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Trump denies being compromised by Russians in flurry of tweets

Margaret Talev, Chris Strohm and Toluse Olorunnipa, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump vigorously denied that the Russian government had compromised him, after an unsubstantiated report was published detailing potentially damaging information Russia had collected about his finances and conduct.

"Russia has never tried to use leverage over me," Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday morning. "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA -- NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"

U.S. intelligence officials have informed Trump about the unsubstantiated reports they've received that the Russian government had compiled potentially damaging personal and financial information on him, a person familiar with the situation said.

CNN reported on Tuesday that as part of a briefing on Russian attempts to meddle in the presidential election, U.S. spy chiefs included a two-page summary of memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative about alleged Kremlin operations to gather prejudicial information on Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The FBI hasn't been able to verify the information in the documents, CNN said.

In a Wednesday morning Twitter post, Trump highlighted the Kremlin's denial of the allegations. "Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is 'A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.' Very unfair!" Trump tweeted.

"I win an election easily, a great 'movement' is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS," Trump posted on Wednesday. "A sorry state!"

BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the entire 35-page compilation of memos, which contain potentially damaging but uncorroborated information about Trump and his associates. The person confirmed that the document was the same as the material in the government's possession.

The aim of the alleged Russian government intelligence-gathering was to leverage the information to shift U.S. policy toward Russia, including by potentially blackmailing Trump, according to the memos. President Barack Obama also was briefed on the documents.

Trump also retweeted a Trump Organization official, Executive Vice President Michael Cohen, who tweeted that "I have never been to Prague in my life" with a picture of the front of his passport. One of the memos alleged that Cohen had met with "Kremlin officials" in Prague in August 2016.

Representatives of Trump's transition did not respond to requests for comment. FBI spokesman Andrew Ames declined to comment.


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