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Trump spars with reporters during first news conference in months

Last Updated Jan 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm PDT

Summary

There are reports the claims about the US president-elect are unsubstantiated

Donald Trump continues to take to Twitter to denounce the documents as 'fake news'

NEW YORK, NY. (NEWS 1130) — US president-elect Donald Trump says intelligence agencies will have a “tremendous blot on their record” if they leaked a report claiming top intelligence officials told him about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had about him. Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer began Trump’s first press conference in nearly six months by slamming a report, first published Tuesday by CNN, deeming it “outrageous” and “irresponsible.”

The dossier contains unproven information about close co-ordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump among other suggestions attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.

LISTEN: US president-elect Donald Trump makes speech ahead of Inauguration Day

 

A US official said yesterday intelligence officials had informed Trump last week about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community’s findings last week, the official said.

Media outlets reported on the document late Tuesday, and Trump quickly took to Twitter to denounce it as “fake news.” He suggested that he’s being persecuted for defeating other GOP presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.

The story broke as Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway was appearing on a taping of ‘Late Night with Seth Myers.’ Conway was grilled by Myers but claimed that the president-elect was not aware he had been briefed on the dossier.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied allegations that Russia has compromising material on Trump. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed news reports as a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.” He insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”

LISTEN: Donald Trump takes questions from reporters during first speech in nearly six months

 

Last week, Trump told The Associated Press that there was a “very simple solution” to his potential business conflicts. He’s said he will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the Trump Organization, but has not made clear whether he will retain a financial interest in the company.

Trump has sporadically taken questions during the transition, popping out of the gold-plated elevators at his eponymous Manhattan skyscraper to address reporters for a few minutes or greeting the media on the driveway of his South Florida club. But those encounters have all been brief, leaving many details of the president-elect’s policy positions unclear.

Trump has supplemented the short press sessions with a steady stream of 140-character tweets, weighing in on everything from the intelligence community’s track record to actress Meryl Streep’s critical remarks about him at the Golden Globes. The president-elect also used Twitter to stunningly suggest the US should boost its nuclear capabilities, another one of the vague policy pronouncements that could come up Wednesday.

Less than two weeks from taking office, Trump is also confronting the reality of implementing his sweeping campaign promises, including building a wall along the nation’s southern border and having Mexico foot the bill. Trump’s team is considering relying on an existing law that authorizes fencing – and the US taxpayer money to bankroll it – at the border. Trump still insists, however, that Mexico will eventually pay for any projects.

Trump and Republican lawmakers are also grappling with how to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, a long-sought GOP goal. Some Republicans have suggested delaying a replacement measure, though Trump told the New York Times Tuesday that he wants to take that step “very quickly or simultaneously” with the repeal.

The president-elect has not specified what he believes should be included in a new health care law.

Changing journalism landscape

As for covering Trump, Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the journalism program at University of Toronto Scarborough, says traditional media have new challenges, many brought about by the internet.

“The problem is compounded by the fact that the internet is now defining what is news and what is not,” says Dvorkin. “Other media organizations which also might have a digital component are really at their mercy, because news organizations like Buzzfeed may not have the same standards that other news organizations have kept to over the last number of years.

“So, we’re in a hypercompetitive environment now where traditional media organizations are now chasing what digital media organizations are doing, rather than allowing for the kind of standards that should prevail to emerge so that people can understand what is reliable information and what is less reliable.”

As for media consumers of Trump news or any news, Dvorkin has this advice.

“If the story sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says Dvorkin.