Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts

February 24, 2017

Why are Trump’s Supporters Waving Russian Flags at CPAC and Other Q’s





A lot of these details about all the questions surrounding Trump and Russia are essentially trivia but they add up to a few big, explosive questions about why the president of the United States keeps needing to distance himself from his own associates, won’t reveal what’s going on with his money, and insists on advancing an unusual foreign policy doctrine.

*Did the Trump campaign, directly or indirectly, actively collaborate with the Russian government over the course of the 2016 campaign?

*Is the Trump Organization benefiting from ongoing or recent financial flows from the Russian government or people close to it?

*Does the Russian government have dirt on Trump, relating to past shady financing or to some of the more salacious blackmail material alleged in the infamous “Steele dossier,” that’s influencing American policy?

The small questions ensure the big questions won’t end
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a good dictum for forestry management but doesn’t really apply to politics.

Politicians try to avoid embarrassment, and a simple desire to own up to something embarrassing — rather than anything illegal or genuinely nefarious — often lies behind mysterious behavior. It’s entirely possible that Page ended up on the roster of Trump advisers simply because a disorganized campaign was taken in by a grifter. Trump’s refusal to engage in standard financial disclosure certainly seems to be about covering up something, but that something could have nothing to do with Russia.

The shifting and inconsistent stories about the Flynn timeline could be nothing more than a disorganized and distrustful White House staff bungling something and then compounding the bungling by not wanting to admit they were bungling.

Trump’s boast about meeting with oligarchs could just be a habitually dishonest person lying for no particular reason.

But especially in light of Trump’s unorthodox policy views on Russia, the sheer quantity of outstanding questions and loose threads is remarkable.

That’s doubly so because the Trump team has repeatedly tried to have it both ways on a number of these fronts — with Stone, Manafort, Page, and Flynn all distanced from Trump once their Russia connections came to light, even as Trump denies there was any underlying wrongdoing and appears not to have fully severed ties.

Trump has repeatedly, and increasingly angrily, suggested that the answer to the three big questions is uniformly no. But his inability to provide satisfactory answers to the myriad other questions means it’s hard to take him at his word.

33 Q’s about Trump and Russia

February 21, 2017

Worried About Trump, Putin Ordered Dossier Before They Meet







A dossier on Donald Trump's psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser.

Trump "doesn't understand fully who is Mr. Putin — he is a tough guy," former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov told NBC News.

The file is being compiled by retired diplomats and some of Putin's staff, he added.

The attempt to get inside the U.S. president's mind is aimed at helping Putin plan for his first meeting with America's new leader, the date for which is yet to be decided.

"Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper — seven pages — describing a psychological portrait of Trump, especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks," added Fedorov, who said he has known Trump since 2000.

The dossier was being revised regularly, he said, adding that many in the Kremlin believed that Trump viewed the presidency as a business.

Fedorov added: "Trump is not living in a box — he is living in a crowd. He should listen to the people around him especially in the areas where he is weak."

“Trump cannot come to a meeting with Putin as a loser — he must sort out his domestic problems first”
It is normal for any president or leader to be fully briefed before entering negotiations for the first time with a rival leader, but preparing a detailed dossier on the mind and instincts of a U.S. leader is unusual.

Putin's government is growing increasingly concerned about Trump's battles in Washington, according to Fedorov and former lawmaker Sergei Markov, who remains well-connected at the Kremlin.

It is worried the president will not have the political power to improve relations with Russia, as he has indicated he might try to do, and even, perhaps, lift some U.S. sanctions.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia conducted a covert hacking operation to undermine the U.S. election process, which evolved into an attempt to help Trump win the White House. They also believe with "a high level of confidence" that Putin became personally involved in the campaign to interfere in the election.

The White House's connection with the Kremlin — and how deep it runs — remains under scrutiny, which has only ramped up last week when Mike Flynn resigned from his role as national security adviser after admitting to misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States in December.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has no government or diplomatic experience, but boasts exceptionally close ties with Moscow and Putin.

And former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort — who resigned in August amid questions about his ties to pro-Russia interests in Ukraine — told NBC News last week that he had "no contact knowingly with Russian intelligence officials." Manafort was reportedly one of the Trump campaign officials whose communications were investigated by the FBI, according to The New York Times.

During the election campaign, Trump spoke fondly of Putin. But earlier this month, Trump told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that while he respects Putin "that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him."

Meanwhile, the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election has won bipartisan support.

The issue of Russia "is now a kind of banana skin for Trump — that's why we should avoid any kind of step that could damage Trump," said Fedorov. "Trump cannot come to a meeting with Putin as a loser — he must sort out his domestic problems first."

Fedorov added that Trump's "constant battle with the mass media" was "worrying us."

The U.S. president "is dancing on thin ice," he said. "It's a risky game."

A former prime minister under Putin said the Kremlin is taking no pleasure at Trump's struggles.

"Absolutely not — not laughing," Mikhail Kasyanov said. "The situation is very serious and the whole of [Putin's] team, they are nervous."
Many in the Kremlin believe hardliners in America — in Congress and the military — want to sabotage the president and his plans for better ties with Russia.

Some even talk of a conspiracy against Trump. Markov, the former lawmaker, told NBC News that he believes America's intelligence services "want to overthrow President Trump in a coup" because of his desire to improve relations with Russia.

Flynn was a victim of U.S. intelligence services, according to Markov.

So while many in Russia celebrated Trump's election, the mood in Moscow was changing from delight at Trump's election to doubt about his ability to deliver on a better relationship with Russia, he added.

