Former President Barack Obama’s administration, in its last days, fervently endeavored to disseminate information allegedly detailing possible interactions between President Donald Trump’s associates and Russian officials, reports the New York Times (NYT).
NYT reports, “At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies.”
The Times adds, “There was also an effort to pass reports and other sensitive materials to Congress,” allegedly including Republican members, but more often Democrats, who got the bulk of the information given the nature of the content and the fact that they share the same party identification with Obama officials.
Although NYT acknowledges that the Obama administration did not know the contents of the meetings between Russian officials and associates of then-President-elect Donald Trump, the newspaper still determined that the purpose of the interactions were to undermine the presidential election.
The Times report is based on accounts from former anonymous Obama officials that detail alleged contacts and meetings before President Donald Tump was inaugurated.
According to NYT, his subordinates kept former President Obama in the dark about sharing of intelligence on the alleged Russian-Trump connection.
“As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not,” reports NYT.
Although Obama allegedly did not know his officials were spreading information claiming a relationship between Trump associates and Kremlin officials, the former president “ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of the Russian campaign.”
NYT acknowledges that what happened at the meetings [between Trump associates and Russia] is unclear to the officials, and the intercepted communications did little to clarify matters.”
It later adds, “the nature of the contacts [between the Trump team and the Kremlin also] remains unknown.” Nonetheless, NYT still determines the Russian official and Trump associates likely discussed “how far to go in interfering in the presidential election” at the meetings.
Citing the meetings and contacts, the Times also concludes that the “Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed.”
The newspaper also cites information from American agencies, the British, and the Dutch saying that Russian officials and Trump associates met at European cities.
Efforts to gather and preserve intelligence on the Trump-Russian connection persisted until the final hours of President Barack Obama’s administration.
The NYT report came as Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russian-linked probes over a meeting he had with an official from the Kremlin.