American intelligence and law enforcement agencies are looking at intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of an investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s associates and the Kremlin, the New York Times reports.
The report, published less than 24 hours before Trump is inaugurated, is reportedly focused on examining the business dealings that some of Trump’s closest confidants and operatives have had in Russia, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, already the subject of an FBI inquiry into his dealings in Russia and Ukraine.
At least two other campaign advisors, Carter Page and Roger Stone, are also being examined, according to The Times report.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA and the financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department. But it is unclear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Trump or his campaign, the Times noted. It’s also unclear whether it is related to the investigation into hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Russian attempts to interfere with the election.
Manafort told The Times that he has never had any interaction with the Russian government and called the allegations “a Democratic Party dirty trick and completely false.”
Trump has repeatedly disputed that the Kremlin tried to influence the 2016 presidential election in his favor, despite overwhelming agreement by the U.S. intelligence community on that point.
The counterintelligence investigation is not tied to an unverified 35-page dossier that’s said to show Russia has compromising information on Trump. That dossier — the subject of another FBI probe — became the subject of news reports earlier this month, when CNN reported that Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama were briefed on a summary of the memos.