Russia-Trump campaign contacts a concern, ex-CIA chief says

Former CIA chief says there were contacts between Russia and Trump aides

His statements about the number of contacts between associates of the Trump campaign and the Russians again put details about contacts with the Kremlin into the spotlight as reports emerged that Mr Trump had asked his national intelligence director and NSA chief to state publicly there was no evidence of collusion before investigations into the matter were complete.

He also says that before sharing such classified intelligence with foreign partners, the USA would go back to the intelligence partner that provided the information to make sure what was shared would not compromise operatives.

Brennan confirmed that by last summer, the intelligence showing Russian intervention in the election included striking contacts with members of the Trump circle.

Appearing before the House Intelligence Committee in Washington on Tuesday, Mr Brennan said he had encountered and was aware of "information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign".

Brennan called the appearance "despicable" and said that Trump should be "ashamed".

Brennan's testimony was the first public confirmation of the worry at high levels of the us government past year over suspicious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Moscow.

Brennan was among the top officials who briefed then-President Elect Trump on that conclusion - which represented the consensus view of the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Republicans on the House intelligence committee pushed Brennan about whether there was evidence of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, a point President Donald Trump has tried to enlist allies to quash. Moscow has denied the allegation. He also discussed his concerns about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"It should be clear to everyone Russian Federation brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so", Brennan said.

Brennan has feuded publicly with Trump over the president's treatment of intelligence agencies.

Brennan, testifying for the first time as a private citizen, offered up a stream of news and developments Tuesday morning, but the biggest was clearly that he saw evidence that Trump aides were being courted by Russian operatives. "They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including USA individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly", the former Central Intelligence Agency director said.

Republican Representative Trey Gowdy asked Brennan: "Did you see evidence of collusion, coordination and conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors?".

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats refused to confirm or deny those reports.

The former FBI director was appointed last week to serve as special counsel overseeing a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

In October, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security jointly stated that Russian Federation had hacked Democratic National Committee servers and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's personal email account and leaked their documents to WikiLeaks in an attempt to discredit Clinton before the election. The FSB head denied such a campaign, according to Brennan, but said he would pass along USA concerns to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

As Trump's campaign chairman during several key months in 2016, Manafort was tasked with managing the chaotic effort as the NY businessman shifted from being a Republican outsider to taking control of the party apparatus as its presidential nominee.

The Post reported that the president asked Mr. Coats and the National Security Agency director, Adm. Mike Rogers, to deny publicly the existence of any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Later, when Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., asked the question as a hypothetical, Coats said his role was to "gather intelligence to present to political bodies".

"I don't feel that it's appropriate to characterize my discussions with the president", he said after being asked about it by Sen.

The Post reported Coats and Rogers declined the request.

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