President Donald Trump’s relations with Russia are under the scanner again as a 35-page dossier put together by a former British spy, which went viral last month, is being scrutinized by law enforcement, CBS News reported Friday citing sources.
The documents were published online days before Trump was sworn in as president. However, in a press conference on Jan. 11, Trump dismissed the dossier, which claimed that Moscow had compromising financial and personal information on him. The documents claimed that sexual details were also a part of the information obtained.
“Does anyone really believe that story?” Trump said at the time, defending himself against allegations of sexual misbehavior. “I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way – believe me.”
The dossier claimed that during one of Trump’s visits to Moscow, he booked a suite at the Ritz-Carlton, specifically one where the then-President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stayed during their visit. Kremlin had reportedly bugged the hotel and gathered compromising information on Trump to blackmail him.
The unverified documents first surfaced months ago and even after BuzzFeed News made them public, investigators continued to examine them for more details, the sources told CBS. While the FBI has taken the lead in this, a number of other intelligence agencies are also reportedly involved.
The sources say that although many people were not taking the documents seriously when they first came to light, a large number are reassessing their stand after Trump’s remarks about Russia during his campaign trail. While Democrat Hillary Clinton was openly critical of Russia, Trump took to praising Russian leader Vladimir Putin and went on to dismiss the alleged hacking of the Democratic Party by Moscow.
On Thursday, after denying that he discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s spokesman reportedly said that Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Trump administration officials have said that there have been phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak, at least one of which took place around the time Obama was expelling a number of Russian diplomats from the country, in response to the cyberattacks.