"Donald Trump has done nothing good for Russia, nothing," Markov said. “But they already attack him."

Bill Neely
BILL NEELY
nbcnews.com

February 19, 2017

Trump Could Be The Worse Mistake Putin is Made so Far??

“The madness of Supporting a mad man is He Could Turn on You as Fast as He embraced You” *unknown




 Trump in his mind is more important than any next guy next to him





A funny thing happened in Russia this past week: President Trump’s face, once ubiquitous on the talk shows and evening news programs that tack closely to the Kremlin’s political agenda, was suddenly absent. Gone.

“Like they flipped a switch,” said Alexey Kovalev, a journalist at the Moscow Times who covers Russian state media. 
It’s not hard to guess why. Engulfed in scandal over contacts between senior aides and Russian officials, the Trump administration has sought to put daylight between itself and the Kremlin.
In a single week, Washington has complained that Russia is violating a 1987 nuclear treaty and accused the Kremlin of meddling in various foreign elections. Scandal has forced out a national security adviser sympathetic to Moscow. Trump’s tone has seemed to harden on issues like Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula.

For the Russians, it wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. 
U.S. intelligence agencies released a declassified version of their report on Russian intervention in the 2016 U.S. election on Jan. 6, just hours after President-elect Donald Trump was briefed by American officials. (Video: Peter Stevenson: The Washington Post/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post).

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russian hackers directed by President Vladimir Putin sought to put Trump in the White House instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton, seeing the New York businessman as far friendlier to Moscow’s interests. The Kremlin denies the charge. 

If it’s true, what did it get the Russians? Moscow bristled this week when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington should negotiate with Russia from a “position of strength.” It could have been just another day under the Obama administration.

“There is disappointment for many people,” said Vladimir Posner, a prominent Russian television journalist who hosts an interview program on Channel One Russia. “Along with disappointment comes anger. Why did [Trump] lie to us? Why did he make us think that he wants things to get better?”

[5 times Donald Trump’s team denied contact with Russia]

Trump’s election brought euphoria to Moscow. Partly that came from the defeat of Clinton, a nemesis of Putin’s. But it also reflected the promise of a Trump administration: a chance to hammer out deals with a U.S. president who would allow Russia to consolidate power in its region and edge back toward great power status.

Some of the tough U.S. talk toward Russia reflects the fact that American military and diplomatic officials continue to reflect their standard positions — like the allegation that Russia has been violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. (Russia denies the charge)

February 18, 2017

Three Different FBI Investigations into Russia’s Election Hacking






The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

While the fact that the FBI is investigating had been reported previously by the New York Times and other media, these officials shed new light on both the precise number of inquires and their focus.

The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.

The Pittsburgh case has progressed furthest, but Justice Department officials in Washington believe there is not enough clear evidence yet for an indictment, two of the sources said.

Meanwhile the bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.

Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said.

This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.

Reuters could not confirm which entities and individuals were under scrutiny.

Scott Smith, the FBI's new assistant director for cyber crime, declined to comment this week on which FBI offices were doing what or how far they had progressed.

The White House had no comment on Friday on the Russian hacking investigations. A spokesman pointed to a comment Trump made during the campaign, in which he said: “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people."

During a news conference Thursday, President Donald Trump said he had no business connections to Russia.

The people who spoke to Reuters also corroborated a Tuesday New York Times report that Americans with ties to Trump or his campaign had repeated contacts with current and former Russian intelligence officers before the November election. Those alleged contacts are among the topics of the FBI counterintelligence investigation.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco. Additional reporting by Dustin Volz in San Francisco and Mark Hosenball, John Walcott and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Tomasz Janowski)

February 17, 2017

This is How Congress is Dealing with The Russian Investigations



                                 

    

NBC:

Drama is building on Capitol Hill over current and potential investigations into Russia's alleged interference in last year's election and the pre-inauguration contacts between President Donald Trump's national security adviser and Russia's ambassador.

At the end of a week's worth of new revelations and a resignation, FBI Director James Comey held a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee Friday.

No member entering or leaving the afternoon briefing would say what the meeting was about or whether it was requested by the senators or the FBI.

It was a case of deafening silence from members who emerged refusing to even acknowledge that a meeting was happening — even though reporters saw Comey enter the same room as the senators. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio did send out a tweet that hinted at Russia:


The busy week began with the resignation of Trump's national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, over phone calls with Russia's ambassador to the United States, communications that reportedly involved discussions of sanctions leveled against the Russia during the Obama administration.

It ended with several committees in Congress, some of which were already investigating alleged Russian cyber-attacks and interference in the U.S. election, either broadening their scope or contemplating new inquiries.

But not every committee is created equal. Some committees have more authority on the issue and some have more incentive to investigate.

So, amid the flurry of investigations and calls for investigations, here's a breakdown of how Congress is responding to Flynn and Russia.

Senate Intelligence Committee
The Senate Intelligence Committee has the the most cohesive and robust of an investigation going so far, with both the Republican chairman and the Democratic ranking member similarly minded about its purpose and scope.

The committee opened their probe in early January into alleged Russian interference in U.S. election. At the time, the committee said that part of the investigation would include any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Committee members have acknowledged that the controversy surrounding Flynn's transition contacts would be a natural extension of the investigation.
 
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and ranking member of the committee, has said he wants Flynn to testify before the committee, a move that Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the top Republican, said could happen "eventually."

