The FBI and five other intelligence agencies are probing suspected Russia-Donald Trump election funding.
The agencies – the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Director of National Intelligence – are investigating the Kremlin interference in the election, the McClatchy Washington Bureau (via Think Progress) reported Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.
According to the report, the agencies are probing claims that a system for delivering government pensions to Russians living in the U.S. may have been used to pay money to hackers who stole Hillary Clinton’s emails – that were leaked through WikiLeaks – from Democratic Party computers.
The report suggests that agencies “are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win.”
“One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers,” McClatchy reported, citing the two sources.
The U.S. intelligence community believe that Russia was involved in helping Trump win the election.
Earlier this month, the intelligence agencies issued a declassified report concluding that “President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The intelligence report states that agencies “further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump”.
“Moscow’s influence campaign following a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt effort by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls,’” according to the report.
Trump will be inaugurated on Friday. Still, it is unclear whether incoming administration will continue the investigation process that could undermine the legitimacy of his presidency.
The president-elect has said called allegations a “political witch hunt” and a “complete and total fabrication.” However, Trump believe that Russia interfered in the U.S. election but that those actions didn’t change the outcome.
Trump hasn’t disclose whether FBI Director James Comey will be retained. The investigation involving the president-elect will be inherited by Trump’s newly appointed intelligence and law enforcement chiefs.
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