President-elect Trump denied his campaign had contacts with the Russian government, accusing the USA intelligence agencies as well as the Obama administration of hyping the story about his Russian ties to sabotage his administration.
One official said McGahn's memo instructs White House staff to preserve material from Trump's time in office, and for those who worked on the campaign, relevant material from the election. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
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.
Currently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and committees in both chambers of Congress are conducting their own probes into Russia's involvement in the US election and, more specifically, the country's connection to the Trump campaign.
Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating the issues surrounding Russia's meddling.
Congressional staffers have said they are not aware of any evidence that materials related to Russian Federation are not being preserved.
The Obama administration also tried to spread the information outside of the executive branch of government, passing along some intelligence to members of Congress.
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Three unnamed American officials told the New York Times that those efforts, which they said were not directed by Barack Obama himself, were aimed at preserving the intelligence as well as ensuring such meddling would not happen again in United States or European elections.
The House Intelligence Committee set the scope of its own investigation into Russia's interference on Monday. Though in February Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn stepped down after it was revealed that he lied about having contact with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn resigned last month after admitting that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the January 20 inauguration.
His comments came after revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russia's ambassador to the USA and failed to disclose those meetings when asked about the topic during his confirmation hearing.
"I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign", Sessions says, "And the idea that I was part of a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false".
Sessions met Kislyak on the sidelines on the Republican National Convention in July, then in his office in September, the report said, citing Justice Department officials.