Trump staff cheered President-elect as he attacked journalists

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AS THE man about to become America’s 45th President blasted his way through his first press conference in months, intermittent cheers could be heard from the crowd.

Now reporters at the scene have revealed Donald Trump’s staffers were the ones cheering him on as he blasted US intelligence agencies as being like “Nazi Germany” and called Buzzfeed News a “failing pile of garbage”.

“Your organisation is terrible,” he told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “I’m not going to give you a question, you are fake news.”

The President-elect played to his supporters in the room as a way of drumming home the “movement” he claims got him elected. He said no one cared about whether or not he released his tax returns and that no one would be tougher on Putin than him.

“Does anybody believe Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me?” he said, as some staffers yelled “No!” in response.

On his tax returns, he said “oh geez” to a question about when they would be released.

“I’ve never heard that before. The only ones who care about my tax returns are the reporters. I became president.”

For the record, the clapping is coming all from staff – not journalists.

– Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) January 11, 2017

Intimate little crowd here in the Trump Tower lobby. pic.twitter.com/6DWWl5tYQq

– Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) January 11, 2017

It’s not the first time Trump has enlisted support for his events. In June last year, the President-elect used a casting agency to advertise for crowds to appear in a process known as “astroturfing” to simulate grassroots support.

An email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter showed he used a New York-based casting agency to offer $50 per person for the job.

“This event is called ‘People for a Stronger America’. The entire group is a pro-small business group that is dedicated to encouraging Donald Trump and his latest ventures. This event will be televised,” the email read.

“We are looking to cast people for the event to wear T-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement.”

“We understand this is not a traditional ‘background job’, but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought.”

Politico’s Annie Karni said Wednesday’s “Greek Chorus” served as a “reminder, of sorts, of the movement of Trump backers happy to take him at his word and jeer the media as the out-of-touch liars”.

The dramatic press conference was the President-elect’s first in months, which he said was due to “inaccurate” reporting. Instead, he has opted for a daily string of tweets to give his views on everything from geopolitics to economics, which have had the power to move share prices and currency values.

The event was designed as a chance for him to outline his plans for his businesses while in office however it was completely overshadowed by the leaked dossier.

On his business interests, Mr Trump’s lawyer announced he would give control to his sons Eric and Donald Jr, in a move that has been slammed by ethicists as not going far enough to separate his interests.

“Stepping back from running his businesses is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective,” said Walter Shaub Jr, the Director of the US Office of Government Ethics.

“The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation.”