Noting deep concerns among President Barack Obama's aides that the incoming Trump administration would expose the sources of the intelligence information or would attempt to cover up or destroy it once Trump took office, aides reportedly worked into the final hours of Obama's presidency to spread and preserve as much intelligence as possible.
What they did: United States officials included as much raw intel about the contacts and election meddling as possible into analyses, and raised specific topics in briefings knowing their comments would be archived.
The memo, which was sent to White House staff on Tuesday, comes after Senate Democrats last week asked the White House and law enforcement agencies to keep all materials involving contacts that Trump's administration, campaign and transition team - or anyone acting on their behalf - have had with Russian government officials or their associates. Reports were also kept at a relatively low level of classification to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government and, in some cases, European allies. In one instance, the State Department sent a cache of documents marked "secret" to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the January 20 inauguration.
The top Republican and Democrat on the House intelligence committee had conflicting messages Thursday when they emerged from a 31/2-hour closed-door briefing with FBI Director James Comey on Russian activities during the presidential election.
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The committee will investigate links between Russian Federation and individuals associated with political campaigns and the USA government's response as well as possible leaks of classified information by the intelligence community.
Sessions's spokeswoman said "there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer", since the conversations in question were not as a Trump campaign activist.
Reports on the Obama administration's efforts to preserve intelligence regarding contact between Trump associates and Moscow coincided with the revelation Wednesday night that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice past year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. "There continues to be no there, there", Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said. Former Obama aides told The Times that none of these efforts were directed by the former president. "When the intelligence community does that type of comprehensive review, it is standard practice that a significant amount of information would be compiled and documented".