Donald Trump Brands Russia Sex Allegations 'Phony Stuff' And 'Fake News'
Donald Trump angrily denounced claims he is compromised through links to Russia in his first news conference since July on Wednesday.
The President-elect dismissed a dossier handed to dozens of news agencies as "fake news" and "phony stuff". He blamed US intelligence agencies over the leak, which only Buzzfeed published in full making it clear the allegations were unsubstantiated.
"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 told the chaotic news conference only days before he takes office.
"I think it's a disgrace ... That's something that Nazi Germany would have done," the Republican said.
In a rambling and bizarre introduction, Trump admitted for the first time that Russia likely hacked the Democratic National Committee and the emails of other top Democrats during the 2016 presidential election.
"I think it was Russia," he said.
But the New York businessman said other countries were also hacking the United States and defended his goal of better ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability," Trump told about 250 reporters jammed into the lobby at his New York offices.
The president-elect has long said he hopes to improve ties with Moscow but his plans have come under intense scrutiny after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used cyber attacks and other tactics to try to tilt the election in his favour over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump's comments will heighten tensions between US intelligence agencies and the president-elect, who initially disparaged their conclusion that a Russian government hacking campaign was aimed at boosting his candidacy.
Asked whether he had a message for Putin about hacking, Trump said many countries were hacking the United States and added that he thought Moscow would have greater respect for his administration.
"He shouldn't be doing it. He won't be doing it," Trump said.
The Russia dossier that emerged late on Tuesday was first reported by CNN but BuzzFeed published the full document.
It makes a number of unsubstantiated allegations including that he was offered "various sweetener business deals" by the Kremlin and that Russian intelligence had compromising sexual material from his hotel room during Trump's 2013 visit to Moscow.
In the news conference, Trump declined to answer whether anyone connected to him or his campaign had contact with Moscow during the presidential campaign.
In the freewheeling and chaotic press briefing, Trump angrily refused to take questions from a CNN reporter, telling him: "I am not taking your question. You are fake news."
Trump also went to lengths to describe how he will separate himself from his global business operations to avoid conflicts of interest once he takes office.
He also talked about how he plans to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas plants, slamming drug companies for "getting away with murder" on pricing.
"I am going to be the greatest job creater God ever created," he said.
Additional reporting from Reuters.