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BREAKING: British Spy Alleges Russia Has ‘Personally And Financially Compromising’ Info On Trump

Trump’s Russia Quagmire Gets Deeper

CNN published a bombshell report about the ongoing saga of Russian intelligence’s relationship to Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral college victory, Tuesday. In an article by Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein, CNN reports that US intelligence chiefs have informed President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump that Russian operatives “claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” CNN‘s sources were “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings.”

CNN reports that the information was compiled by an MI6 agent with a vast network of sources in Europe, “whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible.” The directors of the DNI, the CIA, the FBI and the NSA presented a two-page synopsis of a 35-page classified memo that was “appended” to the intelligence community’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, a declassified version of which was made public last week.

Related: 3 Most Disturbing Fears Confirmed By US Intel Report On Russian Hacking

CNN reports,

“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.”

This could explain some of the testimony in Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday. Senator Lindsey Graham grilled Trump’s Attorney General nominee, Jeff Sessions, about his views on the FBI’s assessment that Russia had hacked the DNC. And Senator Angus King asked FBI Director James Comey whether the FBI is investigating if there were links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Comey refused to comment, and King noted the “irony” of that, given Comey’s interjection about a non-investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before the election.

Related: Democratic Senator King ROASTS James Comey On The Stand, Twitter Rejoices

CNN further reported that US intelligence has investigated links between Russia and the Trump campaign, and this became extremely contentious issue behind the scenes at the height of the campaign.

“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.

“The Trump transition team declined repeated requests for comment.”

CNN reported that the report began as “opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats.” The research was conducted through the MI6 agent, who had been stationed in Moscow, and who now works in private intelligence. Senator John McCain obtained the full classified report and gave it to FBI Director Comey. Congressional leaders have also been briefed on the report.

CNN‘s bombshell report comes at an awkward time for the incoming Trump administration. President-elect Trump has nominated a slate of cabinet appointees who are highly controversial for numerous reasons, one of which being their closeness to Russia. Trump’s nominee for NSA Director, Mike Flynn, and his nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, both have significant links to Russian business and state interests. The report potentially compounds the embarrassment for an incoming administration that is unprecedentedly fighting questions about its legitimacy, feuding with national intelligence, and publicly cozying up to a foreign rival.

Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.