Trump holds news conference

NEW YORK (AP) -
President-elect Donald Trump held his first news conference since winning the presidency. He addressed numerous topics including Russian hacking and how he will avoid conflict of interest with his businesses.

Trump said the Democratic National Committee was "totally open to be hacked" and argues that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they "would have released it."

At Wednesday's news conference, Trump took questions about the role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups. The intelligence community says the interference was intended to help the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump said the Democratic National Committee could have "had hacking defense." He praised his future chief of staff Reince Preibus, saying he ordered such a defense at the Republican National Committee.

Trump also said that "hacking is bad," but added "look at what we learned from that hacking."

Trump says that more factories open in the industrial Midwest, highlighting his direct outreach to companies and repeating his campaign pledge to be "the greatest jobs producer that God created."

He praised plans by Fiat Chrysler to add 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio. He also noted that Ford would not be building a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and would instead update an existing Michigan factory and add 700 jobs. Trump had called on Ford to not open a new factory in Mexico, although economic forces beyond the incoming administration's direct control such as gasoline prices also influenced the decision.

Trump said additional factory job announcements would be coming, saying, "I hope General Motors will be following."

The president-elect added that he wants to bring overseas pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the United States, although he plans to negotiate on the prices the government pays for medication.

Trump says he has finally settled on a candidate to lead the sprawling Veterans Affairs department.

Trump says his choice is David Shulkin, who is currently the department's undersecretary for health. He made the announcement at the news conference. He says Shulkin is "fantastic" and will do a "truly great job."

The president-elect focused on veterans' issues during the presidential campaign. He says veterans have been mistreated under the Obama administration and promises to straighten things out.

The VA secretary post was one of two Cabinet posts Trump still has to fill. Agriculture secretary is the other one.

Trump plans to put all his business assets in a trust and hand control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime business executive to allay concerns about conflicts of interest.

A lawyer who worked with the Trump Organization on the plan says Trump is planning to make the change by Inauguration Day, relinquish control over the Trump Organization and isolate himself from the business.

The lawyer says the company will do no new foreign deals but can pursue domestic ones, and says that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts.
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The President-elect says a replacement for "Obamacare" will be offered with the confirmation of his health secretary. He said his plan for President Barack Obama's health care law would be "repeal and replace," adding that it would be "essentially simultaneously."

Trump called the law "a complete and total disaster" and said it was "imploding." He argued that Republicans would do doing a "tremendous service" for Democrats by replacing the law.

Trump has repeatedly said that repealing and replacing "Obamacare" was a top priority, but he has never fully explained how he planned to do it. Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the House would seek to take both steps "concurrently."

But Trump's promise to repeal and replace the health care law "essentially simultaneously," even in the same day, week or hour, is almost certainly impossible to achieve.

Trump is recommitting to plans to impose a border tax on manufacturers who shutter plants and move production abroad.

"There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder," Trump said.

Border taxes may help retain jobs, but they carry the risk of increasing prices for consumers.

Trump's lawyer says the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution does not apply to foreign payments to his company, as some ethics experts have said.

The lawyer, Sheri Dillon, says some have claimed that foreign leaders who pay for rooms and services at his various hotels across the globe would put the president-elect in violation of the clause.

Dillon says: "These people are wrong. That is not what the Constitution says."

She argues that "fair-value exchange," such as paying for a hotel room, does not run afoul of the Constitutional ban of foreign gifts or payments to the president.

Dillon says nonetheless the Trump Organization will voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments to his hotels to the U.S. Treasury.

Ivanka Trump, the President-elect's daughter, will not play a management role in the Trump Organization moving forward.

Dillon says that the future first daughter will have no involvement with or management authority at the family business. Ivanka Trump has been an executive vice president at the company.

Ivanka Trump is not taking an official role in her father's administration for now. But her husband, Jared Kushner, will be serving as a senior adviser, and the family is moving to Washington.

Dillon says that Ivanka Trump will be focused on getting her children settled in their new home and at their schools.

Ivanka Trump is also expected to step away from a leadership role at her own company selling clothes and jewelry.

Earlier Wednesday Donald Trump criticized U.S. intelligence agencies over the leak of an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information on him.

Trump tweeted that "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to `leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

The tweet was part of an early morning Trump firestorm denouncing the reports, in which he said he has "nothing" to do with Russia. Various news outlets reported late Tuesday that U.S. intelligence officials briefed Trump last week on the unverified information Russia was said to have on him.

Trump insisted that the media reports were "very unfair" and payback for defeating other Republican presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"I win an election easily, a great "movement" is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!"