Donald Trump Presidential Campaign Associates Were In Contact With Russian Intelligence, Intercepted Telephone Calls Reveal
American intelligence agencies had reportedly intercepted communications of Donald Trump's associates and members of his campaign during the election. These intercepted telephone calls revealed that Trump's administration were in frequent contact with high level members of Russian intelligence.
The interceptions took place at the time when there were rumors alleging that Russia was trying to sabotage the Presidential election in the U.S. by hacking into the Democratic National Committee.
Four current and retired U.S. officials revealed this information to the New York Times under condition of anonymity. The officials said that these interceptions were part of an investigation to find out if the Trump campaign members were colluding with the Russian intelligence.
However, no evidence has been uncovered yet, which would substantiate the theory. The investigations are apparently ongoing.
The Suspicions: Who Are Supposedly Involved?
Trump and his associates came under suspicion after he praised the leadership skills of Russian President Vladimir Putin and supported the latter's move to not impose retaliatory sanctions on the U.S.
During the campaign, Trump also encouraged Russians to hack into Hilary Clinton's mails and make them public. However, he later stated that he was being sarcastic when he passed such remarks.
The officials did not name any of the associates involved in these communications except for Paul Manafort who was the chairman for Trump's Presidential campaign. He has also worked in countries like Ukraine and Russia as a political consultant.
"I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today," said Manafort in a statement to the New York Times.
Apart from Manafort, at least three other people have also been investigated by the FBI for any Russian connections, including Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Michael Flynn Resignation
This news comes the same day when National Security Adviser to President Trump, Flynn resigned. Calls intercepted from Flynn revealed conversations between him and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. In one call, Flynn discussed the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russia in December.
After his resignation, following allegations of misleading the Vice President on the details of his conversation with the Ambassador, lawmakers demanded that Flynn should testify in front of the Congress. The investigation committee also stated that his resignation would not lead them to stop examining Flynn's alleged contact with the Russian official.
The Trump administration though, maintains that it had no contact with Russian intelligence or government officials during the campaign.
The FBI was also trying to investigate the information in a dossier, which the agency received last year from a former British intelligence official. The dossier contains a long list of allegations and information regarding the conspiracy and supposed contact between Trump, his associates and the Russian government.
Photo: Gage Skidmore | Flickr
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