January 11, 2017 10:36 am
Updated: January 11, 2017 3:30 pm

Defiant Donald Trump slams unverified Russia intel report

ABOVE: Video coverage of Donald Trump’s 1st press conference as president-elect

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NEW YORK – A defiant President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday adamantly denied reports that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him, calling it a “tremendous blot” on the record of the intelligence community if material with any such allegations had been released.

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The incoming president, in his first news conference since late July, firmly chided news organizations for publishing the material late Tuesday night. After weeks of scoffing at reports that Russians had interfered in the election, he conceded publicly for the first time that Russia was likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said and quickly added that the United States is hacked by other countries as well, including China.

Trump’s extraordinary defence against the unsubstantiated intelligence report, just nine days before his inauguration, dominated a highly anticipated press conference in which he also announced a new Cabinet member, detailed his plans to disentangle himself from his sprawling global business empire, gave his outlook on the future of the “Obamacare” health care law and said he would soon nominate someone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Donald Trump rips into ‘fake news’ report about ‘compromising’ Russian intel

“I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting,” he said, a reference to a classified briefing he received from intelligence leaders. “It’s all fake news, it’s phoney stuff, it didn’t happen,” Trump said in a news conference that saw him repeatedly joust with reporters. “It was gotten by opponents of ours.”

Asked about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump boasted that it is an improvement over what he called America’s current “horrible relationship with Russia” and did not criticize the Russian leader for any interference in the election.

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that’s called an asset not a liability. I don’t know if I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin – I hope I do – but there’s a good chance I won’t.”

Trump, Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer also denounced the report about Russia’s influence on Trump, and the incoming president said it never should have been released. He thanked some news organizations for showing restraint.

WATCH: Russian operatives claim to have compromising intel on Donald Trump

A U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that intelligence officials had informed Trump last week about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.

Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community’s findings last week, the official said.

READ MORE: Trump says leaked Russia report could taint intelligence agencies’ reputation

Media outlets reported on the document late Tuesday and Trump denounced it on Twitter before his news conference as “fake news,” suggesting he was being persecuted for defeating other GOP presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.

The dossier contains unproven information about close co-ordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump among other suggestions attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.

Only days from his inauguration as the nation’s 45th president, Trump announced that he would nominate David Shulkin to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, elevating him from his current role as VA undersecretary.

He promised that a replacement for the health care overhaul would be offered “essentially simultaneously” with the repeal of Obama’s signature health law – something that would be virtually impossible to quickly pass given the complexity of the policy changes. Republicans agree on repealing the law but nearly seven years after its passage have failed to reach agreement on its replacement.

Trump has repeatedly said that repealing and replacing “Obamacare” was a top priority, but has never fully explained how he plans to do it. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the House would seek to take both steps “concurrently.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump refuses to take question from ‘fake news’ CNN reporter

Turning to his plans to build a border wall along the southern border, Trump said he would immediately begin negotiations with Mexico on funding his promised wall after he takes office. He again vowed that “Mexico will pay for the wall but it will be reimbursed.” Trump recommitted to his plans to impose a border tax on manufacturers who shut plants and move production abroad. While the tax policy could retain jobs, it would also carry the risk of increasing prices for consumers.

Trump also said he would probably name his choice to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia in about two weeks after the inauguration.

WATCH: Trump vows that Mexico will reimburse the full cost of his US/Mexico border wall

And he announced his plans for the future of the Trump Organization, bringing to the podium attorney Sheri Dillon of Morgan Lewis, who worked with the Trump Organization on the arrangement.

Dillon said the Trump Organization would continue to pursue deals in the U.S., though Trump will relinquish control of the company to his sons and an executive, put his business assets in a trust and take other steps to isolate himself from his business. She said Trump “should not be expected to destroy the company he built.”

The move appears to contradict a previous pledge by the president-elect. In a tweet last month, Trump vowed to do “no new deals” while in office.

The lawyer said Trump would donate all profits from foreign government payments to his hotels to the U.S. treasury.

And pushing back against some ethics experts, Dillon said the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution does not apply to foreign payments to Trump’s company. While some ethics officials have said that foreign leaders who pay for rooms and services at his various hotels would run afoul of the constitutional ban on foreign gifts or payments to the president, Dillon referred to it as a “fair-value exchange.”

Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.

 

Adam Frisk January 11, 20179:56 am
President-elect Donald Trump will hold his first full news conference Wednesday since winning the 2016 presidential election.
The last time Trump held a news conference, he was plunging into a heated general election campaign with Hillary Clinton and suggested Russia could help dig up some of his rival’s emails.
Nearly six months and a presidential campaign victory later, Trump will finally step before reporters again Wednesday to face questions about what role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups – interference the intelligence community says was intended to help the Republican defeat Clinton. (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:02 am
Late Tuesday, two U.S. officials said classified documents that the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies presented last week to Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him.
Officials told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that U.S. intelligence officials presented to Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
Trump denounced the report as “fake news.” (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:04 am
Late Tuesday, two U.S. officials said classified documents that the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies presented last week to Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him.
Officials told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that U.S. intelligence officials presented to Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
Trump denounced the report as “fake news.” (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:04 am
Late Tuesday, two U.S. officials said classified documents that the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies presented last week to Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him.
Officials told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that U.S. intelligence officials presented to Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
Trump denounced the report as “fake news.” (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:05 am
Late Tuesday, two U.S. officials said classified documents that the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies presented last week to Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him.
Officials told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that U.S. intelligence officials presented to Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
Trump denounced the report as “fake news.” (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:19 am

Before Trump’s news conference, the president-elect again fired off a series of tweets to denounce an unsubstantiated report that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information on him.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:19 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:19 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:20 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201710:22 am
Late Tuesday, two U.S. officials said classified documents that the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies presented last week to Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him.
Officials told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that U.S. intelligence officials presented to Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
Trump denounced the report as “fake news.” (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:07 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:08 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:18 am

Before Trump speaks, his spokesperson Sean Spicer calls an unsubstantiated report that Russian operatives have compromising information on him “shameful and disgraceful.”

