The U.S. now has “specific concrete and corroborative evidence” that members of Trump’s team worked with Russian agents during the 2016 election. The Guardian reported on Thursday that the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) started monitoring Trump’s team since late 2015 after suspicious “interactions” surfaced between Trump associates and Russian operatives. GCHQ sent this information and more to U.S. intelligence agencies for six months in general intelligence sharing.
“It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information,” the Guardian said. “The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US.”
However, the U.S. intelligence agencies “were asleep” when it came to Russia and Trump, sources close to the GCHQ said to the Guardian. “[The European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr. Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this,’” the source said. “The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. U.S. intelligence agencies are not able to investigate or monitor citizens without a warrant, and those are hard to get.
Now, however, this information might be a key component in the multiple investigations on Trump’s ties to Russia.