CNN has a breaking report that in addition to the reports we’re aware of, Russia also compiled compromising information about President Elect Trump. They also included information about on-going contacts between Trump surrogates and members of the Russian government during the presidential campaign. The report seems like the same set of facts which Mojo’s David Corn a few months ago – that’s my surmise but the claims line up. We’ll have more reports shortly.
** I think it is important to note that presidential campaigns sometimes have informal communications with foreign governments. So the second claim here is not necessarily suspicious. For instance, I would not be surprised if during the 2008 campaign British diplomats reached to people advising candidate Obama about foreign policy to get a sense of his views. In fact, I think that would likely be considered normal. Obviously, given the totality of questions about Trump’s ties to Russia – and the difference between the United Kingdom and Russia – it’s rather different. But this context is important.
** CNN’s report suggests that these claims come from former British intelligence agents and that US intelligence considers the reports ‘credible’ but is not in a position to verify them.
** This also appears to be the report that former Minority Leader Harry Reid insisted FBI Director Comey release to the public in a letter last Fall.
** Here’s the text version of the CNN story. It is important to note the rather distant or attenuated nature of the evidence and the fact that in its report the Intelligence Community specifically did not vouch for the accuracy of the information. In other words, this intel seems significantly more raw than the information on the hacking.