March 2, 14:11 EST
President Trump’s claims that the Obama administration sought to undermine his presidency received some support on Wednesday from a New York Times report on the Obama White House’s activities in the weeks before the inauguration.
According to The Times, Obama White House officials waged a campaign to procure, save and disperse classified intelligence regarding Trump associates’ contacts with Russians.
The campaign also involved curtailing the Trump team’s access to highly classified information and of lowering classification ratings on other information about the ongoing Russia investigation so that it could be more widely shared across the government.
According to The Times’ sources, the Obama officials waged the campaign out of fear that the Trump administration would cover up or destroy some of the information.
The campaign was multifaceted but was not directed by Obama himself, the Times sources claimed.
The wide-ranging report also includes some information that is not positive for Trump, including that federal investigators were given intelligence from foreign services that some Trump associates met with Russians in the Netherlands and Britain.
That detail adds new information to a report from The Times last month that U.S. investigators had evidence that some Trump campaign advisers communicated with Russian government officials before the election.
That report noted that U.S. officials do not yet have evidence of any coordination between Trump advisers and the Russian government to influence the election. The White House strongly denied the claims made in that report, and asserted the FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe told Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, that the story was “bullshit.”
The Obama administration’s intelligence-sharing effort involved the White House, intelligence agencies and State Department, The Times reports.
According to the newspaper, some Obama White House officials asked specific questions in intelligence briefings because they knew the questions and answers would be documented and saved for future review.
Intelligence agencies ramped up efforts to convert raw intelligence gathered on Trump advisers into information that could be used by analysts. The intelligence was also classified at relatively low levels “to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government,” according to The Times.
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