US President-elect Donald Trump has angrily denied reports that Russia had obtained compromising personal and financial information about him, calling it a “tremendous blot” on the record of the intelligence community if it had released such material.
In his first media conference since winning the November 8 election, Trump called the unconfirmed allegations “phony” and attacked news organizations that published the reports.
“It’s all fake news,” Trump said on Wednesday. “It didn’t happen,” he added.
“I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so fake and so false out … that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done, and did do.”
The unverified dossier on Trump was compiled by a former Western intelligence operative as part of an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client who opposed Trump, and later funded by Democrats, according to Mother Jones, which published an article about the report in October and said the operative had turned over the report to the FBI.
The New York Times reported that the operative had previously worked for British intelligence.
Bill Schneider, public policy professor at George Mason University, emphasized that the information, by the acknowledgement of the intelligence services, had not been verified.
“We don’t know exactly what’s in it, we don’t know the details,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Russia is not above doing that sort of thing, using that sort of information to its own advantage, but a lot of Americans regard it as interesting because they are puzzled by the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin; why is it so close, why does Vladimir Putin seem to have a hold over Mr Trump, and why was he so influential in this election,” Schneider said.
Two US 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.
“Trump responded as you would expect him to do,” Al Jazeera’s James Bay, reporting from New York, said.
“He went on the attack against the intelligence community and against the news media, in particular two parts of the news media that were responsible for publishing more detailed stories on this.”