The FBI and five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been investigating whether the Russian government was secretly helping Trump win the presidential election, and they’ve been doing it since spring.
Sources told McClatchy that the six agencies investigating the matter were the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the DNI.
Some of the allegations specifically refer to email hackers and how the Kremlin might have hid their financial support of those efforts:
Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.
Trump has gone from encouraging the Russian hacking before the election, to denying that any hacking happened by the Russians, to reluctantly admitting that it happened, but denying it influenced the election at all. And he used his Twitter account to deny any leverage Russia might have over him.
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
The anonymous sources confirming the investigation to McClatchy provided more details about what further information was being sought by the agencies:
A key mission of the six-agency group has been to examine who financed the email hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The London-based transparency group WikiLeaks released the emails last summer and in October.
The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said.
The accusations of Russian meddling put CNN on the spotlight when they reported that Russians had obtained damaging intelligence on the President-elect, something he continues to vehemently deny. The consequent battle between the news network and Trump exploded after Buzzfeed released a dubious report with very salacious claims about the damaging information. The investigation reported by McClatchy is said to have begun long before the “Buzzfeed dossier” was considered by U.S. intelligence agencies.
President-elect Trump has accused the intelligence community of a partisan “witchhunt” against him while bashing the mainstream media for what he considers aiding the goal of his political opponents to delegitimize his presidency.