WASHINGTON – At his first press conference in months, US President-elect Donald Trump, standing next to a pile of papers which he said he had signed to turn over control of his business empire to his sons, lashed out at unsubstantiated reports in some media that he had been compromised by Russia.
He said he would start work on building a wall on the border with Mexico, which Mexico would eventually pay for “in some form.”
The Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare would be repealed and replaced “essentially simultaneously”.
On his pledge to create jobs, he said “I said I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that.”
He also signalled a tough approach to the pharmaceutical industry, which was making too many drugs outside the US.
“They’re getting away with murder” (with drug prices) he said. “There’s very little bidding for drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding and we’re going to start saving billions of dollars.”
He also re-emphasised negotiations to bring down the cost of the over-budget multi-billion-dollar F-35 joint strike fighter plane.
“The admirals have been fantastic, the generals have been fantastic” in discussions he said. “We’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
He invited Washington DC-based attorney Sheri Dillon to explain at length how he was divesting his interests in his company.
“My two sons Don and Eric are going to be running the company,” he said. “They are going to be running it in a very professional manner, they are not going to discuss it with me.”
Ms Dillon said “President-elect Trump will resign from all positions he holds in Trump entities. No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of the Trump presidency. He will only know of a (domestic) deal if he sees it on TV or reads it in the paper (and) all new deals must be vetted by an ethics adviser to be brought into the Trump Organistion.”
On questions raised over his policy on Russia, Mr Trump angrily rejected reports as “fake news” and added “I have no dealings with Russia, I have no deals in Russia, I have no deals which could happen with Russia, and I have no loans with Russia at all.’’
“Don’t be rude” he admonished CNN’s Jim Acosta who repeatedly tried to ask a question. CNN was the media organisation that first broke the report that intelligence agencies had found out that Russian agents claimed to have compromising information on him.
‘’These (intelligence) meetings are confidential and classified so I am not allowed to talk (and) I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out:” he said.
“I saw the information, I read it outside of that meeting, it’s all fake news, phony stuff, it didn’t happen. It should never have been released and I think it’s an absolute disgrace.”
He had particularly scathing remarks for Buzzfeed – the website that published details of the report referred to in a two-page note submitted by intelligence agencies to Mr Trump – calling it a “failing pile of garbage”.
Pressed on his view of Russia’s strongman President Vladmir Putin, he said: “We have a horrible relationship with Russia (but) Russia can help us fight ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks, that’s called an asset not a liability.”
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