Even though he maintains that he has no connection to Russia, President Trump is once again faced with new reports which suggest the Russians intended to use financial information about him as leverage to get what they wanted.
CNN reports that U.S. intelligence intercepts uncovered Russian officials bragging that they had “derogatory” information on Trump, and as a result:
“They had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.”
The American intelligence sources also noted that Russian claims of being able to influence Trump may have been exaggerated or even fabricated as part of a larger disinformation campaign.
The latest revelations from CNN seem to dovetail perfectly with a report from the New York Times last week which suggested that Russian operatives were seeking ways to influence aides to Trump as early as the summer of 2016. One of the campaign staffers the Russians thought could be helpful was former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has extensive ties to Russia and received millions of dollars in payments from Russian entities.
Contacted for comment on the new CNN report, the White House issued a statement which denounced the reporting as:
“Yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the president.”
The administration added that a review of the president’s finances from the last 10 years showed no financial ties to Russia. They did not, however, address the continued refusal of Trump to release his tax returns.
In addition to the report from CNN, the Times is also reporting this morning that federal investigators are now zeroing in on a meeting senior White House adviser Jared Kushner had with the head of a Russian bank in December of last year. The banker, Sergey Gorkov, met with Kushner at a time when harsh American sanctions were in place against the bank, the state-owned Vnesheconombank.
Kushner’s attorney said late last week that her client would be willing to meet with Congressional investigators to discuss his contacts with Gorkov and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org