US intelligence agents reportedly overheard Russians officials bragging that they had “derogatory” or compromising information about the then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign that could give them leverage over his administration. The Russian officials were heard talking about “kompromat” (compromising information) they had about Trump during his presidential election campaign, a new report by CNN claims.
According to CNN, two former U.S. intelligence officials and a congressional source revealed that during the 2016 general election campaign period, U.S. intelligence operatives intercepted communication between Russian officials in which they discussed whether Russia held leverage over Trump’s campaign. During the conversation, the officials insisted that they have the “ability to influence [Trump’s] administration through derogatory information” they had about him or members of his team.
One of the sources that spoke with CNN said the Russians indicated that the information they had on Trump or members of his campaign was financial in nature.
The sources that spoke with CNN, however, cautioned that the Russians might have made up the claim or exaggerated it as part of disinformation tactics. However, U.S. intelligence experts were convinced that the details of the conversation showed clearly that the Russians were deeply involved in efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
CNN’s sources declined to say whether it was about Trump or members of his campaign team that the Russians claimed to have obtained compromising information.
However, CNN reported earlier on May 19 that U.S. intelligence agents also intercepted conversations between Russian officials bragging that they could use Mike Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, to influence him. They claimed that they had sufficient leverage over Flynn to make him influence the Trump administration on their behalf. The New York Times also reported that Russian officials identified Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, as another person they could use to influence Trump.
Manafort is known to have extensive business ties to the Russians, but he has repeatedly denied allegations that he has illicit financial links with the Russians. He has also denied allegations that the Russians used him as an agent to influence the Trump campaign. He recently offered to testify before Congress about the allegations.
Trump and the White House have reacted to the latest CNN expose. The White House described the CNN report as “yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the president.”
Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
While the White House statement insisted that Trump has not had financial links with Russia in the last 10 years, it did not deny that he had financial links with Russia in the past before 10 years ago.
“This is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the President,” the White House said a statement to CNN. “The reality is, a review of the President’s income from the last ten years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all.”
“There appears to be no limit to which the President’s political opponents will go to perpetuate this false narrative…”
Russians claim to have 'derogatory' financial information that can be used as leverage over Trump https://t.co/0TquZrGWHF— Disabled Veteran (@cj_disabledVet) May 30, 2017
Despite denials, Trump is known to have had significant business links and dealings with the Russians in the past. Allegations of close business and financial links between Trump and the Russians have apparently been confirmed on multiple occasions in the past by his sons who have been involved in running his business over the years.
Donald Trump Jr. told a forum of real estate investors in 2008 that the family business has seen “a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Golf journalist James Dodson also claimed recently that Trump’s son Eric once told him that his father’s golf business did not rely on American banks for funding because “we have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
Eric later vehemently denied the claim by Dodson.
However, the latest CNN report, especially the reference to “derogatory” information about Trump or his campaign, has sparked speculation recalling the British M16 agent Christopher Steele’s controversial dossier on Trump which included various allegations of improper financial and business ties between Trump and Russia. The dossier also contained the infamous “golden shower” allegation that the Russians have a tape showing Trump watching Russian prostitutes engaged in indecent activities with their body fluids in a Russian hotel room.
Trump’s critics pointed out that while the “golden shower” allegation has not been verified, U.S. intelligence services have confirmed other claims about Trump’s links with the Russians contained in the dossier.
The latest allegation that the Russians could have “kompromat” about Trump comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) appointed the former FBI chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 general election through hacks of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign systems.
[Featured Image By Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images]