12 Jan 2017

Pope Francis tells story of a beautiful woman who had an abortion just to preserve her figure

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Using a woman who had an abortion to preserve her looks, Pope Francis took aim at the modern world's obsessions with power, success and beauty.
During his series of catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience, the Pontiff told a story dated from his time as Bishop of Buenos Aires, of a very beautiful woman who "bragged of her beauty"
"She said, as if it was natural, 'Yes, I had to have an abortion because my appearance is important'," the 80-year-old,said.  
''When values such as physical beauty, health become idols to which everything must be sacrificed they create confusion in our spirit and in our hearts. 
"Rather than promoting life, they drive us towards death," he added in comments that also targeted "power, success and vanity with their illusions of eternity and omnipotence."
Taking issue with the false idols offered by our modern world, Pope Francis at his Wednesday General Audience said that “hope is a primary need in man” but that we can get lost in our search for security by trusting in the false hopes offered by idols.

He said the Scriptures teach us that side by side with authentic hope, born of trust in God’s word, we can be tempted by false hopes and worldly idols, like money, power or physical beauty.
Idols, he said,
 “confuse the mind and heart, and, instead of favoring life, they lead to death.
He went on to say,
 "Faith is trusting in God, but there comes a moment in which [we], confronted with life’s difficulties, experience the fragility of that trust and feel the need for other certainties, more tangible and concrete.”
The Scriptures, especially the prophets and wisdom writers, he said, reveal the fleeting nature of idols and the hope they offer. In Psalm 115, the Psalmist ironically presents these idols as silver and gold, made of human hands. 

"The message of the Psalm is very clear," Pope Francis said, "one who places their hope in idols becomes like them: empty images with hands that don’t touch, feet that don’t walk, mouths that cannot speak. One has nothing else to say and becomes incapable of helping, of changing things, of smiling, giving of oneself, and of loving."

In contrast, God is always greater than we are, making us incapable of reduce God to our size, made in our own image and tailored to our desires.

Actress Tonto Dikeh removes husband's name and 'wife' from her profile on Instagram

This evening, actress Tonto Dikeh, removed her husband’s name, Churchill from her IG handle, fueling speculations that their marriage is in crisis. 
The C in the middle there is her middle name, Charity. Tonto also removed Yummy wife/mum which used to be on her profile. She and Oladunni Churchill did their traditional wedding in August 2015. Hope all is well.

Update! Pretty Mike apologizes for putting leash on ladies during his outings

Following the social media outrage and arrest of Pretty Mike by Lagos state government, the 30 year old club owner has taken to his Instagram page to apologize for putting ladies on a leash during his outings, saying he meant well by his craft. He wrote;
"There has been a lot of controversy over two of my outings holding some females on a leash. I apologize to all the women and the good people of Lagos State, Nigeria and the rest of the world who feel dehumanized by this craft that meant well. I will use other platforms and format to continue to create the necessary awareness...#WomenRights #PeaceAmbassador"

Update! Governor Ambode yesterday ordered the arrest of Pretty Mike for using dog chains on two girls..

Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday ordered the arrest and questioning of club owner, Mike Eze-Nwalie Nwogu popularly known as ‘Pretty Mike’, for putting a leash on two girls and parading them around like dogs.

Mike was invited to the Governor's office but the governor didn't see him personally. He directed his security team to question him. But because there's no law against what Pretty Mike did, meaning he didn't commit any crime, he was only cautioned and asked never to do it again...

Pretty Mike tried to justify his action by claiming it was merely for entertainment and a woman empowerment kind of move and was not intended to degrade women but promised never to do it again!

Read Mike's undertaken below..
“I, Mike Eze Nwalie, A.K.A Pretty Mike of 21A Magodo GRA, Luma Street, do hereby undertake to stop whatever act of putting girls on a leash or any other degrading treatment to ladies and guys. I am aware that such act offends the law of the State of Lagos and if I repeat it again, there will be legal act towards me. I undertake to issue a letter of apology to the public effective from tomorrow on all my social media platforms.”his undertaking reads
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem who confirmed his arrest, said the state government frowns at all acts that are anti-social and will not hesitate to act when such is displayed.

"Making mistakes is better than faking perfections" - Toyin Aimakhu advices her fans

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Actress, Toyin Aimakhu, now known as Toyin Abraham, shared some words of advice via Instagram this morning, presumably influenced by her own past. According to her,
  "Making mistakes is better than faking perfections..Your past mistakes are meant to guide you and not define you.."

Omg! Read this Domestic violence survivor tell her story...

A young woman named Marea Cache yesterday took to her Instagram page to narrate her domestic violence experience. Read her story below: 
"A year ago Today My life was Almost taken from me ! This wouldn't have been the first traumatic situation I've been through but by far the worst Because My actual life was up for question I was beat on for HOURS , Suffered 2 concussions! A broken eye socket teeth knocked out ! And pistol whipped 2015/2016 Brought me to my lowest point in life !
I completely gave up on myself and let a Relationship dictate my whole life Separating me from friends and family ! I was trapped dealing with EVERYTHING by myself ! Not letting anyone know what was going on because of the fear that I had over my life. &a the fear of judgement from others . Every moment I got to leave (escape )) I got caught and beat Everyday I woke up I was mentally abused , arguments fight after fight ! It was so draining ! But GOD ! GOD works in mysterious ways ... it took me a while but I faced it . Had god not allowed my eyes to be open to this point I would have probably eventually been dead .it wouldn't have took another beating because a gun could have been next, one shot and I could have been gone It has happened and I'm so thankful for his grace and mercy upon me ! I mean look at me look at his healing power look at the growth he has put in me ! The strength! I'm still able to Love I'm still able to Hold my head High !! I love me Again I'm the most confident I've ever been Im in such a peaceful state of mind !  
And I'm using my talents and gifts that the lord has blessed me with ! And I'm choosing to be one of the voices for millions of women around the world facing the same situation who might not be as strong as me ! I'm here to let them know you can get help you can speak up SOMEONE does care ! You do matter And you can And will get THROUGH ! Keep god first and anything is possible ! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Thankyou lord #2017 thankful for LIFE ❤️ &New beginnings.

17-year-old girl kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered in Kebbi State ...photo

17-year-old girl, Zarau was on her way to her sister's house in Kimba village, Jega council area of Kebbi State when a four-man gang of criminals led by one Aliyu Sarkin Mata accosted her. They kidnapped, raped her repeatedly and later strangled her to death. Her lifeless body was found in a bush three days after she was declared missing.

In this report by LEADERSHIP, Yahya Sarki presents details of the sad incidence:  For residence of Kimba village, a sleepy community in Jega council area of Kebbi state, the rape and eventual murder of a seventeen year old girl came as a rude shock but then it appears they will have to live with the reality of the sad incidence.

