New reports indicate that the FBI, along with five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, have been working together for months to investigate whether the Russian government spent money to aid Donald Trump in his Nov. 8 electoral win over Hillary Clinton.
The investigation has allegedly focused on determining if a system for paying Russian-American pensioners was rerouted to fund hackers (either directly or through intermediaries), as well as other possible ways in which money from the Kremlin was used to aid Trump's victory, according to two sources who spoke with McClatchy DC on Wednesday. The informal investigation is reported to have started in the spring of 2016.
Along with the FBI, the other agencies allegedly participating in the inquiry are the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence.
Outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid has repeatedly claimed that the FBI knew about politically explosive charges concerning Trump but refused to release them, even though Comey, the director of the FBI, made the controversial decision to publicize the agency's decision to revisit Clinton's email server issue less than two weeks before the election. This has raised suspicions that Comey, who has spent most of his life as a registered Republican, concealed one investigation and exposed the other in order to tip the election toward Trump.
President-elect Trump has repeatedly denied that Russian interference in the election was responsible for his victory, and until last week was equally adamant that Russia had not even been responsible for hacking Hillary Clinton's campaign — although the consensus view within the intelligence community is that the alleged hacking indeed took place.
There are multiple connections between Trump's campaign and incoming administration and the Putin regime, and various explanations have been offered. The most common hypotheses range from suspicions that Trump has been compromised by Russian intelligence to conflicts of interest posed by his rumored business dealings with that country.