Russia dossier 'phony stuff' from 'sick people', says Donald Trump
Dismissing as "nonsense" the media claims that Russia has compromising information on him, US President-elect Donald Trump tonight said the allegations may have been leaked by US intelligence agencies and it would be a "tremendous blot" on their record if they did that.
"I think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting," Trump told reporters in his first formal press conference in six months.
Referring to a dossier with allegations that Russia has compromising material on him, the President-elect said, "It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen."
Trump acknowledged that Russia and some other countries were behind the hacking of Democratic Party computers.
"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I also think we've been hacked by other countries, other people," he said addressing the crowded press conference nine days from his inauguration as the 45th president of the US.
Blaming the Democratic party, Trump said that the Democratic National Committee was "totally open to be hacked" and argued that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they "would have released it."
"The DNC was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job," he said, adding that attempts to hack the Republican National Committee were unsuccessful and "they were unable to break through."
He praised his future chief of staff Reince Preibus, saying he ordered such a defense at the Republican National Committee.
Adding that "hacking is bad," he said "look at what we learned from that hacking."
A visibly composed Trump said his team is going to put "some of the greatest computer minds" together and put up a defence against hacking by foreign entities.
The press conference came amid media reports that chiefs of American intelligence agencies had last week presented President Barack Obama and Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Trump.
"Sick people, group of opponents have put them together. It shouldn't have entered paper, its an absolute disgrace," he said, referring to the allegations.
Trump took questions about the role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups.
The intelligence community says the interference was intended to help the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Earlier in the day, Russia had denied the claims that it is in possession of compromising material on Trump, calling them fake and aimed at damaging Moscow's relations with Washington.
"The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday, calling the claims a "total fake" and "obvious attempt to harm our bilateral relations".
Will be 'greatest jobs producer that God created': Trump
Highlighting his direct outreach to companies and repeating his campaign pledge to be "the greatest jobs producer that God created," Trump said that more factories open in the industrial Midwest.
He beamed over plans by Fiat Chrysler to add 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio. He also noted that Ford would not be building a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and would instead update an existing Michigan factory and add 700 jobs.
Trump had called on Ford to not open a new factory in Mexico, although economic forces beyond the incoming administration's direct control such as gasoline prices also influenced the decision.
He said additional factory job announcements would be coming, saying, "I hope General Motors will be following."
The president-elect added that he wants to bring overseas pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the United States, although he plans to negotiate on the prices the government pays for medication.
Turned over 'complete' control of business to my two sons: Trump
Trump said he had formally handed over "complete" control of his business empire to his two sons and they won't discuss its operations with him, in a move to avoid conflicts of interest once he assumes the office.
"My two sons - Donald Jr. and Eric - are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They're not going to discuss with me its operations," Trump, surrounded by his sons, daughter and son- in-law, said in his first formal press conference in six months.
"I have signed documents turning over complete and total control to my sons," he said, before handing the stage to his lawyer Sheri Dillon.
Dillon said Trump's assets will be transferred to a trust under the control of his sons before his inauguration and he will step down from his role as an executive at his company.
His commercial real estate assets and licensing businesses will be placed into the trust, along with his cash holdings.
She said Trump's business empire will undertake no foreign deals while he is US president, but underlined that he "should not be expected to destroy the company he built".
"The trust agreement as directed by President Trump imposes severe restrictions on new deals. No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of Trump's presidency," she said, adding that the group has terminated more than 30 pending deals in recent weeks.
Trump said his organization's business will continue to pursue deals in the US.
He disclosed that over the weekend he was offered "USD two billion" to do a "number of deals" in Dubai "from an amazing man, a friend of mine" but he turned it down even though he was not required to do so.
"I turned it down. I didn't have to turn it down. I could actually run my business and government at the same time. I don't like the way it looks. But I don't want to do that," he said.
The press conference comes nine days before Trump is set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the US and nearly a month after Trump canceled his last scheduled news conference.
US to build wall with Mexico to stop illegal migrants: Trump
Trump said his administration will soon build a massive border wall with Mexico to keep out illegal migrants and claimed that the cost of constructing the controversial structure would be reimbursed by the southern neighbour.
"I don't feel like waiting a year or a year and a half to start building. Mexico in some form, in their many different forms, will reimburse us," he said.
"They will reimburse us for the cost of the wall. That will happen. Whether it's a tax or if it's a payment. Probably less likely that it's a payment. But it will happen," Trump
He continued, "I want to get the wall started."
Trump said he will not blame Mexican government for "taking advantage" of the US in the past. However, he said under his watch, things will change.
Trump had promised to deport millions of undocumented Mexican migrants from the United States if he elected.
Meanwhile, Mexico's new foreign minister today said that there is "no way" that his country will pay for the wall.
(With PTI inputs)