Indeed, what could well be described as callous, heartless and terrible incidence happened in Kimba village when a gang of young criminals between the ages of 20 to 25 kidnapped, raped and murdered aninnocent 17 year old village girl called Zarau was said to be on her way to her sister’s house to keep her company that fateful day because her sister’s husband had travelled and left the wife alone at home.

It was gathered that yhe young Zara’u left home around 8pm for her sister’s house to spend a night with her when the gang of criminals led by one Aliyu Sarkin Mata accosted her on the road.

The criminals, numbering four and said to be armed with some local weapons, kidnapped the lady, raped her severally and finally strangled her to death.

Our correspondent reports that the lifeless body of late Zarau was dumped in the bush by the criminals after embarking on the nefarious act, obviously in a bid to cover up for the evil deed.

However, one thing led to another and, as God destined, luck ran out of the criminal miscreants hence they were arrested by the Police and detained at the Police Headquarters in Birnin Kebbi.

Narrating the incidence to LEADERSHIP Sunday, a visibly enraged father of the murdered girl, Bello Buhari said it seemed like a scene from the nollywood movies.

Buhari, a senior staff of Kebbi State Ministry of Finance, said the incidence came to the family as a rude shock “that we will not forget in a hurry”.
An understandably worried Buhari said he was informed of the sad incidence after the family embarked on search mission for the murdered lady who was earlier declared missing.
‘’When the incident happened, I was not aware but was later informed that Zara’u could not be seen. She often visits her sister to keep her company in the absence of the sister’s husband. But my son called to inform me that Zara’u is missing so I left the city and rushed to the village. As a matter of fact, I arrived Kimba around 10pm and I met group of sympathizers at my house in the village all looking worried”
Providing what sounds like clue that led to arrest of the criminals, Buhari said
 “We got information that somebody who took the girl on a motorcycle was spotted at Alelu village, some two to three kilometers away from Kimba village where my daughter was kidnapped”.
Continuing, he said 
“We also got additional information that somebody probably one of the criminals advised the first suspect who kidnapped the girl to allow her go free because the girl may have come from a decent family but he refused ‘’
It was gathered that the investigation that was launched by security personnel led to the arrest of the first suspect who was spotted with Zara’u on his motorcycle at the nearby village of Alelu which neighbours Kimba village where Zara’u was kidnapped.

It was further gathered that the first suspect, Aliyu, was arrested along with two of his accomplice but the lifeless body of their victim was discovered three days after they undertook the nefarious act.

Findings revealed that upon discovery of the lifeless body, the authority insisted that an autopsy be carried out before burial rites were observed.

So two doctors were invited who confirmed that before she was killed, the criminals had violated her by raping her. In fact she was said to have died following the multiple rape.

In an emotion laden voice, father of the murdered girl said 
“All I want the authority concerned to do is to be fair in this case, I want justice.
The Kebbi State Commissioner of Police, Kabiru Ibrahim who visited the village of Kimba over the incident expressed shocked and advice parents to always be mindful of whereabouts of their children especially at odd hours.

He said 3 people have so far been arrested in connection with the incident.

While assuring that the police would not shirk from its responsibilities of protecting lives and properties and, ensuring obedience to law and order, the CP said those arrested would be charged to court to face prosecution upon successful conclusion of investigation.

Two 15-year-old secondary school students arrested for alleged armed robbery and cultism in Edo State

Edo State Police Command has arrested two 15-year-old secondary school students, Osayame Osamede and Junior Godbless, for alleged armed robbery and cultism.

Parading the teenagers at the Command headquarters in Benin, the state commissioner of police, Haliru Gwandu urge parents to always monitor activities and movements of their children with a view to prevent. 

Three members of the gang, including Godbless, were arrested during their robbery operation.

Osamede, a JSS 3 student of Army Day Secondary School, in Benin, was however picked up at his father’s house by police operatives, following confession by other members of the gang that he and his elder brother who is now at large, procured the locally cut-to-size gun with which they robbed their victims during the yuletide period and dispossessed them of their valuables, including mobile phones. 

On his part, Junior Godbless, who confessed to his involvement in the crime, told our correspondent that he was arrested with two other members during his second robbery operation. Other members of the gang also confessed to their illicit business. 

The four-man robbery gang, was among the 85 suspects, ranging from kidnappers, armed robbers, murderers, cultists and impersonation, paraded at the Command headquarters. 

The CP said that all suspects will be charged to relevant courts as soon as investigations are concluded.

See Alaafin of Oyo's last wife with no make-up photo

Olori Ola Adeyemi, last wife of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi just posted the no make up photo on Instagram. 

Woman gives birth inside BRT bus in Lagos ...photo

A woman gave birth to a baby boy inside a BRT bus in Lagos on Wednesday, January 11 2017. The woman had reportedly become restless shortly after boarding the bus and soon went into labour.

With assistance from passengers in the bus, she was delivered of a baby boy at about 9 a.m. After the delivery the woman was taken to the hospital, while other passengers were transferred to a different bus...


World Bank predicts Nigeria will get out of recession this year

The World Bank has released its January 2017 Global Economic Prospects report in which it predicted that Nigeria will get out of the current economic recession this year. The report in part reads...


“Sub-Saharan African growth is expected to pick up modestly to 2.9 per cent in 2017 as the region continues to adjust to lower commodity prices. Growth in South Africa and oil exporters is expected to be weaker, while growth in economies that are not natural-resource intensive should remain robust. Growth in South Africa is expected to edge up to a 1.1 per cent pace this year. Nigeria is forecast to rebound from recession and grow at a 1 per cent pace. Angola is projected to expand at a 1.2 per cent pace.”

Update! Gov Ikpeazu donates N14m to Prince James Uche

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has successfully raised the sum of N14m for the treatment of ailing Nollywood actor, Prince James Uche who needs to carry out a kidney transplant.

The Governor donated the sum of N3million personally, while the state raised N10m for the actor while his Wife, the first Lady of Abia State also gave N1million to the family who have almost realized all the money for the transplant that will be taking place abroad.


WE THE CAMPAIGN TEAM ( #SAVEPRINCEJAMESUCHETEAM ) JUST WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO THANK HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE,DR OKEZIE IKPEAZU FOR HIS SUPPORT TO PRINCE JAMES UCHE...WE HAD A CRUCIAL MEETING WITH HIS EXCELLENCY ON SUNDAY 8TH OF JANUARY BTWN THE HOURS OF 11PM-2AM AT THE GOVERMENT HOUSE,UMUAHIA-ABIA STATE AND A SUM OF #3MILLION(THREE MILLION) PHYSICAL CASH WAS DROPPED ON MONDAY 9TH JANUARY AT 1:29PM AS HIS PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION TO CONTINUE PRINCE JAMES'S TREATMENT VIA THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY OF ABIA STATE--MR ENYINNAYA APPOLLOS...
HIS EXCELLENCY ALSO APPROVED THE SUM OF #10MILLION(TEN MILLION) AS ABIA STATE GOVT DONATION AFTER ADVISING US ALL (ESPECIALLY ENTERTAINERS) TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND REMEMBER TO PRAY ALWAYS...

