'Are We Living in Nazi Germany?': Trump Lashes Out Ahead of Press Conference
President-elect will hold first post-election press conference Wednesday morning, but new leaks alleging further ties to Russia may pivot focus
President-elect Donald Trump will hold his first post-election press conference at 11:00am in New York City on Wednesday.
The event is now more significant than ever following the release late Tuesday night of unverified claims that Russia has been "cultivating, supporting, and assisting" Trump for at least five years—and that the Kremlin has been using compromising personal and financial information to blackmail him.
The Guardian is providing live updates on the leaks here.
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The press conference was originally slated to address Trump's myriad conflicts of interest—and while he is still expected to do so, many are also likely to ask questions about the dossier, which was reportedly compiled by a former British intelligence operative and is based largely on information from Russian sources. The leaks, published by Buzzfeed, allege that the blackmail fodder was so compromising that intelligence agencies shared it last week with both Trump and President Barack Obama.
It has been 167 days since Trump last held a press conference. In that time, he has sent at least 1,601 tweets, the latest of which focus on his alleged ties to Russia.
"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?" he wrote in one, doubling down on his contentious relationship with the departments he will soon oversee.
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Media outlets compiled a number of questions Trump should be asked regarding the dossier and Trump's behavior since the leaks. NBC News writes:
1. After the intelligence briefing you received on Friday, you and your team released statements, fired off tweets, and conducted interviews—but never once condemned Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Why give Russia and Vladimir Putin a pass? And why more outrage directed at the victim (the DNC, John Podesta) than the perpetrator (Russia).
2. In the year and a half that you've either been running for office or been president-elect, you've criticized numerous Republicans, Democrats, and members of the media. But you've never once criticized Putin. Why not?
3. You've said that Russia's interference didn't impact the result of the election. But you eagerly cited WikiLeaks revelations against Hillary Clinton and her team in the final weeks of the campaign, saying things like, "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks" and "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove." If they didn't impact the election, why were you citing them on the campaign trail?
And NPR adds:
1. Last week, you received the classified briefing on Russia. Are you now persuaded that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election? Are you persuaded that he did so in order to help you get elected?
2. Will you continue tweeting after you are sworn in as president? Why do you prefer to communicate via Twitter as opposed to the channels that presidents and presidents-elect have traditionally used?
The press conference will take place as confirmation hearings continue for Trump's controversial cabinet nominees. First up is former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, tapped for secretary of state, who faces questioning over his fossil fuel ties, among other issues.