Both members have said they would like to see the transcripts of the calls between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The House Intelligence Committee
The House Intelligence Committee is less bullish about its investigation than its counterpart in the Senate.

While it is investigating Russian interference in the election, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is a close ally of Trump's and has been lukewarm about an aggressive probe into Flynn. Nunes said that the ongoing investigation could be expanded to include Flynn if "it all falls under the umbrella."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is skeptical of House Republican commitment to investigate.

"They are stonewalling this," Pelosi said. "The speaker is saying it's up to the Intelligence Committee — the chairman of the Intelligence Committee is saying don't look at me, I'm not doing any of this. the American people deserve better."

The Leaks
Like President Trump, congressional Republicans have expressed concerns about the leaks of intelligence to the media regarding Flynn and his phone call with Kislyak. While Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has said that those who leak "belong in jail," he has not yet committed to investigating them.
 
 Chaffetz on Calls for Russia Investigation: 'That Situation Has Taken Care of Itself' 1:01
House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, said the House Intelligence Committee should look into it.

"What I do worry about, though, is if classified information is being leaked. That is criminal," Ryan said. And so I think there should be an investigation as to the leaks of information leaving, wherever they're coming from."

Trump has focused on the leaks, saying that the leaks are more scandalous than the Flynn controversy.

The top Republicans of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice inspector general regarding "potential inadequate protection of classified information."

"We request that your office begin an immediate investigation into whether classified information was mishandled here," the letter said.

And the Senate Intelligence Committee is reluctant to open a probe into leaks. Burr said that leaking should be investigating by the FBI because of the criminal component to it, adding that the Intelligence committee doesn't have prosecutorial authority.

Russian Payment to Flynn
In the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Democrat Elijah Cummings sent a joint letter to the Department of Defense asking about payments Flynn received from the Russian government for a trip in 2015.
 
"We are attempting to determine the amount Lieutenant General Flynn received for his appearance, the source of the funding, and whether he may have received payments from any other foreign sources for additional engagements," they wrote.

Bipartisan Briefing
The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee have jointly written a letter asking that the FBI brief them on the circumstances leading up to Flynn's resignation.

While the Judiciary Committee does not deal with classified material, both Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are interested in preservation of documents and to be able to see unclassified version of related materials, potentially opening another investigation from this committee.

While it's not bipartisan, in the House, Democrats are also calling on the Director of National Intelligence to brief them. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schif, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a letter that they’d like an “immediate briefing on the counterintelligence implications of these alarming actions." 

A Bipartisan Commission
While most Republicans are opposed to either a select committee created specifically to investigate the Russia issue or an independent commission, at least one Republican has come out in support of the Democratic idea of a bipartisan commission.

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., has signed on to a Democratic bill creating a 12-member bipartisan commission. Without the blessing of the Speaker Ryan, however, the bill will likely go nowhere.

by 

February 16, 2017

No Documentation Gen.Flynn Flying to Moscow Dining with Putin, Gifts


Chaffetz and Cummings question payments to Trump's ex-national security adviser.

 Michael Flynn, Seen as another Russian asset

The Pentagon has informed lawmakers that there are no records of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s 2015 trip to Moscow, when he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin and may have accepted unconstitutional payments from a foreign government for his attendance.

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House oversight committee delivered Tuesday, acting Army Secretary Robert Speer confirmed that Flynn — a retired lieutenant general — filed no documentation of his trip.


In response, House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the committee, sent a letter that suggests Flynn may have inappropriately accepted payments from the Russian government or its agents in exchange for his attendance. Scrutiny is growing on Flynn’s trip and whether his payment violated the Constitution’s Emolument’s Clause, which prohibits any person holding an “office of profit or trust” in the federal government from accepting foreign payment. The prohibition has long been considered to apply for retired military officials.

The letter is addressed to Leading Authorities, the speaker’s bureau that Flynn has suggested coordinated his payment for the event. Chaffetz and Cummings ask for the company to turn over all documents pertaining to Flynn’s trip to Russia, as well as any sources of payment for his appearance. They also seek any documents about Flynn’s other appearances connected to Russia Today, the Kremlin-aligned news outlet with which he’s had a relationship.

Chaffetz’s decision to join the inquiry — initially made by Cummings on Feb. 1 — comes a day after he called for a probe of intelligence community leaks that have been damaging to the Trump White House.

He's so far resisted pressure from Democrats to investigate reports that Trump associates had routine contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Chaffetz has, however, pursued inquiries into whether Trump is in violation of his lease of the Old Post Office Building, which houses his D.C. hotel, and whether senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway violated ethics laws to hawk Ivanka Trump’s apparel line in a TV appearance from the White House.

Russian Plant in WH is Discovered-What Else is Putin up to Now?




 Putin with “Bebe”(as Trump Called him) in visit to Kremlin
Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn looks like a Kremlin plant. Russian fighter jets are buzzing a U.S. Navy destroyer at close range. One of its spy ships is hanging out off the east coast. And last night, we learned President Donald Trump’s campaign aides were in contact with Russian intelligence officials last year. But don’t think Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing the U.S. for a fool just because solely because he despises America—there’s a lot of precedent for these tactics.

Putin’s Kremlin has been hacking and meddling in the domestic affairs of its neighbors in Europe since the 2000s, so they had a lot of practice leading up to its alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Be it the cyber attacks against Estonia in 2007, the hacking of Georgia’s government internet servers during its war against the country in 2008, the power grid hack in Ukraine in 2015 and its fake news offensives in Europe against opponents of nationalists politicians who favor the Kremlin, the Russians are pros at engineering chaos in a country’s political affairs.

