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FBI, 5 Other Agencies Probe Possible Covert Russian Aid To Trump |The Republican News

 

Peter Stone and Greg Gordon
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Washington.© Evan Vucci President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman’s Global Dinner, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Washington.

 

WASHINGTON — The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.

The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said.

Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

The informal, inter-agency working group began to explore possible Russian interference last spring, long before the FBI received information from a former British spy hired to develop politically damaging and unverified research about Trump, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry.

On Jan. 6, the director of national intelligence released a declassified report that concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an influence campaign to “undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process,” damage Hillary Clinton’s election prospects and bolster Trump’s. The campaign included the hacking of top Democrats’ emails and fake news distributed by Russian sources.

The president-elect, who will be inaugurated Friday, has said he believes Russia was involved with the hacking, and he has called allegations that he or his associates were involved a “political witch hunt” and a “complete and total fabrication.”

Trump has yet to say whether FBI Director James Comey will be retained. The rest of Trump’s newly appointed intelligence and law enforcement chiefs will inherit the investigation, whose outcome could create national and international fallout.

Trump’s presidential transition team did not respond to a request for comment about the inquiry.

A key mission of the six-agency group has been to examine who financed the email hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The London-based transparency group WikiLeaks released the emails last summer and in October.

The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said.

U.S. intelligence agencies not only have been unanimous in blaming Russia for the hacking of Democrats’ computers but also have concluded that the leaking and dissemination of thousands of emails of top Democrats, some of which caused headaches for the Clinton campaign, were done to help Trump win.

Trump and Republican members of Congress have said they believe Russia meddled in the U.S. election but that those actions didn’t change the outcome. However, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she believes that Russia’s tactics did alter the election result.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has opened its own investigation into Russia’s involvement in the campaign. That panel will have subpoena power.

FBI Director Comey refused at a recent Senate hearing to comment on whether the bureau was investigating Russia’s hacking campaign for possible criminal prosecutions. Spokespeople for the FBI, the Justice Department and the national intelligence director declined to comment.

The BBC reported last week that the joint inquiry was launched when the CIA learned last spring, through a Baltic ally, of a recording indicating the Russian government was planning to funnel funds aimed at influencing the U.S. election.

Another source of information was the former longtime British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, who was hired to gather opposition research about Trump for a Republican client and later a Democrat. Early last summer, Steele became alarmed about information he was receiving from a network of Russian sources describing a web of Trump’s business relationships with wealthy Russians and alleged political ties to the Kremlin, according to two people who know him. These sources also declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Steele’s reports also alleged that Russian consulates in New York, Washington and Miami were used to deliver “tens of thousands of dollars” to Kremlin-hired operatives using fictitious names as if they were legitimate Russian-American pensioners. That “ruse” was designed to give Russia “plausible deniability,” Steele’s reports suggested. However, Russia does not operate a consulate in Miami.

Steele, who had worked previously with the FBI and was well-regarded, fed the bureau information in July and September suggesting collusion between Trump associates and Moscow in the hacking of Democratic computers, they said. Eventually, he met in Italy with an FBI official to share more information alleging that a top Trump campaign official had known about the hacking as early as last June, the sources said. About a month after the election, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona gave FBI Director Comey a copy of a 35-page compilation of Steele’s reports.

BuzzFeed posted the 35 pages of allegations online, acknowledging the report had obvious errors and had not been corroborated. Several news organizations, including McClatchy, had the document earlier but had resisted publishing any of the allegations because of the lack of verification.

Trump and Putin have branded Steele’s dossier as “fake news.” On Jan. 11, at his only news conference as president-elect, Trump dismissed it as “nonsense” and “crap.” On Tuesday, Putin accused soon-to-depart Obama administration officials of trying to undermine Trump’s “legitimacy,” suggesting that the White House had released Steele’s dossier. The Russian leader said those who had prepared the dossier were “worse than prostitutes.”

Steele’s information has been treated as unverified intelligence by the working group because most of it came from purported Kremlin leaks and virtually all of it is extremely difficult to corroborate, the people familiar with the investigation said.

The BBC reported that the FBI had obtained a warrant on Oct. 15 from the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing investigators access to bank records and other documents about potential payments and money transfers related to Russia. One of McClatchy’s sources confirmed the report.

