Donald Trump’s first press conference as president-elect went about as well as anyone could expect in the aftermath of Buzzfeed’s decision to publish an unsubstantiated memo claiming that the Russian government holds leverage over him.
On Tuesday, Buzzfeed published a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official. Within it were “potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians”.
CNN also reported on Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the memo without detailing the specific, unverified details within it.
"BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government," Buzzfeed said.
The press conference, Trump’s first in six months, resulted in seperate clashes with the publications over their decision to report the memo (albeit in different capacities). CNN was refused a question during the briefing, accused of peddling “fake news”.
A CNN spokesperson said that the Trump administration was actively using Buzzfeed’s publishing of the unsubstantiated claims to discredit genuine questions about the memo’s existence in the first place.
— CNN (@CNN) January 11, 2017
The full transcript is featured in the following tweet.
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) January 11, 2017
He also denied a question from Buzzfeed which he branded as a "failing pile of garbage". On the repercussions for posting the piece, Trump added: "I think they’re going to suffer the consequences, and they already are.”
Finally, when asked about reforming the media, in the midst of his continuous criticism of it, he concluded: "I don’t recommend reforms. I recommend people who have a moral compass.”