Wine factories producing fake Amarula, others, exposed by NAFDAC ...photo

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), arrested 9 suspects in connecting with "fake" wine and beverage manufacturing factories at Relief Market, Onitsha.

This followed a special raid and enforcement operation of Federal Government’s ban on imported fruit juices on Wednesday in Onitsha.

NAFDAC Head, Investigation and Enforcement, Kingsley Ejiofor, said those nabbed were involved in the bottling of unwholesome, counterfeit and dangerous drinks. His words:
“We came here for a special assignment to mop up all counterfeit and prohibited products which include imported fruit juices, food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, detergent and bottled water, among others. 
“We were able to uncover illegal manufacturers of bottle, unwholesome and dangerous chemicals, they call wine and spirits. It was so disheartening.”

Mr. Ejiofor said that popular brands of beverages like Hennessey, 501, Johnny Walker, Red Label whisky, Best Marula fruit cream, Pure heaven, Amarula, Baron De Vals, Eva and J&W, among others were being faked.

According to him, the beverages were being produced in unhygienic factories with cockroaches.

He listed items found in the factories to include;
stoves, colourants, plastic containers, cups, labels, corks, unidentified chemicals and recycled bottles.

“In one of the shops, the smell was so pungent that we could not even recover the materials and had to destroy them right there. This is why we find the incidences of cancer to be high in this country because we don’t know what we drink.

“I will like to use this medium to tell people to destroy cups, plastics or bottles after use because not doing so encourages these illegal producers,” Mr. Ejiofor said.

He further advised retailers and consumers to issue and collect receipts for every product purchased to enable tracking.

Ejiofor said the arrested suspects, five men and four ladies, would be interrogated and prosecuted. The recovered items, especially the chemicals would be taken to NAFDAC laboratory for analysis.

Another $40bn Chinese investment coming to Nigeria

China is to invest $40billion more in Nigeria. Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi broke the news during a bilateral meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.

He said China had already invested up to $45billion in Nigeria. His words:

“Nigeria and China are strategic partners; our relations have been developing well, China has already invested or financed a total number of $22billion projects here in Nigeria; another $23billion projects are on-going.

“In addition, we are also following up another over $40bn of investments which is in the pipeline.

“Compare with the size, population and market of our two countries, our cooperation still has large potential to be deepened.”

Yi said his visit would lead to the implementation of important agreements and cooperation reached between the Chinese and Nigerian presidents.

Onyeama praised the relationship between Nigeria and China, noting that the relationship had been strong for many years.

“I think the level of cooperation with China is extremely high and Chinese government is investing amount of money in Nigeria and probably is going up to $60 to $80 billion and we are extremely happy for that."

Three arraigned allegedly stealing N25m in Ekiti Govt house

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A Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ado Ekiti has remanded three persons in custody for allegedly stealing N25m in the Ekiti Government House in Ado Ekiti.

The accused – Bamidele Temitope, 36; Afolabi Sunday, 42; and Shuaib Amidu, 67 – allegedly stole N25m belonging to one Sunday Omosilade, the Personal Assistant to Governor Ayodele Fayose.

The police prosecutor, Sergeant Caleb Leranmo, told the court that the accused committed the offence on December 29, 2016, at the Ekiti State Government House Lodge in Ado-Ekiti.

He alleged that the defendants conspired to commit felony to wit: stealing, “thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap C16, Law of Ekiti State, 2012.”

The prosecutor also alleged that the accused, on the said date, stole $50,000 (N25m) belonging to Omosilade.

He said the defendants’ offence was also punishable under “Section 390 of the Criminal Code, Cap C16, Law of Ekiti State, 2012.”

The prosecutor alleged that among the accused, Amidu, on December 30, 2016, at the Mugbagba area of Ado Ekiti,  became an accessory to one Sunday when he changed $20,000 to naira denomination for him.

According to him, the offence contravened Section 519 of the Criminal Code, Cap C16, Law of Ekiti State, 2012.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

After their pleas, their counsel, Mr. Busuyi Ayorinde, moved an oral application for bail, but the court told him to formalise his application.

The Chief Magistrate, Adesoji Adegboye, consequently remanded the accused in prison.

He adjourned the case till January 16, 2017.

Convict who killed two over $20 drug deal becomes first inmate executed in 2017 ...photo

A Texas man who killed two people in a revenge plot over a $20 drug deal has become the first US inmate executed in 2017.

Christopher Wilkins, 48, was executed by lethal injection at 6pm on Wednesday in the state's death chamber in Huntsville.

The execution is the 539th in Texas since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 - the most of any state.

The planned lethal injection came as the number of US executions fell to a quarter-century low in 2016.

Factors for the decline include high costs of prosecutions, sales bans on lethal injections drugs and increased use by juries of life without parole as a sentence.

Lawyer for Wilkins had filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court seeking to halt the execution, arguing he had ineffective counsel and was unlawfully denied funding necessary for an adequate defence.

But about three hours ahead of the scheduled execution time, the court rejected the appeal.

Wilkins was convicted of killing Willie Freeman, 40, and Mike Silva, 33, in 2005 in the Fort Worth area and dumping their bodies.

Abike Jagaban caught attempting to smuggle cocaine ...photo

A 23-year-old self-employed woman dealing in used ladies shoes from Berekum in the Berekum Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region, Sakina Mustapha, is in the grips of the Police for attempting to smuggle a substance suspected to be cocaine to an inmate at the Sunyani Prisons.

According to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Prisons, ASP. Johann Nii Narh Nartey, the suspect believed to be a member of a notorious drug syndicate terrorizing residents in the area, was arrested on Monday at the Sunyani Central Prison with the substance.
He explained that Sakina was apprehended at the Sunyani Prison Barracks after she paid a visit to a prisoner in custody, Taufik Mohammed, who is serving a ten (10) year jail term with hard labour for narcotic drug offences.

He added that the initial demeanour of both convict and visitor appeared normal at the initial stages of the visit, but the interaction aroused suspicion at the latter stage and so both of them were put under strict surveillance.
ASP Nartey continued that, Sakina was later seen hanging around at the barracks in anxiety after the visit, and was subsequently invited into the prison where a search was conducted on her, and Ninety nine (99) pieces of substances suspected to be cocaine wrapped in cigarette foil were found in her purse.

The Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Supt. Sampson Bandin confirmed the arrest and stated that his outfit has commenced investigation into the matter, and the suspect will be put before court soon.

UK's first pregnant man reveals terrifying death threats in his first tv interview ...photo

A pregnant man has revealed on Lorraine that he's been getting DEATH threats over his decision to have a child.

Former Asda worker, Hayden Cross, was born a woman but began transitioning when he was 17-years-old.

While he is now legally male, Hayden stopped his transition so he could get pregnant and have a biological child before it was too late.

