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Kremlin denies compromising information on Donald Trump

Moscow, Jan 11 (Agencies)
Published on 11 Jan. 2017 10:19 PM IST
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Russia has denied claims its intelligence agencies have compromising material about Donald Trump.
Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said the allegations were “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”.
The unsubstantiated claims say his presidential campaign secretly communicated with Moscow. They also say Russia has information about the US president-elect involving prostitutes.
Trump has condemned the reports.
The president-elect tweeted: “FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
Trump is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday, nine days before he takes office.
It was meant to be about his attempts to separate himself from his business commitments, to address concerns about conflicts of interest.
Last week, US intelligence agencies released an unclassified report saying Russia ran a hacking campaign to influence the US presidential elections.
Separate reports circulating in US media now say Moscow has damaging information about the president-elect’s business interests and salacious video evidence of his private life.
Among the claims included in the reports are that Trump aides were involved with the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic Party of his rival Hillary Clinton.
Michael Cohen, a lawyer to Trump named in the memos, has denied a specific claim that he went to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet Kremlin representatives to talk about the hacking.
“I’ve never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews” he tweeted.
US media suggest the videos were prepared as “kompromat” - compromising material collected about a politician or public figure in order to create a threat of negative publicity, if needed.
The US intelligence agencies reportedly presented the information - a two-page synopsis - to the president-elect, to President Barack Obama and to congressional leaders last week, CNN first reported.
It allegedly refers to documents said to have been compiled for Trump’s political enemies by a former British intelligence agent, CNN and the New York Times say.
Past work by this operative was considered by US intelligence to be credible, the reports add.
The original intention was to derail Trump’s candidacy, they say.
The allegations began circulating in political and media circles in recent months.
The existence of the documents was first reported by Mother Jones in October. They were published in full by Buzzfeed on Wednesday.
Several material inaccuracies have been highlighted in the files.
The BBC has not verified the claims. The US intelligence community has not said anything.
In recent weeks, Trump has been under pressure to concur with the findings of US spy agencies who say Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign.
They say the order came from the Kremlin to sway the election for Trump and away from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
But so far he has failed to explicitly agree with the conclusions of the intelligence services.
And he has condemned those who oppose good relations with Russia as “fools”.
Russia has denied any involvement in the hacks and accused the US of conducting a witch-hunt.

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