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Combative Trump concedes Russia’s role in election hacking

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President-elect Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, spoke during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York today.

NEW YORK >> In a combative and freewheeling news conference, President-elect Donald Trump said for the first time today that he accepts Russia was behind the election year hacking of Democrats that roiled the White House race. Looking ahead, he urged Congress to move quickly to replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and insisted anew that Mexico will pay the cost of a border wall.

The hour-long spectacle in the marbled lobby of Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper was his first news conference since winning the election in early November, and the famously unconventional politician demonstrated he had not been changed by the weight of his victory.

He defiantly denied reports that Russia had collected compromising personal and financial information about him, lambasting the media for peddling “fake news” and shouting down a journalist from CNN, which reported on the matter. His family and advisers clapped and cheered him on throughout.

Trump’s transition has been shadowed by U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia not only meddled in the election, but did so to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. After spending weeks challenging that idea, Trump finally accepted at least part of the intelligence conclusions.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said, quickly adding that “other countries and other people” also hack U.S. interests. Still, he kept needling the intelligence agencies, saying it would be a “tremendous blot” on their record if officials were leaking information from his classified briefings.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement later that he had spoken with Trump Wednesday evening and told him he does not believe any leaks came from the intelligence community.

One U.S. official told The Associated Press Tuesday night that intelligence people had informed Trump last week about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. Some media outlets reported on the document, which contains unproven information alleging close coordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, as well as unverified claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump. The AP has not authenticated any of the claims.

Clapper said Wednesday he had told Trump the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”

Wednesday’s news conference was initially billed as a chance for Trump to answer questions about his plans for distancing himself from his sprawling, family-owned real estate and licensing business. Lawyer Sheri Dillon stepped to the lectern midway through the event to announce that the president-elect was relinquishing control of the Trump Organization to his adult sons and an executive, as well as putting his business assets in a trust. While new international business deals will be banned, the company will be allowed to start new projects in the U.S.

The move appears to contradict a previous pledge by the president-elect. In a tweet last month, Trump said that “no new deals” would be done while he was in office.

With dramatic flair, Trump aides piled stacks of manila folders on a table next to the lectern – in front of 10 American flags – before the news conference began. Trump said the folders contained documents he had signed formalizing the new business arrangements, though journalists were not able to view and independently verify the materials.

Some 250 journalists crammed into the Trump Tower lobby for the news conference, which was not only Trump’s first since the election, but his first since July. Journalists shouted for his attention. At times, he skipped past questions he appeared to not want to answer, including an inquiry about whether he would keep in place sanctions Obama slapped on Russia in retaliation for the election-related hacking.

Until Wednesday, Trump had spent most of his two months as president-elect doling out policy pronouncements, attacks on critics and boasts about his victory in 140-character increments on Twitter. His preferred mode of communication has left some of his positions vague – an approach that is often by Trump’s design.

The president-elect set some concrete policy markers Wednesday, though specifics continued to be in short supply on some of his major campaign promises.

He promised that a replacement for Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul would be offered “essentially simultaneously” with a congressional vote to repeal the measure. The complexity of the policy changes makes quick passage of a new health care law virtually impossible, and Trump is yet to detail what he wants included. He said his team would send a plan to Congress after Rep. Tom Price, his pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, is confirmed.

Turning to his plans to build a wall along the nation’s southern border, Trump vowed that Mexico would “reimburse” the cost of the project through an unspecified tax or payment. He said that while his administration would begin negotiating with Mexico after his Jan. 20 inauguration, he did not want to delay the work until an agreement was reached, raising the prospect that U.S. taxpayers could ultimately bear the costs.

“I want to get the wall started,” he said. “Mexico will pay for the wall, but it will be reimbursed.”

Following Trump’s remarks, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said his country “of course will not pay” for a border wall.

Trump also moved to complete his Cabinet picks, announcing his intention to nominate David Shulkin to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, elevating him from his current role as VA undersecretary. He suggested that Shulkin may work with major private hospitals to help address issues that have plagued veterans’ health care.

