December 10, 2016

The CIA has concluded with "high confidence" that Russia interfered in the American presidential election not only to promote public distrust of U.S. institutions, as was originally suspected this fall, but to sway the outcome in favor of President-elect Donald Trump, a senior intelligence official said in a Washington Post report published late Friday evening.

"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," the official said, referring to a secret CIA assessment shared with congressional leaders in a closed-door briefing last week. The CIA also believes Moscow hacked the Republican Party, much as it did the Democratic Party, but did not leak the information it obtained from the GOP. However, the agency did not say it believes Russian efforts successfully altered electoral outcomes.

Earlier on Friday, President Obama ordered a "full review" of reports of hacking during the presidential election to be completed before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. The White House did not specify whether the results of that review would be made public. Bonnie Kristian

2:57 p.m.

President Trump's campaign is accusing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions of trying to "confuse" voters into thinking he has the president's support amid his Alabama Senate campaign, The New York Times reports.

The Trump campaign's chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, in a letter to Sessions' campaign this week demanded the former attorney general "immediately stop circulating mailers" such as one in which Sessions makes frequent mention of Trump's name and calls himself a supporter of the president.

"The letter even makes the delusional assertion that you are President 'Trump's #1 Supporter,'" Glassner writes. "We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump's loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the president supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary runoff election. Nothing could be further from the truth."

As Sessions campaigns for his old Alabama Senate seat, Trump has endorsed his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, last month calling Tuberville a "REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!" When Sessions didn't win a majority in the Republican primary, Trump mocked him in a tweet saying the former attorney general didn't "have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt." Trump fired Sessions in 2018 and has long complained about his decision to recuse himself from investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the letter, Trump's campaign reminds Sessions that the president and his campaign "do not support your efforts to return to the U.S. Senate."

A spokesperson for Sessions' campaign told the Times that the mailer in question was put together before Trump endorsed his opponent. The spokesperson also said that Sessions "is indeed one of the strongest supporters of President Trump and his agenda," and "no one can change that." Brendan Morrow

2:20 p.m.

A train engineer working at the Port of Los Angeles has been charged with stealing a locomotive and intentionally derailing it in an attempt to hit the USNS Mercy.

The Mercy arrived in Los Angeles last week to provide an additional 1,000 hospital beds to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Eduardo Moreno, an engineer at the port, told authorities he found the boat "suspicious" and drove a train toward the ship because "people don't know what's going on here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Moreno steered the cargo train through barriers designed to stop its engine and a few fences, according to a court filing. The train still ground to a halt about 250 yards away from the Mercy, CNN reports. No one was injured in the crash, but it did cause a diesel fuel leak, which firefighters and hazmat crews quickly cleaned up.

Moreno tried to flee the scene after the crash, but was quickly apprehended, a court filing says. He allegedly took a video from inside the train, which shows him lighting a flare as he drove the train through the barriers. Moreno could end up in jail for up to 20 years upon conviction, per the Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:16 p.m.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration significantly rolled back restrictions on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men, citing an "urgent need for blood" caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The FDA's decision marks a dramatic shift from federal rules that have been in place since 1983, the height of the AIDS crisis, when the government ordered a lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, NBC News reports. Those rules were slightly loosened in 2015, when it was changed to a year-long abstinence requirement. On Thursday, the FDA shortened the window of abstinence even further, to three months.

Peter Marks, the director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the announcement that "[blood] donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives" since the outbreak began, and that "the FDA has concluded that current policies regarding certain donor eligibility criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply."

Activists, though, have long criticized restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood, BuzzFeed News notes, calling the rules scientifically unfounded and biased. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Thursday that "these changes are based on the best science that we have today regarding the time that it takes to test positive for HIV" and that he encouraged all people to "do the right thing: donate blood." Jeva Lange

1:46 p.m.

Having someone who's got your back is everything, according to Zac Efron, who appeared on Thursday's episode of Hot Ones.

The High School Musical actor specifically told host Sean Evans about the first time he met his pal Leonardo DiCaprio. The pair were sitting next to each other at a basketball game, when the veteran star unexpectedly invited him over for breakfast. "He cooked waffles, and he burnt those, and then he made pancakes," Efron remembered, laughing.

Efron added that he had "a billion questions" for DiCaprio, particularly about dealing with the paparazzi. DiCaprio admitted "frankly, you're getting it a little bit different [than I did]," noting that there'd never been so many paparazzi at his house as when Efron came over.

DiCaprio nevertheless reassured the young actor. "He was like 'Don't worry about it, man. You're good,'" Efron said. "I really appreciate that he took that time … I feel like that's the biggest hand you can give someone in Hollywood, looking out for somebody younger." Watch the full interview below. Jeva Lange

1:29 p.m.

Say "oh, hello" to your latest quarantine binge.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney have donned their turtlenecks once again to reprise their roles as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two old men who first bemoaned today's world on The Kroll Show and eventually their own Broadway show turned Netflix special. Not that you'll see their constantly frowning faces on this latest Oh, Hello iteration, seeing as it's a podcast devoted to one of Faizon and St. Geegland's favorite subjects: Princess Diana.

Kroll and Mulaney shared a trailer for Oh, Hello: the P'dcast on Thursday, saying at least the first episode will come out Friday. The trailer doesn't even feature Faizon and St. Geegland's exaggerated New York accents; instead we hear from This American Life producer Line Misitzis who says she started working with the duo a year and a half ago. The project apparently fell apart, but Faizon and St. Geegland have since realized "what the world needs is a podcast" — and by releasing it, they're going to "win the quarantine." Kathryn Krawczyk

12:31 p.m.

The Democratic National Convention has become the latest summer event to be postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was originally scheduled to begin on July 13, announced Thursday it's officially being postponed to August.

"Ultimately, the health and safety of our convention attendees and the people of Milwaukee is our top priority," DNC Chair Tom Perez said.

Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese also said Thursday that taking "additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds" is the "smartest approach," but "I'm confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November."

The Thursday announcement floats the possibility of significant changes to the event as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the convention committee will "further explore all options to ensure nominating the next president of the United States is done without unnecessary risk to public health," with options including "everything from adjusting the convention's format to crowd size and schedule."

Former Vice President Joe Biden in recent days had been suggesting that delaying the convention would likely be necessary, saying Tuesday it's "hard to envision" keeping the July 13 date and later predicting it will move to August. The convention is now scheduled to begin on Aug. 17. The Republican National Convention had already been set for Aug. 24. Brendan Morrow

12:06 p.m.

This might blow your mind, but indoor cats are technically in quarantine all the time. Anyway, Jennifer Garner and her three children were evidentially getting a little stir crazy earlier this week and decided to take their family cat for a walk. In a stroller.

"As someone who religiously checks Garner's Instagram feed for hilarious cooking adventures and fangirl ballet posts, I considered myself pretty in-the-know about Garner's pets, but this one got me," a baffled Marissa DeSantis wrote for The Evening Standard. Importantly, while they were out the family did not awkwardly run into the kids' dad (and Garner's ex) Ben Affleck, who lives in the same Los Angeles neighborhood and has been spending his time in quarantine taking daily PDA-filled walks with Ana de Armas.

Check out pictures of the family's fluffy friend out for a joyride at The Daily Mail. Jeva Lange

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