Washington, DC. It is becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump’s opposition seeks to unseat him by playing the Russian card as a security issue.
Former adviser Michael Flynn and other consultants to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former US intelligence sources state.
There were six phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and four former officials said.
The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the US presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia. The investigative bodies are looking to put together enough information to un-seat Trump as President through impeachment, sources report.
Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 victory as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the US national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current US officials said.
Trump White House officials initially denied any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The White House and advisers to the campaign have since confirmed four meetings between Kislyak and Trump advisers during that time.
American intelligence officials who described the contacts to reporters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far. But the disclosure could increase the pressure on Trump and his aides to provide the FBI and Congress with a full account of interactions with Russian officials and others with links to the Kremlin during and immediately after the 2016 election.