On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump had his most extensive questioning from the media since winning the election, and he answered some of the most major lingering questions about his business relationship with Russia and his views on foreign policy. He spoke to reporters at his Florida country club, Mar-a-Lago, where he has spent the holidays. Trump stepped out in front of the club’s main entrance with boxing promoter Don King during a dinner party that was attended by some of his longtime friends and top presidential transition team staff.
“You all know Don King,” Trump said as he walked in front of the main entrance of the club. “Who doesn’t know Don King?”
“It’s just great to be an American, and now with our leader we’re going to make new days, make America great again,” King said, adding, “The Israeli flag is about peace, you know, peace in the Middle East.”
Trump proceeded to take multiple questions from the assembled reporters. The president-elect has faced criticism for his aloofness from the press since winning the election last month. Multiple members of his presidential transition team confirmed to Yahoo News that his decision to hold a media availability was a spontaneous one.
Media persons asked Trump about a lawsuit filed Dec. 26 by investigative reporter Jason Leopold and researcher Ryan Shapiro, seeking records pertaining to Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. The White House has suggested Trump benefited from the hacking of high-level Democrats that intelligence officials have reportedly attributed to the Russian government.
“You know, what they should do is do the best they can. Figure it all out,” he said.
Trump, who has faced questions over his ties with Russia, was also asked about comments Sen. Lindsey Graham made on Wednesday advocating for sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president-elect pointed to the fact Graham mounted an unsuccessful White House bid.
“I don’t know what he’s doing. I haven’t spoken to Sen. Graham. I don’t know, haven’t spoken to him, as you know he ran against me, and I haven’t spoken to him,” Trump said.
“You have to admit he shocked the world,” King said, unprompted, of Trump’s upset election victory.
“Sen. Graham ran against me. I haven’t spoken to him since then,” added Trump.
A reporter followed up and asked Trump generally whether he supported sanctions against Russia. Trump indicated that he hoped to have further conversations with members of the U.S. Senate about the issue.
“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure you have the kind of security that you need. But I have not spoken with the senators, and I certainly will be over a period of time,” Trump said.