Susan Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said she had no knowledge that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant had been issued. However, she stressed that such warrants are issued only if investigators can demonstrate “probable cause” that a crime has been committed and the information in Steele’s dossier couldn’t have met that test.

“If, in fact, law enforcement has obtained a FISA warrant, that is an indication that additional evidence exists outside of the dossier,” she said.

One episode that Steele’s reports described from multiple sources referred to a late-summer meeting in Prague between Russian government representatives and Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, the president-elect’s vast business operation. But the FBI has been unable to establish that Cohen was in Prague during that period, the two sources familiar with the working group said.

Cohen has denied ever traveling to the Czech Republic, although he told The Wall Street Journal that he did so in 2001.

For months, Trump has voiced positive sentiments toward Putin. In early January, he tweeted that “only ‘stupid’ people, or fools” would think it’s bad to have good relations with Russia.

“When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!” he tweeted last week. During the campaign in July, he displayed ignorance that Russian-backed separatists had invaded Crimea in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and he called on Russia to hack away to uncover thousands of emails that Clinton had never made public after using a private server while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July, Trump’s campaign associates successfully changed the Republican Party’s platform to weaken a provision advocating more military support for the Ukrainian government in its fight to defend itself against the Russian-backed incursion in Crimea.

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(Stone is a McClatchy special correspondent.)  (Tribune Washington  Bureau)

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About 50 House Democrats Vow To Boycott Trump Inauguration |The Republican News

By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON — The roster of House Democrats planning to boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration grew to about 50 on Tuesday in a protest of the New York businessman’s policies and his repeated criticism of legendary civil rights activist John Lewis.

The Georgia congressman made headlines over the weekend for challenging Trump’s legitimacy to be the next president and erroneously claiming that Trump’s inauguration would be the first he will have missed since coming to Congress three decades ago.

In fact, Lewis had skipped President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.

Trump struck on Tuesday morning, as is typical, on Twitter: “WRONG (or lie)!” Trump tweeted, citing a 2001 Washington Post report that noted Lewis had skipped George W. Bush’s inauguration.

Lewis’ office on Tuesday confirmed that the congressman had missed Bush’s swearing-in.

“His absence at that time was also a form of dissent,” said spokeswoman Brenda Jones. “He did not believe the outcome of that election, including the controversies around the results in Florida and the unprecedented intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court, reflected a free, fair and open democratic process.”

Lewis said last week that he would skip Trump’s swearing in on Friday, telling NBC News that he didn’t view Trump as a legitimate president.

“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.Slide 1 of 20: The U.S. Capitol looms over a stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Washington.

Lewis’ comments drew angry weekend tweets from Trump, who wrote that “rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” Lewis should focus on his congressional district.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also weighed in, telling a Milwaukee Fox television affiliate Tuesday that Trump “won this election fair and square” and that Democrats were wrong “to try and inject some kind of claim of illegitimacy on the dawn of a new presidency.”

Ryan praised Lewis, however, telling Fox6Now.com that Lewis “knows what I think of him, how much I look up to him. I think both men would do better by just getting to know each other, and understanding each other.”

The number of Democrats boycotting Trump’s inauguration continued to increase, including Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a top contender to lead the Democratic National Committee, as well as many black and Hispanic lawmakers. Top Democrats like House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York will attend, however, and none of the Senate Democrats said they’ll skip the inauguration.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer shrugged off the protest and indicated they would give away the seats.

“We’d love for every member of Congress to attend but if they don’t, we’ve got some great seats for others to partake in. It’s a shame that these folks don’t want to be part of the peaceful transfer of power,” Spicer told reporters on a morning call.

In this Jan. 15, 2016, photo, the U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony in Washington. Some two dozen House Democrats plan to boycott Trump’s inauguration on Friday, casting the Republican businessman as a threat to democracy. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)© The Associated Press In this Jan. 15, 2016, photo, the U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony in Washington. Some two dozen House Democrats plan to boycott…  

On Tuesday, Democrats such as Alma Adams of North Carolina, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire joined the growing ranks of lawmakers boycotting Trump’s inauguration.

“I cannot in good faith and consciousness pretend to celebrate the inauguration of someone who has spoken so horribly about women, minorities and the disabled,” Adams said.

Trump and other Republicans have dismissed the boycott and complaints, saying Democrats are sore losers who need to accept the results of the election and move on. Democrats control 194 House seats.

