Last week, the chiefs of America’s intelligence agencies presented President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected on the country’s soon to be 45th president.
According to The New York Times, the information was compromising and salacious, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.
The summary is based on memos generated by political operatives seeking to derail Trump’s presidency. Details of the documents began circulating in the fall and were widely known among Washington’s journalists and politicians.
The two-page summary was presented as an appendix to the intelligence agencies’ report on Russian hacking efforts during the election, officials said. The material was not corroborated and so far, the claims have not been confirmed.
But intelligence agencies considered it to be potentially explosive, so they decided to informed the President, President-elect Trump and congressional leaders as they actively investigate the document’s claims.
Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to dispel the report:
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin, dismissed the allegations.
“The Kremlin has no compromising dossier on Trump, such information isn’t consistent with reality and is nothing but an absolute fantasy,” Spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov said at a news conference.
The appendix summarized opposition research memos prepared mainly by a retired British intelligence operative for a Washington political and corporate research firm. They suggest that for many years, the Russian government has sought out ways to influence Trump, who has repeatedly traveled to Moscow to look into real estate deals or to oversee the Ms. Universe competition.
The former British intelligence officer who gathered the material is considered to be a competent and reliable operative with extensive experience in Russia, according to U.S. officials. But what he was told by Russian informants and others is the information he passed on the intelligence operatives. American intelligence has yet to vet the validity of the documents.
The memos describe intimate videos involving Trump and sex workers during a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. They were reportedly prepared as “kompromat,” or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Trump in the future.
The memos also suggest that Russian officials proposed various deals, essentially as disguised bribes in order to gain influence over Trump. According to the memos, several meetings between Trump representatives and Russian officials took place during the 2016 presidential election campaign, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.
The F.B.I. obtained the material long before the election. Some of the memos in the opposition research dossier are dated back to June.