During his first press conference as President-elect Wednesday, Donald Trump denied any involvement in cyber attacks by Russia during the election as suggested by an intelligence report published by some news organizations. At the same time, he lashed out again at certain media outlets, calling one “trash” and repeatedly ignoring a reporter’s questions.
“A thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released,” Trump said referring to an intelligence report that points to him as a possible accomplice in Russia’s hackings of American information systems.
“President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. They said it totally never happened,” Trump said to the hundreds of reporters gathered for his first press conference in months.
The president-elect also harshly criticized news outlets that published the information Tuesday, among them Buzzfeed and CNN. He deemed it a “scandal” for that document to have seen the light of day.
“Buzzfeed is a failing pile of garbage”, Trump said, adding that CNN is “going out of their way to build it up” referring to the accusations of the deals with Russia.
“Not you. Your organization is terrible. Quiet. Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news,” Trump said to reporter Jim Acosta as he attempted to ask if Trump could deny that neither of his campaign officials has met with Russian representatives before the November 8 elections. Another journalist finally was able to address the question to which Trump did not respond clearly.
For the first time, however, Trump did say that Moscow is responsible for hacking the Democratic Party during the Presidential Election, but went on to criticize the party and government agencies for their lax security in preventing such intrusions.
“Hacking is bad and it shouldn’t be done,” Trump affirmed. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” the president-elect said, accepting the findings of intelligence agencies that the Russian government was behind the release of damaging information retrieved from Democratic Party emails.
Trump said such intrusions would not take place once his administration takes over, adding that he has put together a team of highly reputable cyber security experts to make sure Russia, China and any other hackers are stopped.
“We have some of the greatest computer minds anywhere in the world that we’ve assembled … and we’re going to put those minds together and we’re going to form a defense,” he explained.
As for the wall he promised to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump insisted that he will follow through and that Mexico will pay for it, in one form or another.
“I don’t feel like waiting a year or a year-and-a-half,” he said, adding he plans to move on it quickly.
“Mexico in some form…will reimburse us for the cost of the wall…whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment. But it will happen,” he emphasized.
Trump also sought to clarify that he will give up control of his businesses, turning them over to his two adult sons and a business partner, but added he will not sell his brand or give up his assets.
“My two sons (Donald Jr. and Eric) will continue to oversee my company in a professional manner, and they will not consult anything with me,” he clarified as he stood in front of a pile of manila folders that he said contain the details of his decision.
His lawyer, Sheri Dillon, further explained that the Trump’s businesses will not establish new business deals overseas during his presidency and that the domestic operations will be scrutinized to avoid conflicts of interest.
Trump again said he will not release his tax returns, because “the only ones that are interested in them are reporters.”
He answered questions from reporters for more than half an hour, ending the press conference in typical Trump style:
“If my kids don’t do a good job with the Trump organization, I will tell them: ‘You’re fired,’” he said, referring to his well-known catchphrase from the TV show “The Apprentice.”