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Report: Officials from President Barack Obama’s administration Worked to Protect Russia Hacking Intelligence

The report says information came from multiple U.S. allies, including Britain and the Netherlands, describing meetings between Russian officials and Trump associates that took place in European cities

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Spicer discussed President Donald Trump's travel ban and other topics. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) VOA
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The New York Times is reporting that some officials from President Barack Obama’s administration made efforts to make information about possible links between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials easier for future investigators to find.

The Times based its story on accounts from more than a half-dozen current and former officials, some of whom said they “were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure proper investigation by Congress,” the newspaper said.

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The report says information came from multiple U.S. allies, including Britain and the Netherlands, describing meetings between Russian officials and Trump associates that took place in European cities. It also cites U.S. intelligence agency intercepts of Russian officials discussing contacts with Trump associates.

Trump rejected an earlier Times report that said U.S. authorities had information about repeated contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there is nothing to the new report.

“The only new piece of information that has come to light is that political appointees in the Obama administration have sought to create a false narrative to make an excuse for their own defeat in the election,” the Times quoted Spicer as saying.

An intelligence review ordered by Obama concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the November U.S. presidential election with the goal of helping Trump’s chances of winning.

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The Times said the late days of the Obama administration featured officials working to process raw intelligence information into reports that were kept at a low level of classification to ensure more people could see them, and to pass along reports and sensitive information to members of Congress.

The newspaper said that according to former senior administration officials, Obama himself was not involved in the effort.(VOA)

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Obamacare Unconstitutional: U.S. Federal Judge

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the judge’s decision “vindicates President Trump’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional

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Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, March 24, 2017, in Chicago. VOA

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled Friday that a change in the U.S. tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidates the entire ACA.

Last year’s $1.5 trillion tax bill included a provision eliminating the individual mandate.

The decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ACA will remain the law during the appeal process.

Health Insurance, U.S.
The HealthCare.gov website on a computer screen in New York, Oct. 23, 2018. A U.S. federal judge Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. VOA

About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

U.S. President Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign to dismantle the ACA, a program that made affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans.

The president took to Twitter Friday night:

“The ruling seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning and hopefully it will be overturned,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law.

“If this awful ruling is upheld in the higher courts,” he added, “it will be a disaster for tens of millions of American families, especially for people with pre-existing conditions.”

Khashoggi, Trump, U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey during a bill-signing ceremony at the White House in Washington. VOA

Americans with pre-existing conditions, before ACA, faced either high premiums or an inability to access health insurance at all.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the judge’s decision “vindicates President Trump’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with pre-existing conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable health care.”

Also Read: Microsoft Adds ‘Digital Health’ Feature On its Beta Android Launcher

“Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the leader of an alliance of states opposing the lawsuit, said in a statement. “Our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and well-being for all Americans.” (VOA)