FACEBOOK ASSAULT
The suspects who allegedly tortured a man suffering from "mental health challenges" in a horrific video filmed in Chicago have been charged with a hate crime after making anti-white comments and forcing the victim to make anti-Trump comments. All four Illinois suspects -- identified by officials as Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago, Brittany Covington of Chicago, all 18, and 24-year-old Tanishia Covington of Chicago -- were charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Hill, Cooper and Covington were also charged with residential burglary. Hill was additionally charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to the prosecutor's office.

RUSSIAN HACKING
Intelligence chiefs testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee today on Capitol Hill pushed back against President-elect Donald Trump's public rebukes of the intelligence community, warning that a disparagement from the top could undermine the effectiveness of the workforce. During the hearing, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, asserted again he has "high confidence" Russia directed the attacks. Meanwhile, the Trump team is pushing back against claims that the President-elect is seeking to overhaul the intelligence community. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer denied those reports, saying the media want to make him appear to dislike the intelligence community

OBAMACARE
House Speaker Paul Ryan pledged Thursday that Republicans will complete legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare this year. A replacement plan will be written to allow new programs to be phased in later, Ryan said. His leadership team has yet to introduce any legislation, let alone a bill that has the support of a majority of representatives. Still, he said he was confident a bill could be composed and approved swiftly.

TRANSITION
ABC News has confirmed the departure of former CIA Director and Ambassador R. James Woolsey from President-elect Donald Trump's transition team. A spokesman for Woolsey simply saying "Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a Senior Advisor. He wishes the President-Elect and his Administration great success.

CHALLENGING TRUMP
The second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, would support an effort to challenge certification of the votes that will formally put Trump in the White House on Friday, he told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast.

ROOF
The daughters, sons, sisters and friends of the Charleston church shooting victims shared their tragic stories of loss and grief today with the jurors who will decide whether or not convicted killer Dylann Roof will be sentenced to death or face life in prison. Jurors cried Thursday during the emotional testimony.

RI ESCAPEE
An inmate who was on the run for days after escaping from a federal prison in Rhode Island was captured near Boston Thursday, after he allegedly tried to rob two banks in the area, the Massachusetts--according to State Police. 

DEPARTMENT STORES
Macy's and Sears, two of the country's most iconic department stores, today announced massive cutbacks that will lead to the closure of hundreds of locations and cutting thousands of jobs. Sears announced it is shuttering 150 of its stores, including 108 Kmarts. The company did not release how many workers would be laid off but reported that holiday sales were down 12 percent this year.

WINTER WX
The country is bracing for an arctic blast--The first measurable snowfall on New Year's Day since 1950 for Seattle, more rotating into Northern California, and the cold's gonna be one of the coldest since 1979 and it gets all the way into the deep south with wind chills well below zero across much of the midwest.

NY TRAIN
The engineer driving the train that derailed at a New York City commuter-rail terminal yesterday (Wednesday) morning says he does not "recall" striking the end of the track. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board say the 50-year-old engineer told investigators the last thing he remembered before the crash was working to slow the train down as it entered Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal. The speed limit for the particular stretch of track where the collision occurred is five-miles-an-hour - at a news conference Thursday, NTSB Investigator-in-Charge, Ted Turnpin said the train was going double the speed limit when it crashed.

PEANUTS
The new guidelines from the National Institutes of Health say babies should eat peanut products, starting when they're as young as four months old, to help prevent life-threatening peanut allergies later. The new evidence goes against long-standing advice on when to feed children peanuts.


TURKEY
At least four people are dead after an attack in the Turkish port city of Izmir on Thursday. Among the dead are two of the believed three attackers who detonated a car bomb near the city's courthouse, the third is on the run. They are believed to be Kurdish separatists, who have carried out a string of attacks across Turkey since a fragile truce broke down. Turkey is facing a growing spate of attacks by both Kurds and ISIS as the government ramps up efforts against them.

MENENDEZ BROTHERS
The cousin of Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted of the 1989 murders of their parents, says she has no doubt the brothers’ parents sexually abused them. “I know that they would never, ever have done what they did unless they felt that they had no choice -- that it was either them or their parents,” Diane Vander Molen, who is speaking for the first time since she testified at their trial, told ABC News. “I believe that very strongly.”