-- INAUGURATION COUNTDOWN: 15 days
--NEW TRUMP TWEETS THIS MORNING: 6:57 AM: The Democrats, lead by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in. Instead of working to fix it, they.. 7:01 AM: ...do the typical political thing and BLAME. The fact is ObamaCare was a lie from the beginning."Keep you doctor, keep your plan!" It is.... 7:06 AM: ...time for Republicans & Democrats to get together and come up with a healthcare plan that really works - much less expensive & FAR BETTER! 8:25 AM: The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange - wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people.... 8:45 AM: to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against "Intelligence" when in fact I am a big fan!
--INTELLIGENCE LEADERS TO SPEAK OUT ON RUSSIAN HACKING: The Senate Armed Services Committee, led by John McCain, is holding a hearing this morning on "foreign cyberthreats," where top intelligence officials will testify before the public. Russia is expected to be the focus of the hearing, which lawmakers will hammer home their conclusions that Donald Trump has been reluctant to accept, report ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, will testify, as well as officials from the NSA and US Cyber Command. Sen. Lindsey Graham said yesterday that the point of the hearing is to “have the intelligence community reinforce from their point of view that the Russians did this.”
--OBAMA TO RECEIVE BRIEFING ON RUSSIAN HACKING: President Obama is expected to receive a briefing as soon as this morning from his national security team on the intelligence community’s report on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports. Multiple senior White House officials refused to confirm the timing or participants of the briefing, insisting White House aides “typically don't preview conversations [President Obama] is having with his national security team in advance.” The President has demanded that the report is completed before he leaves office and that it is shared with President-elect Trump as well as top lawmakers on relevant congressional committees.
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Welcome to unified government – Trump style. The new Congress wasn’t even sworn in before a Donald Trump crashed through the Republican conference – forcing a hasty retreat on an ill-timed ethics maneuver. And you don’t have to look far beneath the surface to see other cracks in party unity trying to make themselves seen. Trump’s near-mockery of intelligence agencies, along with his alignment with both Russia and Wikileaks, is testing the ability of Republicans in Congress to hold their tongues on foreign policy and national security. Even on healthcare, where the goal of eliminating Obamacare has galvanized the GOP, the togetherness may not be what it seems. Slamming Chuck Schumer is easy enough for Republicans to agree on. But Trump’s Thursday morning Twitter call for “Republicans & Democrats to get together” on a replacement for Obamacare is precisely what Hill leaders are preparing to avoid. The Trump brand, as always, is distinct from the Republican one – and his leadership shows few signs of respecting traditional party lines.
--VP-ELECT MIKE PENCE HUDDLES WITH REPUBLICANS ON OBAMACARE PLANS: Back on his old stomping ground, Vice President-elect Mike Pence rallied House Republicans behind plans to roll back Obamacare. In a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning, Republicans discussed their future legislative effort to repeal parts of the law -- without offering any details of a replacement, according to members and sources in the room, ABC’s MARY BRUCE and BENJAMIN SIEGEL write. As President Obama discussed defending Obamacare with Democrats on the other side of the Capitol, Pence told Republicans the repeal and replace will include quick executive actions and long-term legislation, sources say. http://abcn.ws/2hQI50n
--PRESIDENT OBAMA TELLS DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS TO STAND THEIR GROUND IN FIGHT OVER OBAMACARE: President Obama told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that he envied the position they were in to battle Republicans on the frontlines in the halls of Congress. “I envy you so much," he said, according to lawmakers in the room during their closed-door meeting. "Because I would love to be on the field right now ... you're privileged to be in the arena." The president traveled across town for a rare meeting on Capitol Hill with Democrats and, according to members of Congress and aides in the room, told them to stand their ground, ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS and ALI ROGIN report. http://abcn.ws/2hRbrqV
--DEVELOPING NOW: DAN COATS IS LEADING CANDIDATE FOR DNI SPOT: Former Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana is a leading candidate for DNI in the Trump administration, according to three senior Trump transition officials. Coats made a visit to Trump Tower late last year and said at the time that he was not seeking a position, ABC's JONATHAN KARL, SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and JOHN SANTUCCI report. He was a member of the Senate Intel Committee during his term. Consideration of Coats comes as Trump and his team consider an overhaul of the DNI, an agency created after 9/11, which coordinates among the nation’s intelligence gathering and analysis groups.
