Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russian officials wanted to use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump


Brennan was President Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency director.

But when Gowdy pushed him for an answer, Brennan revealed that "intelligence" had detected "contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign".

"I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and US persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians. And that's why my radar goes up early when I see certain things that I know what the Russians are trying to do, and I don't know whether or not the targets of their efforts are as mindful of the Russian intentions as they need to be", he said. Other clues included direct conversations between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

But Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that President Donald Trump would have violated protocol if he shared such information with Russian officials in the Oval Office spontaneously. "It was necessary to pull threads", he added.

Brennan said party leaders and the leaders of both congressional intelligence committees received briefings about the "active counterintelligence case" in August and September. That warning took the form of a phone call between the head of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, and the head of the CIA.

Mr Flynn was forced to step down from his post as national security adviser less than a month into the Trump presidency after it was determined that he had misled Mr Pence when he said that he did not discuss Russian sanctions during the presidential transition period. "Finally, I warned Mr. Bortnikov that if Russian Federation pursued this course, it would destroy any near-term prospect for improvement in relations between Washington and Moscow and would undermine constructive engagement even on matters of mutual interest".

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During the call, Bortnikov denied his country's interference and mentioned Russian Federation often is blamed for activity it had nothing to do with. Bortnikov told Brennan he would pass on the message to russian president, Vladmir Putin. "I don't know", Brennan said.

The House is also issuing documents to compel the former Trump aide to comply, Schiff said.

Making matters just a little worse, Brennan answered questions about Trump apparently leaking classified secrets to Russian Federation for unknown reasons, which the former CIA director said likely violated two USA intelligence protocols. He said he was "very concerned" about the disclosure of information.

"It appears they did nothing", said co-host Norah O'Donnell. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded earlier this year that Moscow hacked and leaked the emails of senior Democrats as part of efforts to tilt the USA election campaign and help Republican Donald Trump ultimately win the presidency.

McCabe contradicted Trump this week, telling lawmakers that Comey enjoyed widespread support among the FBI's rank and file, and that the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the election was a "highly significant investigation".

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end an investigation into Mr. Flynn, his former national security adviser, according to people close to Mr. Comey.

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