Trump has repeatedly attempted to discredit the investigation into the alleged hacking Getty
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Intelligence chiefs allege Russians have compromising personal information on Donald Trump
The claims allege the now-President-elect had been in contact with Russian intermediaries for five years
Russian operatives reportedly compiled salacious information about Donald Trump, and are said to have communicated with his campaign throughout the election, according to a highly classified addendum to the intelligence report about alleged Kremlin-ordered hacking, delivered to President Barack Obama and the President-elect.
Intelligence officials attached a two-page synopsis of the apparent findings to the highly classified report to illustrate the harm Russian operatives intended to inflict upon both American parties; and to bring the allegations that are circulating among the intelligence community to Mr Trump’s attention.
The documents also allege communication between Mr Trump campaign officials and members of the Russian government throughout the election, anonymous national security sources told CNN.
The allegations were included in a series of memos compiled by a person claiming to be a British intelligence official who has worked with the United States in the past.
The memos compiled – from which the synopsis drew – first originated as oppositional research against Mr Trump by Republicans and Democrats who opposed his candidacy. They hired the former MI6 agent who had served in Russia during the 1990s. His investigation into the New York businessman started during the GOP primaries, and funded by groups supporting Republican opposition. Then liberal groups and donors took up funding the investigation once Mr Trump became the presidential nominee.
Much like the declassified report released on Friday, the synopsis did not include details about sources or methods.
BuzzFeed published scans of the apparent documents, although stressed that they remain unverified.
The documents have apparently circulated for months among senators and intelligence officials. Journalists who obtained the documents had been unable to corroborate the contents for weeks.
The unverified scanned memo alleges that Russia had “cultivated” Mr Trump to be a presidential candidate over the past five years; that he was allegedly bribed with various lucrative real estate deals in Russia, although he had turned them down; and claims that compromise him personally.
Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid alluded to the memos in a fiery letter to FBI director James Comey, following his unusual announcement about a further Clinton email probe 11 days before the election.
“In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government,” Mr Reid wrote. “The public has a right to know this information.”
Last month, President Obama ordered the intelligence community to deliver a full report into Russia’s role in the hacking of Democratic institutions.
The declassified report released last week concluded that: “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
Mr Trump denied the allegations via Twitter on Tuesday evening.
“FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” he wrote.
Prior to his briefing with intelligence chiefs, Mr Trump had tried to fervently discredit the assessment that Russian operatives – directed by President Vladimir Putin – had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a widespread campaign to help him win the election.
“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses, and organisations including the Democratic National Committee,” Mr Trump said in a statement, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”
However, intelligence officials maintained that, while Russian hackers did not tamper with vote tallies or machines, they could not gauge the influence the email leak and disinformation campaign had on voters’ ultimate decisions.
The report stated: “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”