"It's quite scary, but I'm happy I'm going to have a biological kid. I wanted my eggs frozen. Not everyone wants kids when they're young," Hayden told Lorraine.

It's not been an easy ride for the 20-year-old, who claims to have been threatened over his decision to have a child.

"I've had death threats, and people threatening to beat me up. I've taken a year out of my treatment for this.

Admitting that he felt a little too young to be having a child, he revealed that a stranger came to his home and donated sperm.

"Basically I found a sperm donor on Facebook. I found someone on there, spoke to them for a few days and went from there.

"They came to my house, came into a cup and then I did it myself. I don't even know their name," he explained.

"I've always wanted to be able to have my own family. My mum's been really supportive.

Speaking about his hopes for the future, Hayden added: "When the baby grows, I'll sit it down and explain and talk to it. I want it to know, I hope it will be open minded like me."


Source: Mirror

Update! Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore, arrested for alleged threat to life & defamation, transferred to SCID Panti

The Lagos state police command have arrested publisher of online news platform, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, over allegations of defamation of character and threat to life. He was arrested at his home in Lagos this afternoon. The command acted based on a petition received from UK based journalist, Lekan Fatodu.

According to the petitioner‎, Sowore had in a publication on his platform, alleged that he was being used by some politicians to carry out acts of money laundering.

Confirming Sowore's arrest to LIB, the Lagos state police command PRO, Dolapo Badmus, said he has been transferred to the state Criminal Investigations Department SCID office, in Panti for further investigations.

Sahara Reporters publisher confirms his arrest, shares video of his accuser allegedly attacking him at the police station in Ikeja

Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, was arrested in Lagos today following a petition filed by UK based journalist, Lekan Fatodu over a publication by Sahara Reporters alleging he was being used by some corrupt politicians to launder money. 

Sowore confirmed his arrest in this video and post shared on his Facebook wall, claiming he was attacked by Fatodu...


Read the full transcript of Donald Trump's press conference

US-president elect Donald Trump had his first press conference - the first time he took questions from reporters since July, today... and it was mostly a disaster, according to some US media outfits. Read the full transcript after the cut courtesy NYTimes.com



