U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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President-elect Donald Trump is facing an early test with fellow Republicans over U.S. relations with Russia, as lawmakers seek to investigate a CIA assessment that Russia interfered in the November election and issue warnings over the incoming president's potential pick for secretary of state. Trump said Sunday the recent CIA assertion that Russian hacking had sought to help his candidacy was "ridiculous," and he praised ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has emerged as the leading contender to lead the State Department.McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, questioned whether Trump should nominate Tillerson, citing the executive's long-standing business ties with Moscow.The CIA recently concluded with "high confidence" that Russia sought to influence the U.S. election on behalf of Trump, raising red flags among lawmakers concerned about the sanctity of the U.S. voting system and potentially straining relations at the start of Trump's administration.Trump's decision-making on whom to select for secretary of state has stretched out over several weeks. He has been considering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former vocal Trump critic, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who leads the Foreign Relations Committee, and Tillerson, the oil industry executive who met twice with Trump during the past week.
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