American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump,*according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Mr. Trump’s associates.*
Some of this is coming to light as a result of deliberate efforts by outgoing Obama officials:
Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration. At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
As the story acknowledges, it’s still unclear what all these meetings were about, but “the Russians, it appeared, were arguing about how far to go in interfering in the presidential election.”