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Russian officials ‘bragged over ability to influence Donald Trump’ | World | News

Mr Flynn has been at the centre of swirling speculation after he stepped down from his position as Mr Trump’s advisor amid claims he had misled the administration over his links to Russia.

Now the retired US Army lieutenant general is at the heart of fresh controversy, with intelligence sources claiming Russian officials believed they had developed a strong relationship with Mr Flynn.

Both current and former government insiders told CNN that conversations between Russian officials had been picked up by US intelligence agencies which revealed they regarded Mr Flynn as an ally.

And intercepted communications from the time of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign are believed to contain boasts between Russian operatives over their ability to influence Republican Firebrand Donald Trump.

Mr Flynn was eventually forced to step down after changing his story on the details of a conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

But the conversation between Moscow officials is believed to have taken place months beforehand, casting further doubt on the Trump aide’s relationship with Russia.

An Obama-era White House staffer said: “This was a five-alarm fire from early on, the way the Russians were talking about him.”

A White House official said: ”We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russia.

“This matter is not going to distract the President or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe.”

It comes following a week of increasing controversy for President Trump including his firing of former FBI director James Comey.

Mr Comey is due to testify to an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee after being fired from his position as head of the intelligence agency.

The recently sacked intelligence official has agreed to the hearing amid growing concern over President Trump’s ties to Russia and his involvement in the ongoing the investigation into…

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