Pre-election, USA spies learned Russians talked about how to influence Trump's aides

28 May, 2017, 02:40 | Author: Gregory Stephens

Trump later fired Flynn for reportedly lying about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe. Both he and Mr Flynn have denied any collusion with Russian Federation or involvement in any plot to disrupt the election.

USA intelligence officials obtained the data as they began to investigate Moscow's meddling in the presidential election, the sources told the Times.

The New York Times report was the latest indication of the depth of concerns within the us intelligence community about Russian efforts to tip November's election toward Trump as he battled Democrat Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan told lawmakers he had noticed contacts between associates of Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the campaign and grew concerned Moscow sought to lure Americans down 'a treasonous path'.

It comprised of them bragging about how much they knew Flynn - Trump's eventual national security adviser - and also included plans to take advantage of their connection to Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Kremlin president of Ukraine, whose government hired Manafort as a political consultant.

The Russians "appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump's opinions on Russia", the Times reported, citing "three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence".

In his testimony to a congressional committee this week, former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan said: "I was convinced in the summer [of 2016] that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election".

Separately, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, told Reuters via text message that he would testify before the House Intelligence Committee but was "still working out details".


Schiff said the House panel had invited its first group of witnesses to testify, it is obtaining documents, and assessing who will cooperate voluntarily, and who will have to be subpoenaed.

Page was not immediately available to comment.

In addition, the White House, FBI, and Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment.

Flynn recently invoked his Fifth Amendment right to deny Senate subpoena requests related to its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

"We will be following up with subpoenas, and those subpoenas will be created to maximize our chance of getting the information that we need", Representative Adam Schiff told journalists at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

The committee has tried another way to receive the documents by issuing two subpoenas for two of Flynn's former businesses.

The Times reports that the intelligence was the breadcrumbs leading up to evidence of discussions between Trump's surrogates and Russian officials, which spurred the Trump-Russia investigation.

Flynn resigned from his White House position after misleading Vice President Pence about his conversations with a top Russian diplomat. President Trump maintains there was no contact between Moscow and his campaign.

"I told Mr. Bortnikov that if Russian Federation had such a campaign underway, it would be certain to backfire", Brennan said. Trump associate Roger Stone says he's also complied.

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