The Trump administration begins another day with fresh questions over its close ties with Russia. This comes as controversy continues to swirl about the resignation of a top administration official for his inappropriate discussions with the Russia’s ambassador.
A New York Times report late Tuesday says phone records and intercepted calls show that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team and other Trump associates were in constant contact with senior Russian intelligence officials before the election.
Based on interviews with current and former American officials, the Times said U.S. intelligence agencies gathered the information when they discovered Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer system. But there’s no evidence yet that the Trump campaign schemed with the Russians to interfere with the election.
Still, repeated contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence alarmed American intelligence agencies because they occurred while Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in campaign speeches.
The Times’ sources identified Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as one of the president’s advisers whose calls were intercepted. Manafort, however, denies wrongdoing.
“This is absurd,” he told the newspaper. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
The White House declined a Times request to comment on the report. However, the administration’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, said earlier on Tuesday that Trump denies that his campaign had contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.
This fresh controversy comes on the heels of Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigning his post Monday after revelations that he inappropriately discussed American sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador. Flynn also misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials about those communications.
55 Photos To Make You Miss The Obamas
1. Barack gives daughter Malia a kissSource:Getty 1 of 46
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 46
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 46
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 46
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 46
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 46
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 46
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 46
9. The Obamas on Air Force OneSource:Getty 9 of 46
10. The First Family in LondonSource:Getty 10 of 46
11. First Lady Michelle Obama with daughters Malia Obama and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 11 of 46
12. Sasha and Malia Obama at the 2016 State DinnerSource:Getty 12 of 46
13. Turkey PardoningSource:Getty 13 of 46
14. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 14 of 46
15. Gobble, GobbleSource:Getty 15 of 46
16. Obama & SashaSource:Instagram 16 of 46
17. Malia Obama, the First DaughterSource:Getty 17 of 46
18. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 18 of 46
19. Team ObamaSource:Instagram 19 of 46
20. A Family AffairSource:Getty 20 of 46
21. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 21 of 46
22. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 22 of 46
23. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 23 of 46
24. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 24 of 46
25. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 25 of 46
26. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 26 of 46
27. Playing In The Oval OfficeSource:Instagram 27 of 46
28. Always Giving BackSource:Getty 28 of 46
29. A Christmas StorySource:Getty 29 of 46
30. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 30 of 46
31. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 31 of 46
32. Malia and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 32 of 46
33. Michelle Plays on a BikeSource:Getty 33 of 46
34. Obama Loves Team USA, His Wife & MaliaSource:Getty 34 of 46
35. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 35 of 46
36. Family SupportSource:Getty 36 of 46
37. The Sister SelfieSource:Pete Souza 37 of 46
38. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 38 of 46
39. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 39 of 46
40. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 40 of 46
41. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 41 of 46
42. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 42 of 46
43. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 43 of 46
44. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 44 of 46
45. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 45 of 46
46. Christmas Tree LightingSource:Getty 46 of 46
SOURCE: New York Times