Donald Trump, confronted by claims that Russian agents gathered embarrassing and compromising information about him, has chosen to side with Russia and dismiss the allegations as "utter nonsense". He has accused the US intelligence agencies of leaking information against him and likened their actions to those of Nazi Germany.
In a series tweets on Wednesday morning, the President-elect posted a link to the Polizette website, run by conservative broadcaster Laura Ingraham, which carried a story dismissing the claims as unverified and posting a video of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying claims of Russian hacking were false.
“Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE”. Very unfair!,” wrote Mr Trump, on this occasion mixing up his use of capital letters
He added: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
On Tuesday night, Mr Trump had dismissed as “fake news”, claims that Russian intelligence operatives had developed information against him that was both salacious and compromising. CNN said US intelligence officials had shared the information with Mr Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
A flurry of reports in the US media said the documents on which the claims were based, generated by a former British spy who now works in opposition political research, had been around for several months but that the claims could not be verified.
As of Wednesday morning, only BuzzFeed was the only major media organisation to have published all 35 pages of the report that intelligence officials shared with Mr Trump and Mr Obama. Its decision to do so, sparked a separate debate the ethics of media outlets publishing information they themselves had admitted they could not verify.
“In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media,” said Ben Smith, editor in chief of the site. “Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.”
Mr Trump has repeatedly denied claims that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails in an effort to support his candidacy, despite a briefing he received from the intelligence community.
“I win an election easily, a great “movement” is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!,” wrote Mr Trump.
“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?”
Russia has also denied claims that its intelligence agencies have compromising material about Mr Trump.
Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, said the allegations were “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”, the BBC said.
The unsubstantiated claims say his presidential campaign secretly communicated with Moscow. They also say Russia has “salacious” information about the US president-elect.
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