FBI Investigating Unconfirmed Claims That Trump Was Personally Compromised by the Russians
Brian Ross, Matthrew Mosk, ABC News, Jan 11 2017
Explosive but unsubstantiated allegations suggesting Donald Trump was compromised by Russian agents and in league with Russian hackers appeared in a dossier given to the FBI in August by Democrat political operatives who later gave it to news organizations, including ABC News. The document has circulated in the intelligence community and was reportedly raised last week during classified intelligence briefings to Obama and Trump. Trump and his aides expressed outrage yesterday that anyone would take the uncorroborated report seriously. Trump wrote on Twitter:
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
On ABC Morning News, Trump aide Kellyanne Conway slammed the allegations, saying:
Just to smear the POTUS-elect we now have intelligence officials divulging information that they are sworn not to divulge. I don’t even think this is fake news. I think this is just fake. I would take the ‘news’ word right out of it.
Meanwhile in Russia, Kremlin spokx Dmitry Peskov said:
It’s an absolute spoof story. It’s absolute fabrication. It’s complete nonsense.
Portions of the dossier outlining supposed ties between Trump’s team and Russian government agents started to surface over the summer, based partly on information from a former MI6 officer working for anti-Trump political operatives. The partisan operatives circulated portions of the document to federal officials and reporters, including to ABC News, both before and after the 2016 election. Eventually, Walnuts McCain received a copy and forwarded it directly to Comey, who was pressed during hearings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as to whether the FBI is investigating the allegations. He declined to answer but a senior boxtop said the allegations were too serious to ignore. Among the claims are allegations that Trump was personally compromised by the Russians during a 2013 trip to Moscow, and that Trump aides were later involved with the Russians’ hack of the DNC. Some specific allegations have brought sharp denials. A Trump lawyer named in the report, Michael Cohen, called “laughably false” the assertion that his Ukrainian-born father-in-law had a dacha near Putin. Cohen told ABC News:
I don’t even think my father-in-law has ever been to Moscow. I wonder who’s living in the dacha.
Another suggestion in the document is also false, said Cohen: that he supposedly met with the Russians in Prague last August. He said:
I’ve never actually walked the land in Prague, and last August I was not in Prague.
The dossier provides no back-up evidence, but the claim are hard to ignore, officials told ABC News. The allegations gained currency in intelligence and law enforcement circles as Trump continued his unorthodox defense of Russian hacking and unrestrained praise of Putin. In May, Trump said he “respects Putin,” calling him “a strong leader,” and despite the consensus of the nation’s intelligence agencies, Trump has continued to question whether Russia had a hand in the hacking of DNC computers. he said at one point:
I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC.
David Kramer, a
Russia expert Jew who served as an asst sec state under Bush 43, said:
I am surprised by Mr Trump’s public admiration for Mr Putin. Generally Republicans have taken a harder line toward Russian aggression, toward Russian human rights abuses, toward any Russian efforts in interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. It is not generally consistent with what I myself have experienced and what I have seen from others, so it raises some questions in my mind about what’s driving it.