In a series tweets on Wednesday morning, the President-elect posted a link to the Polizette website, run by conservative broadcaster Laura Ingraham, which carried a story dismissing the claims as unverified and posting a video of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying claims of Russian hacking were false.
“Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “a complete and total fabrication, utter nonsense”. Very unfair!,” wrote Trump, on this occasion mixing up his use of capital letters.
He added, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I have nothing to do with Russia - no deals, no loans, no nothing.” On Tuesday night, Trump had dismissed as “fake news”, claims that Russian intelligence operatives had developed information against him that was both salacious and compromising. CNN said US intelligence offi-cials had shared the information with Trump and President Barack Obama last week.
A flurry of reports in the US media said the documents on which the claims were based, generated by a former British spy who now works in opposition political research, had been around for several months but that the claims could not be verified.
As of Wednesday morning, only BuzzFeed was the only major media organi-sation to have published all 35 pages of the report that intelligence officials shared with Trump and Obama. Its decision to do so, sparked a separate debate the ethics of media outlets publishing information they themselves had admitted they could not verify.
“In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media,” said Ben Smith, editor in chief of the site. “Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.