Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians, sources say

The contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government included at least six phone calls between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak.

The previously unknown communications were part of a body of the information now being reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional investigators who are examining ties between the Trump campaign and Russia amid suspicions of Russian meddling with the presidential vote.

Besides the six phone calls involving Flynn, the 12 other contacts were calls, emails and text messages between Trump campaign advisers and Russian officials, or people believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

These newly revealed conversations happened between April and November of 2016, at the same time the world was learning of Russian efforts to intervene in the USA election on Donald Trump's behalf.

Officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity noted that they "had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation in the communications reviewed so far".

The retired Army general was sacked in February after misleading Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Kislyak in which he promised to lift recent sanctions by the Obama administration.

The calls and emails, which had previously not been disclosed, make up part of the record that is being assembled as part of the investigation being run by the FBI as well as the congressional investigation into the ties between Russian Federation and the Trump administration and campaign. After the White House first announced that the firing was not related to the alleged ties with Russia, President Trump told NBC News anchor Lester Holt in an interview, according to CNN, that part of the reason Comey was sacked was his insistence of moving forward with "this Russia thing". [Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images] In recent days, after several weeks of stalled congressional investigations, the Trump administration became the target of interest again with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was reportedly continuing the investigation into the possibility of Russian connections with members of the Trump campaign and administration. Mueller will head the FBI investigation that began last July.

One of those contacts was by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and politician, according to one person with detailed knowledge of the exchange and two others familiar with the issue. However, officials can request that they be revealed for intelligence purposes.

President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House on May 10, 2017.

"I am not acquainted with any of Donald Trump's close associates, therefore no such conversation could have taken place", he said. In Moscow, a Russian foreign ministry official declined to comment on the contacts and referred Reuters to the Trump administration.

Though it's anyone's guess as to whether Trump has the wherewithal to conduct a private channel of communication with Putin, considering the 70-year-old rotten apricot casually gave away highly classified Israeli intelligence to Russian officials at last week's meeting in the Oval.

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