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Trump combats press and Russian hacking allegations in press conference
January 17, 2017
In his first press conference since becoming the president-elect, Donald Trump jabbed with the media, touched on his infamous business interests and focused mainly on the topic of Russian election interference.
The hour-long press conference was initially called to help Trump explain how he would deal with his complex business interests around the world. But it was largely overshadowed by the news that the intelligence community's report could have unverified details that Russia actually hacked Trump, too — potentially gathering compromising data on the president-elect.
BuzzFeed News broke the story, releasing intelligence memos compiled by an alleged "former British intelligence official" who had, according to ABC News, "specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and … claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians."
Vox says BuzzFeed released the article after CNN released its own report that Russia could have potentially compromising financial and personal information on Trump.
The press conference started out with Sean Spicer, incoming White House press secretary, telling the room full of reporters and cameras, "It's frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect's campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the oath of office," according to ABC News.
Trump had words for BuzzFeed too, calling the site out in the middle of the press conference as "a failing pile of garbage.” He also called CNN a “fake news" outlet, according to Yahoo News.
Trump went on to say he had been briefed on the issue the week before, but he called it a "disgrace," going on to say, “I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting. It’s all fake news — it’s phony stuff, it didn’t happen and it was gotten by opponents of ours,” CBS reported. “It was a group of opponents who got together — sick people — and they put that crap together."
When asked if he agreed with the intelligence community's findings that the Russians did indeed conduct hacks during the election, CBS reported that Trump said yes. But, the president-elect still denies the Russian hacks affected the outcome of the election.
Another highlight of the press conference was the stack of manila folders that were next to Trump as he spoke, which he said held documents showing he's turning his business over to his two sons, Eric and Donald Jr., as well as Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg while he's in office.
But, CBS reported, Mr. Trump went on to explain, "I could actually run my business ... and run government at the same time. I don’t like the way that looks but I’d be able to if I wanted to.”
Trump's lawyer, Sherri Dillon of Morgan Lewis, also explained that the president-elect has decided to direct all his profits from foreign governments paid to his hotel chain to the U.S. Treasury.
The press conference also revealed that Trump is already thinking about a Supreme Court justice, announcing that he hopes to find a replacement judge for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the first two weeks of his administration.
Mr. Trump is set to take office on January 20, when he will be inaugurated as president of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.