Trump said he would move quickly to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He said he had been interviewing candidates and seeking input from conservative groups and planned to name someone about two weeks after the inauguration.

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Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington, Jonathan Lemire in New York and Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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  • My comment is awaiting moderation.
    vector….yooohoooooo…an apology is in order.
    And to all that piled on along with vector…would be gracious to show some class to do the same.

    January 20 #MAGA

    • What a sorry excuse for a press conference. I get more useful information listening to my wife talk in her sleep. All he needs to do is release his tax returns to shut everybody up but he can’t because it will show that he owes his as- to Russia, China and only Satan knows who else.

      • As far as an apology f-c- yo- because the topic hasn’t been disproven yet. During the so called press conference the idi- t only confirmed that he is only capable of being arrogant, evasive, rude and smug. It’s only a matter of time before the good people of this country force him out of office. This will be done by a grassroots campaign to unleash a fury from the citizenry like never seen before. He is one of the dimmest stars in the galaxy so it will be easy to keep him rattled 24/7.

        • “… he owes his as- to Russia, China and only Satan knows who else.”

          Me thinks you nailed it: Russia, China, and [He whose name we do not mention]…. :O

      • Many may be forgiven for recalling that Sarah Palin NAILED this issue a bit more than eight years ago when she observed of our so called ‘news’ media: “They just make stuff up.”

        Today we call it FAKE NEWS.

        Having failed on November 8 and now waiting to spring their ‘October surprise’ until just nine days before inauguration, those “news” outlets who have all along been in the tank for Felony-Shrillary – – which certainly includes this yellow rag, SA – – have done their own credibility great and long lasting damage.

        Watching these fifth column enemies of America burn and shrivel on a funeral pyre of their own making is even more fun than watching Goldwater rub Nelson Rockefeller’s blue veined elitist nose in humiliating defeat at the SFO Cow Palace 53 years ago.

        Burn, baby, burn.

        • I remember All you Trumpers saying that Russia wasn’t involved and Trump would PROVE IT…Looks like he Failed just like he’s Failed to prove that FLOTUS video doesn’t exist…Thank You Trumpers for the entertainment…#MAGA

        • You are most welcome.

          Not only that, but the best is yet to come.

          As the late great Al Jolson was wont to exclaim, “Baby, you ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet!”

        • When you say $toopid things and do $toopid things like Palin and Trump, do the easiest thing to do is to say that the media who reports those $toopid comments and $toopid things they do, are making things up. Only a brainwashed lemming would believe them when the evidence is staring them right in the face…

        • EXACTLY what “evidence” you talkin’ about, haroldm?

          Be specific as to date, location, source, exact description, independent verification/corroboration and provenance.

          I shall count the minutes.

        • IRT thos: You prove its FALSE…You the one questioning it…You the one preaching your FAKE NEWS…What’s the matter, can’t??? I’ll count the minutes…#MAGA

        • LOL, Sarah Palin!

          Sarah Palin! Sarah Palin! Sarah Palin! Sarah “I can see Russian from my house” Palin!

          SARAH PALIN!!! 😮

        • @ thos & lespark
          Agree.
          Thank Heavens PE Trump for turning America around from the tyranny that was certain if Crooked Corrupt hiLIARy had won.
          DEMS LOST.
          AMERICA WON!

          8 more days Patriots….#MAGA

        • I am so much better now than when Obama first took office even though Repub losers kept slandering him. He brought the economy back, got people who were uninsured from work a healthcare plan and he got Bin Laden that chickenhawk Bush/Cheney failed to do anything about. Thanks Obama.

      • Trump did say he was going after the pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of prescription drugs, funny how there is no mention of this in news reports of the press conference. Clearly the real losers of the election is the credibility of the main stream media.

    • The press conference was an embarrassment. The stock market is way down today as businesses realize Trump is incompetent and has no real plan to boost the economy. Oddly, he is attacking businesses and interfering with business decisions. He is no conservative. Scary guy who could really hurt America.

