Adding to the number of investigations into the putative Russian interference in the US elections, officials now say the FBI, CIA, NSA, Treasury Department, Justice Department, and Director of National Intelligence have for months been probing possible “covert Russian aid” to the Trump campaign.
Officials say the working group began operating last spring, and that investigators are still trying to figure out how the Russian government would’ve moved all the money necessary to “covertly help Trump win,” theorizing that they were using a system for Russian pensioners living in the US.
As with most of the theories surrounding Russian meddling in the US election, this investigation appears to exist wholly independent of actual evidence that it actually happened, and a lot of the conclusions reached by the various agencies seem to be based on them starting with a pre-conceived notion of what was happening and then shaping the limited intelligence they collected to fit that narrative. This was apparently going since spring.
This means that the investigation into Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign before the DNC hack even happened, reportedly on the basis of an unnamed “Baltic ally” telling the CIA that they believed Russia was planning to funnel money into the US to influence the election.
If that report (initially from the BBC) is accurate, it might suggest the anti-Trump investigation was initiated by one of the Baltic states, during a time in the primary season in which Trump was being attacked for criticism of the amount of money the US spends on NATO, a sore spot for the Baltic states.
President-elect Trump has denied any deals with the Russian government, and has presented the repeated accusations as a “political witch hunt.” Russia has similarly denied any attempt to influence the US election, and WikiLeaks has denied getting any of the leaked emails from Russia or any other state actor.