Donald Trump slams media, White House leaks in presser
DONALD Trump has unleashed on the Obama administration and "dishonest" media in his first solo press conference, pledging to fulfill his campaign promises.
"To be honest, I inherited a mess, at home and abroad. Jobs are pouring out of the country," he said in a marathon rant at the White House on Thursday. "We'll take care of it folks."
The US president said the "dishonest" media is "out of control" and that he is taking his message "straight to the people", before adding he is "keeping his promises to the American people".
Dismissing scandals and setbacks as a media fiction, Mr Trump said his administration is "running like a fine-tuned machine".
In his one hour and 15 minute rant, the Republican also emphatically denied reports he and his administration are linked to Russia, calling it a "ruse" and adding he wished the US could "get along" with Russia.
"We're a very powerful nuclear country, and so are they," he said, adding that: "Nuclear holocaust would be like no other."
Hitting out at "fake news" and "criminal leaks", the US leader spoke out about the media coverage of his interaction with "Australia".
"It wasn't that important," he said, referring to his alleged conversation with Malcolm Turnbull that made global headlines. "What happens when I am dealing with problems in North Korea, in the Middle East? .... I don't want classified information to be getting out to the public."
In the explosive press conference, Mr Trump was asked about the "disconnect" between him acknowleging the leaks are true but saying the media coverage is fake.
"The reporting is fake ... I know when you're telling the truth or not. The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person by the way. I do get good ratings by the way," he said, before adding that he expected the news headlines to read he was "ranting and raving" at the press conference.
Earlier, Mr Trump said he will announce next week a new executive order on immigration, trying to move forward now that his travel ban is caught up in court.
"We will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people," he said.
REPORT: SPIES WITHHOLDING INTELLIGENCE FROM TRUMP
The US President's comments come amid reports intelligence officials have kept sensitive information from him out of concerns the White House may be compromised by Russia.
The Wall Street Journalreported on Wednesday that the spies are withholding the information out of a lack of trust in Mr Trump and the new administration.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence denied the accusations.
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Journal that the spies are trying to keep themselves safe.
"What the intelligence community considers their most sacred obligation is to protect the very best intelligence and to protect the people that are producing it," he said.
Early on Thursday morning, Mr Trump tweeted that illegal classified leaking had consistently been a problem in Washington for years and threatened leakers.
"The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!" he wrote.
Later on Thursday, the Trump administration asked the co-founder of a New York-based equity fund to lead a review of the intelligence community.
A senior White House official said Stephen Feinberg of Cerberus Capital Management has been asked to head a review of the various intelligence agencies and make recommendations on improvements.
The official said that Mr Feinberg's role is not official until he completes an ethics review.
Mr Trump has been highly critical of the intelligence community amid leaks that led to revelations about associations and conversations with Russia by some senior members of his staff.