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Trump Rebuts Reports Russia Has Compromising Info on Him

  • VOA Staff

President-elect Donald Trump gets on an elevator after speaking with reporters at Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 9, 2017.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has angrily rejected reported claims Russia compiled information to attempt to compromise him.

After tweeting his reaction to the unsubstantiated reports over the past day, he reiterated his denial at his first news conference as president-elect Wednesday.

"I think it is a disgrace that information would be led out,” he said. “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."

Media reports say a briefing document prepared by U.S. intelligence officials includes allegations that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian intelligence. It is also said to discuss alleged sexual activities by Trump.

The president-elect's attorney, Michael Cohen, told reporters the allegations in the document are false and were invented to malign Trump.

FILE - President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks to The Associated Press in Moscow.
FILE - President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks to The Associated Press in Moscow.

In Moscow, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the claims are meant to hurt U.S.-Russian relations.

"No, Kremlin doesn't have any compromising information on Trump. This information [the report] does not correspond to reality and is nothing else [but] an absolute fabrication," he said.

Intelligence briefing

Trump was told last week by the heads of U.S. domestic intelligence agencies that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about him, government sources confirmed, stressing that the information in the documents is still unsubstantiated and originated with a private company.

Trump was given a two-page synopsis of the unsubstantiated information last Friday, when he also was given a classified briefing on alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election

President Barack Obama reportedly was given the same information Thursday.

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday any financial or personal allegations against Trump "cannot have an impact on the national security of the United States of America."

FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 30, 2016.
FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 30, 2016.

Pelosi declined to get into the details of the latest revelations alleging ties between Russia and Trump, noting the information had been in circulation among journalists for some time and had remained uncorroborated.

Pelosi did say she had broader concerns about the president-elect's approach to the U.S.-Russia relationship. "I always wondered what did Russia have on Donald Trump?" she told reporters.

Pelosi cautioned that her judgments were based on information in the public domain and not on any classified briefings she has received. The House Democratic leader declined to speculate on the consequences of the allegations if they are found to be true.

Russia 'assisting' Trump

CNN, which first reported the allegations Tuesday, did not give details of the compromising information. But the BuzzFeed digital media site posted online what it said was the full dossier alleging Russia's government had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump" for years.

Such materials, known in Russian as "kompromat," are frequently prepared by some intelligence agencies to create negative publicity for purposes of blackmail and to ensure loyalty.

FILE - A part of the declassified version Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. political process is photographed in Washington.
FILE - A part of the declassified version Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. political process is photographed in Washington.

"It should not be a surprise to anyone that the Russians are always looking for dirt on any politician," House of Representative intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes told reporters.

"I would not jump to any conclusions. This seems maybe taken a little out of context," added Nunes, a Republican who has worked with the Trump transition team.

U.S. intelligence agency chiefs last week testified to the Senate that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an operation to meddle with the U.S. election with the aim of hurting Clinton's campaign and boosting that of Trump who won the decisive electoral college count but lost the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The latest news reports linking Trump and Moscow came on the eve of the president-elect's planned news conference and of the Senate confirmation hearing on his nominee to run the State Department, former chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson, who has enjoyed close ties with Russia.

VOA’s Katherine Gypson and Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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