Nightly Brief

Top CNS stories for today including National Intelligence Director James Clapper telling Congress he’s confident Russia hacked the election; a former defense attorney for Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof tells the judge overseeing the killer’s sentencing trial the proceedings have become a “runaway train”; President-elect Donald Trump bringing a “Bridgegate” figure into the White House, and more.

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1.) Intelligence Director ‘Confident’ of Election Hacking by Russia

Saying he is more confident of this now than in October, the highest intelligence officer in the United States told Congress on Thursday that Russia’s top officials authorized interference in the U.S. presidential election.

2.) Runaway Train,’ Defense Counsel Says of Roof Trial

The sentencing trial of Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof stalled briefly Thursday morning after he filed a motion objecting to the number of witnesses testifying and one his former defense attorneys tried to intervene in the case.

3.) Law Professors See Trump Torpedo Aimed at Environmental Rules

Former Obama administration officials said Wednesday that it won’t be easy for President-elect Donald Trump to reverse national environmental laws, but one panelist predicted that congressional Republicans would use a little-known law to torpedo regulations and roll back the nation’s most crucial environmental protections.

4.) Trump Calls Up Key Figure From ‘Bridgegate’

A former senior staffer to Chris Christie mentioned often during the Bridgegate trial is headed to the White House, the transition committee for President-elect Donald Trump confirmed.

5.) Judge Slices $1 Billion Hip-Implant Award in Half

A Texas federal judge Tuesday sliced in half a $1 billion jury award against DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson for their metal-on-metal hip implants, citing concerns about due process in awarding such massive punitive damages.

6.)  Rental-Inspection Spat Heats Up in Minnesota

Landlords pushed the Minnesota Supreme Court in a lively hearing Wednesday to make tenant consent a prerequisite for city authorities to conduct safety inspections.

7.) Spat Over ‘Star Trek’ Fan Film Headed to Trial

A jury will be the final frontier for a fledgling production company intent on creating its own Star Trek movie titled “Axanar,” a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

8.) Calif. Dems Hire Eric Holder to Take on Trump

Anticipating a showdown with the incoming Trump administration over immigration and environmental issues, Democratic leaders in the California Legislature said Wednesday they will hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s firm as outside counsel.