FBI investigating 18 conversations between Trump's team and Russians held during election campaign

The FBI is probing 18 phone calls and emails during Trump's campaign as part of the investigation into the alleged Russian involvement in the presidential election and Moscow's contacts with Trump. Among those in touch with the Russians: former adviser Michael Flynn.
US President Donald Trump Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Michael Flynn and other advisers who worked with Donald Trump during his campaign were in contact with Moscow officials on at least 18 occasions, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday. The report was published following the appointment of an independent prosecutor for the investigation of the Trump-Russia affair by the US Department of Justice.

According to the report, these conversations included phone calls and e-mails over the last seven months of the election campaign in 2016, former and current US government officials said.

Fired former adviser Michael Flynn Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

These top US officials told Reuters that six other senior officials including Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser who was fired, were in contact with Russian officials, the most prominent being Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. These conversations, revealed today for the first time, are currently under investigation by the FBI. The bureau is examining the alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 US election as well as a possible connection between the president's team and Moscow.

According to the report, after the election on November 8, Flynn and Kislyak discussed setting up a direct channel between Trump and the Russian president. This would bypass the bureaucracy of the US security services, which were perceived as "hostile to improving relations between the two countries."

The White House initially denied any contact with Russian officials during the campaign but in January, senior officials in the administration confirmed that four meetings had taken place between Kislyak and Trump's advisers.

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