President-elect Donald Trump stared down the assembled media for the first time since he won the election Wednesday and opened with a blistering attack on the press and the intelligence community after the release of an unproven dirt dosier on him.
'It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours,' Trump said.
'Sick people – and they put that crap together.'
Later, in a departure from his usual rhetoric, he said of election hacking: 'I think it was Russian.'
President-elect Donald Trump blasted 'phony stuff' contained in a dirt dossier against him that was released and blasted whoever leaked it – mentioning the intelligence agencies
As soon as he took the stage, Trump opened up an attack on a flurry of salacious and unproven claims about compromising information Russia may hold over him.
He blasted those who published it, but in a twist, complimented outlets which stayed away from the claims.
'They looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies,' Trump said, referencing a dirt dossier against him.
'Who knows, it may be the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot of their record if they did that,' Trump said, in just his latest shot at the intelligence community.
'A thing like that should have never been written … and it certainly should never have been released,' Trump continued.
Then he hailed 'a couple' news agencies who didn't published the dirt.
'And they came out so strongly against that fake news and the fact that it was written about primarily by one group and one television station,' he said, conflating reports by BuzzFeed, which released the dossier, and CNN, which reported that intelligence officials had provided a summary of information in a secret briefing.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said the reports 'can only be attributed to media bias – an attempt to demean the president-elect and our incoming administration.'
With just nine days before his swearing-in, Trump prepared to take on the 'dishonest' media he frequently castigates – amid months of pent-up questions about his governing plans, his cabinet, and his vast business holdings.
Trump unloaded Wednesday morning on media reports that to intelligence officials had provided a two-page summary of information of claims that the Russians might have compromising information on Trump during a classified security briefing with him.
President-elect Donald Trump was set to stare down the assembled media for the first time since he won the election Wednesday
A dossier of the dirt itself was subsequently published by Buzzfeed, which noted that it had not verified its contents.
'Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!' Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
'Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is 'A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.' Very unfair!' he tweeted shortly thereafter.
Trump's presser was set to begin just hours after Arizona senator and Trump critic John McCain admitted passing the dossier of claims of a Russian blackmail to the head of the FBI.
'Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,' McCain said in a statement. 'Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI.'
'That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue,' Trump said.
In other breaking news, Trump's secretary of state pick, Rex Tillerson, said in congressional testimony that 'Russia today poses a danger.'
'Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia,' he added. Trump has repeatedly called for better U.S. ties with Russia.
Reporters were also preparing to grill Trump about efforts to disentangle himself from his business. As late as 20 minutes before his news conference was to begin, Trump's transition had provided no written materials or explanation of how he would deal with his business interests.
Trump has said he would step back from his business but hasn't previously outlined how. Trump's transition has revealed that Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, will joint he administration as a counselor to the president.
Ivanka Trump has said she is selling her own shares in the Trump organization, and has rented a house in Washington.
SHINE A LIGHT: A Trump Tower employee polishes the brass on a velvet rope in preparation for a press conference by President-elect Donald Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower
Trump scheduled his press conference on the same day controversial State Department nominee Rex Tillerson faced a confirmation hearing
Trump battled media reports on Twitter, noting that the Kremlin called the a 'total fabrication'
Trump tweeted that he has 'nothign to do with Russia'
The president-elect has said his two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, will take charge of the organization. Trump has cancelled a handful of international deals, but still controls 500 companies that could present conflicts of interest.
Among those businesses getting scrutiny is Trump's luxury hotel in Washington, which opened for business in October.
Ethics experts have said if Trump accepts payment or gifts from a foreign power through his business, it would violate the Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits any gifts.
Trump's last press conference was July 27, when he took heat for what he later said was a joke when he invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails.