NYT report states Moscow tried to influence him via three US officials
SENIOR Russian intelligence and political officials discussed how to influence Donald Trump through his advisers, according to information gathered by American spies last summer, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Citing three current and former US officials familiar with the intelligence, the newspaper said the conversations focused on Paul Manafort, then the Trump presidential campaign chairman, and Michael Flynn, a retired general who was then advising Trump.
US congressional committees and a special counsel named by the Justice Department this month are investigating whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 US election and collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
The controversy has engulfed Trump’s administration since he fired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey two weeks ago amid the agency’s investigation of possible Russia ties.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump denies any collusion.
The report was the latest indication of the depth of concerns in the US intelligence community about
Russian efforts to tip November’s election towards Trump as he battled Democrat Hillary Clinton.
On Tuesday, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan told lawmakers he had noticed contacts between associates of Trump’s campaign and Russia during the campaign and grew concerned Moscow had sought to lure Americans down “a treasonous path”.
According to The New York Times, some Russians boasted about how well they knew Flynn, who was subsequently named Trump’s national security adviser before being dismissed less