Intercepted communications and financial transactions are being examined by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies as part of an investigation into alleged links between associates of President-elect Donald Trump and Russia, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing current and former U.S. officials.
It was not clear whether the intercepted communications came from the Trump campaign or not, nor was it clear whether they were linked to the investigation of the hacking of the Democratic Party computers, the report said.
According to the Times, former Trump adviser Paul Manafort is one of the president-elect's associates under scrutiny in the investigation, which is led by the FBI and aided by the NSA, CIA and the Treasury's financial crimes unit. Manafort's business dealings in Ukraine came into light during the campaign, when it was reported that he helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012. A source told the Times that some of Manafort's contacts in Ukraine and Russia were under surveillance by the NSA for suspected links to the Russian intelligence agency FSB.
Other than Manafort, the investigation is also looking into two other Trump associates: Carter Page and Roger Stone. Page, a businessman, was a foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign and Stone is a Republican operative, the Times reported.
Manafort denied that he had communicated with the Russian government. The Trump transition team denied any knowledge of the investigation or the basis for it. Page and Stone also rejected the allegations.
The CIA concluded last December that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help president-elect Donald Trump win the White House. Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
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