TRUMP CAM­PAIGN’S RUSSIA CON­TACTS ‘GRAVE’ THREAT: SE­NATE PANEL

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION / WORLD - BY ERIC TUCKER AND MARY CLARE JALONICK

WASH­ING­TON — The Trump cam­paign’s in­ter­ac­tions with Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence ser­vices dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion posed a “grave” coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence threat, a Se­nate panel con­cluded Tues­day as it de­tailed how as­so­ciates of Don­ald Trump had reg­u­lar con­tact with Rus­sians and ex­pected to ben­e­fit from the Krem­lin’s help.

The nearly 1,000-page report, the fifth and fi­nal one from the Repub­li­can-led Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee on the Russia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tails how Russia launched an ag­gres­sive ef­fort to in­ter­fere in the elec­tion on Trump’s be­half. It says the Trump cam­paign chair­man had reg­u­lar con­tact with a Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer and that other Trump as­so­ciates were ea­ger to ex­ploit the Krem­lin’s aid, par­tic­u­larly by max­i­miz­ing the im­pact of the dis­clo­sure of Demo­cratic emails hacked by Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers.

The report is the cul­mi­na­tion of a bi­par­ti­san probe that pro­duced what the com­mit­tee called “the most com­pre­hen­sive de­scrip­tion to date of Russia’s ac­tiv­i­ties and the threat they posed.”

The find­ings echo to a large de­gree those of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s Russia in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ap­pear to re­pu­di­ate the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s claims that the FBI had no ba­sis to in­ves­ti­gate whether his cam­paign was con­spir­ing with Russia.

Trump, who has re­peat­edly called the Russia in­ves­ti­ga­tions a “hoax,” said Tues­day he “didn’t know any­thing about” the report, or Russia or Ukraine. He said he had “noth­ing” to do with Russia.

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