Trump's first press conference as president-elect: quick highlights

Donald Trump during the Trump Tower briefing (Getty)

Below are some highlights from Donald Trump's first press conference since becoming president election on November 8 (he takes office on January 20). It was a turbulent one.

The briefing was held at Trump Tower in front of around 250 journalists — and, reportedly, a number of his own aides who cheered their boss and jeered reporters.

The president-elect spoke in two 20-minute blocks, broken by a 15-minute stint by his attorney Sheri Dillon

DNC hack
"I think it was Russia," Mr Trump said when asked about the hacking of a Democrat National Committee server hack during the election campaign. It was the first time he had publicly acknowledged Russian involvement in election meddling, as alleged by a combined CIA, FBI and NSA report. However, just a few minutes later, he said another country could have been responsible.

The president-elect said Putin “won’t be doing it” when it comes to hacking on his watch because “Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it.” 

Keeping it in the family
Mr Trump said he would give up management of his private company, and move his business assets into a trust controlled by his sons.

He added that his company would only pursue domestic deals, not international ones.

After a Wall Street Journal analysis found Mr Trump and his companies owe $US1.4 billion to a 150 financial institutions, most scattered around Wall St, there were calls for the property magnate to avoid conflicts of interest by selling assets rather than shuffle them around.

However, Ms Dillon rebutted that point, saying, “President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built."

Ms Dillon said it was not feasible to either sell all of Trump’s many assets, nor to fully divest them when his name is central to the brand.

“President Trump can’t unknow he owns Trump Tower,” she said.

Mr Trump himself added that, “Over the weekend I was offered $US2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very amazing man," but turned it down due to presidential conflict of interest.

"You are fake news"
Mr Trump reacted angrily when CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to shout a question.

Yesterday, CNN broke the story that an intelligence briefing to President Obama and the president-elect last week included a section on unverified allegations that the Russians hold compromising personal information on Mr Trump gathered while he was visiting Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant.

“You are fake news,” Mr Trump told Mr Acosta. “Your organisation is terrible. I am not going to give you a question.

The president-elect also called BuzzFeed, which reproduced the section of the intelligence report detailing his alleged personal behaviour, “a failing pile of garbage.”

“It’s a disgrace what took place, and I think they ought to apologise to start with,” he said.

While most US media have labelled the blackmail allegations unverified and generated by Mr Trump's political foes, a BBC correspondent says he asked the CIA about them and was told there was more than one source; that there was audio and video, and that there were incidents in both Moscow and St Petersberg.

"Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
Mr Trump, who lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton 68.8 million (48.1%) to 62.9 million (46.0%) but won key battleground states to secure an Electoral College majority, also let fly on the subject on Twitter:

Tax returns
Mr Trump said he had no financial ties to Russia, but again refused to reveal any specifics of his finances.

The president-elect indicated said he still had no plans to make his IRS filings public, adding “The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters.” 

Mexico will pay for the wall ... at some point, and maybe not with cash
Mr Trump reiterated that he would build a giant wall between the US and Mexico, but also elabourated on his recent policy tweak that although Mexico will pay for it, it won't be up-front.

“Mexico, through some form . . . will reimburse us,” The said. “That will happen. Whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment.”

Ambitious timetable to replace Obamacare
Republican's in Congress have said it will take months or years to formulate a plan to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka "Obamacare."

But at his Trump Tower press conference, the president-elect underlined that repealing the subsidised health insurance law will be one of his first acts once in office, and that a replacement will be put on the table immediate.

“It will be repeal and replace,” Trump said. “It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. Could be the same hour.”

Big pharma falls
After Mr Trump's November 8 win, shares in pharmaceutical companies soared on the assumption there would be less regulation.

But today, big pharma stocks fell after Trump criticised the industry and pricing.

"They are getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power and there is very little bidding," Mr Trump said. "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly and we're going to save billions of dollars."


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13 Comments & Questions

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“You are fake news... Your organisation is terrible. I am not going to give you a question...a failing pile of garbage..."

This is the calibre of President you now have, America.

And people wonder why when I say I'm never moving back to Canada - this stuff would be way, way too close for comfort...

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Yes, interesting days ahead. I don't think there has being a bully in the White House, probably since Richard Nixon. It's also important however to not expect Donald Trump to behave like a normal politician, certainly not in his first year or two in office, because he isn't one. The usual mealy-mouthed dishonest platitudes will be nowhere to be found. He will say it as he sees it.

Of course for some, his calling out of biased, dishonest or manipulative elements in the news media who have absolutely no scruples around making up stories or twisting them sufficiently to support typically left-wing political agendas will be seen as very refreshing and to be welcomed. Calls for more of it will no doubt be heard.

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Did anyone ever expect Donald Duck to behave like a "normal politician" in the first place!?!?

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“Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it.” Yea, right! You are a real asset to the human race, especially to Putin's FSB. LOL

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He's calling out anything he doesn't like as "biased, dishonest or manipulative" regardless of whether the statements are true or not.

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No. It is the calibre of the media the US now has. They will do anything to justify their opposition to Trump during the primaries and the Presidential election; all of which failed to get Hillary Clinton elected as they were predicting.

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The files were given to Senator John McCain from a former British Diplomat, who got them from a 'reliable MI6 agent'. He couldn't determine the authenticity of them, so he passed them on to the FBI.
hmmmmm, I'm sure MI6 would give any evidence directly to the CIA if it was genuine. The whole lot stinks of fake news and speaks a lot that news agencies were aware of this, even during the USA elections, but did not publish it. But I guess if you want to believe it is true, you'll believe it's true.

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Despite his rhetoric and weird ways we may be pleasantly surprised at the regeneration of America as happened under Reagan who was similarly disparaged. The guy has been ejected so don't fall for the trap of the lefty media who got it so wrong and still cannot get over themselves

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America's huge fiscal deficits began with Reagan ( tax cuts and huge increases in defense spending) along with the hollowing out of the middle classes; it was a period of degeneration (that has become semi-permanent) rather than regeneration.

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CNN might as well mean Clinton News Network. So no surprise that Trump doesn't like CNN.

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when the audio and/or video eventually comes out I wonder what the spin will be then... Penthouse is offering a million I hear. President Travesty, I reckon truth is stranger than fiction.

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This from Bloomberg 10pm NZ time Thursday - wish they'd say what they actually mean and stop equivocating :)

Donald Trump's first press conference since the election basically confirmed he's easily the least suited person to be president who ever got anywhere near to the office.

The office he will occupy in nine days.

Candidate Trump displayed vast ignorance of policy and of basic rules of how the government works. On Wednesday, President-elect Trump utterly failed to demonstrate that he's learned anything. On health care, on Russia, on anything.

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I watched the press conference live. Scary how few answers Trump gave to questions, preferring bluster and redirection instead. Twas much like watching John Key in parliamentary question time.

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