The new Cabinet litmus test: Admitting Russia hacked the U.S.

The new Cabinet litmus test: Admitting Russia hacked the U.S.

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President-elect Donald Trump is pictured. | GETTY
Sen. John McCain has vowed to press Donald Trump to strike back at Russia for its election meddling. | Getty

Senators of both parties are preparing to employ a new litmus test for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees: making them acknowledge Russia’s alleged election-year cyberattacks.

“We want to hear — I want to hear — from the incoming administration’s nominees that they’re going to take this threat seriously,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters in advance of the avalanche of confirmation hearings that kicks off Tuesday.

In deference to the incoming president, Trump’s transition team is training Cabinet picks to eschew major policy pronouncements and stick to generalities in the nomination hearings, putting them through grueling, hours-long mock sessions called “murder boards.”

But that might be tough after intelligence agencies last week officially accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering a cyber “influence campaign” to sway the election, with an aim that eventually evolved to putting Trump in the Oval Office.

The president-elect himself has repeatedly declined to say whether he agrees with the report, despite receiving a briefing from top U.S. intelligence officials on a classified version of the assessment.

That could leave Trump’s proposed starting lineup…


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