5 takeaways from President-elect Donald Trump's press conference
President-elect Donald Trump gave his first press conference since July on Wednesday in Manhattan. Much of the conference related to Trump’s relationship with Russia, put into question after a Tuesday CNN report. Here are some of the top takeaways.
1. Trump answered some questions about relationship with Russia, but avoided others.
Trump dismissed the accuracy of the reports claiming Russian intelligence had collected compromising information about his personal life and finances, and he renewed his criticism of intelligence agencies who let the information slip.
“I think it was disgraceful — disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out,” he said.
But Trump refused to answer questions about alleged ties between former campaign staffers and Russian intelligence operatives.
Trump also conceded that reports that Russia hacked into the DNC database were true, a position he had previously rejected. If he and Russian president Vladimir Putin were to develop a positive relationship, he said “that is called an asset, not a liability.”
2. Trump continued his harsh criticism of the news media and “fake news”.
Trump lashed out against CNN and BuzzFeed, the organizations who first reported on the Russian allegations.
At one point, the president-elect engaged in a shouting match with a CNN reporter. Trump refused to take questions from CNN’s Jim Acosta, saying “your organization is terrible” and “you are fake news” as the reporter repeated his question.
3. He will not divest from his companies, instead turning over control to his sons, and continues to refuse to release his tax returns.
Trump, accompanied by his financial lawyer, Sheri Dillon, announced he would turn control of his companies over to his oldest sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
“President-elect Trump wants there to be no doubt in the minds of the American public that he is completely isolating himself from his business interests,” Dillon said.
But Trump said he will not divest from his companies or create a blind trust — drawing criticism from the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, who called Trump’s plan “meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective” at a Washington, D.C. forum.
4. He appointed his chief of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Trump announced he would appoint David Shulkin, the current Veteran’s Affairs Under Secretary for health and an Obama appointee, as the head secretary of the VA.
Trump promised to “straighten out” the VA, saying the department’s mismanagement has caused veterans to be “treated horribly.”
5. He called on Congress to repeal Obamacare, but replace it quickly.
Trump said he would encourage Congressional leaders to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “essentially simultaneously.”
Republican leaders in Congress have yet to put a plan in place for Obamacare’s replacement.
“It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, after a meeting with members of the GOP caucus.
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