Below is a brief history of how the Kremlin has masterfully meddled in its neighbors’ affairs, and how this kind of high-level destabilization is a new kind of warfare.

The Lead Up To Russia Hacking Estonia In 2007

In April and May of 2007, Russian hackers launched a series of cyber attacks that shut down dozens of government and corporate sites in Estonia for weeks. The denial-of-service attacks overwhelmed state-owned websites and commercial servers, forcing them to shut off access from outside of the country in some cases. (Russia denied any involvement.)

This all started when the Estonian government decided to relocate a six-foot-tall bronze statue in downtown Tallinn commemorating the fallen soldiers of World War II. The decision drew many ethnic Russians to the streets because they felt it was a slap in their faces. As far as the Estonian government was concerned, it was a symbol of colonialism that needed to be removed from downtown. (A little background: The Nazis occupied Estonia, along with the other Baltic nations Lithuania and Latvia, during the war. When the Soviets defeated the Nazis, they decided to stay and set up shop in the country until 1991 when the USSR fell. Roughly a quarter of the country is ethnic Russian, and Soviet imagery means a lot to them.)

In any case, the mere thought of moving the statue infuriated Moscow and is widely viewed as the motivating factor behind its hacking of the Estonian government’s internet systems.

The hack was preceded by a fake news offensive with Russian-leaning news sites claiming the Estonians cut the statue into pieces, making ethnic Russians in the country even angrier. Of course, as CNN reported, that wasn’t true at all. But the damage was already done. Ethnic Russians, who were already pissed that they were marginalized by the state (long story), had another reason to rise up against the government and develop a protectionist attitude towards Moscow.

The Estonians have since beefed up their digital security and are aiming to become what they call “a hack-proof government.” Now, no country is really hack-proof, but they’re giving it a go—having Russia as a neighbor gives them incentive to try. The U.S. would be wise to take a few lessons from the Estonian experience.

The Georgian President Became Hitler In 2008

I was in Georgia in August of 2008 when the Russians hacked into that country’s government computer systems. The hacking took place during its short, eight-day war with Russia, which was prompted by Georgian forces invading South Ossetia because they claimed the Russians were preparing to attack them first.

As far as the hack goes, David Hollis, a senior policy analyst with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and a reserve Army officer at U.S. Cyber Command, said the hacks in Georgia were concealed through third-parties, making it harder to link the attacks back to Moscow, according to Foreign Policy.

According to Hollis, Russian offensive cyber operations began several weeks before the outbreak of the more familiar kinetic operations. Russian cyberintelligence units conducted reconnaissance on important sites and infiltrated Georgian military and government networks in search of data useful for the upcoming campaign. During this period, the Russian government also began organizing the work of Russian cybermilitias, irregular hackers outside the government that would support the campaign and also provide cover for some of the government’s operations. During this period the government and cybermilitias conducted rehearsals of attacks against Georgian targets.

When the kinetic battle broke out on Aug. 7, Russian government and irregular forces conducted distributed denial-of-service attacks on Georgian government and military sites. These attacks disrupted the transmission of information between military units and between offices in the Georgian government. Russian cyberforces attacked civilian sites near the action of kinetic operations with the goal of creating panic in the civilian population. Russian forces also attacked Georgian hacker forums in order to pre-empt a retaliatory response against Russian targets. Finally, the Russians demonstrated their ability to disrupt Georgian society with kinetic and cyber operations, yet refrained from attacking Georgia’s most important asset, the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and associated infrastructure. 

By holding this target in reserve, the Russians gave Georgian policymakers an incentive to quickly end the war.

It is important to note that Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, won office in 2004 after leading a pro-west “Rose Revolution” that aimed for EU and NATO membership. This irked Putin and put Saakashvili in Putin’s crosshairs onward.

Hackers were even able to create a collage of Saakashvilli photos next to images of Hitler. A widespread information war ensued with Russian television broadcasting RT-style coverage placing all of the blame on for the war on the Georgian government. Walking through the streets of Batumi, a sea resort town in western Georgia, during the middle of this, I often ran into Georgians who were just as angry with Saakashvili as they were with Putin. Though the country rallied in protest against Russia’s actions, the information war against Georgia’s leadership had done its damage.

Ukraine’s Power Grids Hacked In 2015 

A quarter million people in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine lost power in December of 2015, after Russian hackers attacked its power girds, as reported by CBS News. Unable to respond, workers at the electric control center filmed the blackout with their cellphones. But the cyber attack went even further. Emails with infected attachments were sent to employees that collected their login information, leading to the loss of power at nearly 60 substations.

Russia, as usual, said, “It wasn’t me.”

The Ukrainians restored power in just a few hours, but experts told CBS News that such an attack in on U.S. power grids could take days to repair because our grids, which are automated and far more advanced, are more complicated to fix.

At any rate, the motive behind the hacks is tied to its two-year war against Kyiv in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow supports anti-government rebels. Nearly 10,000 people have died since the conflict began.

Now The Kremlin Is Hacking Europe

Just this week, French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron’s party chief, Richard Ferrand, claimed Russia is running a cyberattack against the candidate, according to France 24. The attacks, Ferrand said, are mainly targeting its databases and email boxes. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate competing with Macron for the presidency in May, is a Kremlin darling whose National Front party has received millions in loans from Russian banks to fund party activities.

It is widely believed that the Kremlin has a vested interest in Le Pen because she wants France to leave the European Union and seeks for France to become more isolationist. This would favor Putin, who is very suspicious of the EU, NATO and other international bodies that he feels threaten Russia’s security and economic interests.

