Trump told of unsubstantiated Russian effort to compromise him
Intelligence officials have briefed Donald Trump on a shadowy, unverified dossier alleging that the Russian government is in possession of compromising information about the president-elect, according to multiple reports.
The 35-page document — made up of a collection of memos filled with explosive claims about the billionaire's relationship to Russia — has reportedly been circulating among journalists and officials for at least a few weeks.
But the sourcing on the document is unclear and likely unverifiable. CNN reports that it is based primarily on memos compiled by a former MI6 operative that were intended as opposition research into Trump.
The president-elect immediately blasted the report, tweeting, "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!"
The FBI is reportedly investigating the credibility of the allegations — but officials told The Washington Post that the intelligence community believed that the sources involved were solid enough to warrant the inclusion of some of the claims as an addition onto the classified version of its report into Russian interference in the election.
BuzzFeed published a 35-page document on the heels of the CNN report that it claims is the original dossier. Several journalists noted that they had seen the document before but did not pursue the story because they couldn’t confirm any of the allegations.
Classified briefings on Russian interference in the presidential election given to Trump last week included a two-page summary of the allegations, according to reports.
Officials told The Post that the summary was included in the report in part to show that while Russia had damaging information on Trump, it chose not to release it, bolstering the government’s conclusion that the Kremlin favored Trump over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The two-page summary also reportedly included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information between Trump surrogates and Russian government intermediaries.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Trump transition team did not return requests for comment.
If true, the allegations would be a disturbing new turn in the saga of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections.
It suggests that the Kremlin has been compiling damaging information — known colloquially as “kompromat” — on Trump that could be used as leverage against the incoming president.
The allegations that Trump surrogates were exchanging information with Russian sources are equally explosive.
Rumors have long swirled around former foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.