Trump Campaign Aides Had Regular Contacts With Russian Intelligence
Trumputin is a portmanteau of the names Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which is often accompanies news and photoshops combining features of the two men or speculations about an intimate relationships between the heads of state. And speculations sometimes become truth.
The New York Times confirmed yesterday that Mr. Trump's aides made repeated contact with senior Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.
Citing four anonymous sources in the US Administration, the NY Times reports says US intelligence and security forces intercepted communications during the investigation on Russian cyber-spionage carried out during the electoral campaign. The investigation was aimed to find out if the Kremlin had been maneuvering to denigrate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and to favor the arrival of Trump to the White House.
The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said, as reported in the New York Times.
The news broke just a day after Michael Flynn's resignation as Trump's National security adviser due to his opaque contacts with a Russian diplomat during the electoral campaign.
However, the intercepted calls between the Kremlin and Trump's Administration are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael T. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. In those calls, which led to Mr. Flynn’s resignation on Monday night, the two men discussed sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in December.
The only Trump associate named in the New York Times as having participated in the contacts was Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager for several months last summer. He had previously worked as an adviser to the former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by Moscow, and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.
However, Mr. Manafort dismissed the allegations so far. “I have never had any involvement with Putin or the Russian government on any matter,” Mr Manafort told the Financial Times. “Furthermore, I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers and I have never been involved in any projects that include the Russian government or the Putin administration or parties acting in concert with or on behalf of the Russian government.”
Despite the uncertainties, the recent reports are threatening to the Trump administration on a number of levels, reported The Guardian:
They contradict White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, who on Tuesday repeated his earlier assertions that there had been no pre-election contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials. Last month, Trump himself also denied any such contacts.
They are a further sign that intelligence officials are willing to leak extensively against the Trump administration.
They add circumstantial weight to the reports on the Trump campaign’s Kremlin links compiled last year by the FBI.