Authorities are examining intercepted Russian communications and financial transactions as part of their investigation into whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team received any aid from Moscow, The New York Times reported Thursday. No further details on the intercepted communications were provided, and it’s unclear if they even concerned Trump or his campaign. Several of Trump’s current and former advisers have raised eyebrows with their friendly ties to Moscow, including Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who has been photographed rubbing elbows with Vladimir Putin. Manafort, who is reportedly under scrutiny as part of the investigation, told the NYT on Thursday that allegations he was working for or with Russia are “completely false.” “I have never had any relationship with the Russian government or any Russian officials. I was never in contact with anyone, or directed anyone to be in contact with anyone,” he said.
U.S. intelligence agencies have already concluded that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. election in a bid to help Trump win, but the new investigation will focus more on the business dealings of Trump’s advisers. The FBI is spearheading the probe and getting assistance from the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Treasury Department’s financial-crimes unit. While one official told the NYT that some intercepted communications had already been provided to the White House, a spokesperson for Trump’s transition team said they were not informed of any such investigation. The report cited six current and former officials who spoke on condition of anonymity and said they were speaking out because they worry Trump will stop the investigation once he takes office Friday.