OK, questions? Yes, John (ph)?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) so much.
TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: Appreciate it.
A couple of aspects of the intelligence briefing that you received on Friday that we’re looking for further clarification on.
TRUMP: Sure.
QUESTION: First of all, did the heads of the intelligence agencies provide you with the two-page summary of these unsubstantiated allegations? And secondly to that, on the broader picture, do you accept their opinion that Vladimir Putin ordered the hack of the DNC and the attempted hack of the RNC?
And if you do, how will that color your attempts to build a relationship with a leader who has been accused of committing an act of espionage against the United States?
TRUMP: OK, first of all, these readings as you know are confidential, classified. So, I’m not allowed to talk about what went on in a meeting.
And — but we had many witnesses in that meeting, many of them with us. And I will say, again, I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out.
I saw the information; I read the information outside of that meeting. It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents that got together — sick people — and they put that crap together.
So, I will tell you that not within the meeting, but outside of the meeting, somebody released it. It should have never been — number one, shouldn’t have even entered paper. But it should have never have been released. But I read what was released and I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s an absolute disgrace.
As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. And I — I can say that you know when — when we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn’t make a big deal out of that. That was something that was extraordinary. That was probably China.
We had — we had much hacking going on. And one of the things we’re gonna do, we have some of the greatest computer minds anywhere in the world that we’ve assembled. You saw just a sample of it two weeks ago up here where we had the six top people in the world — they were never in the same room together as a group. And we’re gonna put those minds together and we’re going to form a defense.
TRUMP: And I have to say this also, the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. They could’ve had hacking defense, which we had.
And I will give Reince Priebus credit, because when Reince saw what was happening in the world and with this country, he went out and went to various firms and ordered a very, very strong hacking defense.
And they tried to hack the Republican National Committee and they were unable to break through.
We have to do that for our country. It’s very important.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... just to the last part of that question (inaudible) how could all of this potentially color your attempts to build a better relationship with President Putin?
TRUMP: Well, you know, President Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. They said it totally never happened.
Now, somebody would say, “Oh, of course he’s gonna say that.”
I respected the fact that he said that.
And I — I’ll be honest, I think if he did have something, they would’ve released it; they would’ve been glad to release it.
I think, frankly, had they broken into the Republican National Committee, I think they would’ve released it just like they did about Hillary and all of the horrible things that her people, like Mr. Podesta, said about her. I mean what he said about her was horrible.
If somebody said about me, what Podesta said about Hillary, I was the boss, I would’ve fired him immediately or that person. Because what he said about her was horrible.
But remember this: We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking.
That Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it? That’s a horrible thing. That’s a horrible thing.
Can you imagine that if Donald Trump got the questions to the debate — it would’ve been the biggest story in the history of stories. And they would’ve said immediately, “You have to get out of the race.” Nobody even talked about it. It’s a very terrible thing.
Yeah?
QUESTION: Can I ask you a question, sir?
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President-elect.
On that intelligence report, the second part of their conclusion was that Vladimir Putin ordered it because he aspired to help you in the election.
Do you accept that part of the finding? And will you undo what President Obama did to punish the Russians for this or will you keep it in place?
TRUMP: Well, if — if Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia can help us fight ISIS, which, by the way, is, number one, tricky. I mean if you look, this administration created ISIS by leaving at the wrong time. The void was created, ISIS was formed.
If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That’s called an asset, not a liability.
Now, I don’t know that I’m gonna get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there’s a good chance I won’t. And if I don’t, do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Give me a break.
OK?
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... President Obama...
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... make clear whether during your visits to either Moscow or St. Petersburg, you engaged in conduct that you now regret and that a reasonable...
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Would a reasonable observer say that you are potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Russia or by its intelligence agencies?
TRUMP: Lemme just tell you what I do.
When I leave our country, I’m a very high-profile person, would you say?
I am extremely careful. I’m surrounded by bodyguards. I’m surrounded by people.
And I always tell them — anywhere, but I always tell them if I’m leaving this country, “Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you’re gonna probably have cameras.” I’m not referring just to Russia, but I would certainly put them in that category.
And number one, “I hope you’re gonna be good anyway. But in those rooms, you have cameras in the strangest places. Cameras that are so small with modern technology, you can’t see them and you won’t know. You better be careful, or you’ll be watching yourself on nightly television.”
I tell this to people all the time.
I was in Russia years ago, with the Miss Universe contest, which did very well — Moscow, the Moscow area did very, very well.
And I told many people, “Be careful, because you don’t wanna see yourself on television. Cameras all over the place.”
And again, not just Russia, all over.
Does anyone really believe that story?
I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way, believe me.
(LAUGHTER)
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... how you plan to disentangle yourself from your business. But first, I have to follow-up on some of these Russian remarks.
Based on your comments here today, do you believe the hacking was justified? Does Russia have any leverage over you, financial or otherwise? And if not, will you release your tax returns to prove it?
TRUMP: So I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia.
As a real estate developer, I have very, very little debt. I have assets that are — and now people have found out how big the company is, I have very little debt — I have very low debt. But I have no loans with Russia at all.
And I thought that was important to put out. I certified that. So I have no deals, I have no loans and I have no dealings. We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. So I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.
Now, I have to say one other thing. Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East, Hussein Damack, a friend of mine, great guy. And I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai — a number of deals and I turned it down.
I didn’t have to turn it down, because as you know, I have a no-conflict situation because I’m president, which is — I didn’t know about that until about three months ago, but it’s a nice thing to have. But I don’t want to take advantage of something. I have something that others don’t have, Vice President Pence also has it. I don’t think he’ll need it, I have a feeling he’s not going to need it.
But I have a no conflict of interest provision as president. It was many, many years old, this is for presidents. Because they don’t want presidents getting — I understand they don’t want presidents getting tangled up in minutia; they want a president to run the country. So I could actually run my business, I could actually run my business and run government at the same time.
I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I would be the only one to be able to do that. You can’t do that in any other capacity. But as president, I could run the Trump organization, great, great company, and I could run the company — the country. I’d do a very good job, but I don’t want to do that.
Now, all of these papers that you see here — yes, go ahead.
QUESTION: (inaudible) do you believe the hacking was justified? And will you release your tax returns to prove what you’re saying about no deals in Russia?
TRUMP: I’m not releasing the tax returns because as you know, they’re under audit.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... since the ’70’s has had a required audit from the IRS, the last place to release them, but as president sir...
TRUMP: You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They’re the only who ask.
QUESTION: You don’t think the American public is concerned about it?
TRUMP: No I don’t think so. I won, when I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all.
(APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: I think you care — I think you care. First of all, you learn very little to a tax return. What you should go down to federal elections and take a look at the numbers. And actually, people have learned a lot about my company and now they realize, my company is much bigger, much more powerful than they ever thought. We’re in many, many countries, and I’m very proud of it.
And what I’m going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me. Again, I don’t have to do this. They’re not going to discuss it with me. And with that, I’m going to bring up Sheri Dillon, and she’s going to go — these papers are just some of the many documents that I’ve signed turning over complete and total control to my sons.
(CROSSTALK)
DILLON: Good morning. It’s my honor and privilege to be here today at President-elect Trump’s request.
He’s asked me, as you just heard, to speak about the conflicts of interest and the steps he’s taking. As you know, the business empire built by President-elect Trump over the years is massive, not dissimilar to the fortunes of Nelson Rockefeller when he became vice president. But at that time, no one was so concerned.
President-elect Trump wants the American public to rest assured that all of his efforts are directed to pursuing the people’s business and not his own. To that end, as he explained a few moments ago, he directed me and my colleagues at the law firm Morgan Lewis and Bockius to design a structure for his business empire that will completely isolate him from the management of the company.
