Senate to focus on suspected Russian meddling

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Congress (all times EST):

9:40 a.m.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a closed-door briefing Thursday for members to learn more about the Obama administration’s response to suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election and harassment of U.S. diplomats.

Also, U.S. intelligence officials, including national intelligence director James Clapper, are set to testify Thursday in an open session by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

President Barack Obama struck back at Moscow last week with a set of punishments targeting Russia’s leading spy agencies that the U.S. has accused of meddling in the presidential campaign. The U.S. also kicked out 35 Russian diplomats in response to what the White House says has been Russia’s harassment of American envoys.

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9:30 a.m.

President Barack Obama is at the Capitol to give congressional Democrats advice on how to combat the Republican drive to dismantle his health care overhaul.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence is meeting with GOP lawmakers to discuss the best way to send Obama’s cherished law to its graveyard and replace it with – well, something.

The separate strategy sessions come on the second day of the new GOP-led Congress.

In 16 days, Republican Donald Trump replaces Obama at the White House, putting the party’s longtime goal of annulling much of the 2010 health care overhaul within reach.

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