Mike Pence says he and Trump receive regular intelligence briefings

Vice-president-elect Mike Pence says that he and Mr Donald Trump receive regular intelligence briefings, and that he will be joining the president-elect today for a routine intelligence briefing.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US Vice president-elect Mike Pence entered Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday (Jan 3), saying the incoming Trump administration would be making another cabinet announcement in the coming days.

Earlier in the day Mr Trump named Robert Lighthizer, an official in the Reagan administration and harsh critic of China's trade practices, to be his chief trade negotiator, responsible for better deals aimed at reducing US trade deficits.

Mr Pence was asked whether Mr Trump had been briefed by the intelligence community on the Russian hacking allegations made by the Obama administration. Mr Trump's spokesman has said there was no proof Russian hacking influenced the US election.

"We receive regular intelligence briefings and I'll be joining the president-elect today for a routine intelligence briefing but I think over the course of the coming days the president-elect will be receiving more information about that and other topics on the world stage," Mr Pence said.

President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies last week for alleged Kremlin involvement in hacking that intelligence officials said aimed to help Mr Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov 8 election.

Over the weekend Mr Trump said he knew "things that other people don't know" and would disclose some information on the issue on Tuesday or Wednesday. He gave no further detail.

Mr Pence did not answer a question from a reporter on whether they had lost faith in the US intelligence community only stating, "I think that the challenges that America faces on the world stage are going to be met with renewed American strength and renewed American leadership."

A Gallup Poll released on Monday showed less than half of Americans were confident in Mr Trump's ability to handle an international crisis, to use military force wisely or to prevent major scandals in his administration.

The poll said at least seven in 10 Americans were confident in presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in those areas before they took office.