CNN is reporting that the nation’s intelligence chiefs presented information to President-elect Donald Trump that Russia has compromising personal and financial information on him. Whether that information was discussed remains unknown. Yet, it’s another layer in the ongoing narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was mostly a deluge of propaganda from state-media outlets and an army of social media trolls to try and tilt the election in favor of Trump. That’s not the same thing as a hack, some liberals; in fact a majority of them believe that Russian messed with the vote tallies. That didn’t happen. Russian-backed hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee and top Clinton adviser John Podesta’s email. Again, that’s not an election hack, but it reinforces the notion that the Kremlin ran a coordinated and concerted effort to denigrate Clinton.
Our report just now: https://t.co/S8UDLSCU0Z— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 10, 2017
The FBI is now investigating these new claims mentioned in CNN's article. A former British intelligence officer who has been deemed credible compiled some of the information that lead to this reported discovery of compromising information concerning the president-elect. There’s also the allegation that some of Trump's surrogates were in contact with the Russians during the campaign. Carl Bernstein added that an opposition research firm working for Democrats and Republicans concerned about Trump's business ties hired this former operative (via CNN)
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs -- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.
These senior intelligence officials also included the synopsis to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties, but only released information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Democrats. This synopsis was not an official part of the report from the intelligence community case about Russian hacks, but some officials said it augmented the evidence that Moscow intended to harm Clinton's candidacy and help Trump's, several officials with knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
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."
CNN added that on December 9, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave copies of the memos from June to December of 2016 to FBI Director James Comey. The news organization added that the FBI had memos up to August of 2016 when this former MI6 agent delivered them to a Bureau official in Rome. CNN did not report on the contents of the memos, but did say that the information was deemed solid enough to briefPresident Obama and President-elect Trump on the matter after vetting of this British intelligence agent's network (this person now runs a own private intelligence firm) and its sources.
We’re now going to move beyond the nonsensical Russian hacked the election talking point to whether President-elect Trump has been compromised due to these new allegations, which is not an absurd point to make if confirmed. But for now—let’s just sit tight.
Now, Wikileaks says what Buzzfeed posted is not an intelligence report. Plus, more commentary from other media figures citing that most of what CNN reported can't be verified.
35 page PDF published by Buzzfeed on Trump is not an intelligence report. Style, facts & dates show no credibility.https://t.co/twa8pJMMtP— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
1. For those asking, I didn't publish the full memos from the intelligence operative because I could not confirm the allegations.— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) January 11, 2017
Funny to see reporters passing around the Trump story when b/f the election the same reporters told me about it, but said they c/not run it.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) January 11, 2017
Seems like that's a pretty big claim that should be investigated and verified before printing his other claims as fact. pic.twitter.com/uYfA9w4AqK— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 10, 2017