Trump battles CNN reporter in heated exchange at press conference: ‘You are fake news’

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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

President-elect Donald Trump at a press conference in Manhattan.

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday shut down a CNN reporter who attempted to ask a question at Trump’s first press conference in months.

Speaking in Manhattan, the president-elect first blasted BuzzFeed for publishing an unverified memo alleging Trump was both compromised by, and collaborated with Russia intelligence agents passing information to his campaign, a claim which Trump denied at the end of Wednesday’s news conference.

Trump also blasted CNN, which reported earlier on Tuesday that top US intelligence officials presented Trump information that Russian agents possessed compromising information on him, though CNN said it did not feel comfortable publishing BuzzFeed’s memo. 

“As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, they’re going to suffer the consequences, they already are,” Trump said, before going off on a tangent defending his lawyer, Michael Cohen. “As far as CNN going after their way to build it up — and by the way, we just found out, Michael Cohen, who is a very talented lawyer, a good lawyer at my firm. It was just reported that it wasn’t this Michael Cohen that we’re talking about.”

Moments later, when CNN reporter Jim Acosta attempted to ask a question, Trump refused.

“Not you. Not you. Your organization is terrible. Your organization is terrible. Quiet, quiet. She’s asking a question, don’t be rude,” Trump said.

“Since you’re attacking our news organization can you give us a question?” Acosta asked repeatedly

“I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news,” Trump replied, only later taking a question from another CNN reporter.

For its part, CNN stood by its reporting.

Shortly after the news conference, CNN anchor Jake Tapper read a statement from the network on Wednesday defending the network’s story, and distancing its own reporting from BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the 35-page memo.

“CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than BuzzFeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by other major news organizations,” the statement said. 

“CNN made it clear that we are not publishing any details of the 35 page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”

Watch the exchange below:

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