President-elect Donald Trump said for the first time Wednesday he believes Russia was responsible for hacking ahead of the election but contemptuously rejected allegations that Moscow mounted a campaign to compromise him.
In his first news conference since winning the election, a combative Trump made clear he will not mute his style when he is inaugurated in nine days. He lashed out at media and political foes alike in a bravura performance.
The Trump Tower press conference confirmed the President-elect's deep desire to quickly assert power once he's sworn in. He insisted on moving speedily -- too speedily for some Republicans in Congress -- to replace Obamacare. He also pledged swift action on building a wall along the border with Mexico and nominating a new Supreme Court justice.
But it's also clear Trump will take office amid persistent questions about his relationship with Russia. While Trump was at the podium, his nominee to become secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, faced tough questions on Capitol Hill about whether the incoming administration will view Russia with sufficient skepticism. At the news conference, Trump finally conceded he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's intelligence agencies were behind hacks on Democratic computers ahead of the election but argued that wouldn't happen again.
"I think it was Russia," Trump said. Putin "should not be doing it. He won't be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I am leading it than when other people have led it."
Trump, who has vowed to improve relations with Russia despite some Republican opposition, said he did not know if he would get along with Putin and noted it's possible he won't. But he could not resist a swipe at his defeated Democratic election rival, Hillary Clinton.
"Do you honestly believe Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me?" he asked.
He added that Russia is not the only nation that hacks US targets and accused Democrats of not having sufficient cybersecurity programs.(Source: CNN)