Trump dismisses new compromising Russia report

FILE: Vladimir Putin shake hands with Donald Trump

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Donald Trump has decried as a “political witch hunt” US media reports that Russian intelligence agencies have obtained personally compromising material related to him.

Unsubstantiated allegations say Russia has embarrassing information about him.

Without referring to the stories, the president-elect tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Mr Trump is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday, nine days before he takes office.

The US intelligence agencies have presented that information to the president-elect and his predecessor at the White House, President Barack Obama.

But there has been nothing said publicly by the US intelligence community to support these claims.

In recent weeks, Mr Trump has been under pressure to concur with the findings of US spy agencies who say Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign.

They say the order came from the Kremlin to sway the election for Mr Trump and away from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

But so far he has failed to explicitly agree with the conclusions of the intelligence services.

And he has condemned those who oppose good relations with Russia as “fools”.

Russia has denied any involvement in the hacks and accused the US of conducting a witch hunt.

Earlier this month, US spy agencies said they have what they call conclusive evidence that Russia provided hacked material from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks through a third party.

US officials had concluded months earlier that Russian intelligence agencies had directed the hacking.

But until now, they had been less certain that they could prove Russia also had controlled the release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The timing of the additional intelligence is important because President Barack Obama has faced criticism from his own party over why it took his administration months to respond to the cyber attack.

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