Politics Conway dismisses need for independent hack probe

21:50  09 january  2017
21:50  09 january  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

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Kellyanne Conway © Provided by Business Insider Kellyanne Conway

NEW YORK — Kellyanne Conway, one of Donald Trump's top advisers, on Monday questioned whether additional investigations are needed into reports of Russian hacking during the campaign and indicated the incoming president would consider rolling back some of the punitive actions President Obama had ordered in response.

"I predict that President Trump will want to make sure that our actions are proportionate to what occurred, based on what we know," she told Capital Download. She said the steps Obama took, including ejecting 35 alleged Russian spies, were harsher than those he ordered after reported hacking by China and North Korea and suggested the reason for the difference was political.

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Daily newspaper published in Brisbane. Includes state, national and world news, as well as sport, business and entertainment. Trump team dismisses Russia hacking report.

Conway ridiculed a proposal by House and Senate Democrats on Monday to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the allegations against Russia. U.S. intelligence agencies last week reported that Moscow, under the direction of President Vladimir Putin, hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, then leaked them in an effort to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton and elect Trump.

"It's curious and a little bit humorous that Democrats would talk about anything bipartisan ... given how they have vowed to obstruct everything we do," she said, saying there already was "a great deal of information out there" about the hacking. "I do find it to be very ironic that the uptick and the hue-and-cry of 'investigation' and 'information' has occurred after the election results are in. ...

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"The fact is, the Democrats became super-duper interested in this entire issue after the election did not go the way they, quote, wanted and the way they expected."

Republicans also have raised concerns about Russia's actions. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have called for the imposition of tougher sanctions.

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Conway, 49, last year was campaign manager for candidate Trump — the first woman to run a winning presidential bid — and is slated to be a senior White House adviser for President Trump after he is inaugurated Jan. 20. A veteran Republican pollster and strategist, she has emerged as one of Trump's most combative and public defenders.

She spoke with USA TODAY's video newsmaker series at the beginning of a crucial week. Obama is scheduled to deliver a farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday. Trump is slated to hold his first news conference as president-elect Wednesday. The Senate plans confirmation hearings for as many as nine of his Cabinet appointees this week, including attorney general-designate Jeff Sessions and secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson.

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Conway said she had "hardly thought about" the Women's March on Washington, which is expected to draw thousands of protesters to the National Mall the day after Trump is sworn in. "Every single issue and criticism was fully vetted and explored many times over in this election," she said. While she said she respected their right to protest, she went on, "I would like them to reconsider and perhaps just try to sit down and figure out how to work with their president and their vice president, because he is their president and their vice president, no matter what their hashtags say."

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In discussing the outgoing president, Conway said she "absolutely" would watch Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday — but with what sounded like a warning.

"It's a great idea for him to do this because he knows that a great deal of what he did is not going to survive this next presidency, or maybe even this next month, in some cases," she said. "You build a legacy not just by checking a box and passing legislation without a single vote from the other side. Legacies have to be sustained over time; they have to endure."

She questioned whether Obama, once he leaves the Oval Office, should lead Democrats in critiquing his successor.

"It's appropriate for any past president to weigh in as they feel comfortable and as appropriate," she said, but then added: "I do recall that President George W. Bush gave a great deal of latitude and courtesy to President Obama, and basically said, 'I'm not the president anymore; give him his chance to run the country.' We'd like the same."

Stay with USA TODAY for full coverage of the 2017 inauguration.

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