NYT: FBI Has Uncovered Trump Aides' Russia Ties
They contacted Russians during campaign, sources say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2017 5:23 AM CST
Updated Feb 15, 2017 6:28 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves a news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)
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(Newser) – The Trump administration's Russia problem just got a lot worse, according to the New York Times' sources: Four officials say intelligence agencies have uncovered phone records and other evidence that members of Trump's campaign team and other aides were in contact with senior Russian officials during the campaign. The sources say that after routine NSA surveillance revealed the Trump associates' contact with Russian officials, the FBI made monitoring those officials a priority. CNN's sources say the Trump associates, including business contacts as well as high-level campaign aides, were in "constant communication" with the Russians, "raising a red flag" for intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

The Times' sources say former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is among those being investigated, though he strongly denies having improper contacts. "I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today," he says, adding: "It's not like these people wear badges that say, 'I'm a Russian intelligence officer.'" Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the report Tuesday, saying it's "not based on any facts," the AP reports. The Guardian notes that the new report of Russian links is trouble for Trump for several reasons, including the fact that it shows intelligence officials are still willing to leak material damaging to his administration.

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