FBI, other agencies probing possible Russian aid for Trump: report

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The FBI and five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies are working together on an investigation into whether Russia’s government secretly helped President-elect Donald Trump win the election, according to a new report.

The collaborative probe is partially focused on whether any covert money from the Kremlin financed hacking operations to benefit Trump’s campaign, McClatchy reported Wednesday.

Two people familiar with the matter told McClatchy the intelligence agencies involved include the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and representatives for the director of national intelligence. Two law enforcement agencies — the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — are also participating.

According to McClatchy, the interagency working group is informal and began scrutinizing possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race last spring. A key mission of the six-agency team, it said, is examining who financed the email hacks of major Democratic Party sources last year.

{mosads}The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, were two hack targets. WikiLeaks began publicly releasing the DNC’s emails last summer, followed by a similar dump of Podesta’s communications in October.

McClatchy said the interagency group is now probing several Americans affiliated with either Trump’s White House bid or his business empire. Investigators are looking for potential ties with officials in Russia or in former Soviet nations, according to the report.

Two anonymous sources said one allegation involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have funded some of the email hackings.

The sources added the pension system either directly paid email hackers in the U.S. or supplied money to intermediaries who then funded them.

The U.S. intelligence community released a full, declassified report earlier this month concluding that Russia’s government conducted a hacking and influence campaign aimed at helping Trump win the presidency.

Trump has fiercely disputed those conclusions, portraying them as an attempt to delegitimize his victory.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced last week that it is launching a bipartisan inquiry into Russian intelligence activities relating to the 2016 presidential race.

Tags CIA Donald Trump FBI Hillary Clinton Justice Department Money national intelligence NSA Politics Russia spying Treasury
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