He further instructed that we build in protections that will assure the American people the decisions he makes and the actions that he takes as president are for their benefit and not to support his financial interests.
DILLON: As he said, he’s voluntarily taking this on. The conflicts of interest laws simply do not apply to the president or the vice president and they are not required to separate themselves from their financial assets. The primary conflicts of interest statutes and some have questioned it, is Section 18 USC 208 and it’s simply inapplicable by its terms. And this is not just our interpretation. It’s Congress itself who have made this clear in 1989 when it amended Section 18 USC 202 to state that, except as otherwise provided, the terms office and employee in section 208 shall not include the president.
Even so, President-elect Trump wants there to be no doubt in the minds of the American public that he is completely isolating himself from his business interests. He instructed us to take all steps realistically possible to make it clear that he is not exploiting the office of the presidency for his personal benefit. He also sought the guidance of individuals who are familiar with and have worked extensively in the fields of government ethics and constitutional law.
Critical to the Morgan Lewis team is Fred Fielding, standing here to our side and with us today and many of you have known him. He has served several presidents over the years including serving as counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as well as serving on President George H.W. Bush’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform and he also held the position of vice chair of the Ethics Resource Center.
Mr. Fielding has been extensively involved with and approved this plan. He’s here today to support the plan and he will continue to provide guidance as the plan is implemented and as Eric, Don, along with others, take over management of the Trump organization.
I’m gonna detail some of the extraordinary steps now that the president-elect is taking. First, President-elect Trump’s investments and business assets commonly known as the — as the Trump Organization, comprising hundreds of entities which, again, if you all go and take a look at his financial disclosure statement, the pages and pages and pages of entities have all been or will be conveyed to a trust prior to January 20th. Here is just some of the paperwork that’s taking care of those actions.
Second, through the trust agreement, he has relinquished leadership and management of the Trump Organization to his sons Don and Eric and a longtime Trump executive, Allen Weisselberg. Together, Don, Eric and Allen will have the authority to manage the Trump Organization and will make decisions for the duration of the presidency without any involvement whatsoever by President-elect Trump.
Further, at the president-elect’s direction, the trust agreement provides — that to ensure the Trump Organization continues to operate in accordance with the highest and legal ethics standards, an ethics adviser will be appointed to the management team. The written approval of the ethics adviser will be required for new deals, actions, and transactions that could potentially raise ethics or conflicts of interest concerns.
President-elect Trump as well as Don, Eric and Allen are committed to ensuring that the activities of the Trump organization are beyond reproach and cannot be perceived to be exploitive of the office of the presidency. President-elect Trump will resign from all officer and other positions he holds with the Trump Organization entities.
Further, in addition, his daughter Ivanka will have no further involvement with or management authority whatsoever with the Trump Organization. As she and Jared move their family to D.C., Ivanka will focused on settling her children into their new homes and their new schools.
The president-elect has also already disposed of all of his investments in publicly traded or easily liquidated investments. As a result, the trust will have two types of assets; first, it will hold liquid assets. Cash, cash equivalents and treasuries and perhaps some positions in a government approved diversified portfolio, one that is consistent with the regulations from the Office of Government Ethics.
Second, the trust is going to hold his preexisting illiquid, but very valuable business assets, the ones that everyone here is familiar with. Trump owned, operated and branded golf clubs, commercial rental property, resorts, hotels, rights to royalties from preexisting licenses of Trump-Marks Productions and Goods. Things like Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, all of his other business assets, 40 Wall Street will all be in the trust.
Through instructions in the trust agreement, President-elect trust — President-elect Trump first ordered that all pending deals be terminated. This impacted more than 30 deals, many of which were set to close by the end of 2016. As you can well imagine, that caused an immediate financial loss of millions of dollars, not just for President-elect Trump, but also for Don, Ivanka and Eric.
DILLON: The trust agreement as directed by President Trump imposes severe restrictions on new deals. No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency. New domestic deals will be allowed, but they will go through a vigorous vetting process.
The president-elect will have no role in deciding whether the Trump Organization engages in any new deal and he will only know of a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on TV. Because any new deal could — and I emphasize could — be perceived as causing a conflict or as exploiting the office of the presidency, new deals must be vetted with the ethics adviser, whose role will be to analyze any potential transactions for conflicts and ethics issues.
The ethics adviser will be a recognized expert in the field of government experts. Again, his role will be to scrutinize the new deals and the actions, and any new deal must receive written approval.
To further reinforce the wall that we are building between President-elect Trump and the Trump Organization, President-elect Trump has ordered, through his trust agreement, to sharply limit his information rights. Reports will only be available and reflect profit and loss on the company as a whole. There will be no separate business by business accounting.
Another step that President-elect Trump has taken is he created a new position at the Trump Organization; the position of chief compliance counsel, whose responsibility will be to ensure that the Trump businesses, again, are operating at the highest levels of integrity and not taking any actions that could be perceived as exploiting the office of the presidency.
He has also directed that no communications of the Trump Organization, including social media accounts, will reference or be tied to President-elect Trump’s role as president of the United States or the office of the presidency.
In sum, all of these actions — complete relinquishment of management, no foreign deals, ethics adviser approval of deals, sharply limited information rights — will sever President-elect Trump’s presidency from the Trump Organization.
Some have asked questions. Why not divest? Why not just sell everything? Form of blind trust. And I’d like to turn to addressing some of those questions now.
Selling, first and foremost, would not eliminate possibilities of conflicts of interest. In fact, it would exacerbate them. The Trump brand is key to the value of the Trump Organization’s assets. If President-elect Trump sold his brand, he would be entitled to royalties for the use of it, and this would result in the trust retaining an interest in the brand without the ability to assure that it does not exploit the office of the presidency.
Further, whatever price was paid would be subject to criticism and scrutiny. Was it too high, is there pay for play, was it too much pay to curry favor with the president-elect. And selling his assets without the rights to the brand would greatly diminish the value of the assets and create a fire sale.
President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built. This plan offers a suitable alternative to address the concerns of the American people, and selling the entire Trump Organization isn’t even feasible.
Some people have suggested that the president-elect sell the business to his adult children. This would require massive third-party debt sourced with multiple lenders, whose motives and willingness to participate would be questioned and undoubtedly investigated. And if the president-elect were to finance the sale himself, he would retain the financial interests in the assets that he owns now.
Some people have suggested that the Trump — that President-elect Trump could bundle the assets and turn the Trump Organization into a public company. Anyone who has ever gone through this extraordinarily cumbersome and complicated process knows that it is a non-starter. It is not realistic and it would be inappropriate for the Trump Organization.
Some people have suggested a blind trust, but you cannot have a totally blind trust with operating businesses. President Trump can’t unknow he owns Trump Tower and the press will make sure that any new developments at the Trump Organization are well publicized.DILLON: Further, it would be impossible to find an institutional trustee that would be competent to run the Trump Organization. The approach that he is taking allows Don and Eric to preserve this great company and its iconic assets. And this approach is best from a conflicts and ethics perspective. It creates a complete separation from President-elect Trump — it separates him and prevents him from participating in the business and poses strict limits on what the trustees can do and requires the assent of any ethics adviser to a new deal.
I’m going to turn to one last topic today that has been of interest lately called emoluments. That’s a word I think we’ve all become familiar with and perhaps had not heard before.
And we’re gonna describe some other actions that President-elect Trump is taking to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.
Emoluments comes from the Constitution. The Constitution says “officials may not accept gifts, titles of nobility, or emoluments from foreign governments with respect to their office, and that no benefit should be derived by holding in office.”
The so-called Emoluments Clause has never been interpreted, however, to apply to fair value exchanges that have absolutely nothing to do with an office holder.
No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange; not a gift, not a title, and not an emolument.
But since President-elect Trump has been elected, some people want to define emoluments to cover routine business transactions like paying for hotel rooms. They suggest that the Constitution prohibits the businesses from even arm’s-length transactions that the president-elect has absolutely nothing to do with and isn’t even aware of.
These people are wrong. This is not what the Constitution says. Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present and it has nothing to do with an office. It’s not an emolument.