Germany and the Netherlands have also charged Russia with attempting to influence its political affairs by launching cyber attacks against left-wing candidates so that nationalist ones that favor the Kremlin have a better shot at winning.

What does all of this mean, exactly?

Russia is a exercising a multi-prong attack that doesn’t require a single missile or bullet to be fired. With cyberattacks against a sovereign nation, Moscow doesn’t have to worry about a military reaction because NATO doesn’t have clearly established protocols on how to retaliate against hacking. This is all new territory for everyone involved, including the United States.

That said, Trump is clearly losing the optics warfare game against Putin right now. If Russia can look like it placed a compromised national security advisor in the White House, what is stopping the Kremlin from trying it in Europe, where most of its leadership looks to Washington for protection against a much bigger Russia?
By

February 3, 2017

Russian Activist Falls Very ill in Moscow with Putin-don’t-like-Urdead’


 Vladimir Kara-Murza



A prominent Russian opposition activist who almost died from an apparent poisoning two years ago was in stable but critical condition Friday after suddenly falling ill during a trip to Moscow.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a U.S. green card holder with dual British-Russian citizenship, was in Russia promoting a documentary film about Boris Nemtsov, his close friend and Russian opposition leader who was shot and killed only a few hundred yards from the Kremlin in 2015.

Kara-Murza, a journalist who lives in Virginia with his wife, Evgenia, is chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and coordinator of the Open Russia Foundation, which promotes civil society and democracy. He has also testified before Congress on political repression in Russia.
Kara-Murza’s condition is similar to 2015 when he almost died from sudden kidney failure in a suspected poisoning in Moscow.

His lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, said in a posting on Facebook that his condition stabilized but that Kara-Murza remained in critical condition with kidney failure after falling ill Thursday.
"He is already on life support and in a medicated coma. It's the same clinical picture (as last time)," his wife told the BBC. "The reason is unclear like last time. He's (recently) been active and healthy."
Evgenia Kara-Murza said her husband, who had been staying at his in-law's home, suffered the same symptoms as in May 2015. In that incident, he was treated in Moscow but eventually transferred abroad following the intervention of British and U.S. diplomats.

 On Wednesday, Kara-Murza posted a Facebook tribute to Nemtsov along with a photo of roses at the site on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin where he was shot and killed in February 2015 by gunmen in a passing car. Kara-Murza’s suspected poisoning in 2015 also occurred during a visit to Moscow to honor his slain friend.

 Alexander Litvinenko, radiation poisoned with Putin-Nolike-Udead, died 2006


After his recovery two years ago, Kara-Murza said the ordeal began with the sudden failure of his kidneys followed by other vital organs in what he called a politically motivated attack.
"Frankly there is no other possible reason," he told CNN. "I don't have any money dealings. I don't have any personal enemies. I didn't steal anybody's wife."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who spoke out this week against dissidents and journalists targeted for murder in Russia, said it appears Kara-Murza was again singled out for his political and opposition activity.

“(Russian President) Vladimir Putin does not deserve any benefit of the doubt here, given how commonplace political assassinations and poisonings have become under his regime," said Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

He called on the Trump administration and new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillersonto "make Kara-Murza's cause America's cause," to question Russian authorities on the incident and to "ultimately hold Putin accountable if he was targeted by the regime.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the foreign relations committee, praised Kara-Murza for his activism and human rights work and said his mysterious illness “appears to be part of an alarming trend where Russian political opposition are targeted for their work.”


, USA TODAY



January 22, 2017

Trump in DC Putin in the Kremlin Both Take Care of Their Own




Moscow’s Central Clinic Hospital has extensive grounds. A helicopter landing pad is to be built there this year. REUTERS



As Millions demonstrate against Trump’s presidency with his filling the White House Cabinets and the most important positions in the executive branch with billionaires and truly swamp politicians which are Trump’s backers, Putin in Russia is taking care of his backers.. In the US Trump is rewarding his backers with positions that usually go to (yes, true) backers of the President but at least they tend to be qualified in those positions. 

How can the head of the Energy Department not know what the dept. does? To top it all off in the past (Perry) for just showmanship and political positioning promised to abolish it.  trump is giving Positions of Civil rights to candidates that have been  proponents that gays should be locked up or worse. I know Trump would say that they don’t longer believe in those extreme things but all you have to do is ask them and you will be convinced they have no love for civil rights as we were taught in school.

While we have all these stories happening since the inauguration, this blog decided to not let a story that VISE  published over this weekend to go too unnoticed. It has to do with Trump but in a very indirect way. Instead is about someone Trump said he admires, yes you guess is Putin.

I am afraid that as Putin rewards his top people Trump has been doing the same thing in Washington DC. There is no congress or oversight in Russia but the same in Washington since the majority belongs to the same party. They are the one Trump called the swamp. The same swamp he has been picking out candidates to help him run the country. How about the Media, well not in Russia because is controled byMoscow. How about in the USA? So far it has been a fight right now for survival and to keep it free and independent.

This is why there is no free media in Russia and that is precisely why Trump is yelling and screaming about ours. Instead of letting the Press be the Press and if they report incorrectly open up and show the truth; Trump instead  is trying to scared the Press to not report all the times there are negative stuff about him(Trump).  He’s been described as a bully and nothing fits him better. Yell, yells, yells. No occasion is too sacred for him wether is the inauguration speech or the yelling he did at CIA headquarters. But like all bully’s he does it because people allow him and because like all bully’s he has backers. Bully’s  can’t operate in a vacuum. They operate and yell and scream to the delight of their audience who yells back, “Kill, Kill!” 

