Citing three current and former U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence, the newspaper said the conversations focused on Paul Manafort, then the Trump presidential campaign chairman, and Michael Flynn, a retired general who was then advising Trump. U.S. congressional committees and a special counsel named by the Justice Department this month are investigating whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and the possibility of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. The controversy has engulfed Trump's young administration since he fired FBI Director James Comey two weeks ago amid the agency's investigation of possible Russia ties. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump denies any collusion. The New York Times report was the latest indication of the depth of concerns within the U.S. intelligence community about Russian efforts to tip November's election toward Trump as he battled Democrat Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump might give sensitive intelligence to the Russian government and shouldn't be informed about classified information, such as how Washington spies on foreign governments, U.S. intelligence officials said. The officials have refused to give the White House sensitive intelligence out of fear that the information will be leaked or compromised, the Wall Street Journal exclusively reported Wednesday. Trump isn't trustworthy, the officials reportedly said, because his inner circle is too cozy with the Russian government. Moreover, Trump has repeatedly expressed disdain for U.S. spy agencies. Most recently, he said Wednesday they were leaking information to hurt his Republican administration.
President Trump is setting out to uncover the saboteurs leaking damaging details about his administration, as speculation intensifies over whether current officials or a cabal of Obama lieutenants – or both – are turning the faucets. One former senior intelligence official told Fox News he suspects ex-intelligence and other security officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were in some way involved in revealing details of Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador. Those details contradicted what Flynn had told Vice President Pence and other Trump officials, leading to his resignation as national security adviser earlier this week. "There were rumors from Day 1 when Mike Flynn signed aboard Team Trump that people were going to come after him," the source said, suggesting it was part of an effort to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and settle old grudges. "Individuals within the intelligence community that fired him once didn't want him to come back."