It was CNN – led by Jake Tapper – who brought to the forefront a 35-page dossier on Donald Trump, compiled by an alleged former British spy. CNN didn’t divulge details.
But it was after CNN’s reporting that BuzzFeed decided to publish the entire dossier, which appears to be nothing but a collection of tabloid-style rumors mixed with fantasy.
Immediately, both Russian officials and members of Trump’s transition team – including Trump himself – denounced the report as fake and completely false. Russia claims not to have any “blackmail” material on Trump at all.
During the President-elect’s first press conference Wednesday, the subject predictably came up, as the release of the “bombshell” report had been perfectly timed.
At Trump’s first press conference as President-elect, a reporter with the New York Times asked him about the intelligence briefing he had received and whether he believes that Russia committed an act of espionage. Also, the reporter wanted to know if Trump had received the 2-page summary of the unsubstantiated rumors against him. Here’s what Trump said:
“Okay, first of all, these meetings are confidential, classified. So I’m not allowed to talk about what went on in a meeting but we had many witnesses in that meeting. Many of them with us.
“And I will say, again, I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information. I read the information outside of that meeting. It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen.
“And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents that got together, sick people, and they put that crap together.
“So I will tell you that not within the meeting but outside of the meeting, somebody released it. It should never have been — number one, shouldn’t have even entered paper — but it should never have been released.”
At another point in the press conference, Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, telling the reporter, “You are fake news”:
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