Now what is Putin up to now?                 
                                                                          _*_

Vladimir Putin is backing a $48 million health clinic dedicated to senior Kremlin officials and elites in the Russian president’s retinue, a Reuters investigation reported Thursday. The opulent healthcare clinic will open in Moscow at a time when Russian healthcare is in crisis and the disparity in the quality of medical care for Russian oligarchs vs. the country’s ordinary citizens continues to widen.

Russia ranked 119th out of 188 countries in an assessment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals published in the Lancet medical journal, trailing countries with significantly lower GDP, like Samoa and Tajikistan. And Russia doesn’t fare so well when it comes to life expectancy either: It declined sharply after the fall of the Soviet Union, from 68.4 years in 1991 to 65 years in 2003. Although it’s risen since to 70.46, according to most recent data collected by the World Bank, it still falls below the world average of 71.5.
In April 2015, the Moscow Times reported that between 2005 and 2013, the number of health facilities in rural areas of Russia dropped 75 percent, from 8,249 to 2,085.

“That number includes a 95 percent drop in the number of district hospitals, from 2,631 to only 124, and a 65 percent decline in the number of local health clinics, from 7,404 to 2,561,” the article noted.

Gennady Gudkov, a prominent Putin critic and retired KGB colonel, described the state of Russian healthcare as “tragic.”

“There is outdated and often nonfunctioning equipment, a lack of medicines and hospital beds, and a shortage of medical specialists,” he told Newsweek in November.


The move reflects a concerted effort from the Kremlin to maintain the comfort of elite Russians who find themselves isolated from certain customary luxuries in the wake of crippling sanctions and travel bans instituted by Western governments following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to Reuters.

The new wing may come to be the latest symbol of Russia’s unparalleled divide between its ultra-wealthy and the rest of the country. A 2016 wealth report by Credit Suisse stated that those in the country’s top 10 percent owned nearly 90 percent of all household wealth in Russia.

“This is significantly higher than any other major economic power,” the report stated. “According to our estimates, inequality in Russia is so far above the others that it deserves to be placed in a separate category,” the report added.

and

January 16, 2017

DirectorGives Trump Warning on Russia/Trump Slams it//Priebus Warns Ethics Head




  
CIA Director John Brennan has offered a stern parting message for Donald Trump days before the Republican US president-elect takes office, cautioning him against loosening sanctions on Russia and warning him to watch what he says.

Brennan rebuked Trump for comparing US intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany in comments by the outgoing CIA chief that reflected the extraordinary friction between the incoming president and the 17 intelligence agencies he will begin to command once he takes office on Friday.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Brennan questioned the message sent to the world if the president-elect broadcasts that he does not have confidence in the United States’ own intelligence agencies.

"What I do find outrageous is equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly," Brennan said.
Brennan’s criticism followed a tumultuous week of finger-pointing between Trump and intelligence agency leaders over an unsubstantiated report that Russia had collected compromising information about Trump.

The unverified dossier was summarised in a US intelligence report presented to Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama this month that concluded Russia tried to sway the outcome of the November 8 election in Trump's favour by hacking and other means. The report did not make an assessment on whether Russia's attempts affected the election's outcome.
Trump has accused the intelligence community of leaking the dossier information, which its leaders denied. They said it was their responsibility to inform the president-elect that the allegations were being circulated.

Later on Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to berate Brennan and wrote, "Was this the leaker of Fake News?" In a separate posting, Trump scolded "those intelligence chiefs" for presenting the dossier as part of their briefing. "When people make mistakes, they should APOLOGIZE," he wrote.
Brennan also sounded an alarm on US relations with Russia. Trump has vowed to improve relations with Moscow even as he faces criticism that he is too eager to make an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump does not yet have a full understanding of Russia's actions, Brennan said, noting its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, its support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war and Moscow's aggressive activities in the cyber realm.
"Mr. Trump has to understand that absolving Russia of various actions it has taken in the past number of years is a road that he, I think, needs to be very, very careful about moving down," Brennan said.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday, Trump suggested he might do away with sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russia in late December in response to the cyber attacks if Moscow proves helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other US goals.
Brennan also said Trump needs to be mindful about his off-the-cuff remarks once he assumes the presidency, alluding to Trump's penchant for making broad pronouncements on Twitter.
"Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests," Brennan said. "So therefore when he speaks or when he reacts, just make sure he understands that the implications and impact on the United States could be profound."
"It's more than just about Mr Trump. It’s about the United States of America," Brennan said

Doina ChiacuReuters


Trump answers Director’s advice by slamming it

President-elect Donald Trump blasted outgoing CIA Director John Brennan on social media Sunday after Brennan said Trump does not have a “full understanding” of Russia’s power and threat to the world.

“I don’t think he has a full understanding of Russian capabilities and the actions they are taking on the world,” Brennan told “Fox News Sunday.”

He also suggested that Trump lacks a “full appreciation” of Russia’s aggression or about why President Obama imposed sanctions on the Kremlin for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“Mr. Trump has to understand that absolving Russia is a road that he needs to be very, very careful about moving down,” Brennan said.

Trump responded with a two-tweet message that criticized the CIA’s record under Brennan and questioned whether the director had leaked a dossier of unverified allegations that Russia spies had obtained compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Source: Fox 

Priebus Warns! Head of Ethics

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus warned the head of the Office of Government Ethics on Sunday to “be careful” in his criticisms of President-elect Donald Trump.

