Introduction — Jan 11, 2017
Are reports of Trump’s secret contacts with Russia “fake news”? Is this part of an effort to prevent the president-elect from assuming office?
Already at odds with elements in the U.S. intelligence over claims of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, Trump’s smooth transition to the Oval Office has been hindered by more unanswered questions.
Senator John McCain is reported to have passed documents to the FBI alleging secret contact between Donald Trump and Russian intelligence. The reports are “unverified” but the fact that they come by way of Senator John McCain should call into question their authenticity and McCain’s intentions in coming forward with them?
After all we know that Sen. McCain has had personnel contact with militants in Syria. In addition to being photographed with Islamic State terrorists he has also been pictured with Ukrainian neo-Nazis in Kiev. So McCain himself is of questionable integrity.
However, the fact that he’s now come forward with documents containing such potentially damaging allegations suggests that elements in U.S. intelligence may want to prevent Trump from assuming office. McCain is simply being used for that end. Just as U.S. covert operations used him to forge contacts with militants in Syria and Ukraine, they are now using McCain to cast doubt on Trump’s fitness for office.
That means that if and when Trump does assume office he may embark on some sort of purge of U.S. intelligence personnel. Ed.
John McCain passes dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to FBI
Julian Borger — The Guardian Jan 11, 2017
Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself.
The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump’s relationship with Moscow. They were drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the documents, which it said were “unverified and potentially unverifiable”.
The Guardian has not been able to confirm the veracity of the documents’ contents, and the Trump team has consistently denied any hidden contacts with the Russian government.
Trump’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but late on Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” He made no direct reference to the allegations.
An official in the US administration who spoke to the Guardian described the source who wrote the intelligence report as consistently reliable, meticulous and well-informed, with a reputation for having extensive Russian contacts.
Some of the reports – which are dated from 20 June to 20 October last year – also proved to be prescient, predicting events that happened after they were sent.
One report, dated June 2016, claims that the Kremlin has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years, with the aim of encouraging “splits and divisions in western alliance”.
It claims that Trump had declined “various sweetener real estate deals offered him in Russia” especially in developments linked to the 2018 World Cup finals but that “he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.”
Most explosively, the report alleges: “FSB has compromised Trump through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him.” The president-elect has not responded to the allegations.
CNN reported on Tuesday that the FBI was still investigating the credibility of the documents but added that the intelligence chiefs had included a summary of the material in a secret briefing on Russian interference in the election delivered last week to Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
The emergence of the documents is potentially explosive, 10 days before Trump’s inauguration and on the eve of his first planned press conference since July last year.
Despite glowing references from US and foreign officials who have worked with the source, there are some errors in the reports. One describes the Moscow suburb of Barvikha as “reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates”, but although it is a very expensive neighbourhood, there are no restrictions on who can own property there. The document also misspells the name of a Russian banking corporation.