December 16, 2016 / 11:50 AM / 2 years ago

Friday Morning Briefing: Election hack: What did Putin know, and when did he know it?

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised his intelligence agencies' hacking of the U.S. presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump, three U.S. officials said. Show us the evidence, the Kremlin responded. NBC broke the news that U.S. intelligence officials were confident that Putin was personally involved in the cyber campaign against the United States. The network further reported this morning that the Obama administration didn't respond more forcefully to the hacking because: 1) they didn't want to look like they were interfering in the election; and 2) they thought Hillary Clinton would win.

Quote of the day:

"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections ... we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be." – President Barack Obama in an NPR interview.

Digits of the day: 33

White supremacist Dylann Roof was convicted yesterday of 33 charges of federal hate crimes in the killing of nine black parishioners in a church in Charleston, South Carolina last year. The jury will decide Jan. 3 whether Roof will get a death sentence or life in prison.

How will they leave?

A man pushes a cart with a woman lying on it as vehicles wait to evacuate people from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo, Syria December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

A man pushes a cart with a woman lying on it as vehicles wait to evacuate people from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo, Syria December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

The evacuation of eastern Aleppo was aborted, the World Health Organization said, with aid agencies and vehicles being told to leave the area without explanation. "I assume the message (to abort the operation) came from the Russians who are monitoring the area," said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO's representative in Syria. 

Around the world

China's military carried out its first-ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and fighters in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to Korea, state media said. No other country has claims in China's busy waterway. But the drills come amid China's growing military presence in the South China Sea and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's unwillingness to adhere to past policy of acknowledging the nation’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up two days of talks, with numerous economic deals but no big breakthrough on a territorial dispute that has overshadowed ties since World War Two. Abe and Putin agreed to start talks on joint economic activities on disputed islands as a step toward concluding a peace treaty formally ending the world war. But Putin heads home with promises of economic cooperation from Japan at a time when Russia faces Western condemnation over the destruction of eastern Aleppo in Syria. The Philippines want humanitarian aid from the United States without any conditions. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. poverty reduction agency, "deferred a vote on the re-selection of the Philippines for compact development, subject to further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties." President Rodrigo Duterte told U.S. President Barack Obama to "go to hell" in October and has alluded to severing ties after being infuriated by U.S. criticism of his war on drugs, which has claimed 2,000 lives since he took office on July 1.

Around the country

Officials in 24 states have urged Trump to kill the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's strategy to combat climate change and shut down coal-fired power plants. The law was designed to lower carbon emissions, mainly from coal-fired plants, to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. A tiny school district in central Colorado has voted to allow teachers and other employees at its two schools to carry concealed handguns on the job if they volunteer to serve double duty as security officers in case of an emergency. The FBI kept tabs on the late boxer Muhammad Ali in 1966, including his divorce and his speech at a Miami mosque, in its investigation of the religious group Nation of Islam, according to documents released by the agency. New York Times broke the story.

Around Wall Street

Iraq is selling more crude oil to its biggest customer, China's Unipec, digging a deeper foothold in the global supply market just before production cuts agreed with OPEC and other producers are scheduled to kick in. How much would you pay to ensure your milk was fresh and safe? A Chinese businessman who bought Australia's largest dairy is betting his countrymen will pay up to 15 times what Australians pay for a liter of the dairy product. Verizon wants a price cut on its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo, after the internet company disclosed the largest known data breach in history.

Today's reason to live

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