While many Democrats were furious with the outcome of the drawn out 2000 election in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore after recounts and a Supreme Court ruling, they generally attended Bush’s inauguration as the nation’s 43rd president.

The House is out of session most of this week and roll call votes are not anticipated, so other lawmakers in both parties may skip the trip.

Obama repeatedly faced questions during the 2008 campaign about the widely debunked claim that he was not a U.S. citizen and that his birth certificate was a fake. Trump, in fact, perpetuated that notion for many years before a brief statement last year that Obama was a citizen. Republicans attended Obama’s two inaugurations.

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said he will not be part of the “normalizing or legitimizing” of a man whose election may be the result of “malicious foreign interference of Russian leaders,” a reference to U.S. intelligence’s assessment that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win.

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report. 

Associated Press

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Trump’s favourability Rating Historically Low, Poll Finds |The Republican News

 

Lydia Wheeler
Trump's favorability rating historically low, poll finds© Provided by The Hill Trump’s favorability rating historically low, poll finds  

President-elect Donald Trump has a historically low favorability rating ahead of the inauguration.

According to a new Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans have a negative view of Trump, making him the only president-elect of the four most recent presidents-elect whose unfavorable rating outweighs his favorable score.

Of the 1,032 adults polled across the U.S. from Jan. 4 through Jan 8, 40 percent had a favorable view of Trump compared to President Obama, who enjoyed a 78 percent rating ahead of his inauguration.

George W. Bush meanwhile held a 62 percent favorability rating and Bill Clinton a 66 percent rating.

Trump’s score, however, is higher than it was during the campaign.

Gallup said Trump’s favorability rate never rose above 38 percent on the campaign trail. And while 82 percent of Republicans hold a favorable opinion of the real estate tycoon, that’s also down from past presidents.

Gallup said Republicans were nearly unanimous in their rating of Bush in January 2001, with 97 percent of GOP respondents rating him favorable at that time. Obama enjoyed a 95-percent favorable rating among Democrats and Clinton a 92 percent rating.

When asked about Vice President-elect Mike Pence ,42 percent of Americans had a positive opinion of the former Indiana governor.  (The Hill)

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IPOB Holds Solidarity Rally For Trump’s Inauguration On Friday |The Republican News

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has called on  Biafrans and other family members all over West Africa to join in a peaceful solidarity rally for President-elect of the United States of America (USA), Donald Trump.
The rally is scheduled for  Friday, January 20, at Igweocha, Port-Harcourt, River State.
The group said the solidarity rally will be in support of Trump’s swearing-in as the 45th US president and for the release of its leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and others detained illegally in all the Department of States Services (DSS) cells and prisons across Nigeria.
A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful said the rally will also be for Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom world wide.
“This peaceful rally for Trump in Igweocha on Friday,  will feature display of pictures of our able leader, Mazi Kanu, those detained illegally with him and pictures of president Donald Trump.
“As usual, IPOB will maintain strict discipline of non-violence and non-engagement with army and police.
“However, we must reiterate that should soldiers fire at peaceful protesters, heaven will fall.
“The non-violent position of our great movement will be revoked with immediate effect.
“Our only interest is to exercise our right to peaceful protest and lawful assembly as recognised in the law.
“(Rivers) Governor Nyesom Wike is hereby reminded of his responsibility to protect the lives of those on peaceful rally.
“He should not allow himself to be used.
“We have not forgiven him for his past actions, so, he must be careful not to allow a breakdown of law and order or  any provocative behaviour by the army.
“Peaceful rallies and marches are recognised in law all over the world, so, we can’t stop exercising this because of intimidation and brutality.
“IPOB appreciates the wise counsel and support of our friends.
“Freedom is not negotiable because right to self-determination is inalienable,” said Powerful. (The Sun)

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Trump Vows ‘Insurance For Everybody’ In Obamacare Replacement Plan |The Republican News

Robert Costa

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.  

President-elect Donald Trump said in a weekend interview that he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump declined to reveal specifics in the telephone interview late Saturday with The Washington Post, but any proposals from the incoming president would almost certainly dominate the Republican effort to overhaul federal health policy as he prepares to work with his party’s congressional majorities.

Trump’s plan is likely to face questions from the right, following years of GOP opposition to further expansion of government involvement in the health-care system, and from those on the left, who see his ideas as disruptive to changes brought by the Affordable Care Act that have extended coverage to tens of millions of Americans.

