President-elect Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he believes Russian operatives hacked the Democratic Party during the election, but he continued to dispute intelligence reports that Moscow acted to help him win.
“I think it was Russia,” Trump said at a news conference in New York when asked who was responsible for the leaks of Democratic emails during the campaign. But Trump emphasized that he believes Russia would have released damaging information about him had they obtained such information.
Trump also addressed questions about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks, that’s an asset not a liability. I don’t know if I’ll get along with Vladimir Putin . . . but even if I don’t does anyone in this room think Hillary Clinton will be tougher on Putin than me? Give me a break.”
Trump made his remarks in his first news conference as president-elect, ending a period of 167 days since he has fielded questions from the full media contingent. Past winners of the presidency have traditionally faced the press far earlier.
An estimated 250 journalists were crowded into the lobby of Trump Tower, where Trump aides had set up 10 American flags in front of a blue curtain. A lectern with the president-elect’s transition logo faced rows of worktables where the reporters were prepared to file their reports.Read More