White House Denies Russian Connection During Election

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — President Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Wednesday.

The high-profile foreign visit comes amid a new report focusing on ties between members of Mr. Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign and Russia.

A bombshell report published in the New York Times on Tuesday cites four current and former American officials with direct knowledge of the FBI’s classified probe into Russia’s potential meddling in the 2016 election

The unnamed officials said federal agents are “sifting through” a trove of “intercepted communications” which “members of the president’s campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

Among those named in the report was Paul Manafort who served as Mister Trump’s campaign chairman for several months.

“There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer when pressed.

Spicer denied any such pre-election contact amid a barrage of questions over Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser.

The former Lieutenant general was ousted Monday over conversations with the Russian ambassador back in December about U-S sanctions.

“There is not an illegal issue, but rather a trust issue,” said Spicer.

That decision came at least three weeks after the FBI and the Justice Department notified the White House that Flynn may have lied about the interactions.

Democrats and Republicans remain divided over whether the issue calls for a public hearing.

“If there is any emergency at this moment in this history of this country, this is the moment,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland.

The president is expected to name a new national security advisor by the end of the week.

A law enforcement source tells CBS News investigators are also working to determine whether sensitive U.S. information including corporate trade secrets was shared by Trump associates with Russia.

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