The Note: Trump Takes on the Press



--TRUMP CALLS UNSUBSTANTIATED RUSSIA ALLEGATIONS 'NONSENSE': President-elect Donald Trump called the new, unsubstantiated allegations that Russia is in possession of compromising personal and financial information about him as "nonsense." "A thing like that should have never been written, it should never been had, and it should certainly never have been released," Trump said Wednesday during his first press conference since the election. Trump referred to the allegations as "fake news" on Twitter Tuesday night, a claim he reiterated Wednesday morning with reporters. ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN and MEGHAN KENEALLY have more:

--SENATE GOP CLEARS KEY HURDLE IN 'OBAMACARE' REPEAL: Senate Republicans cleared an important hurdle early Thursday in the legislative process to repeal the Affordable Care Act, capping off a marathon seven-hour voting session by passing a budget resolution. It was a key step for Republicans as they move to undo major parts of President Obama's signature health care law. The 51-48 vote came down mostly on party lines and paves the way for a vote on a repeal bill that could come as early as next month. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more.


ETHICS AGENCY HEAD HITS TRUMP OVER 'INADEQUATE' PLAN TO SEPARATE FROM BUSINESS. The director of the Office of Government Ethics is taking President-elect Donald Trump to task over his announced plan to separate himself from his vast business empire, saying the steps laid out Wednesday "cannot achieve" the goal of removing conflicts of interest. ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN has more.

RUBIO MUM ON WHETHER HE WILL SUPPORT TILLERSON AFTER HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, refused to tell reporters whether he will support President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, after grilling him about human rights during Wednesday's confirmation hearing, writes ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW. "I mean, it's clear that I'm concerned about some of his answers and encouraged by a few others," Rubio told reporters. "But obviously I want to go back and think through this a little bit."

TILLERSON REJECTS TRUMP'S PAST CALLS FOR NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION. Rex Tillerson broke with Trump on the issue of nuclear proliferation yesterday during the first of what's expected to be a two-day confirmation hearing, ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL reports. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, conducted the relevant questioning as Tillerson appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Mr. Tillerson, do you agree with President-elect Trump when he said, 'It wouldn't be a bad thing for us if Japan, South Korea or Saudi Arabia acquired nuclear weapons?'" Markey asked. "Senator, I don't think anyone advocates for more nuclear weapons on the planet," Tillerson replied.

REX TILLERSON SUGGESTS A MORE MUSCULAR FOREIGN POLICY UNDER TRUMP, DEFENDS STANCE ON RUSSIA. Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be the next U.S. secretary of state, suggested to lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday that the United States would enforce a stronger, more assertive role overseas than the Obama administration if he is confirmed, ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL notes. "To achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted," Tillerson said in the opening statement of his confirmation hearing Wednesday morning.

TRUMP TO NOMINATE DAVID SHULKIN FOR SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. President-elect Donald Trump says he intends to nominate David Shulkin to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin has been the department's undersecretary for health since 2015, after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Trump made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning, marking the first time someone with no military experience could lead the vast organization, writes ABC’s RYAN STRUYK. Everything you need to know about Trump’s Pick for VA Secretary, David Shulkin, HERE:

REPUBLICANS DISAGREE ON DETAILS IN PUSH TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE. They control the Senate, the House, and soon, the White House - but Republicans are still divided over three words: "repeal and replace." As Senate Republicans prepare to this week to begin a long process of repealing and replacing Obamacare, the party is still divided over how that should be done, and when, ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL and MARYALICE PARKS report. At his first news conference as president-elect Wednesday, Trump said Republicans would submit a "repeal and replace" plan "almost simultaneously" after his pick for secretary of health and human services is confirmed.


SEN. CORY BOOKER SAYS JEFF SESSIONS HASN'T SHOWN 'COMMITMENT' TO CIVIL RIGHTS NEEDED TO BE AG. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., delivered unprecedented testimony Wednesday against the nomination of his Senate colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general, saying that his "conscience" outweighed Senate tradition. Booker said he believed President-elect Trump's pick for attorney general has "not demonstrated a commitment" to demanding equal rights and justice for all citizens. "In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility towards these convictions," Booker said of Sessions. ABC’s GENEVA SANDS has more:


INSIDE THE DNC'S WAR ROOM FOR TRUMP CABINET CONFIRMATION HEARINGS. With confirmation hearings underway for Donald Trump's Cabinet picks, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ and GARY WESTPHALEN obtained an exclusive look at the Democratic National Committee's war room where they are providing rapid response to testimony from Cabinet nominees.


@mike_pence: Kudos to Senate for taking first step to repeal/replace ObamaCare. Now it's the House's turn to get job done. #PromiseKeepingBusiness #MAGA

@SenSchumer: For the tens of millions of Americans who will lose their healthcare if the ACA is repealed, I vote no. #MakeAmericaSickAgain

@OBWax: Jared Kushner wouldn't be the first powerful son-in-law in presidential history. Case in point: William McAdoo …

@katierogers: Some time with @jackieevancho and her sister, who are supporting each other as the rest of America argues. My story:

@jaketapper: Tonight at 9 pm ET on @CNN, I will be moderating a town hall with @SpeakerRyan -- lots of questions, no dabbing.