NEW YORK — Hours before his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted U.S. intelligence agencies, blaming them for leaking unsubstantiated reports on his relationship with Russia and demanding, "Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
A U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that intelligence officials had informed Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community's findings last week, the official said.
Trump angrily denounced the reports, citing Russia's denials and suggesting anew that he's being persecuted for defeating other GOP presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.
"I win an election easily, a great 'movement' is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!" he tweeted early Wednesday. "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 topic appears certain to come up at the previously scheduled new conference later Wednesday morning. The news conference had been designed for Trump to discuss whether and how he plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his global business empire.
The last time Trump held a news conference, he was plunging into a heated general election campaign with Clinton and suggested Russia could help dig up some of his rival's emails.
Trump is certain to face questions about what role he believes Russia played in the election year hacking of Democratic groups — interference the intelligence community says was intended to help the Republican defeat Clinton.