The Note: Trump Takes on the Press

January 12, 2017, 9:35 AM



--6 TAKEAWAYS FROM DONALD TRUMP'S WILD PRESS CONFERENCE. At Trump Tower in New York Wednesday, Donald Trump held his first press conference since becoming the president-elect. ABC’s RICK KLEIN shares six of the major takeaways:

--ANALYSIS - ABC’s RICK KLEIN: “He's a chaos candidate,” Jeb Bush said of Donald Trump 13 months ago. “And he'd be a chaos president.” Even Jeb couldn’t have conjured a day as wild and unconventional as Wednesday. Trump used a rambling news conference to equate the intelligence community to the Nazis and pronounced himself a germaphobe; men in dinosaur outfits roamed the hallways outside rocky hearings for Trump’s secretary of state pick; the president-elect’s promise of a “blind trust” for his assets was announced to be neither blind nor a trust; and the Senate started to repeal Obamacare, in the middle of the night. It was a dizzying day, though it’s worth noting that the Trump team seemed to control the terms of the chaos – sometimes literally. Trump’s declaration that news organizations – specifically, Buzzfeed and CNN – are “fake news” is an appropriation of that term for his own means. It’s in league with a Trump marketing style that’s morphing into a Trump governing style. When the distractions are intentional, they are part of the strategy. That might not be chaos at all.

--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:

--TRUMP CONCEDES RUSSIA WAS BEHIND HACKING: President-elect Donald Trump said yesterday he accepts the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was behind the massive alleged hacking of political organizations and individuals during the U.S. presidential race — the first time he has conceded that Russia was behind the cyberattacks. "As far as hacking, I think it was Russia," Trump told reporters during his first press conference since winning the Nov. 8 election. "But I also think we've been hacked by other countries, other people." ABC’s MORGAN WINSOR reports, Trump added that Russian President Vladimir Putin "shouldn't have done it" and he doesn't believe Putin will "be doing it more now" after he's inaugurated on Jan. 20.

--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.

--HAPPENING TODAY - BEN CARSON TO BEGIN HUD CONFIRMATION HEARING: Former Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson heads to Capitol Hill Thursday where he will face the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to be confirmed as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson will field questions on housing policy and affordable housing and will likely face questions surrounding his lack of government experience and previous claims that he would feel like “a fish out of water” running a government agency. Carson has been holding mock hearings and comprehensive information sessions, along with meetings with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to get up to speed on the agency and the issues, according to those familiar with his preparations. ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS has more.


TRUMP SAYS SONS WILL TAKE 'COMPLETE AND TOTAL CONTROL' OF THE BUSINESS. President-elect Donald Trump announced that he will hand "complete and total control" of his vast business empire to his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and to Alan Weisselberg, a longtime Trump business executive, through a financial trust. In a long-awaited press conference yesterday, ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN notes, Donald Trump Sr. introduced Sheri Dillon, a lawyer at firm Morgan Lewis in Washington, D.C., who he said organized a way to "completely isolate [Trump] from the management of the company." Despite Trump's previous pledge to put his business assets into a blind trust, Dillon said that would not be possible. Dillon announced Trump's protective plans to ensure he is not in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits officials from accepting gifts or emoluments from foreign governments.

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.

KEY MOMENTS FROM REX TILLERSON'S CONFIRMATION HEARING. Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was grilled on a variety of topics, including nuclear weapons, human rights and climate change during his Senate confirmation hearings today. ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL reports on what Tillerson had to say about a wide range of topics, starting with Russia:

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 CALLS CLIMATE CHANGE A 'RISK,' BREAKS WITH TRUMP ON PARIS AGREEMENT. Rex Tillerson, former CEO of the ExxonMobil Corporation, was confronted about Exxon’s climate change record by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) during Senate confirmation hearings. Tillerson sidestepped answering Kaine’s questions--telling Kaine he no longer works for Exxon and the questions should be directed at the corporation. According to ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW, Tillerson also broke with Trump on the most influential international effort to combat global warming, the Paris climate change agreement, with which the president-elect disagrees.

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.

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