Jan 11 (Reuters) - The following are highlights from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s hour-long news conference in New York on Wednesday, nine days before he takes the oath of office.
Trump blasted the release of an unsubstantiated intelligence report saying he had been compromised by Russia and was vulnerable to blackmail, characterizing it as “nonsense that was released by, maybe the intelligence agencies, who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies ... It should never have been written, it should never have been released.”
“It’s all fake news. It didn’t happen. It’s phony stuff. It was a group of opponents who got together, sick people, who put that out.”
“I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there ... That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done.”
He praised some news organizations for not initially reporting on the document.
“I just want to compliment many of the people in the room ... I have great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press.”
He strongly criticized CNN for its reporting of the story, refusing to take a question from a reporter for the network, telling him, “I‘m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
“Some of the media outlets we are dealing with are fake news ... All I can ask for are honest reporters.”
Asked whether he accepted that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help him win the election, Trump said, “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
He denied having any business dealings with or in Russia. “I have no loans with Russia at all.”
“As far as hacking, I think it’s Russia. But we also get hacked by other countries and other people, and I can say that.”
On Putin and hacking, Trump said, “He shouldn’t be doing it. He won’t be doing it.”
“Within 90 days we will be coming up with a major report on hacking defense, how do we stop this new phenomena.”
”Russia will have far greater respect for our country when I‘m leading it ... We’re either going to get along, or we’re not. I hope we get along, but if we don‘t, that’s possible too.
“But Russia and other countries, and other countries, including China, which has taken total advantage of us economically... and (taken) advantage of us in the South China Sea ... Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, all countries will respect us far more, far more, than they do under past administrations.”
Asked about nominating a Supreme Court justice, Trump said, ”So, as you know, I have a list of 20. I’ve gone through them ... They were outstanding in every case ... I’ll be making the decision on who we will put up for justice of the United States Supreme Court, a replacement for the great, great Justice (Antonin) Scalia. That will be probably within two weeks of the 20th (of January) ...
“It will be a decision which I very strongly believe in. I think it’s one of the reasons I got elected.”
“We have to get our drug industry coming back” to the United States, he said, adding that companies had been “leaving left and right.”
Trump also called for new bidding procedures for U.S. drug companies, saying, ”They’re getting away with murder (with drug prices) ... There’s very little bidding for drugs.
“We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding and we’re going to start saving billions of dollars.”
“I said I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that.”
“You want to move your plant, and you think, as an example, you’re going to build that plant in Mexico, and you’re going to make your air conditioners or your cars, or whatever you’re making, and you’re going to sell them through what will be a very, very strong border ... Not going to happen. You’re going to pay a very large border tax.”
Trump said he would not wait for negotiations with Mexico to be completed before starting to build a wall along the two countries’ border.
“I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office; but I don’t want to wait.”
“We’re going to be submitting ... a plan. It’ll be repeal and replace; it will be essentially simultaneously; it will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week.”
“Obamacare is the Democrats’ problem. We are going to take the problem off the shelf for them ... we are doing the Democrats a great service.”
Trump announced the nomination of Dr. David Shulkin as secretary of Veteran Affairs. Shulkin is currently under secretary for health at the VA.
“We’re going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I have been promising that for a long time ... We interviewed at least 100 people (for VA head), some good, some not so good ... Our veterans have been treated very unfairly.” (Compiled by Jonathan Oatis; Edited by Tom Brown)