Live thread: The First Trumpresser of 2017

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Remember when this press conference was to tackle the thorny issues of Donald Trump’s potential business conflicts? Good times, good times. Thanks to a flurry of reporting over the past twenty-four hours — some of it looking pretty poor already — the president-elect’s first presser of 2017 promises a much more salacious tone. Trump got out to a head start on the questions raised by reports from CNN and Buzzfeed on Russian ties and influence, on his usual platform:

Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

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

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

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?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

Rhetorical questions aside, Trump will have to answer some pointed actual questions today, and the most pointed will be about the intelligence briefing he received. As Jake Tapper pointed out on Twitter, the Buzzfeed memo and the intel briefing are two different things that have been conflated to some degree. He also updated the status of the Michael Cohen claim by suggesting that the memo writer might have had the wrong Michael Cohen:

Efforts today to conflate responsible reporting on IC presentation of 2 page annex with irresponsible posting of uncorroborated 35-pager.

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017

Government source confirms different Michael Cohen was in Prague https://t.co/B4cwmL1Ek3

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017

As I noted earlier, Trump’s probably been boosted by Buzzfeed’s decision to run with the highly problematic memo, but it’s also true that the intel briefing was also based on unverified reports. The briefing was classified, so don’t expect Trump to say much about it except to disagree with it and slam its leak to the press. In nine days, he can declassify any or all of it, but for now he has to abide by the classification and keep from disclosing anything.

It won’t be all Russian hookers and Prague têtes-aux-têtes today, though. Trump should expect some tough questions on the ObamaCare repeal, his Cabinet appointees, and of course those business conflicts of interests that were the original reason for this presser. We’ll keep you updated here in this live blog, with updates in reverse chronological order at the top.

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