Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trump Aides 'Exchanged 18 Calls and Emails with Kremlin during Poll Race'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trump Aides 'Exchanged 18 Calls and Emails with Kremlin during Poll Race'

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner US Correspondent

THE crisis engulfing Donald Trump's presidency deepened today as new allegations emerged about links between the billionaire's election campaign team and the Kremlin.

Key Trump advisers allegedly exchanged at least 18 calls and emails with Russian officials in the last seven months of the US presidential race, according to a Reuters report.

Citing unnamed sources, the news agency alleges six of the previouslyundisclosed contacts were phone calls between Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and aides including Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's former national security adviser.

Following the election, the two reportedly established a back channel for communication between Mr Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin that could bypass the US national security bureaucracy.

The alleged interactions are reportedly among the materials being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in November's presidential election and contacts between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia.

Today's report emerged as a newlyappointed special investigator took charge of the FBI investigation a twist in the "Russia-gate" scandal that sent the dollar and US stocks tumbling. Fresh revelations also emerged about Mr Trump's ill-fated decision to appoint Mr Flynn as his national security adviser. The New York Times reported that Mr Flynn was the subject of an FBI investigation before he was appointed and the Trump camp was aware that he was under suspicion when he was given the highly sensitive job.

The Trump transition team was allegedly informed weeks before the new president moved into the White House that Mr Flynn was being investigated for allegedly secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the presidential campaign.

Despite the warning, Mr Trump went ahead and hired the retired lieutenantgeneral to one of America's most sensitive posts. …

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