New York: President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday that US intelligence agencies might have leaked a dossier of what he called “fake news” about how Russia had tried to sway his actions, saying the allegations were false.
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In his first formal news conference since July, Trump slammed two news organisations for reporting unsubstantiated claims about his ties to Moscow but praised other reporters for holding back.
“I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out,” Trump told about 250 reporters jammed into the lobby at his New York offices.
“It’s all fake news, it’s phony stuff, it didn’t happen,” said Trump, who takes office on January 20. The dossier, which emerged late on Tuesday, was first reported by CNN. BuzzFeed published detailed elements of the report.
The Republican president-elect has long said he hopes to improve ties with Moscow, but his plans have come under intense scrutiny after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used cyber-attacks and other tactics to try to tilt the presidential election in his favour over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
US President-elect @realDonaldTrump’s message to Vladimir Putin pic.twitter.com/IPlz8QLWsR
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 11, 2017
About a dozen protesters gathered behind a police barricade across the street from Trump Tower, holding signs with slogans like “Dump Trump” and “Allegiance To America Not Russia” as Fifth Avenue traffic streamed by.
At the other end of the block, a separate group of protesters held signs with Trump sporting a Hitler moustache, and chanted, “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!”
US President-elect @realDonaldTrump addresses media for the first time since winning elections, says “We will repeal Obamacare soon” pic.twitter.com/phCQWmNhIq
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 11, 2017
The Russia news obscured what was the original purpose of the news conference: a chance for the real estate developer to describe how he will separate himself from his global business operations to avoid conflicts of interest once he takes office.
Trump, who owns hotels and golf courses as well as assets like a winery and modelling agency, will transfer all his assets into a trust and put his two sons in charge, hire an ethics adviser to review any transactions for conflicts, a Trump lawyer told reporters on Wednesday.
He appears to be still involved with his business while preparing to take office, saying he had turned down a $2 billion development deal in Dubai he had been offered over the weekend.
“I didn’t have to turn it down because as you know I have a no-conflict situation because I’m president,” he said.
Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump, said profits generated at Trump’s hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the US Treasury.
The company will not enter any new deals while Trump is president, and all profits generated by Trump’s hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the US Treasury, the lawyer said.
His daughter Ivanka, whose husband Jared Kushner will be a senior adviser to Trump in the White House, also will cease her management role in the Trump Organization, the lawyer said.
During the heated press conference Trump also attacked US companies who ship jobs offshore, singling out the pharmaceutical industry for high drug prices and for manufacturing overseas.
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“There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder,” he told said.
Trump: “We’re going to build a wall…Mexico, in some form, will reimburse us.” https://t.co/SYIPLekALG https://t.co/O3XyS1jSdx
— CNN (@CNN) January 11, 2017
Standing firm on building the controversial wall, Trump said Mexico will “reimburse us” for it, a change from his earlier stand that Mexico “will pay for the wall”.