High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.
President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter.
Both the frequency of the communications during early summer and the proximity to Trump of those involved "raised a red flag" with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.
Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn.
Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.
Adding to US investigators' concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access.This morning, we've been informally checking a few other media outlets, and at this point, the majority seem to be taking a hyper cautious approach to their reporting. Essentially, they're balancing the breaking news from the Times and CNN while also parroting the regime's modified limited hang out spin that the resignation of Michael Flynn was due to "lack of trust" and not to the fact he was communicating with agents of a hostile foreign country. (If only Flynn had a private e-mail server, then the media would be on it like a dog with a bone, amirite?)
We feel confident we know where this is going from one simple fact: Flynn, as a chain- of- command career general officer would never have taken it upon himself to contact the Russian ambassador to discuss lifting sanctions without the approval of one pathologically lying shitgibbon. The same holds true for the other "high-level advisers" who were in contact with Russian operatives during the campaign -- you don't go behind the shitgibbon's back if you value your position.
Beyond that, the other large shoe that we suspect will be dropping will be what kompromat or leverage the Russians have on Rump. Our intelligence community, as well ICs in Europe and Israel, are reported to have a read on that kompromat, which we will speculate they're busy corroborating.
As for the shitgibbon himself, he seems curiously uninterested in probing the Russian connection. Rather, he's going full cover-up/ nothing to see here move along (also, note the time stamps):
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
Attacking his own government's intelligence agencies and media (again). And bringing up the Clinton campaign? Nothing abnormal or suspicious about any of that, no siree bob!