Trump Dodged Key Russia Question; Ended Presser

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There’s such an avalanche of … stuff coming out of this press conference, this may have been missed. When asked to state categorically that no one tied to his campaign was in contact with the Russian government during the campaign, Trump ignored the question.

Indeed, he ended the press conference after he ended his response to the question.

Here’s the uncorrected transcript …

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. Can you stand here today once and for all and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign and if you indeed do believe that Russia was behind the hacking, what is your message to Vladimir Putin right now?

TRUMP: He shouldn’t be doing it. He won’t be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when other people have led it. You will see that. Russia will respect our country more. He shouldn’t have done it. I don’t believe he’ll be doing it more now. We have to work something out, but it’s not just Russia. Take a look at what’s happened. You don’t report it the same way. 22 million accounts were hacked in this country by China, and that’s because we have no defense. That’s because we’re run by people that don’t know what they’re doing.

Russia will have far greater respect for our country when I’m leading it, and I believe, and I hope, maybe it won’t happen, it’s possible, but I won’t be given a little reset button like Hillary. Press this piece of plastic. Guy looked at her like what is she doing? There’s no reset button.

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, totally advantage of us in the south China sea, by building their massive fortress, total. Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, all countries will respect us far more, far more than they do under past administrations.

I want to thank everybody. So this is all just so you understand, these papers, because I’m not sure that was explained properly, but these papers are all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons and I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and I’ll say, oh, you did a good job. Other wiles if they do a bad job I’ll say, you’re fired. Good-bye, everybody. Good-bye. [ Applause ]

Late Update: CNN’s Jim Acosta is now reporting that reporters followed Trump to the elevator in Trump Tower and, noting his non-answer, repeated the question as he walked toward the elevator. Acosta’s quote: “As he was going to the elevators, we all were asking him again to answer that question, and he said, no, that nobody associated with him or his campaign was in contact with the Russians during the context of that campaign.”

More to follow on this …

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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