OGE Director Walter Shaub last week panned Trump’s plan to address his business conflicts as “meaningless,” marking the second time the director called on the president-elect to fully divest his assets before he assumes the presidency this week.

“The head of the government ethics ought to be careful because that person is becoming extremely political,” Priebus said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

huffingtonpost.com

January 14, 2017

If Any Part of the Dossier is Proven True it Will Bring Trump Down









The The Irish Independent had a warning for Trump today: If any of the reported is proven it will bring you down.

In seven days, Donald Trump will be the president of the United States.
The man who takes to Twitter in a flying rage when his vice-president is criticized by actors in a musical will be at the helm of the most powerful military in the world.
The man who has filed for bankruptcy six times will have critical influence on the US - and therefore the global - economy.

The man who has openly bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy" will set America's human rights agenda.
Anyone holding out hope that Mr Trump would, after the election, morph into a person ready to take on this awesome responsibility with the dignity and respect it deserves, will have been disavowed of that notion this week.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Trump proved that the braggadocio, aggression and incoherence displayed in his presidential campaign was no act.
He is exactly what you would expect a casino mogul and television show host to be: entertaining, callow and surrounded by the whiff of scandal.

So strap in, ladies and gentlemen. The next four years are going to be a wild ride.
In part, the shock of the Trump presidency is aesthetic. After eight years of Barack Obama, possibly the best orator on the planet, Mr Trump's simplistic grasp of the English language grates all the more.

All matters - however nuanced - are judged with basic adjectives: good, bad, terrific, terrible.
Where Mr Obama's addresses are a skilful, sensitive weave of the complexities of a problem, Mr Trump gravitates to schematic extremes.

At Wednesday's press conference, his first since winning the election, he presented himself, without irony, as the leader of "a movement like the world has never seen before".
He vented his fury at intelligence agencies that he accused of leaking unsubstantiated reports that Russia was in possession of compromising material about him by invoking Nazi Germany.

His discussion of the claims that Russia launched cyber attacks to interfere in the US election sounded like a disquisition on a football game: chastising the Democratic National Committee for not having sufficient "hacking defence".
But it's not just Mr Trump's inarticulate style that speaks to the drama of the coming years.

The dossier put together by a British former MI6 agent for an opposition research group - published by Buzzfeed this week - is raw intelligence, a collection of unfiltered and unverified accounts from contacts in the FSB, the successor to the KGB.
But if even one of the allegations laid out against Mr Trump in its 35 pages proves to be true, Watergate would pale in comparison to its consequences. There is reason to believe there is more to come out.

As one Washington insider pointed out to me, the leaders of the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, tend to be at loggerheads, often briefing against one another as their agencies vie for power and influence.

For all three to agree, as they did last week, that the contents of the dossier were credible enough to attach a two-page summary to a classified report given to Mr Trump and Mr Obama, indicates they know more than has been admitted.
And some of the allegations have been repeated elsewhere.

In the summer of last year, I spoke to a former US intelligence source who told me that the Russians were in possession of a "kompromat" - blackmail videotape, showing Donald Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

He knew this, he said, from communications that had been intercepted by a Eastern European intelligence agency.
The former agent also urged me to follow the money.

Not just the election, but Mr Trump's whole career, he claimed, is wrapped up in questionable financing from Russia.

"It's like every part of his business is somehow tied up in it," he said.
Much has been written about Bayrock, the property development firm that was building Trump SoHo, his towering building in New York and other projects.

A key principal in Bayrock was Felix Sater, a Russian convicted of helping to lead a massive mafia-linked Wall Street stock fraud scheme. (Mr Sater also attacked a man at a New York bar by stabbing him in the face with the broken stem of a Martini glass).

Two lawyers, Frederic Oberlander and Richard Lerner, who have spent much of their careers tracking Bayrock's dealings, allege in court documents that Bayrock "for most of its existence was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated".
In a petition to the US Supreme Court, they write that Mr Sater's father, Michael Sheferofsky, worked for Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mafia boss allegedly described by the FBI as "the most dangerous mobster in the world".

The company was based in Trump Tower, and, despite Mr Trump's claims that he barely knows Mr Sater, there is much reporting to show the opposite.

David Johnston, an American journalist who has spent years looking into connections between Mr Trump and the mafia, wrote in 'Politico' during the election that no other candidate for the White House "has anything close to Trump's record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks".
Then there is the most serious claim in the dossier: that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, in Moscow's alleged efforts to intervene in the presidential election.

At the press conference, Cecilia Vega of ABC News gave Mr Trump the opportunity to put this explosive allegation to bed.

She asked: "Mr president-elect, can you stand here today, once and for all and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?"
Mr Trump's answer? It never came. (© Daily Telegraph London)
Irish Independent

Ruth Sherlock

January 13, 2017

A British Retired James Bond Got the Alleged Goods on Trump





The former British intelligence agent at the center of the maelstrom over a 35-page dossier about Donald Trump and the Russians is named Christopher Steele, but an ex-colleague refers to him by a more familiar moniker. 
"He's James Bond," said Nigel West, the intelligence historian and spy-novel author. "I actually introduced him to my wife as James Bond." 
Like the movie character, the 52-year-old Steele attended Cambridge University, where he was president of the Cambridge Union Debating Society. He was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service, Britain's counterpart to the CIA, better known as MI6, right out of university, West said. 


Image: Former British spy Christopher Steele, seen here in 2015.


