Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, during the committee's hearing: "Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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A top Senate Republican is urging President-elect Donald Trump to defend democracy in the United States and around the world by punishing Russia for trying to interfere in the American presidential election as U.S. intelligence agencies allege.Trump has consistently refused to blame Russia in the hacks that American intelligence agencies say were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the allegations, alarming some who see a pattern of skepticism directed at U.S. intelligence agencies and a willingness to embrace the Russian leader. On Friday after receiving a classified briefing on the matter, Trump tried to change the subject to allegations that hadn't been raised by U.S. intelligence. Trump had earlier urged Americans to get on with their lives.During the election, Trump praised the Russian strongman as a decisive leader, and argued that the two countries would benefit from a better working relationship -- though attempts by the Obama administration at a "Russian reset" have proved unsuccessful.At the same time, intelligence officials believe that Russia isn't done intruding in U.S. politics and policymaking.Trump released a one-page statement that did not address whether Russia sought to meddle.
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