President-elect Donald Trump today angrily denounced the publishing of claims he had been caught in a compromising position in Russia and attacked US intelligence agencies over the leak of the information.
"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 a news conference. He called the dossier that makes salacious claims about him "fake news" and "phony stuff."
"I think it's a disgrace ... That's something that Nazi Germany would have done," the Republican said days ahead of his inauguration.
Trump acknowledged that Russia likely hacked the Democratic National Committee and the emails of other top Democrats during the 2016 presidential election, but defended his goal of better ties with Moscow.
"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.
Trump, who said he hoped for a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin but could not guarantee it, said he had asked intelligence officials for a report on defenses against hacking in 90 days.
The dossier that emerged late on Tuesday was first reported by CNN. BuzzFeed published the full document.
Two US officials said the allegations, which one called "unsubstantiated," were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that was presented last week to Trump and to President Barack Obama.
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 favor over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The real estate developer used the news conference 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.
US stocks slipped to session lows, before recovering ground, as healthcare stocks took a beating following Trump's comments on drug pricing in his first formal news conference since his Nov. 8 victory.
TRUMP ON PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES
"We have to get our drug industry coming back," he said, adding it had been "disastrous and leaving left and right."
Trump also called for new bidding procedures for US drug companies, saying, "They're getting away with murder (with drug prices) ... There's very little bidding for drugs. We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly. We're going to start bidding and we're going to start saving billions of dollars."
TRUMP ON HIS SUPREME COURT PICK
Asked about nominating a Supreme Court justice, Trump said, "So, as you know, I have a list of 20. I've gone through them. We've met with numerous candidates. They were outstanding in every case ... I'll be making the decision on who we will put up for justice of the United States Supreme Court, a replacement for the great, great Justice (Antonin) Scalia. That will be probably within two weeks of the 20th (of January). So within about two weeks, probably the second week.
"It will be a decision which I very strongly believe in. I think it's one of the reasons I got elected. I think the people of this country did not want to see what was happening with the Supreme Court. So, I think it was a very, very big decision as to why I was elected."
TRUMP ON MILITARY AIRCRAFT PROGRAMS
"The admirals have been fantastic, the generals have been fantastic" ... He said the F-35'S costs were "billions of dollars way over budget. "We're going to get those costs way down, and we're going to get some competition and it's going to be a beautiful thing."
TRUMP ON JOBS
"I said I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that."
TRUMP ON TALKS WITH MEXICO BEFORE BUILDING BORDER WALL
Trump said he would not wait for negotiations with Mexico to be completed before starting to build a wall along the two countries' border.
"I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office; but I don't want to wait."
TRUMP ON VETERANS
Trump announced the nomination of Dr. David Shulkin as secretary of Veteran Affairs. Shulkin is currently under secretary for health at the VA.
"We're going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I have been promising that for a long time ... We interviewed at least 100 people (for VA head), some good, some not so good ... Our veterans have been treated very unfairly."
TRUMP ON HIS TAXES
"I'm not going to release tax returns because, as you know, they're under audit" by the Internal Revenue Service.
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