President-elect Donald Trump was informed about the existence of the unverified allegations against him about Russian ties after last Friday’s Intel briefing at Trump Tower on alleged Russian hacking, U.S. officials told NBC News.
A senior U.S. official said that it was FBI Director James Comey himself who pulled Trump aside after the briefing and spoke with him one-on-one about the so-called “dossier,” 35 pages of memos prepared by a former British spy for an anti-Trump client prior to last year’s election. As NBC News has previously reported, Trump was not told about the contents of the dossier during the formal briefing, as NBC has previously reported.
Comey was among the U.S. officials who traveled to New York for the president-elect’s briefing.
A summary of the 35 pages was prepared as background material for the intelligence briefing, but not discussed during the meeting, according to a senior official with knowledge of preparations for the briefing. During Trump’s press conference Wednesday morning, the president-elect said he was made aware of the information “outside that meeting.”
The full 35-page document, which was published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday, includes claims that the Russian government has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for five years — even obtaining compromising information in an effort to blackmail him. (BuzzFeed is partially funded by the parent company of NBC News.)
The document, which was prepared by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, contains obvious errors. It was originally generated as part of opposition research by anti-Trump Republicans and then shopped by Democrats.