NEW YORK (AP) President-elect Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that intelligence agencies will have a "tremendous blot on their record" if they leaked a report claiming top intelligence officials told him about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had about him.
(CNN VAN photo)
Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer also called a report, first published Tuesday by CNN, "outrageous" and "irresponsible."
A U.S. official says top intelligence officials told Trump about an unsubstantiated report last week.
A summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia's suspected attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.
Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community's findings last week.
The dossier contains unproven information about close coordination between Trump's inner circle and Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump among other suggestions attributed to anonymous sources.
The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.
Trump said Wednesday that the Democratic National Committee was "totally open to be hacked" and argues that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they "would have released it."
At Wednesday's news conference, Trump took questions about the role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups.
The intelligence community says the interference was intended to help the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump said the Democratic National Committee could have "had hacking defense."
He praised his future chief of staff Reince Preibus, saying he ordered such a defense at the Republican National Committee.
Trump also said that "hacking is bad," but added "look at what we learned from that hacking."
Trump says a replacement for "Obamacare" will be offered with the confirmation of his health secretary.
Trump said Wednesday that his plan for President Barack Obama's health care law would be "repeal and replace," adding that it would be "essentially simultaneously."
Trump called the law "a complete and total disaster" and said it was "imploding."
He argued that Republicans would do doing a "tremendous service" for Democrats by replacing the law.
Trump has repeatedly said that repealing and replacing "Obamacare" was a top priority, but he has never fully explained how he planned to do it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the House would seek to take both steps "concurrently."
But Trump's promise to repeal and replace the health care law "essentially simultaneously," even in the same day, week or hour, is almost certainly impossible to achieve.
Trump recommitted Wednesday to plans to impose a border tax on manufacturers who shutter plants and move production abroad.
"There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder,” he said.
Border taxes may help retain jobs, but they carry the risk of increasing prices for consumers.
The president-elect has been meeting with chief executives and touting commitments by United Technologies and others to keep jobs in the United States.
Such moves have done little so far to move the dial on job growth for the broader U.S. economy, although Trump stressed that he was using these deals to set a new tone that offshoring would be penalized.
"What really is happening is the word is now out,” he said.
Trump Wednesday pointed to auto industry plans as he repeated his campaign pledge to be "the greatest jobs producer that God created."
Trump beamed over plans by Fiat Chrysler to add 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio.
He also noted that Ford would not be building a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and would instead update an existing Michigan factory and add 700 jobs.
Trump had called on Ford to not open a new factory in Mexico, although economic forces beyond the incoming administration's direct control such as gasoline prices also influenced the decision.
Trump said additional factory job announcements would be coming, saying, "I hope General Motors will be following."
The president-elect added that he wants to bring overseas pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the United States, although he plans to negotiate on the prices the government pays for medication.
Trump announced Wednesday that he has finally settled on a candidate to lead the sprawling Veterans Affairs department.
Trump says his choice is David Shulkin, who is currently the department's undersecretary for health.
He said Shulkin is "fantastic" and will do a "truly great job."
The president-elect focused on veterans' issues during the presidential campaign.
He says veterans have been mistreated under the Obama administration and promises to straighten things out.
The VA secretary post was one of two Cabinet posts Trump still has to fill.
Agriculture secretary is the other one.
Trump plans to put all his business assets in a trust and hand control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime business executive to allay concerns about conflicts of interest.
A lawyer who worked with the Trump Organization on the plan says Trump is planning to make the change by Inauguration Day, relinquish control over the Trump Organization and isolate himself from the business.
The lawyer says the company will do no new foreign deals but can pursue domestic ones, and says that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts.