Obama aides left a trail of intelligence about possible Russian election hack

On Tuesday, White House lawyers instructed Trump's staff to preserve intelligence related to Russia's interference with the 2016 election and other relevant investigations, the Associated Press reported.

A Trump spokesman said the White House was "simply taking proactive steps" and called the accusations of nefarious ties between the president and Russian Federation "false and politically motivated attacks".

A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that Russian President Vladimir Putin developed a clear preference for Trump over Hillary Clinton, and the Kremlin aimed to undermine US democracy and Clinton's candidacy.

While the Dutch and British services were warning Washington about these contacts, the US intelligence services also intercepted communications between Russians in which they discussed contacts with people affiliated with Trump and to what extent to interfere in the USA elections. The officials, who spoke to the Times anonymously because they were divulging classified information, said they were coming forward in order to bring attention to the need for further Congressional investigation into the matter.

The Obama administration also tried to spread the information outside of the executive branch of government, passing along some intelligence to members of Congress. Just last week, it was even reported that the administration took the unprecedented step of reaching out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and essentially begging the agency to shoot down media reports linking Trump's presidential campaign to Moscow.

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The news of the meeting - first reported by the New York Times - comes on the heels of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' admission that he also met with Kislyak twice during the campaign, but failed to mention the encounters when questioned under oath during his confirmation hearing. NSA chief wants to loosen rules on cyberweapons MORE (D-Calif) agreed on the scope of their committee's investigation into issues surrounding Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

But the extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Mr. Trump's incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect's most trusted advisers. Trump fired Flynn after the discrepancies in his account were publicly revealed.

The FBI interviewed Flynn about the contacts days after the inauguration.

Sessions met Kislyak on the sidelines on the Republican National Convention in July, then in his office in September, the report said, citing Justice Department officials. According to several anonymous U.S. sources, Sessions met with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, twice in 2016.

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