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:20 am

Vice President-elect Mike Pence takes to the podium and
slams the report as well before introducing Trump.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:22 am

Donald Trump thanks “a lot of the news organizations that are here today” that did not run the report.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:23 am

James Armstrong January 11, 201711:23 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:26 am

“I will be the greatest job creator that God ever created.”

James Armstrong January 11, 201711:27 am

From the Associated Press:
Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of state says he’s not had a conversation with the president-elect about U.S. policy toward Russia.

Tillerson’s statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came despite the intense focus members of Congress have had on Russia over allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

Tillerson says he favors keeping the current sanctions against Russia in place until the Trump administration takes office.

“I would leave things in the status quo so we can convey it could go either way,” Tillerson says.

Tillerson also says Russia’s targeted bombing in the Syrian city of Aleppo “is not acceptable behavior” but he’s declining to flatly say that Moscow is guilty of war crimes. He says he’ll wait until he sees detailed intelligence before making that decision.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:30 am

“Sick people put that crap together,” Trump says while addressing a question about the Russian report.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:33 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:33 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:35 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:36 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:38 am

Trump reiterates that he has no deals, loans with Russia

James Armstrong January 11, 201711:42 am

Trump took three questions during his press conference and then turned the mic over to his attorney who is discussing how Trump is distancing himself from his business.

Both Trump and his attorney suggest that Trump, as president, doesn’t need to turn over his company in order to avoid conflicts.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:42 am
Trump plans to put all his business assets in a trust and hand control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime business executive to allay concerns about conflicts of interest.

A lawyer who worked with the Trump Organization on the plan says Trump is planning to make the change by Inauguration Day, relinquish control over the Trump Organization and isolate himself from the business.

The lawyer says the company will do no new foreign deals but can pursue domestic ones, and says that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts. (AP)
Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:43 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:44 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:44 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:46 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:49 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:50 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:53 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:54 am

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:58 am

Trump again calls Obamacare a “complete and total disaster.”

Adam Frisk January 11, 201711:59 am

Trump says Obamacare will be repealed and replaced simultaneously, same day.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:05 pm

On Mexico border wall, Trump says again Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for wall via tax or payment.

https://globalnews.ca/video/3174543/trump-vows-that-mexico-will-reimburse-the-full-cost-of-his-usmexico-border-wall

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:05 pm

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:07 pm

Trump tells reporters he will make a decision on who to put up for Supreme Court judge about two weeks after inauguration.

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:08 pm

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:10 pm

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:11 pm

Trump says “all I can ask for is honest reporters”

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:12 pm

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:13 pm

On Mexico border wall, Trump says again Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for wall via tax or payment.

James Armstrong January 11, 201712:16 pm

WATCH: Donald Trump likens release of latest report on Russian ties to Nazi Germany

Adam Frisk January 11, 201712:18 pm

James Armstrong January 11, 201712:21 pm

The Associated Press:
Rex Tillerson says he has no knowledge about whether President-elect Donald Trump or members of his family has any financial interests with Russia.

Trump’s pick for secretary of state was responding to questions from Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate against Trump in the 2016 election.

Kaine asked to know if Tillerson would be at a disadvantage in negotiations if there another country or individual had information about Trump that Tillerson wasn’t aware of.

Tillerson says: “Not to my knowledge.”

James Armstrong January 11, 201712:22 pm

WATCH: Donald Trump says he has no business dealings in or with Russia.





James Armstrong January 11, 201712:22 pm

WATCH: Donald Trump says hacking is bad, but look what was revealed by it.





James Armstrong January 11, 201712:23 pm

From The Associated Press:
President-elect Donald Trump says that the Democratic National Committee was “totally open to be hacked” and argues that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they “would have released it.”

At Wednesday’s news conference, Trump took questions about the role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups. The intelligence community says the interference was intended to help the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump said the Democratic National Committee could have “had hacking defense.” He praised his future chief of staff Reince Preibus, saying he ordered such a defense at the Republican National Committee.

Trump also said that “hacking is bad,” but added “look at what we learned from that hacking.”

James Armstrong January 11, 201712:26 pm

Read more: Trump says leaked Russia report could taint intelligence agencies’ reputation

James Armstrong January 11, 201712:28 pm

Read more: Before this morning’s press conference, Donald Trump ripped into the “fake news” report about “compromising” Russian intel

James Armstrong January 11, 20171:14 pm

The Associated Press:

President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at a reporter from CNN, refusing to take a question from him and calling his news organization and Buzzfeed “fake news.”

CNN reporter Jim Acosta pushed back at Wednesday’s news conference, demanding an opportunity to ask a question.

A U.S. official says top intelligence officials last week told Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. The story was first reported by CNN Tuesday. Buzzfeed later published a summary of those allegations.

The summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia’s suspected attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.

Trump told Acosta, “Your organization is terrible, I’m not going to give you a question.”

Acosta responded, “Mr. President-elect, that’s not appropriate.”

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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