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Trump acknowledges Russian hack responsibility

Reuters

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump calls on reporters during a news conference in New York on Wednesday.

The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speculated Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies might have leaked details about a classified briefing with him that included unsubstantiated allegations that Russia had collected compromising sexual and financial information about him.

He said any such information was not true: “It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen.”

“I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press,” Trump said.

His comments marked his latest round of insults thrown at U.S. intelligence agencies, the same agencies he will have to rely on to help him make major national security directions once he takes the White House next week.

Trump was referring to a dossier that contained unproven information about close coordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, including details about Russian hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unsubstantiated claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump, attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.

There is nothing to suggest the intelligence agencies told news outlets that a summary of the dossier was included in Trump’s classified briefing last week about Russian election meddling. President Barack Obama was also briefed on the dossier last Thursday.

A summary of the allegations was included as an add-on to a classified assessment of Russia’s suspected election- interference efforts. That classified report tied Russian President Vladimir Putin to the hacking of email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Trump acknowledged Wednesday, for the first time, that he believed Russia was responsible for the hacking.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said. “But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

He likened the release to Nazi Germany, saying it is “disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information — that turned out to be so false and fake — out.”

The briefing about the separate dossier was first reported Tuesday by CNN.

Shortly after news reports were published about the dossier, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS — A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Before he was even briefed on the intelligence agencies’ findings last week, Trump also called the focus on the Russian hacking a political witch hunt.

Similar denunciations came from Moscow. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the dossier as a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.” He insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”Speech

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