Trump Slams Russia Blackmail Claims as 'Fake News'

He says explosive allegations are a 'witch hunt'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2017 2:11 AM CST
Updated Jan 11, 2017 6:00 AM CST
Trump: Russia Blackmail Claims Are 'Fake News'
Donald Trump talks with reporters at Trump Tower earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

After bombshell allegations about a Russian dossier, Donald Trump appears ready to step up his war with the media. "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!" he tweeted Tuesday night after news that Russian agents allegedly hold compromising information on him spread. He later tweeted a link to a story criticizing BuzzFeed's decision to publish the "unverifiable" and "error-laden" documents the allegations are based on. A roundup of coverage:

  • Russia also dismissed the allegations as "pulp fiction," reports NBC News. "The Kremlin does not have compromising information about Trump," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "It's a total hoax, absolute fabrication and utter nonsense. The Kremlin does not collect compromising information."
  • A government source tells the Guardian that the intelligence report came from a former counterterror official known as a "consistently reliable, meticulous, and well-informed" source with extensive Russian contacts. John McCain obtained the report after becoming aware of it last month and passed it to FBI Director James Comey, according to the Guardian's sources.

  • The New York Times reports that the report was distributed to Donald Trump, President Obama, and congressional leaders from both parties. For intelligence chiefs to distribute "what they know to be unverified, defamatory material was extremely unusual," the Times notes, but the material was considered to be so explosive that they thought leaders should be informed before a potential leak.
  • The AP reports that the report had been circulating in Washington "for months," with Mother Jones mentioning it back in October. Sources say that Harry Reid was aware of its existence before the election when he asked the FBI to disclose what it knew about Trump's Russian ties.
  • Dieter Bohn at the Verge notes that while the media has largely held back from reporting on the most shocking allegations, Twitter is "losing its mind" over them. "After months—and years—of watching damning leaks about Hillary Clinton, finally there's a leak for the other side to share and spread, provenance be damned," he writes.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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