US President-elect Donald Trump is holding his first news conference since the election. The event comes amid reports about Trump being influenced by Russia that he has denounced as ‘fake news.’
Trump’s Cabinet picks are undergoing confirmation hearings in the Senate. Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, nominated to head the State Department, is running the gauntlet on Wednesday morning, similar to what Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions went through on Tuesday. In comparison, the lawmakers went easy on retired Marine General John Kelly, nominated to head Homeland Security.
Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer called BuzzFeed’s report “outrageous” and “irresponsible.”
BuzzFeed and CNN running the unsubstantiated report is “a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks,” Spicer said.
“This political witch-hunt by some in the media is based on flimsy reporting, and is shameful and disgraceful,” he said.
Trump started his speech by thanking the news organizations that “looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot on them. The thing like that should have never been written – and rejected it.”
“A group of my opponents got together, sick people, and they got that crap together,” Trump said.
“Does anyone really believe that story?” Trump asked the press, adding that he always told his employees to be very careful when they travel, lest they end up watching themselves on television.
He continued his speech focus on a wide range of issues from building factories to his inauguration.
“Big news is going to be announced over the next couple of weeks,” about companies going to build factories in the Midwest, Trump said, citing recent announcements by Ford and Fiat Chrysler as examples.
Big pharma is “getting away with murder,” said the president-elect, adding that he intends to save billions by overhauling the bidding system for medication.
The generals and admirals have “been fantastic” about reducing the costs on the F-35, Trump said, referring to the stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin and plagued by cost overruns and technical issues.
“I’m really proud of what we have done and we haven’t even gotten [to the White House] yet,” Trump said.
The majority of questions from reporters focused on Russia and the intelligence reports on the alleged interference in election.
“Hacking’s bad, and it shouldn’t be done. But look at what was learned from the hacking: That Hillary Clinton got questions to the debate, and didn’t report it? That’s a horrible thing,” Trump said.
Answering questions about his relations with Putin Trump said that “if Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
“Do you honestly believe Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Give me a break,” he said.
Speaking of possible conflicts of interest from his business past business operations, Trump said that he has “no loans, no deals, or no pending dealings with Russia.”
He said he was offered $4 billion for deals in Dubai over the weekend, but turned it down.
“I have a no conflict-of-interest provision as president,” Trump said. “So I could actually run my business and run the country at the same time.”
He said he could do it, but did not want to.
“My two sons, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company,” Trump said, turning over “complete and total control” of the Trump Organization to his children.