Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a parent-teacher conference listening session inside the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Michael Flynn's abrupt ouster from President Donald Trump's top national security post prompted a flurry of Republicans calling for a deeper look into the administration's relations with Russia and Moscow's alleged interference in U.S. politics. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg

(CNN) — High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.

President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

Both the frequency of the communications and the proximity to Trump of those involved “raised a red flag” with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.

Adding to US investigators’ concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

The extensive contacts drew concerns of US intelligence and law enforcement officials in part because it came at a time of Russian cyberactivities targeting mostly Democratic Party political organizations.

Post-election intelligence briefings on Russian meddling in the US elections included details of those communications, which included people involved in Trump’s businesses.

The communications were gathered as part of routine US intelligence collection and not because people close to Trump were being targeted.

The FBI and US intelligence agencies continue to try to determine what the motive for the communications were.

One concern was whether Trump associates were coordinating with Russian intelligence operatives the release of damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“If that were the case, then that would escalate things,” one official briefed on the investigation said.

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6 comments

  • No PC For Me

    So the Russians saved america from the liberal agenda. good for them.
    Id rather have Putin than Hilary. Hilary’s job ( besides selling america to highest bidder ) was to carry on for Barry.
    America wins wither way. So, do what?

  • steve

    CNN, either name names of these “high level advisers” and other high level officials who were the source of your information or shut up. “Fake news” is a deserved label for CNN, and anybody who would take their word for anything is a fool.