Former British spy Christopher Steele, seen here in 2015. The Cambridge Union via YouTube

He was posted to Moscow in the early 1990s and then Paris, according to people who knew him at the time. He served as the case officer for poisoned former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko and more recently ran a course for new agents, West said. 
About eight years ago, he left Her Majesty's service and co-founded his own security firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, with partner Christopher Burrows. 
Unlike James Bond, Steele wasn't a household name — until he burst into the public consciousness this week after being unmasked as the author of a sensational, unverified report commissioned and circulated by unknown clients opposed to Trump. 
Steele — described as a compact, clean-cut man with an intense manner — has not commented on the uproar that was unleashed when media outlets reported the dossier had been presented to both Trump and President Obama and, in one case, published the document. 
But those who know Steele or his work say that the widowed father of three children enjoyed a reputation as a meticulous professional among current and former members of the intelligence community. 
"He's a squared-away guy," said former senior CIA officer John Sipher, who was posted to Russia in the 1990s and helped manage its efforts against Moscow before retiring in 2014. 


Image: Journalists gather outside the headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company run by former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on Jan. 12 in London.


Journalists gather outside the headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company run by former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on Jan. 12 in London. Leon Neal / Getty Images

Trump weighed in Friday morning, calling Steele a "failed spy" in a tweet. 
To some, the dossier's errors and far-out claims stand in stark contrast to Steele's usual approach to intelligence-gathering. West noted that only one intelligence officer was listed as a direct source. 
"Nobody is saying he believes in any of this," West said. "What he was hired to do was write a series of reports based on info he could glean from his contacts. His contacts are very good but they're more in the business community than the intel community." 
"He's highly professional, very effective," West added. "He's an impressive individual, knows a lot of the people about whom he speaks — but he's got to earn a living like the rest of us." 
But West did say that Steele is not dispassionate when it comes to Vladimir Putin, noting that he was the MI6 officer in charge of Litvinenko, who was fatally poisoned with radiation in 2006 after seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. 
"He feels very strongly that the Putin Kremlin tore up the rule book and the convention by which intelligence agencies do not attack each other's personnel," West said of Steele. "He also feels passionately about what you'd call the Kremlin kleptocracy. He doesn’t believe there is a business deal in the past 10 years that has been legit."

by   and 

January 12, 2017

Trump Went Livid On this CNN Account of the Intel Dossier on Him


Trump wanted the news orgs to stay quiet about this news story related to what the intelligence services learned about him. The only thing is that according to those same people it needs further investigation. But we hear about investigations that have not ended particularly about politicians all the time.
He (Trump) never felt that way when the pain was on the other foot. On CNN he was livid. He figures if he can call them names, not take their questions he will teach them a lesson. They say the press works for the American public, I am not sure about that but in any case we do need the press.

 Trump does not think so unless the published is all good, the thing is that things related to Trump are not all good, ever. Still this is the man the Electoral College voted for and elected. Four difficult years ahead! 
Adam Gonzalez, publisher





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.

One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.

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.

The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials. 

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 has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs. 

Appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump adviser, dismissed the memos, as unverified and untrue. 

CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos have since been published by Buzzfeed. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. At this point, CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations. But, in preparing this story, CNN has spoken to multiple high ranking intelligence, administration, congressional and law enforcement officials, as well as foreign officials and others in the private sector with direct knowledge of the memos.

Russia denies having "Kompromat" on Donald Tump
Some of the memos were circulating as far back as last summer. What has changed since then is that US intelligence agencies have now checked out the former British intelligence operative and his vast network throughout Europe and find him and his sources to be credible enough to include some of the information in the presentations to the President and President-elect a few days ago.

On the same day that the President-elect was briefed by the intelligence community, the top four Congressional leaders, and chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees -- the so-called "Gang of Eight" -- were also provided a summary of the memos regarding Mr. Trump, according to law enforcement, intelligence and administration sources. 

The two-page summary was written without the detailed specifics and information about sources and methods included in the memos by the former British intelligence official. That said, the synopsis was considered so sensitive it was not included in the classified report about Russian hacking that was more widely distributed, but rather in an annex only shared at the most senior levels of the government: President Obama, the President-elect, and the eight Congressional leaders.

CNN has also learned that on December 9, Senator John McCain gave a full copy of the memos -- dated from June through December, 2016 -- to FBI Director James Comey. McCain became aware of the memos from a former British diplomat who had been posted in Moscow. But the FBI had already been given a set of the memos compiled up to August 2016, when the former MI6 agent presented them to an FBI official in Rome, according to national security officials. 

The raw memos on which the synopsis is based were prepared by the former MI6 agent, who was posted in Russia in the 1990s and now runs a private intelligence gathering firm. His investigations related to Mr. Trump were initially funded by groups and donors supporting Republican opponents of Mr. Trump during the GOP primaries, multiple sources confirmed to CNN. Those sources also said that once Mr. Trump became the nominee, further investigation was funded by groups and donors supporting Hillary Clinton. 

Spokespeople for the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. Officials who spoke to CNN declined to do so on the record given the classified nature of the material. 
Some of the allegations were first reported publicly in Mother Jones one week before the election.
One high level administration official told CNN, "I have a sense the outgoing administration and intelligence community is setting down the pieces so this must be investigated seriously and run down. I think [the] concern was to be sure that whatever information was out there is put into the system so it is evaluated as it should be and acted upon as necessary.”


By Evan PerezJim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein, CNN

This story has been updated to include new information.


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