Sen. Warren deeply troubled by reports of Russian hacking

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 6:35 PM
Sen. Warren deeply troubled by reports of Russian hacking

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she's deeply troubled about reports of Russian hacking in the run-up to the November election.

The Massachusetts Democrat, one of Republican President-elect Donald Trump's fiercest critics, said Thursday she's also worried that Trump doesn't seem to want to listen to U.S. intelligence agencies.

"How concerned am I? On a scale of one to a hundred, I'm concerned a hundred," Warren said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And that it's someone like Vladimir Putin who is clearly messing around the rest of the world to try to advance Russia's interest — then it just doubles my concern."

The Obama administration suggested Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the hacking of Democratic officials' email accounts and said it was "fact" that such actions helped Donald Trump's campaign. No proof was offered.

Warren said concerns about Russian hacking should rise above partisanship. She said Democrats and Republicans are calling for a thorough investigation.

Warren, recently named to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she's also troubled by Trump's decision to downplay the necessity of daily intelligence briefings.

"If you don't learn things, then you make terrible mistakes," Warren said.

Warren gave Trump credit for successfully tapping into what she portrayed as the legitimate economic anxieties of Americans facing skyrocketing college costs and dwindling retirement accounts.

But she criticized him for appointments he's made since the election.

"He seems to be handing over the keys to the very guys who broke this economy," she said.

She said that includes Steven Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Treasury secretary. Warren sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, which would hold confirmation hearings for Mnuchin.

"He's like someone out of a bad movie for what went wrong on Wall Street," Warren said of the former Goldman Sachs executive.

Mnuchin also headed a group of investors who owned OneWest, a bank that foreclosed on thousands of homeowners in the aftermath of the housing crisis caused by subprime mortgages.

"He bought a bank that had a giant portfolio of ugly nasty mortgages — people who'd been cheated and tricked and trapped — and then turned that bank into a foreclosure machine grinding out foreclosures against these people," she said.

Warren said she will work with Trump where she can.

But she also said she will fight to protect Democratic Party beliefs and institutions that look out for ordinary Americans, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she helped create.

"The American people did not send us to Washington just to lay down and play dead," she said. "They sent us there to talk about these core issues and defend these core issues."

On the question of who should lead the Democratic National Committee, Warren praised both U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. She has endorsed Ellison but also raised the possibility of a dual chairmanship.

Warren was more guarded about her own political future.

She has yet to formally announce plans to run for re-election in 2018, although she's given no indication she wouldn't seek a second term.

She also wouldn't rule out a future White House run.

"That's not what I'm thinking about right now," she said, adding that since Trump's win "everybody needs to step back" and stay focused on the immediate future.

"Democracy is not something that just happens once every four years," she said. "Democracy is something that needs to be happening every single day."