By Ayesha Rascoe
NEW YORK (Reuters) – President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday angrily denounced the publishing of claims he had been caught in a compromising position in Russia and attacked U.S. intelligence agencies over the leak of the information.
“I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there,” Trump told a news conference. He called the dossier that makes salacious claims about him “fake news” and “phony stuff.”
“I think it’s a disgrace … That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done,” the Republican said days ahead of his inauguration.
Trump acknowledged that Russia likely hacked the Democratic National Committee and the emails of other top Democrats during the 2016 presidential election, but defended his goal of better ties with Moscow.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump told about 250 reporters jammed into the lobby at his New York offices.
Trump, who said he hoped for a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin but could not guarantee it, said he had asked intelligence officials for a report on defenses against hacking in 90 days.
The dossier that emerged late on Tuesday was first reported by CNN. BuzzFeed published the full document.
Two U.S. officials said the allegations, 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.
The president-elect has long said he hopes to improve ties with Moscow, but his plans have come under intense scrutiny after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used cyber attacks and other tactics to try to tilt the election in his favor over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The real estate developer used the news conference to describe how he will separate himself from his global business operations 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 in his first formal news conference since his Nov. 8 victory.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Jeff Mason, David Alexander, Jonathan Landay and John Walcott in Washington and Jonathan Allen and Melissa Fares in New York; Writing by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Alistair Bell)