Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia were years in the making and involved far more support and interaction than previously known, according to reporting by Mother Jones published on Monday. MoJo’s piece is based on the work of a former senior intelligence officer and Russia specialist who says he “provided the [FBI] with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.”
Here’s more from Mother Jones on what started for the former spy as a routine opposition research task examining Trump’s dealings in Russia among other places:
“It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”
This was, the former spy remarks, “an extraordinary situation.” He regularly consults with US government agencies on Russian matters, and near the start of July on his own initiative—without the permission of the US company that hired him—he sent a report he had written for that firm to a contact at the FBI, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates, who asked not to be identified.
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him…”
Trump, despite employing campaign staffers with numerous ties to the Kremlin, has said he has no business or political ties to Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin. NBC News reported Monday that the FBI is conducting an preliminary investigation into former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s business connections to Russia. Slate’s Franklin Foer also found evidence that Trump organization servers have been communicating with a Russian bank. The New York Times reported Monday evening that the FBI investigations have so far not found a link between Trump and Russia.