Washington, Feb 17 : US President Donald Trump launched a ferocious attack on the "fake news" media while defending his month-old administration and lamented the "mess" he inherited from his predecessor.
He also dismissed reports that his campaign officials were constantly in contact with Russia, and vowed to crack down on the leaking of classified information, at a news conference on Thursday that lasted for an hour and 15 minutes.
The US President displayed a sense of anger and grievance rarely vented by a President in public, CNN reported.
"I have never seen more dishonest media, frankly than the political media," Trump said, later slamming leaks to the press from the intelligence community -- some of which led to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. His replacement, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, also turned down the post.
"The leaks are real. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake," Trump said at the press conference.
Trump was repeatedly pressed on whether his campaign staff had been in contact with Russia, as a widening drama over his alleged connections with Moscow dominates news coverage.
"Nobody that I know of. How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years," Trump said.
"I own nothing in Russia, I have no loans in Russia, I don't have any deals in Russia," Trump said. "Russia is fake news".
Trump accused the media of distorting what he has done since taking office and failing to accurately cover his administration. "I see stories of chaos, chaos, yet it is the exact opposite," he said. "This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my Cabinet approved."
He claimed it is serving not the people but special interests profiting from a broken system. "The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people... the press honestly is out of control."
The acrimony, according to the New York Times, grew so sharp at one point that a journalist told Trump, "Just for the record, we don't hate you." But that did not assuage Trump. He further asked an ultra-Orthodox Jewish reporter, "Are you a friendly reporter?"
Trump said his administration has also been working hard to address problems he inherited from his predecessor, Barack Obama. He cited companies moving jobs overseas, instability in the Middle East and the threat posed by North Korea.
The President went on to say: I'm here again to take my message straight to the people... To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess."
Trump also predicted how his animated and unorthodox news conference will be interpreted in the press. "Tomorrow, they will say: 'Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,'" he said.
"I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you. You know, you're dishonest people. But -- but I'm not ranting and raving. I love this. I'm having a good time doing it."
Trump also signalled he will issue a new immigration order next week and criticised the federal circuit court that blocked his marquee order banning Syrian refugees and temporarily halting travel to the US from seven majority Muslim countries.
This is not the first time when Trump has bashed the US media. He had earlier lashed out at the media as 'shameful and wrong' over "wrong" inauguration crowd reports and recently, accused them of dishonest coverage after the Washington Post had published transcript of his telephonic conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull earlier this month.