During a special briefing last Friday, leaders of the intelligence community gave President-elect Donald Trump a synopsis of unsubstantiated allegations that Russian operatives had obtained potentially compromising personal and financial information about the president-elect, a U.S. official confirmed Tuesday.
The official who is not authorized to comment publicly, said that the document was provided along with the intelligence community's assessment that Russia had meddled in the U.S. election.
The separate document presented to the president-elect represented a summary of a much larger 35-page compilation of documents prepared by a former foreign intelligence officer. The officer, the official said, is known to U.S. intelligence, but the contents of the specific contents of the document have not been verified.
The decision to present the information to Trump, first reported by CNN, was made after it was determined that the document—in many forms—had been circulated widely to political opposition researchers, U.S. lawmakers, journalists and others.
In the end, U.S. authorities determined that Trump needed to know the information, if he didn’t know its existence already, the official said, adding that the contents remained the subject of investigation.
Trump responded Tuesday evening by Twitter, calling the report "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!"
CNN said it reviewed the compilation of the memos, described as originating as opposition research first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. Buzzfeed has posted the intelligence documents.
The summary document also includes allegations that information was exchanged over a long period of time between the Russian government and Trump representatives.
Then-Senate minority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., angry over FBI statements about the email investigation of Clinton, referenced these allegations in an October letter to the bureau. It said in part, "it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States."