Ex-CIA chief Brennan says Trump-Russia inquiry ‘well-founded’ — Trump Russia inquiry: Lawyer ‘chosen’ by president — Pressure mounts as Senate subpoenas Flynn again — UK – Police focus on Libya amid reports of arrest of Salman Abedi’s brother
Former CIA Director John Brennan has said an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Kremlin is “well-founded”.
He told the House Intelligence Committee he was aware of intelligence showing contact between Russian officials and “US persons involved in the Trump campaign”.
Mr Brennan said the Russians “brazenly interfered” in last November’s US elections and were “very aggressive”.
But he said he did not know if the Trump campaign intrigued with Moscow.
Mr Brennan, who stepped down as CIA director in January, testified on Tuesday: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.“It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals.”
Donald Trump has appointed lawyer Marc Kasowitz to represent him in an inquiry into Russia’s alleged meddling in the US presidential election and any links to the Trump campaign, US media report.
Mr Trump has used services of the New York lawyer – known as a tenacious litigator – for more than a decade.
Last week, former FBI boss Robert Mueller was named special counsel for the Department of Justice inquiry.
President Trump denies any collusion between his campaign and Russia.
However, US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the 2016 election in favour of Mr Trump.Mr Kasowitz and the White House have so far made no public comments on the reported appointment.
Congressional investigators on Tuesday issued a fresh warning to Michael Flynn to turn over documents pertaining to the investigation of Russian interference in the US election, escalating pressure on Donald Trump’s former national security adviser to either comply or risk being held in contempt.
Leaders of the Senate intelligence committee, which is overseeing one of the three separate inquiries into potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Moscow, announced two new subpoenas for Flynn’s business records a day after he rejected earlier requests for documents by invoking his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.
Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the top Republican and Democrat on the panel, told reporters on Capitol Hill they were considering “all options” available to compel Flynn’s cooperation with their investigation. Among the possibilities, the senators acknowledged, was to hold Flynn in contempt of Congress, a criminal charge, if he continued down the path of refusing compliance.
“The end of that option is a contempt charge,” Burr said. “That’s not our preference today. We would like to hear from Gen Flynn.”
“We’d like to see his documents, we’d like him to tell his story because he publicly said, ‘I’ve got a story to tell’,” Burr added. “We’re allowing him that opportunity.”
Police and the security service are focusing upon the Libyan connections of the Manchester suicide bomber as they attempt to locate others involved in the attack that killed 22 concert-goers and injured more than 60 others.
Salman Abedi travelled to see his mother, father, younger brother and sister in Libya last week but Whitehall sources said they suspected there were also what they termed “nefarious purposes” behind his visit to Tripoli.
Yesterday his father, Ramadan, and younger brother, Hashem, 20 , were reported to have been arrested by a militia in Tripoli on suspicion of having links with Islamic State.
British police were also investigating Abedi’s connections in Manchester including among the city’s Libyan community, with three more people arrested yesterday. (…)
Mohammed Saeed, a senior figure at Didsbury mosque and Islamic centre, told the Guardian that he had warned police that he believed a close associate of Abedi posed a danger to the public, but officers did not take the matter seriously. Saeed said he had faced threats on social media but officers said they viewed the comments as a matter of free speech.
Greater Manchester police said they had no comment to make about the allegation.
INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 25 2017