Trump accuses U.S. spy agencies of Nazi practices over 'phony' Russia dossier

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump escalated a fight with U.S. spy agencies on Wednesday, just nine days before he takes over their command as president, and accused them of practices reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

The Republican said leaks from the intelligence community led to some U.S. media outlets reporting unsubstantiated claims that he was caught in a compromising position in Russia.

"I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace, and I say that ... that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do," Trump told a news conference in New York.

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President-elect Trump's first press conference since election win
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President-elect Trump's first press conference since election win
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in Trump Tower, Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A member of the media waits for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
US Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks during a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes questions from members of the media during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Trump vigorously denounced unsubstantiated reports that the Russian government has gathered potentially damaging information about his finances and conduct. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11: President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a news cenference at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. This is Trump's first official news conference since the November elections. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump arrives to give a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, second right, stands with son Donald Trump Jr. right, and daughter Ivanka Trump prior to a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Trump vigorously denounced unsubstantiated reports that the Russian government has gathered potentially damaging information about his finances and conduct. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Numerous files are displayed (L) as US President-elect Donald Trump gives a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump gives a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump gives a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch from a balcony as US President-elect Donald Trump gives a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
US President-elect Donald Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is seen during a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. Donald Trump is holding his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump along with his children Eric(L) Ivanka and Donald Jr. arrive for a press conference January 11, 2017 at Trump Tower in New York. Trump held his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a press conference January 11, 2017 at Trump Tower in New York. Trump held his first news conference in nearly six months Wednesday, amid explosive allegations over his ties to Russia, a little more than a week before his inauguration. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11: President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a news cenference at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. This is Trump's first official news conference since the November elections. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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For the first time, Trump acknowledged that Russia likely hacked the Democratic National Committee and the emails of top Democrats during the 2016 presidential election. "I think it was Russia," he said, pointing out that other countries were also hacking the United States.

Trump's comments about spy agencies such as the CIA are likely to intensify tensions between the intelligence community and the president-elect, who initially disparaged its conclusion that a Russian hacking campaign was aimed at boosting his candidacy against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, called a dossier that makes salacious claims about him in Russia "fake news" and "phony stuff."

MEMO AND REPORTS

Two U.S. officials said the allegations about Trump, which one called "unsubstantiated," were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that was presented last week to Trump and to President Barack Obama.

Trump said, without offering evidence, that the news he had been briefed on the memo "was released by maybe the (U.S.) intelligence agencies. Who knows? But maybe the intelligence agencies which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that."

CNN reported on Tuesday about the existence of the memo. BuzzFeed published a fuller 35-page document produced by Christopher Steele, a former British foreign intelligence official, that outlined the allegations of compromising behavior by Trump and alleged links between the businessman and people in Russia.

The claims were included in opposition research reports that were made available last year to Democrats and U.S. officials.

One U.S. official said investigators had so far been unable to confirm material about Trump's financial and personal entanglements with Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of Russian intelligence.

Some material in Steele's reports has proved to be erroneous, the U.S. official said.

In the news conference, Trump declined to answer whether anyone connected to him or the campaign had contact with Moscow during the presidential campaign, and said he had no loans or business deals with Russia.

He defended his goal of better ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability," he said.

The New York real estate developer complained about leaks from meetings he has with intelligence agencies and suggested they were to blame.

"I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it. Somebody's leaking it out," he said.

PROTESTERS OUTSIDE, CHEERING AIDES INSIDE

The long-awaited news conference was a freewheeling affair, with Trump aides cheering from the sidelines at one point and the president-elect angrily refusing to take questions from a CNN reporter.

Outside, about a dozen protesters gathered behind a police barricade across the street from Trump Tower, holding signs with the slogans "Dump Trump" and "Allegiance To America Not Russia" as Fifth Avenue traffic streamed by.

It was Trump's first news conference in about six months. About 250 reporters jammed into the lobby at his Manhattan offices where Trump also slammed drug company pricing policies.

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Signs from anti-Trump protests across the country
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Signs from anti-Trump protests across the country

A woman takes part during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump in New York City on November 9, 2016.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators gather to rally against Donald Trump as President at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in Boston on Nov. 9, 2016.

(Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

People protest outside Trump Tower following President-elect Donald Trump's election victory in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Protesters reach Trump Tower as they march against Republican president-elect president Donald Trump in the neighborhood of Manhattan in New York, U.S., November 09, 2016.

(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Protestors march against Republican Donald Trump's victory in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

People stage a protest against President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party in front of the Trump Tower in Chicago, United States on November 9, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A sign reading "Grab Her By The What Mr. President" lies on the ground as people gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States outside of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon)

Protesters walk during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

Protesters hold signs in opposition to the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mary Schwalm)

Cristina Levert, who attended Berkeley High and who has a 17 year-old who attends Berkeley High, holds up a sign during a protest in response to the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Berkeley, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

People stage a protest against President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party in front of the Trump Tower in Chicago, United States on November 9, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Protestors shout slogans during a demonstratioin on 5th Avenue across from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016 in New York, after Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the US.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

Protesters demonstrate across the street from Trump Tower after the election selected Republican president-elect Donald Trump in New York, New York, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Demonstrators protest against the election of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump in front of the White House in Washington November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A woman holds a placard at an anti-racism protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump outside of the U.S. Embassy in London, Britain, November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

People gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States outside of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon)

Protestors march against Republican Donald Trump's victory in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

Demonstrators gather before start of rally against Donald Trump as President at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in Boston on Nov. 9, 2016.

(Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Demonstrators hold signs during a rally against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump near Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Manhattan on Wednesday night and converged on Trump Tower in Midtown to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president.  

(Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A protestor holds a placard on 5th Avenue across the street from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016, after Donald Trump won the election.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A demonstrator holds a sign and protests against Donald Trump's presidency at Washington Square Park on November 9, 2016 in New York City.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/WireImage)

A demonstrator carries a placard in protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States, across from the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/David Becker)

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Questions extended to many issues that will face him when he takes office. He vowed to soon begin negotiations with Mexico on building a border wall and said he will nominate a Supreme Court justice to fill the seat left by the death of conservative Antonin Scalia within two weeks of taking office.

He also said he would offer a plan to repeal and replace Obama's signature health care law once his choice for health and human services, Tom Price, is confirmed by the Senate.

Trump gestured to large stacks of manila folders as he described how he will separate himself from his global business operations, which includes hotels and golf courses as well as assets like a winery and modeling agency, to avoid conflicts of interest once he takes office.

He also talked about how he plans to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas plants, slamming drug companies for "getting away with murder" on pricing.

U.S. stocks slipped to session lows, before recovering ground, as healthcare stocks took a beating following Trump's comments on drug pricing.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, David Alexander, Jonathan Landay, Yara Bayoumy, Warren Strobel, Dustin Volz and John Walcott in Washington and Jonathan Allen and Melissa Fares in New York; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Alistair Bell)


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