President-elect Donald Trump speculated that US intelligence agencies might have leaked details about a classified briefing with him that included unsubstantiated allegations that Russia had collected compromising sexual and financial information about him.
He said any such information was not true: “It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen.”
“I think it's pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press,” Trump said. His comments marked his latest round of insults thrown at US intelligence agencies.
"It would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that. A tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released,” Trump said.
He likened the release to Nazi Germany, saying it is “disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information – that turned out to be so false and fake – out.”
Trump was referring to a dossier that contained unproven information about close coordination between Trump's inner circle and Russians, including details about Russian hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unsubstantiated claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump, attributed to anonymous sources.
The Kremlin has dismissed the dossier as a "total fake" aimed at damaging bilateral ties. The CIA and the office of the director of national intelligence declined to comment.
On Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey refused to say whether the FBI was investigating any possible ties between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign, citing a policy not to comment on what the FBI might or might not be doing.
At the stormy press conference Trump acknowledged, for the first time, that he believed Russia was responsible for the hacking.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said. “But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”
Trump clashed openly with CNN's correspondent, telling him: "You are fake news." But he reserved his harshest words for BuzzFeed, which published the unverified 35-page report in full: "As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they're going to suffer the consequences." (AFP)