In addition to his replacement plan for the ACA, also known as Obamacare, Trump said he will target pharmaceutical companies over drug prices and demand that they negotiate directly with Medicaid and Medicare.

“They’re politically protected but not anymore,” he said of pharmaceutical companies.

The objectives of broadening access to insurance and lowering health-care costs have always been in conflict, and it remains unclear how the plan that the incoming administration is designing — or ones that will emerge on Capitol Hill — will address that tension.

In general, congressional GOP plans to replace Obamacare have tended to try to constrain costs by reducing government requirements, such as the medical services that must be provided under health plans sold through the law’s marketplaces and through state’s Medicaid programs. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Republicans have been talking lately about providing “universal access” to health insurance, instead of universal insurance coverage.

Trump said he expects Republicans in Congress to move quickly and in unison in the coming weeks on other priorities as well, including enacting sweeping tax cuts and beginning the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump warned Republicans that if the party splinters or slows his agenda, he is ready to use the power of the presidency — and Twitter — to usher his legislation to passage.

“The Congress can’t get cold feet because the people will not let that happen,” Trump said during the interview with The Post.

Trump said his plan for replacing most aspects of Obama’s health-care law is all but finished. Although he was coy about its details — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles” — he said he is ready to unveil it alongside Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said. He noted that he is waiting for his nominee for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to be confirmed. That confirmation rests with the Senate Finance Committee, which has not yet scheduled a hearing.

Trump’s declaration that his replacement plan is ready comes after many Republicans — moderates and conservatives — expressed anxiety last week about the party’s lack of a formal proposal as they held votes on repealing the law.

Once made public, Trump said he is confident his plan could get enough votes to pass in both chambers but he declined to discuss how he would court wary Democrats.

So far, Republicans have used budget reconciliation — where only a majority is needed — on the initial steps to repeal the health law. Removing or replacing other parts of the law will likely require 60 votes to overcome Democratic filibusters. Republicans control the Senate 52 to 48.

“I think we will get approval. I won’t tell you how, but we will get approval. You see what’s happened in the House in recent weeks,” Trump said, referencing his tweet during a House Republican move to gut their independent ethics office, which along with widespread constituent outrage was cited by some members as a reason the gambit failed.

As he has developed a replacement package, Trump said he has paid attention to critics who say that repealing Obamacare would put coverage at risk for more than 20 million Americans covered under the law’s insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

People covered under the law “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”

For conservative Republicans dubious about his pledge to ensure coverage for millions, Trump pointed to several interviews he did during the campaign where he promised to “not have people dying on the street.”

“It’s not going to be their plan,” he said of people covered under the current law. “It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people,” he said Saturday.

Trump did not say how his program overlaps with the comprehensive plan authored by House Republicans. Earlier this year, Price suggested that a Trump presidency would advance the House GOP’s health-care agenda.

When asked in the interview whether he intends to cut benefits for Medicare as part of his plan, Trump said “no,” a position that was reiterated Sunday on ABC by Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff. He did not elaborate on that view or how it would affect his proposal. He expressed that view throughout the campaign.

Timing could be difficult as Trump puts an emphasis on speed. Obama’s law took more than 14 months of debate and hundreds of hearings. To urge the Congress on, Trump will attend a congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia later this month.

Moving ahead, Trump said lowering drug prices is central to lowering health costs nationally — and will make it a priority for him as he uses his bully pulpit to shape policy.

When asked how exactly he would force drug manufacturers to comply, Trump said part of his approach would be public pressure “just like on the airplane,” a nod to his tweets about Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, which Trump said was too costly.

Trump waved away the suggestion that such activity could lead to market volatility. “Stock drops and America goes up,” he said. “I don’t care. I want to do it right or not at all.”He added that drug companies “should produce” more products in the United States.

On his plan for new tax cuts, Trump said “We’re getting very close” to putting together legislation. His advisers and Ryan met last week and have been working from his campaign’s plan and from congressional proposals to slash current rates.

“It’ll probably be 15 to 20 percent for corporations. For individuals, probably lower. Great middle-class tax cuts,” Trump said.

On corporate tax rates, “We may negotiate a little, but we want to bring them down and get as close to 15 percent as we can so we can see a mushrooming of jobs moving back.”

