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Trump news conference highlights: Russian hacking, Buzzfeed News and more

Here are the highlights from President-elect Donald Trump's

Here are the highlights from President-elect Donald Trump's news conference on Jan. 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

As one may expect from an entertainer-turned politician, President-elect Donald Trump’s first news conference since July was anything but boring.

Speaking at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, the president-elect waded through a wide range of topics -- including an unsubstantiated report that suggested Russian operatives claim to have compromising information on Trump -- before taking (and refusing to take) questions from reporters.

From his “germaphobe” comment to his shouting match with a CNN reporter, here are the highlights from Trump’s news conference.

Russian hacking

After weeks of casting doubt on whether Russia was behind cyber attacks during the presidential election, Trump admitted that he believes the country was involved.

"As far as hacking, I think it's Russia. But we also get hacked by other countries and other people and I can say that,” Trump said.

While the president-elect was willing to acknowledge that Russia was likely involved in the Democratic National Committee hacking, he also defended his goal of improving ties with Moscow.

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” he said.

Later, when asked if he had anything to say to Putin regarding the hacking, Trump said: “He shouldn’t be doing it. He won’t be doing it.”

“Maybe the intelligence agencies” leaked the dossier

Trump wasted no time addressing a leaked dossier published by Buzzfeed News a day earlier, suggesting that the intelligence community itself may have been behind how it made its way to the public sphere.

Trump characterized the dossier as “nonsense that was released by, maybe the intelligence agencies, who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies.”

The leaked dossier, which contained unsubstantiated claims from Russian operatives that they had compromising information on the president-elect, is filled with nothing but “fake news and “phony stuff,” according to the president-elect.

"I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there," Trump later said.

Calling Buzzfeed News a “failing pile of garbage”

While continuing to speak on the leaked dossier, Trump took aim at Buzzfeed News for its decision to publish the leaked dossier online despite that it contained unsubstantiated information, calling the media outlet a “failing pile of garbage.”

Trump also praised other news outlets for choosing not to report on the dossier, adding “I just want to compliment many of the people in the room ... I have great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press."

Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti defended publishing the dossier, calling it a "newsworthy document" in a memo to employees.

Refusing to take questions from CNN’s Jim Acosta

CNN was also targeted by the president-elect for reporting on the dossier. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

“No, no, not you. Your organization is terrible” Trump told Acosta as he attempted to pose a question regarding the Russian hacking scandal. “Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”

Acosta fired back: “Mr. president-elect, that’s not appropriate.”

The reporter later said on Twitter that ABC reporter Cecilia Vega asked the question he was attempting to pose regarding whether any Trump associates had contact with Russia.

“Trump said no,” Acosta tweeted.

Following the news conference, CNN released a statement distancing its reporting on the dossier from Buzzfeed News’ decision to publish the report in full.

Trump is a "germaphobe"

Trump also addressed the salacious and unsubstantiated personal information contained in the report, remarking, “I'm also very much of a germaphobe, by the way.”

Future of Trump Organization

By now, you may have forgotten the entire purpose of this news conference was initially for Trump to explain how he plans to resolve potential conflicts of interest surrounding the Trump Organization.

The president-elect did touch on the topic, saying his sons will take over the family business. Trump vowed that Donald Jr. and Eric won’t discuss the business with him during his presidency.

Commenting that Trump "can't un-know he owns Trump Tower," tax attorney Sheri Dillon said the president-elect decided against creating a blind trust as well as fully divesting from the company.

Ivanka Trump, who is an executive vice president, is also expected to relinquish management authority over the Trump Organization. The move is in response to Trump selecting Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner as a senior White House adviser in his administration.

Trump on jobs

“I said I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that,” Trump said during the news conference.

Trump also took aim at companies considering moving their manufacturing outside of the United States, threatening that anyone who does so will “pay a very large border tax."


In recent weeks, Trump has been unwavering in his demands that Republicans in Congress repeal Obamacare.

He reiterated those promises during the news conference, saying the health care reform legislation would be repealed and replaced “essentially simultaneously.”

“We're going to be submitting ... a plan. It'll be repeal and replace; it will be essentially simultaneously; it will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week,” he said, adding that Republicans were doing Democrats a “great service” by taking “the problem off the shelf for them.”

Trump taps David Shulkin as secretary of Veterans Affairs

Trump announced Dr. David Shulkin as his choice for secretary of Veterans Affairs.

“We're going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I have been promising that for a long time ... We interviewed at least 100 people (for VA head), some good, some not so good ... Our veterans have been treated very unfairly,” Trump said.

Shulkin is the current under secretary for health at the VA.

Building the wall

Trump said negotiations with Mexico over building a wall along the border with the United States will start immediately, but he won't wait until negotations are done before construction begins.

"I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office; but I don't want to wait," he said.




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