Easily the most
juvenile, creepiest president-elect press conference in my lifetime.
Takeaways from the Wall St. Journal:
DNC HACK: President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday for the first time that he believes Russia was behind cyberattacks aimed at influencing the election. "I think it was Russia but we also get hacked by other countries," Mr. Trump said.
RUSSIA REPORT: Mr. Trump lashed out over the release of unsubstantiated allegations that Russian officials have compromising material on him. "It's phony stuff. It didn't happen,” Mr. Trump said. Asked to offer assurance that neither he nor his staff had contact with Russia during the campaign, Mr. Trump DID NOT answer the question.
DIVESTMENTS: Sheri Dillon, Mr. Trump’s attorney, detailed the steps Mr. Trump was taking to avoid conflicts of interest. Among the major steps, his sons would run the family business without his participation or knowledge, and an ethics officer would be appointed to the Trump Organization to monitor deals and other business activities. While critics have been clamoring for Mr. Trump to completely divest, Ms. Dillon argued that would not eliminate conflicts of interest.
THE WALL: Mr. Trump said that he plans to ask taxpayers to initially fund the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and have the Mexican government reimburse the cost.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” the next president of the United States said at his first news conference as the president-elect.
The nearly hour long event in the atrium of Trump’s midtown Manhattan high-rise came the morning after the publication of material purportedly detailing specifics of how Russian leader Vladimir Putin directed his spy agencies and foreign service to help Trump and hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as claims that Russia has collected salacious material about Trump personally during his visits to the country.
Trump lashed out at the media for mentioning any of those reports, as well as at U.S. intelligence agencies for their presumed role in leaking them to the public. In a morning tweet, Trump wrote: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
Asked about the Nazi analogy, Trump continued his recent attacks on the intelligence community, which will report to him in a matter of days. “I think it was disgraceful ― disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out,” Trump said. “I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that ― and I say that, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”
Trump also said Russian agents could not possibly have gathered embarrassing information about him during his trips because he was always fully cognizant of that danger.
“Cameras that are so small with modern technology, you can’t see them and you won’t know. You better be careful, or you’ll be watching yourself on nightly television. I tell this to people all the time,” Trump said, and then added: “I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way, believe me.” (Appears to be a factaphobe as well, believe your ears)
For months Trumps has disputed the notion that Putin had anything to do with theft of emails from the Democratic Party and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, which were then released near daily by the Russia-aligned group WikiLeaks. Wednesday was the first time Trump publicly acknowledged: “I think it was Russia,” although he later said it could have been other countries as well.
Trump was asked to state whether he could definitively say that no one from his campaign worked with Russia in the run up to the election. Trump answered that Putin should not have meddled in the campaign and that he wouldn’t do it in the future because he would now respect the United States, but failed to answer the question about coordination.
Trump also announced that he would place his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, in charge of his Trump Organization.
“My two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company,” Trump said at a press conference in New York. “They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me. Again, I don't have to do this, they're not gonna discuss it with me.” (snicker, he he, no really, "they're not gonna discuss it with me")
“I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and I’ll say, ‘Oh, you did a good job,’” he said. “Otherwise, if they do a bad job, I’ll say ...”
At that exact moment, the president-elect pulled out a finger gun and said, “You’re fired.”
And with that, his first press conference in six months was over.