Democratic representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland releases a statement vowing congressional action to shed light on Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, given Trump’s decision not to divest from the Trump organization. “Congress must [obtain] all corporate and legal documents relating to the president-elect’s global entanglements and business dealings, including the tax returns he promised to produce to the American people,” Cummings says.
What did you think about that Trump news conference?
Trump finally conceded that Russia hacked the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, but, Trump said, a lot of other people try to hack the US too. Trump said Putin would stop such behavior when he, Trump, is president. Trump ignored a question about whether anyone in his campaign had had contacts with Moscow during the campaign. And he dismissed reports that Russia wanted him to win, saying he’ll be tougher on Russia than Clinton would have been.
Trump claimed to have severed himself from his business interests, but this section of the news conference was a particularly troubling mess. Trump said that as president, he is not subject to a ban on conflicts-of-interest – at any level, he appeared to assert. He served up a lawyer who made the same assertion. Then the lawyer described a “wall” to be erected between President Trump and the Trump Organization, which is to be managed going forward by Trump’s sons. The lawyer said the Trump Organization would turn over hotel receipts from foreign governments to the US treasury. Trump said a big stack of manila folders next to his lectern contained documents in which he signed control of his organization over to his sons. But who knows what was in those folders; there was no mechanism described for transparency as the supposed restructure takes place, and it’s unclear what window the public can hope to have on President Trump scrupulously not advising his sons about the Trump Organization.
Finally, Trump suggested that the intelligence community had fabricated documents describing Russia obtaining compromising information about him. He said “sick people,” his “opponents”, had assembled the documents, and “garbage” “fake news” media outlets had disseminated them. He rejected outright claims in the documents of contacts between his campaign and Russia, and of him behaving badly in Moscow. He said he always warned people traveling with him about cameras in foreign hotels and that in any case he is a germaphobe.
Trump wraps news conference
Trump is asked, can you say your campaign did not have contact with Russia? And what’s your message for Putin?
“He shouldn’t be doing it, he won’t be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when other people have led it… we have to work something out… it’s not just Russia… 22m accounts were hacked in this country by China. And that’s because we have no defense.”
Trump is on to China “taking total advantage of us economically.”
“All countries will respect us far more, far more than they do under past administrations.”
Trump concludes. “These papers are all just a piece of the many many companies” I’m turning over to my sons, Trump says.
“And I hope at the end of eight years that I come back, otherwise if they did a bad job I’ll come back and say ‘you’re fired’.”
“Within 90 days we will be coming up with a major report on hacking defense, how do we stop this new phenomenon,” Trump says.
Trump is asked why he spent weeks undermining the intelligence community’s conclusion about Russian hacking, which he now appears to admit.
“I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press,” Trump says. He says it’s illegal. He dodges the question.
Trump is asked about the risk of weakening national security by his constantly criticizing the intelligence community.
“Intelligence agencies are vital and very very important… We’re going to be putting in some outstanding people,” Trump says.
He says he’ll get “a major report on hacking” within 90 days of taking office.
Trump says Lindsey Graham “is a nice guy” and he’s not worried about Graham’s criticism.
“BBC News, that’s another beauty,” Trump says.
The question is, if any of this Buzzfeed business stands up, will you reconsider…
“There’s nothing they can come back with,” Trump says, simply.
Trump is asked what media reforms he recommends. That’s a question?
“I don’t recommend reforms. I recommend people who have a moral compass,” Trump says.
Trump attacks certain members of the media as “very very dishonest people.”
Finally, on the Nazi tweet: “I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake” to get out, Trump says. Just like Nazi Germany, he says.
“As far as Buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage writing it, I think they’re going to suffer the consequences, and they already are.”
Trump says he will not give CNN a question. “You are fake news.”
Trump: court nominee to come within two weeks of inauguration
Trump is asked about his “Nazi Germany” tweet and about the border wall with Mexico and about his supreme court nominee timeline.
“We’re going to build a wall,” Trump says. “I don’t wanna wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approval… Mexico in some form will reimburse us… that will happen. Whether that’s a tax, or it’s a payment… it will happen.”
Trump says there’s no difference between Mexico reimbursing the US for costs to build the wall and paying upfront. He’s eager to begin construction. The payment will take care of itself, he says.
He says he loves Mexico. “I don’t blame them for what happened. I don’t blame them for taking advantage of the United States. What I say is, we shouldn’t have allowed that to happen.”
On the supreme court, Trump has a list of 20, he’s met the candidates, Jim Demint was involved (Heritage foundation), “We have a great group of people.” “I will be making a decision… probably within two weeks of the 20th.”
On day one in office, “We’ll also be doing some very good signings.”