The Washington Post says that the Russians have amassed a treasure trove of information on the president-elect that they can use to leverage American policy.
A senior U.S. official with access to the document said that the allegations were presented at least in part to underscore that Russia appeared to have collected embarrassing information on both major candidates but released only material that might harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — a reflection of Russian motivation that bolstered U.S. spy agencies’ conclusion that Moscow sought to help Trump win.
The inclusion of such unsubstantiated allegations in the election report, a development first reported Tuesday by CNN, adds a disturbing new dimension to existing concerns about Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy.
And it adds another bizarre twist to an already strange election year, injecting new controversy over the Trump team’s relations with Russia just when the president-elect is trying to consolidate and launch his new administration.
As you might guess, the Russians deny that they’ve gathered any such information, according to Fox News;
Moscow denied allegations Wednesday that the Kremlin has collected compromising information about Donald Trump and called news reports on the matter a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense” — as the president-elect blasted the claims on Twitter.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”
The Daily Beast says that the intelligence agencies got the information from 4chan;
“So they took what I told Rick Wilson and added a Russian spy angle to it. They still believe it. Guys, they’re truly fucking desperate—there’s no remaining Trump scandal that’s credible,” the anonymous post from Nov. 1 reads. Wilson is a Republican operative who managed Evan McMullin’s independent campaign and has been an outspoken critic of Trump.
There are no details in the post, which is archived here, about what was allegedly told to Wilson—simply that the user purportedly gave him fake information. It also doesn’t explain how this would have gotten to intelligence agencies.
With a straight face, CNN reports on a briefing to the president-elect by intelligence chiefs;
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.
That “former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible” was being paid by Trump’s political opponents to assemble the report.
Two things; First, is anyone really surprised that there are stories like this out there? Second, having watched Trump over the last several months, I don’t think there’s anything out there that could embarrass him into policy shifts even if the stories about him are true.
What happened to all of those sexual harassment victims that were coming out of the woodwork before the election?