Trump’s key levers were with Rus­sian of­fi­cials

Moscow must be laugh­ing at us: Prez

Deccan Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

Wash­ing­ton, May 30: Rus­sian of­fi­cials had po­ten­tially “deroga­tory” in­for­ma­tion about then­pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump and some of his top aides, con­ver­sa­tions in­ter­cepted by US in­tel­li­gence dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion showed.

Ac­cord­ing to the CNN, a source de­scribed the in­for­ma­tion as fi­nan­cial in na­ture and said the dis­cus­sion cen­tered on whether the Rus­sians had lever­age over Mr Trump’s in­ner cir­cle. The source said the in­ter­cepted com­mu­ni­ca­tions sug­gested to US in­tel­li­gence that Rus­sians be­lieved “they had the abil­ity to in­flu­ence the ad­min­is­tra­tion through the deroga­tory in­for­ma­tion.”

The con­tents of the con­ver­sa­tions made clear to US of­fi­cials that Rus­sia was con­sid­er­ing ways to in­flu­ence the elec­tion, the re­port said. How­ever, the sources also said Rus­sia may have ex­ag­ger­ated the claims.

A White House spokesman told CNN: “This is yet an­other round of false and un­ver­i­fied claims made by anony­mous sources to smear the Pres­i­dent.”

Mean­while, Mr Trump re­jected the claims Rus­sia may have in­flu­enced the US elec­tion and tweeted: “Rus­sian of­fi­cials must be laugh­ing at the U.S. & how a lame ex­cuse for why the Dems lost the elec­tion has taken over the Fake News.”

But while Mr Trump may dis­miss the leaks as “fake news,” Rus­sia seems to be tak­ing them se­ri­ously. Ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post, Rus­sian deputy for­eign min­is­ter Sergei Ryabkov com­plained that “the threat of leaks” from the White House un­der­mines co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. He claimed the Krem­lin is now con­duct­ing only “ba­sic level” ex­changes with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion out of worry that de­tails could be spilled to the US me­dia. “You don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen to­mor­row,” Mr Ryabkov told jour­nal­ists. “Maybe you’ll see what you dis­cussed with your coun­ter­part on the pages of Wash­ing­ton Post or on CNN.”

The Post had last week re­ported that top Trump aide Jared Kush­ner had tried to cre­ate a backchan­nel com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Rus­sia.

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