The FBI has found no evidence supporting allegations that Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has ties to Russia, the New York Times reported late Monday.
According to the Times, federal agents for months investigated alleged connections between key Trump advisers and Russian bankers, the hacking of computers and emails belonging to Democrats, and even the allegation that Trump had a secret channel to communicate with a Russian bank — but each claim was found to be unsubstantiated.
From the Times:
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.
Intelligence officials have said in interviews over the last six weeks that apparent connections between some of Mr. Trump’s aides and Moscow originally compelled them to open a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Republican presidential candidate.
Still, the Times reported that Trump himself has not become the target of the investigation and no evidence has been found that would link him or anyone else in his business directly to Russia.
The report also confirmed previous reports that the FBI was investigating the connections of several Trump advisers — namely Paul Manafort, who was previously Trump’s campaign manager and once worked with a pro-Putin Ukrainian president.
More from the Times:
In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.
F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.
The most serious part of the F.B.I.’s investigation has focused on the computer hacks that the Obama administration now formally blames on Russia. That investigation also involves numerous officials from the intelligence agencies. Investigators, the officials said, have become increasingly confident, based on the evidence they have uncovered, that Russia’s direct goal is not to support the election of Mr. Trump, as many Democrats have asserted, but rather to disrupt the integrity of the political system and undermine America’s standing in the world more broadly.