BBC: 10 questions for Donald Trump ahead of his first formal news conference

US president-elect Donald Trump is due to give his first news conference in nearly six months. There was speculation on Wednesday over whether the event would go ahead, following the leak of a dossier containing unsubstantiated allegations that Russian security services had compromising information on Mr Trump.

But even aside from the Russian dossier, a host of controversies have arisen since the president-elect last appeared to answer reporters’ questions. Here are a few that journalists might want to put to him after all this time.

The Russia dossier

Were any of your team in contact with Russian officials during the campaign?

An unsubstantiated report leaked to the press alleges that there was secret contact between the Trump campaign team and Moscow concerning compromising material on the president-elect.

Business interests

Why won’t you divest yourself of your business interests?

The president-elect’s wide-ranging business interests are a major source of concern. The US Office of Government Ethics has said only a full divestiture from his business interests can protect Mr Trump’s presidency from conflicts, but he has so far refused to meet this demand.

US intelligence

Do you have confidence in the US intelligence services, and do you think they have confidence in you?

Mr Trump lashed out at the FBI, CIA and NSA after they said that they had reached a consensus that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic party. It was an unprecedented move for a president-elect to question the findings of the intelligence services.

Russia relations

You mocked Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over their attempts at a “reset” of relations with Russia. How does your approach to improving ties with Russia differ from theirs?

Mr Trump has repeatedly praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin and said he wishes to improve US-Russia relations, but there is little indication as to how his plans differ from those of the Obama administration in 2009.

Draining the swamp

How have your nominations made good on your campaign promise to “drain the swamp”?

The president-elect has faced criticism for pledging to drain the Washington “swamp” of lobbyists and corporate interests, then appointing former Goldman Sachs staffers and the CEO of Exxon Mobil to his cabinet.


John Kelly, your nomination for homeland security, said yesterday: “I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to focus on something like religion.” Is he contradicting your position, or have you changed your mind?

Mr Trump caused huge controversies during the campaign when he called for Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, and suggested that his administration would compile a registry of Muslims in the country. His actual intentions regarding these policies remain uncertain.

Repealing Obamacare

You told the New York Times this week that you intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it “very quickly or simultaneously”. What’s your plan?

Both Democrats and Republicans have voiced concerns over the president-elect’s stated intention to repeal so-called Obamacare immediately. Mr Trump’s team has not outlined a plan for what might replace the programme, which provides 20 million Americans with health cover.

Nuclear weapons

You suggested in a recent tweet that the US should “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear weapons programme until the world “comes to its senses”. Can you explain how the US ramping up its nuclear weapons programme helps the world come to its senses?

Mr Trump has been accused of jeopardising decades of nuclear non-proliferation efforts by calling for the US to strengthen its arsenal and reportedly saying: “Let it be an arms race” with Russia. Both countries currently have about 4,000 nuclear warheads in their stockpiles.

The Wall

How do you plan to make Mexico pay for a border wall?

The Wall was the key rallying cry of the Trump campaign, and his fans delighted in his claim that Mexico would pay for it. But Mexico’s president has said emphatically that it won’t, and the Trump team has yet to outline a detailed plan for how to raise the funds.

North Korea

How would you keep North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme under control?

North Korea could be one of the major foreign policy tests for Mr Trump’s administration. The world’s most unpredictable state claimed this week it was developing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles which could strike the US mainland.

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Adeeko Ademola

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