Trump accuses CNN of ‘fake news’ over reported Celebrity Apprentice plans

President-elect denies reports he plans to remain an executive producer amid widespread concern over spread of fake news on social media

President-elect Donald Trump has accused CNN of reporting fake news regarding his reported intention to maintain an executive producer credit on The Celebrity Apprentice after moving into the White House.

He would not be working on the series at all, he said in two tweets sent before dawn on Saturday, even part time.

MGM said on Thursday Trump would not remove his name from the titles of the forthcoming season of The Celebrity Apprentice. On Friday, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN the president-elects ties to his reality show were being reviewed for potential conflicts of interest.

Trumps charge against CNN is an emotive one, both regarding potential clashes between the president-elects business empire and his new role and as debate continues over the impact of fake news on the election and Russias likely involvement in its spread.

On Friday night, reports in the New York Times and Washington Post said US intelligence agencies including the CIA believed Russia had interfered with the election in favour of Trump. The Trump transition team flatly rejected the reports.

Trump has long been accused of using controversial tweets to distract attention from troublesome press attention.

He made his new charge against CNN a little before 6.30am on Saturday, after a Friday night rally in Michigan and before a scheduled appearance and interview at the Army v Navy football game in Baltimore.

He also used Twitter to confirm that the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was no longer in the running to be secretary of state. Debate continues over Trumps cabinet picks, including climate sceptics for the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump said: I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B[urnett] & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!

He added: Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are rediculous & untrue [sic] FAKE NEWS!

Trumps
Trumps tweets. Photograph: Twitter

The spread of fake news on social media has caused widespread and growing concern.

Last Sunday, the potential consequences of such stories became clear when a conspiracy theorist self-investigating fake news stories about a Washington pizza restaurant and a child sex ring run by senior Democrats walked into the restaurant and fired shots from an assault rifle.

In a speech at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Trumps presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, called for action.

This is not about politics or partisanship, she said. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.

It is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly.

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