Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence
New York Times, Feb. 14, 2017
“The officials said that one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine.
The National Security Agency, which monitors the communications of foreign intelligence services, initially captured the calls between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians as part of routine foreign surveillance. After that, the F.B.I. asked the N.S.A. to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls, and to search through troves of previous intercepted communications that had not been analyzed.
The F.B.I. has closely examined at least three other people close to Mr. Trump, although it is unclear if their calls were intercepted. They are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative; and Mr. Flynn.”
Company Intelligence Report 2016/101
Russia/US Presidential Election: Senior Kremlin Figure Outlines Evolving Russian Tactics In Pro-Trump, Anti-Clinton Operation
• Head of PA, IVANOV assesses Kremlin intervention in US presidential election and outlines leadership thinking on operational way forward
• No new leaks envisaged, as too politically risky, but rather further exploitation of (Wikileaks) material already disseminated to exacerbate tensions
• Educated US youth to be targeted as protest (against CLINTON) and swing vote in attempt to turn them over to TRUMP
• Russian leadership, including PUTIN, celebrating perceived success to date in splitting US hawks and elite
• Kremlin engaging with several high profile US players, including STEIN, PAGE (and former DIA Director Michael Flynn), and funding their recent visits to Moscow
1. Speaking in confidence to a close colleague in early August 2016, Head of the Russian Presidential Administration (PA), Sergei IVANOV, assessed the impacts and results of Kremlin intervention in the US presidential election to date. Although most commentators believed that the Kremlin was behind the leaked DNC/CLINTON emails, this remained technically deniable. Therefore the Russians would not risk their position for the time being with new leaked material, even to a third party like Wikileaks. Rather the tactics would be to spread rumors and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.
2. Continuing on this theme, IVANOV said that the audience to be targeted by such operations was the educated youth in America as the PA assessed that there was still a chance they could be persuaded to vote for Republican candidate Donald TRUMP as a protest against the Washington establishment (in the form of Democratic candidate Hillary CLINTON). The hope was that even if she won, as a result of this CLINTON in power would be bogged down in working for internal reconciliation in the US, rather than being able to focus on foreign policy which could damage Russia’s interests. This also should give President PUTIN more room for manoeuvre [sic] in the run-up to Russia’s own presidential election in 2018.
3. IVANOV reported that although the Kremlin had underestimated the strength of US media and liberal reaction to the DNC hack and TRUMP’s links to Russia, PUTIN was generally satisfied with the progress of the anti-CLINTON operation to date. He recently had had a drink with PUTIN to mark this. In IVANOV’s view, the US had tried to divide the Russian elite with sanctions but failed, whilst they, by contrast, had succeeded in splitting the US hawks inimical to Russia and the Washington elite more generally, half of whom had refused to endorse any presidential candidate as a result of Russian intervention.
4. Speaking separately, also in early August 2016, a Kremlin official involved in US relations commented on aspects of the Russian operation to date. Its goals had been three-fold – asking sympathetic US actors how Moscow could help them; gathering relevant intelligence; and creating and disseminating compromising information (‘kompromat’). This had involved the Kremlin supporting various US political figures, including funding indirectly their recent trips to Moscow. S/he named a delegation from Lyndon LAROUCHE; presidential candidate Jill STEIN of the Green Party; TRUMP foreign policy advisor Carter PAGE; and former DIA Director Michael FLYNN, in this regard and as successful in terms of perceived outcomes.
10 August 2016