The Constitution does not require President-elect Trump to do anything here. But, just like with conflicts of interests, he wants to do more than what the Constitution requires.
So, President-elect Trump has decided, and we are announcing today, that he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury. This way, it is the American people who will profit.
In sum, I and president-elect’s (sic) other advisers at Morgan Lewis have determined the approach we’ve outlined today will avoid potential conflicts of interests or concerns regarding exploitation of the office of the presidency without imposing unnecessary and unreasonable loses on the president-elect and his family.
We believe this structure and these steps will serve to accomplish the president-elect’s desire to be isolated from his business interests and give the American people confidence that his sole business and interest is in making America great again, bringing back jobs to this country, securing our borders and rebuilding our infrastructure.
The American people were well — well aware of President-elect Trump’s business empire and financial interests when they voted. Many people voted for him precisely because of his business success.
President-elect Trump wants to bring this success to all Americans. Thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
(CROSSTALK)
DILLON: You’re welcome. My pleasure. Yes (ph). Don’t want to lose your note. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Here you go, you (ph).
DILLON: Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump? Thank you. Mr. Trump, (inaudible) from America News.
What is your response to your critics that say not only you, but also your Cabinet is filled with conflicts of interest?
And do you plan to set an example in the future to make sure that your — your Cabinet and everyone throughout your administration...
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: I — I really think that when you watch what’s going on with what’s happening in — I was just watching, as an example, Rex Tillerson. I think it’s brilliant what he’s doing and what he’s saying.
I watched yesterday, as you know, our great senator, who is going to be a great attorney general. And he was brilliant. And what people don’t know is that he was a great prosecutor and attorney general in Alabama. And he was brilliant yesterday.
So, I really think that they are — I think we have one of the great Cabinets ever put together. And we’ve been hearing that from so many people. People are so happy.
You know, in the case of Rex, he ran incredibly Exxon Mobil. When there was a find, he would get it. When they needed something, he would be there.
A friend of mine who’s very, very substantial in the oil business, Harold Hamm — big supporter — he said there’s nobody in the business like Rex Tillerson.
And that’s what we want. That’s what I want to bring to government.
I want to bring the greatest people into government, because we’re way behind. We don’t make good deals any more. I say it all the time in speeches. We don’t make good deals anymore; we make bad deals. Our trade deals are a disaster.TRUMP: We have hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on a yearly basis — hundreds of billions with China on trade and trade imbalance, with Japan, with Mexico, with just about everybody. We don’t make good deals anymore.
So we need people that are smart, we need people that are successful and they got successful because generally speaking, they’re smart. And that’s what I’d put, I’m very proud of the Cabinet, I think they’re doing very well.
It’s very interesting how it’s going, but it’s — I think they’re doing very, very well.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... a quick follow-up on — on Russia, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. I wanted to ask a few questions on Obamacare?
TRUMP: Yeah.
QUESTION: Can you be specific on what guidance you’re giving congressional Republicans on the timeline for repeal and replace, whether it needs to be simultaneous or...
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Finally, Obamacare, I thought it was never gonna be asked.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) though if you have outlined a plan for what you want the replace package to look like, would it guarantee coverage for those who have gotten health insurance through the current Obamacare law?
TRUMP: You’re gonna be very, very proud, as not only the media and reporters, you’re gonna be very proud of what we put forth having to do with health care. Obamacare is a complete and total disaster.
They can say what they want, they can guide you anyway they wanna guide you. In some cases, they guide you incorrectly. In most cases, you realize what’s happened, it’s imploding as we sit.
Some states have over a hundred percent increase and ’17 and I said this two years ago, ’17 is going to be the bad year. It’s going to be catastrophic. Frankly, we could sit back and it was a thought from a political standpoint, but it wouldn’t be fair to the people.
We could sit back and wait and watch and criticize and we could be a Chuck Schumer and sit back and criticize it and people would come, they would come, begging to us please, we have to do something about Obamacare. We don’t wanna own it, we don’t wanna own it politically. They own it right now.
So the easiest thing would be to let it implode in ’17 and believe me, we’d get pretty much whatever we wanted, but it would take a long time. We’re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary’s approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan.
It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour.
So we’re gonna do repeal and replace, very complicated stuff. And we’re gonna get a health bill passed, we’re gonna get health care taken care of in this country. You have deductibles that are so high, that after people go broke paying their premiums which are going through the roof, the health care can’t even be used by them because their deductibles bills are so high.
Obamacare is the Democrats problem. We are gonna take the problem off the shelves for them. We’re doing them a tremendous service by doing it. We could sit back and let them hang with it. We are doing the Democrats a great service.
So as soon as our secretary is approved and gets into the office, we’ll be filing a plan. And it was actually, pretty accurately reported today, The New York Times. And the plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare.
We’re going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better. OK.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: President-elect, can we just ask you — sir, sir...
QUESTION: President-elect Trump...
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Mr. President — which one?
TRUMP: I was going right here.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: President-elect Trump, Jon Steinberg (ph) from Cheddar. When you look at all the meetings that you’ve had with Carrier, SoftBank and Alibaba, do you conceive of making this a program, maybe sitting inside of commerce?
And then my follow-up question to that, is how soon will we see the program on capital repatriation and corporate tax cuts?
TRUMP: Well, if I can save jobs, for instance I was doing individual companies and people said well, that’s only one company, like we did a good job with Carrier. And I wanna thank United Technologies which owns Carrier, but we saved close to a thousand jobs.
And they were gone and Mike Pence and his staff really helped us, a lot. But those were — that was a tough one because they announced a year and a half before that they were leaving so it’s always tough when they’re building a plan, just a little tougher than before they start or before they make an announcement.TRUMP: So I wanna thank United Technologies. But we’ve been meeting with a lot of companies. But what really is happening, is the word is now out, that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place, and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won, for good reason, it’s not going to happen that way anymore.
You want to move your plant and you think, as an example, you’re going to build that plant in Mexico and you’re going to make your air conditioners or your cars or whatever you’re making, and you’re going to sell it through what will be a very, very strong border — not a weak border like it is — we don’t even have a border. It’s an open sieve.
But you’re going to sell through a very strong border — not going to happen. You’re going to pay a very large border tax. So if you want to move to another country and if you want to fire all of our great American workers that got you there in the first place, you can move from Michigan to Tennessee and to North Carolina and South Carolina. You can move from South Carolina back to Michigan.
You can do anywhere — you’ve got a lot of states at play; a lot of competition. So it’s not like, oh, gee, I’m taking the competition away. You’ve got a lot of places you can move. And I don’t care, as along as it’s within the United States, the borders of the United States.
There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder. And if our politicians had what it takes, they would have done this years ago. And you’d have millions more workers right now in the United States that are — 96 million really wanting a job and they can’t get. You know that story. The real number — that’s the real number.
So, that’s the way it is. OK. Go ahead.
QUESTION: President-elect, I have a question about the Supreme Court and border security. But I also wanted to ask you about something you said on Twitter this morning. Are we living in Nazi Germany? What were you driving at there? Do you have a problem with the intelligence community?
And on the Supreme Court, what’s your timeline? You said a while ago you were down to four. Have you conducted those interviews yet? What’s your timeline for nominating?
And on the border fence, it now appears clear U.S. taxpayers will have to pay for it up front. What is your plan to...
TRUMP: That’s not clear at all. OK.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: ... to get Mexico to pay for it?
TRUMP: I’ve got it. Do you have any more?
(LAUGHTER)
On the fence — it’s not a fence. It’s a wall. You just misreported it. We’re going to build a wall. I could wait about a year-and-a-half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get to office, but I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.
I don’t feel like waiting a year or a year-and-a-half. We’re going to start building. Mexico in some form, and there are many different forms, will reimburse us and they will reimburse us for the cost of the wall. That will happen, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment — probably less likely that it’s a payment. But it will happen.
So, remember this, OK? I would say we are going to build a wall and people would go crazy. I would then say, who is going to pay for the wall? And people would all scream out — 25,000, 30,000 people, because nobody has ever had crowds like Trump has had. You know that. You don’t like to report that, but that’s OK.
OK, now he agrees. Finally, he agrees.
But I say who is going to pay for the wall? And they will scream out, “Mexico.”
