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The C.I.A. Has Evidence Of Direct Connection Between Trump’s Team And Russian Officials During Election – NYT


The C.I.A. Has Evidence Of Direct Connection Between Trump’s Team And Russian Officials During Election – NYT

TREASON. The New York Times just revealed that the C.I.A. had evidence that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president months before election day, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later. The information was revealed by current and former government officials.

The former officials told The Times that in late August — 10 weeks before the election — John O. Brennan, then the C.I.A. director, was so concerned about increasing evidence of Russia’s election meddling that he began a series of urgent, individual briefings for eight top members of Congress, some of them on secure phone lines while they were on their summer break.

It is unclear what new intelligence might have prompted the classified briefings. But with concerns growing both internally and publicly at the time about a significant Russian breach of the Democratic National Committee, the C.I.A. began seeing signs of possible connections to the Trump campaign, the officials said. By the final weeks of the campaign, Congress and the intelligence agencies were racing to understand the scope of the Russia threat.

By last fall, U.S. intelligence agencies were convinced that Russia’s cyber attacks were aimed at getting Mr. Trump elected, according to the report.

In an Aug. 25 briefing for Harry Reid, then the top Democrat in the Senate, Mr. Brennan indicated that Russia’s hackings appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election, according to two former officials with knowledge of the briefing.

The officials said Mr. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election. The F.B.I. and two congressional committees are now investigating that claim, focusing on possible communications and financial dealings between Russian affiliates and a handful of former advisers to Mr. Trump.

The officials also revealed, according to the NYT, that during the August briefing for Mr. Reid, Mr. Brennan indicated that the C.I.A., focused on foreign intelligence, was limited in its legal ability to investigate possible connections to Mr. Trump. The officials said Mr. Brennan told Mr. Reid that the F.B.I., in charge of domestic intelligence, would have to lead the way.

Days later, Mr. Reid wrote to James B. Comey, director of the F.B.I. Without mentioning the C.I.A. briefing, Mr. Reid told Mr. Comey that he had “recently become concerned” that Russia’s interference was “more extensive than widely known.”

In his letter, the senator cited what he called mounting evidence “of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign” and said it was crucial for the F.B.I. to “use every resource available” to conduct an investigation.

The evidence suggests that a “treasonous collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump team” played a role in the election, but no proof has emerged publicly… yet.

Mr. Trump has rejected any suggestion of a Russian connection as “fake news.” The White House has also sought to redirect the focus from the investigation and toward what Mr. Trump has said, with no evidence, was President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of phones in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. declined to comment for this article, as did Mr. Brennan and senior lawmakers who were part of the summer briefings.

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