Six U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether President-elect Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The team of investigators includes the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the director of national intelligence.
On Jan. 10, BuzzFeed published a 35-page, uncorroborated U.S. intelligence dossier that suggested Trump and his team had contact with Russia in the lead-up to the November 2016 election, and added that the Kremlin holds personal and financial information on Trump that could be used later for blackmail, notes McClatchy DC.
"Russia has never tried to use leverage over me," Trump tweeted on Jan. 11. "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"
That same day, in the Trump transition team's first press conference since the election, Sean Spicer, spokesman for the transition team, further blasted the claims.
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"It’s frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the oath of office," Spicer said, notes The New York Times.
In addition to intelligence agencies looking into the claims, the Senate is beginning its own investigation.
"As part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s oversight responsibilities we believe that it is critical to have a full understanding of the scope of Russian intelligence activities impacting the United States," the committee wrote in a statement on Jan. 13, notes The Hill. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina and the committee's chairman, said the committee will “conduct a bipartisan inquiry of the intelligence reporting."
"If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks?" Trump said in his Jan. 11 press conference, according to The New York Times. "That’s called an asset, not a liability."