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April 25, 2017

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Intel officials brief Trump on unconfirmed, potentially compromising report

Top intelligence officials last week told President-elect Donald Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him, a U.S. official says.

The briefing about the document was first reported by CNN. A summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia's suspected attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community's findings last week.

Shortly after news reports were published about the briefing, Trump tweeted: "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!"

Trump was expected to hold a previously scheduled news conference Wednesday to discuss his future plans regarding his role with the Trump Organization. The official who discussed the briefing by intelligence figures spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.

The unsubstantiated dossier on Trump was compiled by a former British intelligence operative as part of an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client who opposed Trump, and later funded by Democrats, according to Mother Jones, which published an article about the report in October and said the operative had turned over the report to the FBI. The New York Times reported the operative had previously worked for British intelligence. The Associated Press has not been able to substantiate the information in the dossier, which misspelled the name of Russia's largest bank.

The New York Times reported that the information include "sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel."

The website BuzzFeed News cited the report as claimng that the Russian government has been "cultivating, supporting and assisting" President-elect Donald Trump for years.

The website published what it claimed to be photos of the two-page synopsis of the intelligence report (see photo above) on the grounds that "Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government."

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