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President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters during a rally, in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters during a rally, in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Trump doubled down on controversial Cabinet picks and policies in a Fox News interview


In his first interview on a major Sunday news show since the presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump doubled down on some of his cabinet picks, deflected allegations about Russian interference and conflicts of interest, and defended his controversial call with the leader of Taiwan.

Preview clips from the interview were released Sunday morning.

Trump defended his likely Secretary of State pick, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil.

He knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia.
Trump on Tillerson

When asked why Tillerson's business credentials made him fit to be Secretary of State, he responded, "He's much more than a businessman. He's a world-class player." However, he did not officially confirm he would nominate Tillerson. 

Trump called allegations that Russian hackers interfered with the election to ensure a Trump win were "ridiculous," despite a CIA report showing a "consensus" that they had done so.

Congressional leaders have long called for investigations into reports of hacking; experts have blamed Russian hackers for leaking Democratic National Committee emails, among other hacks.

Here's Trump's full reaction on the Russia story.

He also criticized The Wall Street Journal, claiming it "didn't understand business."

Trump also defended skipping many security briefings, saying, "I'm, like, a smart person."

He also defended the call with Taiwan, questioning the need for the One China policy.

On conflicts of interest

Trump has also faced heat for possible conflicts of interest with his business empire. He announced earlier this week that on Dec. 15th, he would outline his plans to leave his business. But he has also said he would put the business in a "blind trust" led by his children, which critics claim is not a blind trust at all.

Trump said will remain as executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice" even during his presidency, CNN reports. Arnold Schwarzenegger will take over as the host.

Trump insisted he would not spend "any time" on this job.

Zayn Malik's sister reportedly got death threats over a photo of a Christmas tree

WATCH | Trump even appeared to doubt the nature of conflicts of interest, saying he would not be "doing deals," but then saying, "I don't even know if that's a conflict. I mean, I have the right to do it." He's technically right about that. Here's why. 

On climate change

Trump also said "nobody really knows" if climate change is real, but he is "very open-minded."

Trump's pick to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, denies the existence of climate change. But Trump said the EPA causes people to "wait in line for 15 years" and needs fewer regulations.

Some pundits were displeased with the interview and Trump's criticisms.

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