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Gillibrand calls Russian hacking 'unacceptable,' has many concerns about Trump's cabinet

Tom Magnarelli
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at the Food Bank of Central New York.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called it unacceptable and a serious crime the allegations that Russia hacked Democratic and Republican organizations to influence the 2016 election. Gillibrand said she believes it is necessary President Barack Obama responds proportionately.

“It’s a wake-up call," Gillibrand said. "We need to harden our assets. We need to make sure we protect all our businesses. This kind of crime can really undermine people’s confidence and the companies they do business with and our democracy.”

Gillibrand said the Russian hacking should be investigated fully to understand what the motives were. Reports say the hacking was meant to help President-elect Donald Trump win the election. As to if the hacking cost Hillary Clinton the election, Gillibrand said she does not think it helped. Gillibrand supported the former secretary of state in the election.

Trump's cabinet picks

Gillibrand said she has concerns about many of Trump’s cabinet picks. The Senate has to confirm Trump’s cabinet members. Gillibrand, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, will participate in the confirmation hearing for Trump's secretary of defense nominee, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis. She said Mattis is an extraordinary public servant, but Mattis would need a special waiver to be confirmed since he has only been out of military service since 2013.    

“We made it the law that the secretary of defense must be a civilian," Gillibrand said. "First ten years in the civilian world and we’ve since modified it to seven years. Gen. Mattis doesn’t have that. I will vote against him because I think the principle is so important as to how you run the Defense Department.”

Gillibrand said she also has concerns about the record of Trump’s pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sessions also is on the Armed Services Committee and Gillibrand says she has concerns about some of his statements on sexual assault in the military.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.