In an explosive claim reported by CNN, intelligence officials are claiming that the Trump campaign was involved with exchanges with the Russian government during the presidential election.
The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.
Sources tell CNN that these same allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders last year, prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a letter to FBI Director Comey in October, in which he wrote, “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.”
Trump and his surrogates had denied any kind of exchanges with the Russian government. In October, Trump said he knew nothing of Russians, and went so far as to suggest there wasn’t any hacking of emails at all. After the election, a Russian official admitted of the contact, but the Trump campaign denied all interactions. Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks claimed there was “no contact with Russian officials” before the election.
A recently released intelligence report provided the reasoning for the assessment by the U.S. intelligence community that Putin himself had ordered the cyber-attack, but it has been attacked by many for providing flimsy evidence because of the need to protect intel sources.