U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Friday he’s unconcerned some of his cabinet picks have contradicted him at their confirmation hearings.
“I told them, ‘Be yourself and say what you what to say. Don’t worry about me,’” Trump told journalists in the lobby of Trump Tower.
He said potential disagreements “all get worked out.”
Trump’s plans to build a Mexican border wall, reintroduce torture and to ignore the impact of climate change all were disputed by his picks this week on Capitol Hill.
Trump appeared with the comedian Steve Harvey. Harvey said they discussed mutual friends, television shows and their respective golf games.
Trump repeated his advice to his nominees, saying, “I say, ‘Be yourself. Wouldn’t you say, Steve?’” Harvey smiled but did not answer that question.
Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in Washington will neither confirm nor deny reports of frequent contacts between a top aide to Trump and Moscow’s ambassador.
A senior official said Friday there were multiple phone calls between Trump aide Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador the same day Obama imposed sanctions as punishment for Russia trying to meddle in U.S. elections. The official was not authorized to confirm the contacts publicly and insisted on anonymity.
A Trump spokesman said a call took place a day earlier to exchange “logistical information.”
A Russian embassy spokesman told the Interfax news agency on Friday: “The embassy isn’t commenting on multiple contacts with our counterparts here, which take place on a daily basis in line with the diplomatic practice.”
Trump said his team will have a “full report on hacking within 90 days” and he again dismissed as fake a document alleging Russia has damaging information about him.
Trump tweeted that the dossier includes “totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans - FAKE NEWS!” He added: “Russia says nothing exists,” and that the allegations will never be proved.
U.S. intelligence officials briefed Trump and President Barack Obama on a dossier that includes unproven information about close coordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts — as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.
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