U.S. imposes new Ukraine sanctions over election interference

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday sanctioned more than a half-dozen associates of a Ukrainian lawmaker accused by U.S. officials of interfering in the 2020 presidential election by releasing edited audio recordings of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Treasury Department already had imposed sanctions on Andrii Derkach, whom U.S. officials have characterized as an “active Russian agent.” They say he was part of a broader Russian effort to disparage Biden before the election by promoting claims about his ties to Ukraine. That effort included meetings between Derkach and President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who himself has pushed allegations about Biden.

On Monday, the department singled out seven Derkach associates, including three former Ukrainian government officials and a current lawmaker, as having worked with him to “make fraudulent and unsubstantiated allegations involving a U.S. political candidate.”

Former diplomat Burns chosen to lead CIA

WASHINGTON — William Burns, a well-known figure in diplomatic circles around the world, is President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the CIA, a selection likely to be embraced by the rank and file at the nation’s premier spy agency.

A former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns, 64, had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He rose through the ranks of the diplomatic corps to become deputy secretary of state before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.

If confirmed, he would succeed Gina Haspel, the first female CIA director, who guided the agency under President Donald Trump.

Trump misses deadline to relay census data

The Trump administration missed a deadline for giving Congress numbers used for dividing up congressional seats among the states, as the U.S. Census Bureau works toward fixing data irregularities found during the numbers-crunching phase of the 2020 census.

President Donald Trump on Sunday let slip the target date for transmitting the apportionment numbers to Congress. Under federal law, the president is required to hand over the numbers to Congress showing the number of people in each state within the first week of the start of Congress in the year following a once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident. There are no penalties for missing the deadline.

The president’s tardiness stemmed from the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, missing a year-end target date for giving the apportionment numbers to the president, due to the pandemic and irregularities that were discovered while crunching data from the 2020 census on a shortened schedule.