Political News

The Latest: Trump revives argument on wall on Mexican border

Posted January 8

— The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

11:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is reviving arguments about the wall he proposed for the nation's border with Texas. He criticized the media, a frequent target, in a tweet sent late Sunday, for reports that U.S. taxpayers could get stuck paying the bill..

"Dishonest media says Mexico won't be paying for the wall if they pay a little later so the wall can be built more quickly. Media is fake!"

Trump's team and congressional Republicans are working on a plan in which taxpayers — at least initially — would foot the bill. But Trump has claimed repeatedly that Mexico would eventually pay for the wall.

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12:05 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats need to "grow up" and "get past" the election.

The Kentucky Republican is objecting to concerns raised by Democrats that Congress this week will hold hearings to consider nominees for the incoming administration who haven't completed ethics reviews. The director of the Office of Government Ethics says in some cases, the nominees haven't submitted even draft financial disclosures.

McConnell tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that "all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration in having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate."

He added: "I understand that, but we need to sort of grow up here and get past that."

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11:50 a.m.

The Senate's top Republican says lawmakers will replace the existing health care law with a GOP version "rapidly."

The promise by Sen. Mitch McConnell to move fast comes as Reince Priebus, a top aide to President-elect Donald Trump, says it would be "ideal" if Congress could repeal and replace the law in one fell swoop, but acknowledged that might not happen.

McConnell tells CBS' "Face the Nation" the first step in Congress will be repealing the law in the Senate this week and sending that bill to the House for approval.

McConnell says "we will be replacing it rapidly after repealing it." He's not saying how quickly that might happen.

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11:20 a.m.

A top aide to Donald Trump says it'd be "ideal" if the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress could repeal President Barack Obama's health law and replace it with a viable alternative "in one big action."

Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus) tells CBS' "Face the Nation" the goal is to accomplish that as quickly as possible, but it may take "more time than an instantaneous action."

Republican leaders are working toward a vote on repeal legislation in the coming weeks, but anticipate a transition period of months or years to a replacement.

Some GOP lawmakers have reservations about scrapping a law covering 20 million people without a near-term replacement.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted late Friday that he spoke with Trump and the president-elect "fully supports" a repeal only when there's a viable substitute.

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11 a.m.

Donald Trump's incoming chief of staff says the president-elect accepts the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia tried to meddle in the U.S. election. That's more than Trump has said.

Reince Priebus was in the room this week when Trump was presented with intelligence findings.

Officials allege Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed the hacks in order to help Trump win the White House.

Priebus says in an interview with "Fox News Sunday" that Trump "accepts the fact that Russia and other entities engaged in cyberattacks" against the country.

Trump has so far declined to say whether he accepts the assertion that Russia intruded in the election on his behalf.

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10:35 a.m.

A top Donald Trump aide is pushing back against the government's ethics office over conflict-of-interest reviews for Cabinet nominees.

The Republican-run Senate is moving quickly to hold at least nine confirmation hearings in the coming week — hoping to get members of the president-elect's team in place soon after he takes office Jan. 20.

The Office of Government Ethics says several Trump picks haven't completed a full review to avoid conflicts of interest. The Senate's Democratic leader says the transition team is in "collusion" with Senate Republicans to "jam" the nominees through without proper screening.

Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus), tells "Fox News Sunday" the ethics office has all the information needed and must move faster.

Priebus says: "Change was voted for and change we will get."

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9:50 a.m.

Publisher HarperCollins says it is looking into plagiarism allegations against syndicated talk show host Monica Crowley, who has been named a communications specialist for the incoming Trump administration.

CNN has reported that Crowley, plagiarized sections of her 2012 book, "What The (Bleep) Just Happened."

The report says it found more than 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including copying with no changes or minimal changes from news articles, other columnists and think tanks.

HarperCollins spokeswoman Tina Andreadis says the publisher has no comment but is "looking into the matter."

Crowley has been named Trump's director of communications for the White House's National Security Council.

In response to the CNN report, President-elect Donald Trump transition team says it is standing by Crowley and criticizing any attempt to discredit her as "politically motivated."

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9 a.m.

President Barack Obama says he and President-elect Donald Trump are "sort of opposites in some ways."

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Obama singles out their contrasting approaches to policy matters.

Obama puts himself on the "policy wonk" end of the spectrum. On Trump, he says: "I think that he has not spent a lot of time sweating the details."

The president says that quirk could give Trump fresh perspective, but it also could blindside him.

Obama calls Trump engaging and gregarious and says he's enjoyed their conversations.

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9 a.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to "show leadership" and act on U.S. intelligence that Russia tried to influence voters in the recent election by hacking Democratic emails. Graham says he wants U.S. sanctions to punish Russia for the meddling.

Graham tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that there is no doubt that the Russians actively tried to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. election. Trump has said he's not convinced. Graham says he thinks Trump's reluctance to embrace the evidence is because Trump doesn't want to undermine his presidency.

But Graham says Trump is damaging faith in U.S. democracy in his refusal to acknowledge Russia's involvement.

He said: "Even though it didn't affect the outcome, they tried to interfere. And they need to pay a price."

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