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Trump blasts intel agencies over report on Russia ties

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Hours before his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted U.S. intelligence agencies, blaming them for leaking unsubstantiated reports on his relationship with Russia and demanding, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

A U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that intelligence officials had informed Trump last week about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community’s findings last week, the official said.

Media outlets reported on the document late Tuesday, and Trump quickly took to Twitter to denounce it as “fake news.” He suggested that he’s being persecuted for defeating other GOP presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.

“I win an election easily, a great ‘movement’ is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!” he tweeted early Wednesday. “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?”

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, denied allegations that Russia has compromising material on Trump. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed news reports as a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.” He insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”

Less than two weeks from taking office, Trump is also confronting the reality of implementing his sweeping campaign promises, including building a wall along the nation’s southern border and having Mexico foot the bill.

Trump and Republican lawmakers are also grappling with how to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, a long-sought GOP goal.

The president-elect has not specified what he believes should be included in a new health care law.