Trump accused “crooked opponents” of leading a political witch hunt by spreading “FAKE NEWS” designed to damage the businessman-turned-politician.
Trump also flat-out rejected allegations that Russia leveraged information against him.
These allegations took center stage Wednesday when the president-elect – due to enter the White House in nine days – had his first formal press conference with reporters in six months.
Despite BuzzFeed failing to verify the report, a number of establishment figures and Hillary Clinton insiders amplified the claims to their substantial social media following.
Evan McMullin, a former Republican who ran for president as an independent, boasted he had warned about a Trump-Russia connection on CNN in September.
While much of the media passed on covering the claims, Clinton loyalists jumped on them, taking the opportunity to partake in a self-congratulatory round of ‘I told you so’.
Clinton adviser Neera Tanden insinuated Republican “support” for Trump and his failure to release his taxes were further evidence of the story.
She claimed Trump “went after” intelligence agencies because “he knew what they had,” and dismissed Trump’s denials of the claims.
She also pointed to Trump’s appearance on Larry King’s show on RT.
Other former Clinton aides and campaign staff spread the narrative across social media.
Former Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon called for Trump to be “interrogated” about Russia at his upcoming press conference, and urged the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to investigate the allegations.
He also criticized journalists for not publishing the unverified report.
Clinton spokesperson Josh Schwerin implied that if Trump had released his tax returns, he would not have been able to be blackmailed.
Other prominent commentators, writers and Clinton loyalists appeared to relish the news, with some focusing on the salacious details of the dossier.
Clinton talking head Star Jones equated the Trump story with Clinton’s email scandal, and later claimed BuzzFeed’s story being deemed “fake news” was an example of chickens coming home to roost, as “TRUMP campaign & election was built on BS #fakenews.”