Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him

This from Scott Shane, Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times:

The chiefs of America’s intelligence agencies last week presented President Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Mr. Trump, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.

 

What a day for my internet to go out. I spent most of the day reading and occasionally checking Twitter from my phone, and almost did a spit take when news first started hitting about Trump, Russia and "compromising" information. 

You've probably heard some of the more salacious details by now, but what's important here isn't so much the more tabloid-like fodder, it's the possibility that people on Trumps team may have been working together with Russian officials. If proven true these claims would be grounds for treason. From the Times piece:

The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.

If some of the unproven claims in the memos are merely titillating, others would amount to extremely serious, potentially treasonous acts.

One of the opposition research memos quotes an unidentified Russian source as claiming that the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails was carried out “with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.” In return, the memo said, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue” because Mr. Putin “needed to cauterize the subject.”

Mr. Trump is giving a press conference today, and will surely at least mention these explosive claims. Tensions between the president-elect and our countries intelligence committees are already high, but this story will no doubt add gasoline to the fire.