It’s beginning to look as if everyone BUT Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians.
A shady Russian operative who said he could deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons and compromising material on President Donald Trump was paid $100,000 by U.S. intelligence last year, The New York Times reported on Friday.
But, according to The Times, after months of negotiating, including delivering a suitcase stuffed with $100,000 to a Berlin hotel room, the American spies would be “bilked” when the Russian failed to deliver.
U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the suitcase represented the first installment of an agreed $1 million payoff. But the newspaper insisted that the American spies were more interested in the NSA hacking tools than the dirt on Trump.
The cloak and dagger account included an assertion that the NSA used its official Twitter account to send numerous coded messages to the Russian.
More from The Times:
Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian, who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. Instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.
The United States intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.
As for the dirt on Trump, that too proved to be disappointing.
The Russian, who had a history of money laundering and ties to a nearly bankrupt company that sold portable grills for streetside sausage peddlers – not to mention a mistress in Vienna – showed U.S. intelligence a 15-second video clip of a man in a hotel room talking to two women. There was no audio and no way to verify that the man seen in the video was Trump.
The viewing took place at the Russian Embassy in Berlin, according to an American businessman acting as an intermediary, which aroused suspicions that the man was a Russian operative.
The American spies ended “chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom,” The Times reported, based on an account from the businessman, who is now said to have possession of the Trump “material” somewhere in Europe.
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