SPEED READ with ABC's ADAM KELSEY
DABBING KID'S CONGRESSMAN DAD SPEAKS OUT. Republican Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas was on Fox News this morning. "I thought he had to sneeze. I had no idea what he was doing and still didn't figure it out until maybe an hour or two later what had happened," he said. "After all their football games, the kids pose ... they would all do the dabbing business. I mean, I didn't know that it had a name or was an official -- I thought it was a superhero pose." "The official grounding is between he and me, but he's hoping to get a presidential pardon," he said. http://abcn.ws/2hSZTXh
DONALD TRUMP'S MOCKERY OF INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES COULD UNDERMINE HIS FUTURE RELATIONS WITH THEM. Donald Trump’s tweets that some see as undercutting the U.S. intelligence community could damage his relationships with those agencies when he becomes president, experts say. The tweets in question show his referring dismissively to "the 'Intelligence' briefing," in quote marks, and suggesting that his upcoming briefing was delayed because "perhaps more time needed to build a case." But all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government was behind the hacking. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more: http://abcn.ws/2hTziJs
TRUMP TO BE DEPOSED THIS WEEK IN JOSÉ ANDRÉS LAWSUIT. President-elect Donald Trump is set to be deposed sometime this week in his ongoing legal battle against celebrity chef José Andrés, a lawyer representing Trump Old Post Office LLC, a development company that's part of the Trump Organization, confirms to ABC News. The lawyer would not say what day the deposition would take place, notes ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS. The deposition, which comes two weeks before Trump's inauguration, could last up to seven hours, according to a judge’s ruling. Trump's legal team sought to limit the deposition to two hours, but that effort was blocked. http://abcn.ws/2ibzIbW
TRUMP NOMINATES JAY CLAYTON AS SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION CHAIRMAN. President-elect Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Jay Clayton, a partner at the Sullivan and Cromell law firm who has worked with Wall Street and corporations to "navigate complex federal regulations," as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). "Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time," Trump said in a statement released by his transition team. ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS reports here: http://abcn.ws/2iJeupu and ABC's LISSETTE RODRIGUEZ has more: http://abcn.ws/2jc6JJ6
AMERICAN MILITARY ADVISERS HAVE ENTERED MOSUL AT TIMES, U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS. American military advisers have at times entered the city of Mosul accompanying Iraqi forces fighting to retake the city from ISIS, a U.S. military spokesman said today. Since the start of the Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul in mid-October, U.S. officials have not confirmed whether American advisers would operate in the city accompanying Iraqi forces while remaining behind the front lines. “They have been in the city at different times, yes,” said Colonel John Dorrian, the U.S. military spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, in response to a question about whether American military advisers have entered Mosul as part of the Iraqi offensive. ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ has more. http://abcn.ws/2iBX2CR
WHO'S TWEETING with ABC's MERIDITH MCGRAW
@TexasTribAbby: Rick Perry, OH last night: "I gotta go study my lessons for the night. Preparation. Preparation. Preparation." texastribune.org/2017/01/04/ahe…
@IsaacDovere: Grant, Ford, Carter, Clinton and in the next few days, Trump: list of presidents to be deposed in lawsuits politico.com/story/2017/01/…
@WSJ: When Donald Trump tweets, it is news to Sean Spicer http://on.wsj.com/2hSwb1u
@jmartNYT: News: @tomperriello, fmr congressman & an Obama favorite, is considering a run for Va governor this year >> nytimes.com/2017/01/04/us/…
@bgittleson: .@JohnKasich will attend @realDonaldTrump's inauguration, Kasich spokesman @chrisschrimpf tells @ABC