The Trump-Russia Memos, Roughly Explained

A collection of opposition research memos containing unverified allegations of collusion between Presidential-elect Donald Trump’s team and Russia to interfere in the 2016 election set off a firestorm. Trump has vehemently denied the allegations and suggested that the memos were leaked by U.S. intelligence agencies seeking to undermine his Presidency before it begins. Despite extensive efforts over several weeks, neither the FBI nor journalists have verified any of the charges.

WHAT HAPPENED
On Tuesday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence agencies briefed Presidential-elect Trump on a 35-page dossier of opposition research memos, which included unverified allegations that Russia had compromising information on Trump and that several of his close associates were in regular contact with the Kremlin. Because neither the FBI nor CNN had been able to confirm if the claims were true, CNN declined to give further details.

CNN: Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him

Following CNN’s report, BuzzFeed News released the full 35-page document. It included details of the compromising information that the Kremlin allegedly had compiled on Trump, including a lurid descriptions of a bizarre sexual encounter between Trump and several prostitutes during a 2013 visit to Moscow. It also included explosive charges that Trump’s team worked closely with Russia in Vladimir Putin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

BUZZED: These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia

The release of the memos was met with angry denials from President-Elect Donald Trump who denounced them as “fake news” and suggested that U.S. intelligence agencies deliberately leaked them to undermine him. U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper disputed this, saying that, to his knowledge, no one in the intelligence community was responsible for the leak.

DNI Clapper Statement on Conversation with President-elect Trump

WHO WAS BEHIND IT?
The memos were first commissioned by one of Trump’s GOP primary opponents. The Clinton campaign continued the investigation that led to the memo’s release. They were written by a former British spy, but are not the work of U.S. or any other intelligence agencies.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The allegations are serious. If they prove true, it would be among the biggest scandals in history. However, while new information continues to emerge, the key allegations still remain unverified.

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