WASHINGTON — Top intelligence officials last week told President-elect Donald Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.
The briefing about the document was first reported by CNN. A summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community’s findings last week.
Shortly after news reports were published about the briefing, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS — A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
The unsubstantiated dossier on Trump was compiled by a former Western intelligence operative as part of an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client who opposed Trump, and later funded by Democrats, according to Mother Jones, which published an article about the report in October and said the operative had turned over the report to the FBI. The New York Times reported the operative previously worked for British intelligence. The Associated Press has not been able to substantiate the information in the dossier, which misspelled the name of Russia’s largest bank.
Lawmakers and others have repeatedly noted that Russia collects intelligence on both Democrats and Republicans.
“The Russians also hacked systems associated with the Republicans. They just chose not to release that material yet,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said Tuesday.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers that “nobody has sourced it. They’re all unnamed, unspoken sources in the story.” She said it may have originated with a Russian investigator or groups that wanted Hillary Clinton to win.