Trump said he would not relent on his push for increasing taxes on U.S. companies that manufacture abroad — and insisted that the upcoming tax cuts should be enough reason for companies to produce within the United States.

“If companies think they’re going to make their cars or other products overseas and sell them back into the United States, they’re going to pay a 35 percent tax,” he said.

Briefly touching on immigration, Trump said that building a border wall and curbing illegal immigration remains at the top of his to-do list and he is spending significant time looking at ways to begin various projects, both with Congress and through executive action. But he did not disclose what was to come on those fronts.

Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.

The Washington Post

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‘All Talk, No Action,’ Trump Says In Attack On John Lawis, A Civil Right Icon

 

By MARK LANDLER
Representative John Lewis is revered on Capitol Hill by Democrats and Republicans alike.© Al Drago/The New York Times Representative John Lewis is revered on Capitol Hill by Democrats and Republicans alike.  

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, declared that he did not view Donald J. Trump as a “legitimate president.” Mr. Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, said he planned to boycott the inauguration, the first he will skip in three decades.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump hit back.

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” Mr. Trump said in a pair of early morning Twitter posts.

“All talk, talk, talk — no action or results,” he added. “Sad!”

While some, including David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama, said they were uncomfortable with Mr. Lewis’s assertion, Mr. Trump’s outburst drew indignation from many people who pointed out the unseemliness of attacking a civil rights leader on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Mr. Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, beaten by police officers while marching from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.

Others ridiculed Mr. Trump’s characterization of Mr. Lewis’s district, which is majority African-American and encompasses three-quarters of Atlanta, as “horrible,” “falling apart” and “crime infested.” While Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District faces challenges typical of many urban areas, it also includes wealthy neighborhoods like Buckhead; the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Some pointed out that fighting with Mr. Lewis distracted attention from a Senate investigation, announced the day before, that will look at possible contacts between Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russia. In addition, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have slipped into uncharted depths for an incoming president, with a Gallup poll released on Friday finding that about half of Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s transition effort. Some also noted that Mr. Trump had questioned the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s presidency with false claims about his birthplace.

Mr. Trump’s feud with Mr. Lewis carried echoes of his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-American parents of an American soldier killed in Iraq, after Mr. Khan spoke out against Mr. Trump at the Democratic National Convention. Those attacks were widely viewed to have backfired, and Mr. Trump later modulated his words about the Khans.

Mr. Lewis, who is 76 and was first elected to Congress in 1987, is one of the few genuinely historic figures on Capitol Hill, revered by Democrats and Republicans alike. Allies of Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and Mr. Trump’s nominee for attorney general, circulated pictures of him linking arms with Mr. Lewis at the 50th anniversary of the Selma march to fend off accusations that Mr. Sessions was a racist.

Nevertheless, Mr. Lewis testified against Mr. Sessions, declaring, “We need someone as attorney general who’s going to look out for all of us, and not just some of us.”

A few critics, including Mr. Axelrod, said they disagreed with Mr. Lewis’s statement that Mr. Trump was not legitimate, which he made in an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC News and which will be broadcast on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Still, Mr. Axelrod said of Mr. Lewis: “I honor the man he is. Honesty; integrity; courage — these are qualities you can’t buy.”

In his interview with Mr. Todd, Mr. Lewis said he believed that the Russians had delivered the election to Mr. Trump. “You know, I believe in forgiveness,” he said. “I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

Mr. Lewis is one of a handful of Democratic members of Congress who have announced that they will boycott the inauguration on Friday. Others include Barbara Lee of California, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois.

The New York Times

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Trump Isn’t A Legitimate Presdient, Says John Lewis | The Republican News

 

Brooke Seipel

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he doesn’t believe Donald Trump is a legitimate President in an interview on NBC News “Meet The Press With Chuck Todd.””You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said when asked if he would “forge a relationship” with the president-elect.

When pressed on why he believes Trump’s presidency is illegitimate, Lewis pointed to intelligence reports of Russian interference in the election.

“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said.

Trump acknowledged this week that Russia was responsible for some hacking during the campaign, though the president-elect and many on his team assert that it had no affect on election results.

Lewis, in the interview, also said he wouldn’t attend the inauguration.

“I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress,” Lewis said. “You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”

John Lewis recalls 'bitter fruits of segregation' at Sessions hearing© Provided by The Hill John Lewis recalls ‘bitter fruits of segregation’ at Sessions hearing

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