On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News published a bombshell 35-page report filled with information suggesting that the Russian government had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Donald Trump for years in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The report contained scandalous details of Trump’s sexual activities on a trip to Russia for the presentation of the Miss Universe pageant, owned by Trump at the time, and suggested that the Kremlin had enough embarrassing documentation of Trump’s behavior to potentially blackmail him.
The report also alleges that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, once visited Prague for a clandestine meeting with Russian operatives, which Cohen denies.
Much of the information in the report, which had been in the possession of U.S. intelligence agencies and top politicians before leaking, is unverified.
President-elect Trump is pushing back hard against the allegations, using Twitter to assert that Russia “has never tried to use leverage over me,” and calling the entire report the result of “A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT.”
He also tweeted that he has “NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” Raging against U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump wrote that they “should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
On Wednesday morning, at his first, brief press conference in nearly six months, Trump praised those media outlets that did not run the Russian story, saying they were “so incredibly professional that I’ve just gone up a notch as to what I think of you.”
He also referred to the report as “that nonsense,” and again said it was “maybe” released by U.S. intelligence agencies, which he had previously criticized for their findings that Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s direction, had deliberately tampered with the election in order to help swing it for Trump.
For the first time, Trump seemed to accept that Russia hacked the U.S. DNC, saying, “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I also think we get hacked by other countries or other people.”
He went on to say, “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” and said he would be tougher on Putin than his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would have been.
Trump tackled the sexual allegations in the BuzzFeed News report head-on, stating he would not have engaged in activities described in the report as “perverted” because he is a well-known “germaphobe.”
The Kremlin also strongly denied the contents of the BuzzFeed News report. In a firm statement issued Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The Kremlin has no compromising dossier on Trump; these allegations are untrue and are totally made up. This is called pulp fiction and is an obvious attempt to harm [U.S./Russian] bilateral relations.”
"Extra" recently uncovered video of our own AJ Calloway interviewing Trump about the Miss Universe franchise in Moscow on the trip referred to in the BuzzFeed News report. He even humored us by wearing a traditional Russian hat. Watch!