Top U.S. intelligence officials last week presented President-elect Trump with a two page synopsis as part of their briefing that includes allegations of Russian operatives claiming to have compromising personal and financial information on Trump.
The classified briefings were presented to both President Obama and the President-elect by FBI Director James Comey, CiA Director John Brennan, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rodgers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to CNN who first broke the story. CNN could not confirm whether the two page document was verbally discussed as the President-elect is widely known to be averse to reading.
According to the report, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees and the top four Congressional leaders — the so-called gang of eight — also received the classified summaries of the presented memos.
The document was presented as an appendix to the Intelligence Community’s report on the alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.
The allegations included in the briefing were reportedly not a product of U.S. intelligence agencies, instead coming from memos that originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. The subject memos were compiled by a former MI6 British intelligence operative whose past work has been considered to be reliable by the U.S. Intelligence Community.
The two page document also noted allegations that there was an exchange of information between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government during the campaign.
While some of the memos were circulating as far back as last summer, what has changed since then is that U.S. intelligence agencies have now checked out the former British intelligence operative and his vast network throughout Europe and find him and his sources to be credible enough to include some of the information in the presentations to the President and the President-elect.
CNN also reports that on December 9, Arizona Senator John McCain gave a full copy of the memos — dated from June through December, 2016 — to FBI Director James Comey. McCain became aware of the memos from a former British diplomat who had been posted in Moscow. But the FBI had already been given a set of the memos compiled up to August 2016, by the former MI6 agent who had presented them to an FBI official in Rome.