US Intel Chief: Collusion unclear but Russia, Trump contact alarming

World Today

While President Donald Trump is overseas, his presence looms large back in Washington, D.C.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials were summoned to Capitol Hill to testify about Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

US Intel Chief: collusion unclear but concerning contact between Russia, Trump campaign

While President Donald Trump is overseas, his presence looms large back in Washington, DC. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials were summoned to Capitol Hill to testify about Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. CGTN’s White House correspondent Jessica Stone reports.

Former President Barack Obama’s CIA chief John Brennan said he was the first official to notify the U.S. government of Moscow’s alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential race. Moscow has denied all allegations of interference.

Brennan testified that three months before election day, he personally warned Russia’s intelligence chief to back off. He said he was concerned over the number of contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives. Brennan believes Moscow wanted Trump to win the White House. Still, he stopped short of accusing the Trump campaign of collusion.

Brennan said he often shared classified information with Russian officials – as President Trump reportedly did recently in the Oval Office. But he suggested that Trump broke protocol by giving the information to diplomats rather than intelligence operatives and not asking the intelligence provider for permission to share.

While traveling in Rome, a Trump spokesperson weighed in, writing in part, “there is still no evidence of any Russia-Trump campaign collusion, that the President never jeopardized intelligence sources or sharing.”

U.S. media reports have alleged that Trump pressured his national security chief and his director of national intelligence to publicly deny the Russia collusion allegations. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats – who was appointed by Trump – also admitted in his testimony that he never asked the president about the reports that he may have shared classified information with Russian diplomats.