Now, reports went out last week — oh, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall because of a reimbursement. What’s the difference? I want to get the wall started. I don’t want to wait a year-and-a-half until I make my deal with Mexico. And we probably will have a deal sooner than that.
And by the way, Mexico has been so nice, so nice. I respect the government of Mexico. I respect the people of Mexico. I love the people of Mexico. I have many people from Mexico working for me. They’re phenomenal people.
The government of Mexico is terrific. I don’t blame them for what’s happened. I don’t blame them for taking advantage of the United States. I wish our politicians were so smart. Mexico has taken advantage of the United States. I don’t blame the representatives and various presidents, et cetera, of Mexico. What I say is we shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. It’s not going to happen anymore.
So, in order to get the wall started, Mexico will pay for the wall, but it will be reimbursed. OK?
Supreme Court judge. So, as you know, I have a list of 20. I’ve gone through them. We’ve met with numerous candidates. They’re outstanding in every case. They were largely recommended and highly recommended by Federalist Society. Jim DeMint was also very much involved, and his group, which is fantastic, and he’s a fantastic guy.TRUMP: So between Leo and Jim DeMint and some senators and some congresspeople, we have a great group of people. I’ll be making the decision on who we will put up for justice of the United States Supreme Court, a replacement for the great, great Justice Scalia. That will be probably within two weeks of the 20th. So within about two weeks, probably the second week. I consider the first day because we’ll also be doing some — some pretty good signings and I think what we’ll do is we’ll wait until Monday.
That will be our really first business day as opposed to doing it on Friday, because on Friday, people are going to have a very good time at the inauguration, and then Saturday, as you know, we’re having a big church service and lots of good things are happening. So our first day — and you’ll all be invited to the signings, but we’ll be doing some pretty good signings on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, and then also the next week. And you’re all invited.
But on the Supreme Court, I’ll be making that decision, and it will be a decision which I very strongly believe in. I think it’s one of the reasons I got elected. I think the people of this country did not want to see what was happening with the Supreme Court, so I think it was a very, very big decision as to why I was elected.
QUESTION: The tweet that you had this morning about are we living in Nazi Germany, what were you driving at there? What are you trying to tell the American public?
TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful — disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that — and I say that, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.
As far as Buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they’re going to suffer the consequences. They already are. And as far as CNN going out of their way to build it up — and by the way, we just found out I was coming down. Michael Cohen — I was being — Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer. He’s a good lawyer in my firm. It was just reported that it wasn’t this Michael Cohen they we’re talking about. So all night long it’s Michael Cohen.
I said, “I want to see your passport.” He brings his passport to my office. I say, hey, wait a minute. He didn’t leave the country. He wasn’t out of the country. They had Michael Cohen of the Trump Organization was in Prague. It turned out to be a different Michael Cohen. It’s a disgrace what took place. It’s a disgrace and I think they ought to apologize to start with Michael Cohen.
QUESTION: Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question? Mr. President-elect —
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news organization...
TRUMP: Not you.
QUESTION: Can you give us a chance?
TRUMP: Your organization is terrible.
QUESTION: You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir? Sir, can you...
TRUMP: Quiet.
QUESTION: Mr. President-elect, can you say...
TRUMP: He’s asking a question, don’t be rude. Don’t be rude.
QUESTION: Can you give us a question since you’re attacking us? Can you give us a question?
TRUMP: Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question.
QUESTION: Can you state...
TRUMP: You are fake news. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Sir, can you state categorically that nobody — no, Mr. President-elect, that’s not appropriate.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
(APPLAUSE)
QUESTION: Do you think President Obama went too far with the sanctions he put on Russia after the hacking?
TRUMP: I don’t think he went too far. No.
QUESTION: Will you roll them back? What do you think of Lindsey Graham’s plan to send you a bill for...
TRUMP: Plans to send me a bill for what?
QUESTION: Tougher sanctions.
TRUMP: I hadn’t heard Lindsey Graham was going to do that. Lindsey Graham. I’ve been competing with him for a long time. He is going to crack that one percent barrier one day. I didn’t realize Lindsey Graham still had it. That’s all right. I think Lindsey Graham is a nice guy. I’ve heard that he is a nice guy and I’ve been hearing it.
Go ahead. Go ahead. You’ve been waiting.
QUESTION: As far as we understand, the intelligence community...
TRUMP: Stand up.
QUESTION: From BBC news. Ian Pannell from BBC news.
TRUMP: BBC news. That’s another beauty.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you.
As far as we understand it, the intelligence community are still looking at these allegations, this false news, as you describe it. If they come back with any kind of conclusion that any of it stands up, that any of it is true, will you consider your position...
TRUMP: There’s nothing they could come back with.
QUESTION: Can you...
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: (inaudible) published fake news and all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t recommend reforms. I recommend people that are — that have some moral compass.
You know, I’ve been hearing more and more about a thing called fake news and they’re talking about people that go and say all sorts of things. But I will tell you, some of the media outlets that I deal with are fake news more so than anybody. I could name them, but I won’t bother, but you have a few sitting right in front of us. They’re very, very dishonest people, but I think it’s just something we’re going to have to live with.TRUMP: I guess the advantage I have is that I can speak back. When it happens to somebody that doesn’t have this — doesn’t have that kind of a megaphone, they can’t speak back. It’s a very sad thing. I’ve seen people destroyed. I’ve seen people absolutely destroyed. And I think it’s very unfair. So, all I can ask for is honest reporters.
Yes?
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: I just wanted to follow up on the questions about the U.S. intelligence community. And be very clear about what you’re saying. Do you trust your U.S. intelligence officials? And what do you say to foreign policy experts who say you’re actually weakening national security by waging this war of words against that community?
TRUMP: Intelligence agencies are vital and very, very important. We are going to be putting in, as you know, Mr. Pompeo and others, you know the Senator Dan Coats. We’re going to be putting in some outstanding people. Within 90 days, they’re going to be coming back to me with a major report on hacking.
I want them to cover this situation. I also want them, however, to cover, maybe most importantly — because we’re hacked by everybody — you know, the United States, our government out of a list of 17 in terms of industries is the worst, it’s number 17, in terms of protection.
If you look at the retail industry, if you look at the banking industry, various industries, out of 17 industries — they put this in the category of an industry — the United States is last in terms of protecting, let’s say, hacking defense. Like we had a great hacking defense at the Republican National Committee.
That’s why we weren’t hacked. By the way, we were told that they were trying to hack us, but they weren’t able to hack. And I think I get some credit because I told Reince, and Reince did a phenomenal job, but I said I want strong hacking defense.
The Democratic National Committee didn’t do that. Maybe that’s why the country runs so badly that way. But I will tell you — wait — wait — wait, let me finish. Within 90 days, we will be coming up with a major report on hacking defense, how do we stop this new phenomena — fairly new phenomena because the United States is hacked by everybody.
That includes Russia and China and everybody — everybody. OK.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Go ahead — go ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. President-elect, you said, just now, that you believe Russia indeed was responsible for the hacking of the DNC and Jon Podesta’s e-mails, et cetera.
TRUMP: All right, but you know what, it could have been others also.
QUESTION: But why did you spend weeks undermining U.S. intelligence community before simply getting the facts and then making a public statement?
TRUMP: Well, I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad. First of all, it’s illegal. You know, these are — these are classified and certified meetings and reports.
I’ll tell you what does happen. I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it. Somebody’s leaking it out. So, there’s — maybe it’s my office. Maybe in my office because I have a lot of people, a lot of great people. Maybe it’s them. And what I did is I said I won’t tell anybody. I’m going to have a meeting and I won’t tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence.
And what happened is I had my meeting. Nobody knew, not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years, she didn’t know — I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew. The meeting was had, the meeting was over, they left. And immediately the word got out that I had a meeting.
So, I don’t want that — I don’t want that. It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country; what’s happened. That report should have never — first of all, it shouldn’t have been printed because it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. And I thank the New York Times for saying that.
I thank a lot of different people for saying that. But, I will tell you, that should never, ever happen. OK.
(CROSSTALK)
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 do indeed 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 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 that he will 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.TRUMP: 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 giving (ph) a little reset button like Hillary. Here, press this piece of plastic. A 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 that I hope at the end of eight years, I’ll come back and say, oh, you did a good job. Otherwise, if they do a bad job, I’ll say, “You’re fired.”
Good-bye, everybody. Good-bye.
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