NY Times: Russians discussed how to influence Trump via his aides
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 20:23
Separately, ABC News reported that Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, would testify June 6 before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
Two months after he was originally scheduled to testify in an open hearing that was unexpectedly canceled by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., former CIA Director John Brennan testified before the committee that he had concerns about possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
Brennan, who left as Central Intelligence Agency chief when Trump took office in January, said it became clear last summer Russian Federation was trying to interfere in the election, and that he warned the head of Russia's FSB security service that such interference would hurt USA ties.
Senior Russian intelligence and political officials discussed how to exert influence over then-candidate Donald Trump through Russia-friendly political advisers last summer, according to US intelligence described to the New York Times.
The intelligence was among the clues, including information about direct communications between Trump's advisers and Russian officials, USA officials received previous year as they began looking into Russian attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of Trump's associates were assisting Moscow, the newspaper said.
He also testified that in the following weeks, he briefed the White House and top lawmakers about Russia's activities. The former Central Intelligence Agency director under President Barack Obama has confirmed that all talk of a proven "conspiracy" or "collusion" between the Russian government and Trump campaign is - at the moment - still only speculation.
Another piece of the puzzle of how Russia may have attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election emerged Wednesday night as The New York Times published a scoop about the intentions of the Russian government.
The U.S. officials who disclosed Trump's conversations said last week that while the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it. The classified information was reportedly about an ISIS threat and provided to the U.S.by Israeli intelligence.
Brennan told senior lawmakers as early as last summer that the Russian operation was squarely created to support Trump.
Coats told senators at a Senate hearing that it would be inappropriate to discuss private conversations he'd had with the president. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is surrounded by reporters as he leaves a briefing of the full Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, amid controversy over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, a.
Brennan said he was unsure if Russia's attempts were successful, and that he could not confirm whether any collusion had transpired. The Senate committee asked Flynn and three other Trump campaign associates for documents, including lists of meetings he had with the Russians during the campaign. "And they were very aggressive", former CIA Director John Brennan testified Tuesday.
Brennan testified that he spoke with the head of the Russian intelligence service on August 4 and was the first USA official to call out the Russians for their activities. Brennan said the CIA focuses on intelligence, not "evidence", and he was not able to answer that question.
"I think that they anticipated that Secretary Clinton was going to win the election", Brennan said, commenting on Russian meddling in the election. Flynn cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Brennan's testimony underscored that it's important for Congress to continue conducting its own investigations even though Mueller has been appointed to lead the FBI probe. The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.