Trump Calls CNN 'Fake News'

CNN calls on President-elect to back up any claims of inaccuracy

Donald Trump's hostility toward the media was on full display Wednesday (Jan. 11) at, appropriately, his first press conference in six months.

Angered by news stories, specifically some on CNN, that top U.S. intelligence officials included the synopsis of an uncorroborated report that Russia had compromising information about the President-elect, Trump called CNN's coverage "fake news" and "terrible," refused to take a question from CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, and suggested that a number of the outlets in the room trafficked in "fake news," though he did not name anyone else.

Trump added that he thought more highly of the news outlets that did not cover the report, though he did not identify them, either.

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After the press conference, held in New York, Acosta said Trump had indicated from the outset he would not call on CNN. Following Trump's attacks, Acosta tried to get in a question, but was rebuffed.

Acosta says spokesman Sean Spicer also threatened to throw him out of the press conference.

He also doubled down on his tweeted characterization of the leak of the report as something that would happen in Nazi Germany.

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"CNN's decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed's decision to publish unsubstantiated memos," CNN responded in a statement. "The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed's decision to deflect from CNN's reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations.

"We are fully confident in our reporting," CNN continued. "It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report's allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate."

Buzzfeed, which also drew Trump's invective, posted the entire uncorroborated report alleging contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and Russia's possession of incriminating evidence of a sexual nature related to Trump. CNN, by contrast, reported only that a synopsis based on that report was part of an intelligence briefing to both Trump and President Obama, that the FBI was investigating it, and that members of Congress were looking into it, citing multiple sources. 

Aside from his attacks on the media, Trump said that he believed Russia was behind the hacks, that he would likely name a nominee to the Supreme Court within two weeks of Inauguration Day (Jan. 20), and that he would put two of his sons in charge of his businesses and give any payments from foreign governments for use of his new Washington hotel to the U.S. Treasury.