  • the AP twisting around what he said he did not say that Russia hacked the election he said that Russia, even china and other countries hacked the democrat national convention not the election I listened to the whole press conference and not once did he say they hacked the election, the AP spinning lies and half truths, now you know why he likes to tweet what he says, that way the press cannot spin his words shame on you AP, your reporters are so full of it that it shows you are demented deranged reporters with very serious mental disorders. and you SA printing this cr__p your editor and some of your SA reporters are also mentally deranged.

    • You got it. The desperate left will LIE and repeatedly tell the sheople the same lie over and over and over again in there pathetic attempt to delegitimize the Trump victory. Just like their crying about the popular vote. Which of course she would of won if the election was for the president of California…LOL

      • The desperate left will LIE and repeatedly tell the sheople the same lie over and over and over again in there pathetic attempt to delegitimize the Trump victory

        Well said, Mana07.

        Both Josef Stalin and Paul Joseph Goebbels famously believed that a lie – – no matter how bold or brazen – – told often enough would come to be accepted as true and for years this was taken as gospel guiding our so called “news” media.

        The drive by media took comfort in the observation of another newspaper man, Mark Twain, who noted that “A lie can travel round the world three times while Truth is still tying on Her sandals”.

        But the drive by’s forgot the corollary: When Truth finally DOES don her winged sandals, She will merciless run down both the lie and the liar and there is no escaping Her fury.

        So to the fans of Felony-Shrillary, welcome to this bonfire of the vanities.

        Burn baby burn.

    • HAHAHAHA!!! Keep side stepping or should say Goose Steeping…Trump agrees with it…Done…Stop pushing the Fake News, there’s VIDEO evidence…#MAGA

    • Stop lying that the media twists what he says. There is video of what Trump says so it is so easy to research and see that Trump lies constantly. He’s been denying for weeks that Russia had any hand in the DNC hack and now he concedes it. IT IS ON VIDEO OF TRUMP SAYING “I THINK IT WAS RUSSIA”. Trump also lied and said he had inside information that Russia was not behind the hack and that he would be releasing that inside info last week Tuesday or Wednesday. Well it’s past one week now since he said that and Trump has provided no inside info like he said he would. Of course Trump is lying like he does about everything…

      • PRESIDENT ELECT Trump is colossus who will survive manini like you, you who even if you stretch to your full height cannot see over the soles of his shoes.

        In 11,320 minutes he is going to be YOUR 45th President.

        Get used to it, l o s e r s .

        • IRT thos: False Idol??? Beware…You sound like you WORSHIP him…A little weird!!! I’ll share the link to Trumps “Home” video with you, I’ll be watching the FLOTUS video…#MAGA

    • @ 64hoo
      Agree!
      I watched the Presser too…was KaBoom to #FAKEnews CNN (vector’s info source)..it was a BEAUTY of a presser lol PE Trump controls it! Can’t imagine a GOP pol being tough like the PE!
      #MAGA

    • He didn’t put ANYONE in their place…It was Hilarious!!!…I admit Trump needs confrontation to feel comfortable, the beginning of his speech was BRUTAL but as soon as he created confrontations he loosened up AND showed HIMSELF…Its like watching a TRAINWRECK about to happen…#MAGA

  • It was both entertaining and painful to watch. Painful because he is the so called leader of this country. Entertaining because the media just tees off on him. SNL will have a great 4 year run with presidential skits.

    • Obama took the ridicule and ignored it…

      The current occupant of the White House had no choice – – he EARNED the ridicule.

      In any case his so called “legacy” will soon be shredded once our 45th President picks up his pen and start cancelling the thousand of executive orders said occupant issued to make endless end runs around Congress. After that and with the help of the 115th Congress, POTUS 45 will sign into law that which is needed to make America great again.

      And YOU will have a ringside seat to witness enormous feats of damage control.

      And be careful when you smile that folks don’t see the [scatological term redacted] leaking out of the corners of your mouth – – aka the [redacted]-eating grin you will have to plaster on you puss when you realize what a f o o l you have made of yourself.

    • The best SNL line was when Debate Moderator (Tom Hanks) asked Trump (Alec Baldwin) how the media was making him look bad.

