US president-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday denied uncorroborated accusations about ties to Russia, accusing CNN of generating “fake news” and calling BuzzFeed “a failing pile of garbage” after it published a dossier with allegedly incriminating material.
“It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen,” Trump said, referring to allegations of lurid behavior in a Moscow hotel room reportedly drawn up by a former British intelligence agent hired to do “opposition research” on Trump.
Just over a week before he takes office, BuzzFeed — without corroborating its contents — published a 35-page dossier of memos on which the synopsis reportedly presented to Trump is based.
The memos, which had been circulating in Washington for months, describe sex videos involving prostitutes filmed during a 2013 visit by Trump to a luxury Moscow hotel, supposedly as a potential means for blackmail.
They also suggest Russian officials proposed deals to win influence over the real-estate magnate.
An hour-long press conference, his first in six months, focused on claims that his aides colluded with the Kremlin to win the US election and that Russia has compromising information on Trump.
The 70-year old Republican billionaire said the information might have been released by US intelligence agencies, which would be a “tremendous blot on their record.”
The US intelligence community has said that Moscow sought to influence the November election in Trump’s favor.
Intelligence heads last week presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of the unsubstantiated allegations involving Russia, according to CNN and the New York Times.
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper late on Wednesday expressed his “profound dismay” to Trump over the leaks.
“This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with president-elect Donald Trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last Friday,” Clapper said.
“I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security,” he said, adding that he did not believe that the US intelligence community was the source.
Trump lambasted some reporters at the press conference.
“I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news,” he told a CNN reporter.
“I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia,” he said.
The president-elect said that he believes Moscow likely meddled in the US election, but did not back away from his openness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump said. “I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do, but there’s a good chance I won’t.”
The Kremlin has dismissed the dossier as a “total fake.”
“The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
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