show that airs 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. called ‘For The Record with Greta’ ― a variation on the name of her Fox show, which was called ‘On The Record.’ The show begins on Monday and will cover ‘news coverage and analysis of the day’s top headlines spanning politics and beyond,’ according to a network release.” [HuffPost’s Sam Levine]

COMFORT FOOD

- Be free, spool of wire.

- Apparently butt wiggling is the secret to calming crying babies.

- Most sharks aren’t this nice.

TWITTERAMA

@swin24: seriously tho is don king in the administration yet

@nickbaumann: If the war in Afghanistan was a person it would be almost old enough to enlist in the Army and go fight in Afghanistan.

@delrayser: ugh I keep writing “America Is A Functioning Democracy” on all my checks

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