      TRUMP: “They’re taking everything I say, and everything I do, and putting it on TV.”

      That was the best (and yet saddest) SNL line. 🙁

  • russia’s reading emails is no comparison to obama and clinton meddling in mideast politics that cost qadaffi his life, expanded isis islamic terrorism, sent u.s funding to an organization that opposed netenyahu in the israeli elections and turned over billions of dollars to iran who sponsors islamic terrorism.

  • Only a Trump supporter could claim victory after Trump concedes that the Russians indeed had a had in the hacking of the DNC servers after denying it for weeks now. It really was true when Trump said of his supporters: “I love the poorly educated”….because judging from the comments of some of the Trump supporters that comment on SA they really are $toopid….

    • It must bug the [scatological term redacted] out of you that PRESIDENT ELECT Trump claimed a come from behind, against all odds electoral victory over Felony-Shrillary.

      Get used to it: America has found her champion and you wet smack l o s e r s have a hard 8 years ahead of you.

    • Yes. IF Donald J Trump had any class, he’d step down and give the victory to Clinton.

      But at least he’ll prove he was right after all: The election was rigged!!!

      • @mm
        Using your reasoning, if Clinton has any class, she should have stepped down and given the Democrat ticket to Sanders. If you really want an example of a rigged election, look at what Clinton and the Democrat hierarchy did to Sanders. The Russians just took advantage of the ratings happy MSM and the Gruber public. If the Russians really wanted Trump to win, they would have also released emails on the other Republican candidates.

        • They had no need to release anything on the other Republican candidates, as Trump eliminated them by himself.

  • Look at the photo accompanying this article. You can see VP-elect Pence watching attentively from the side. You can practically hear him thinking: “I can’t wait for this ungodly ldiot to be locked up for being a lunatic! Then I’ll be the godd*mn POTUS of the United States!”

    [RAS Syndrome redundancy intentional.]

  • This is just the beginning of many more arrogant, confrontational and just plain stupid comments by the “Chump”. Unfortunately we will have to put up with his nonsense for at least 4 years! Hopefully this country will be around that long if he can keep any form of rationality to him and prevent an all out confrontation with the world!

  • I don’t like defending Trump, but I really don’t like these negative stories which have a hidden agenda of riling up the readers. I watched the news conference and read the transcript. Trump spoke calmly, took questions freely in the time scheduled for them (except from CNN), and gave his insights and opinions.

    This article uses words which are designed to press the emotional buttons of readers. These words include:

    “Combative, hour-long spectacle, demonstrated that he had not been changed, defiantly, lambasting, shouting down, shadowed by, finally accepted, was initially billed, with dramatic flair, skipped past questions, specifics continue to be in short supply, yet to detail.”

    The article misleads by talking about the Russian hack and about leaking of information in the same paragraph. The information that was leaked was not about the Russian hack, but was about separate unproven accusations regarding Trump.

    The article leaves out reports of Trump praising the media who called out the publication of unproven accusations, and Trump’s response to unproven accusations. Trump said he questioned a staff accused of wrongdoing in the allegations, and found the person’s passport showed he did not travel to Russia.

    Trump was taking questions by pointing to reporters. Trump calmly told the CNN reporter he wasn’t taking his questions because he said CNN was the only news organization promoting the unproven accusations as published by another website. The CNN reporter continued shouting out his questions, even when another reporter was trying to ask a question.

    • from the report:

      “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

      “Hign confidence generally indicates that judgments are based on high-quality information from multiple sources. High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

      in other words, the report made no determination and does not say that russia influenced the outcome of the election. further, the report’s judgments and assessments are not facts and probably wrong.

  • He says he can run the country and his business at the same time, could have made a two billion dollar deal, but chose not to, even though it would not be a conflict because he has no conflicts.

    This translates to “I could have, but did the country a favor by not doing so”. And it’s one thing to be the “smartest” guy in the room, but when you always have to act like you are the “smartest” guy in the room….

    Tough ask to give this guy a chance and let’s see what happens.

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