White House staff told to save Russia-related materials

FILE Jan. 23 2017 National Intelligence Director nominee former Indiana Sen Dan Coats

In the final days of Barack Obama's presidency, officials in the administration worked quickly and quietly to preserve intelligence related to Russia's connection to Donald Trump's campaign and it's interference in the US election, according to The New York Times.

Top House Intel Committee member Adam Schiff expressed frustration Thursday about FBI Director James Comey, saying the FBI was not forthcoming about their investigation of ties between Russian Federation and the Trump administration, and said for the first time there should be a special prosecutor to investigate.

Currently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and committees in both chambers of Congress are conducting their own probes into Russia's involvement in the USA election and, more specifically, the country's connection to the Trump campaign.

President Donald Trump has been dogged by questions about his advisers' ties to Russian Federation since the campaign.

The House Committee on Intelligence said Wednesday it would look at what Russian activities were directed against the US during the election and whether anyone connected to the campaigns was involved.

Read the whole story from Reuters.

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Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Comey was "forthright" and that the meeting was a "good first step" in getting the FBI's cooperation with the panel's investigation, though he added that more information from the FBI and the intelligence community would be needed.

A White House official said President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and the man who would become national security advisor, Michael Flynn, met with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.in December.

"Did the Russian active measures include links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. Persons?" Flynn initially told Vice-President Mike Pence and other Trump advisers that he did not discuss sanctions with the envoy during the transition, though it was later revealed that he did. But Trump and Nunes have both said that the threat of leaks is a bigger risk than Flynn's alleged overreach. "Obviously, we'd like to know if there is", he said.

Mr Trump has denied having any knowledge that aides were in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, and such denials prompted Obama-era officials to rush to preserve any evidence to the contrary, according to the Times.

"We haven't obtained any of the evidence yet, so it's premature for us to be saying we've reached any conclusion about the issue of collusion", he said, noting that the investigation had neither gathered evidence or formally called witnesses. This allowed the upload of as much intelligence as possible to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information. "That's not a substitute for an investigation".

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