Brennan says he’s unsure of collusion between Russia and Trump campaign

Said he became concerned Russians were trying to influence people inside campaign last year

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan says he thinks Russia cooperates with WikiLeaks through middlemen.

Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that Russia has used intermediaries to work with the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group. The website released material hacked from email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign officials during last year’s presidential campaign.

He says that if someone tracks WikiLeaks’ releases over time, it’s clear that they are often timed to coincide with certain events or to undermine national security.

Brennan says that Russian protests that they are not working with WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks protests that they are not working with the Russians are both “disingenuous.”

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11:47 a.m.

John Brennan says that when he was CIA director he shared classified information with Russia and other nations about threats related to terrorism.

But Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that President Donald Trump would have violated protocol if he shared such information with Russian officials in the Oval Office spontaneously.

Brennan says such classified information typically shared through intelligence channels, not visiting diplomats.

He also says that before sharing such classified intelligence with foreign partners, the U.S. would go back to the intelligence partner that provided the information to make sure what was shared would not compromise operatives.

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11:20 a.m.

A group of Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee has voted against confirming a high-ranking Treasury Department official. They’re protesting what they say is Trump administration’s slow cooperation on the Russia investigations.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren and several others have voted against Sigal Mandelker as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Brown and Warner praised Mandelker, but say they’re frustrated with Treasury’s slowness to turn over documents relating to questionable financial transfers and money laundering.

The protest votes will not change the course of Mandelker’s nomination. The full committee voted 16-7 to move Trump’s pick to the full Senate.

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10:50 a.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan says Russia has a history of trying to “suborn individuals” and he worried last summer about the number of contacts Russian officials were having with Americans.

Brennan was testifying Tuesday before the House intelligence committee about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

He says that last summer he was increasingly concerned that Russian officials were perhaps trying to enlist the cooperation of people in the Trump campaign. Brennan says the contacts raised questions about whether Russia was trying to gain the cooperation of those individuals.

He says he doesn’t know if any collusion occurred between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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10:35 a.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan says he warned Russia against meddling in the presidential election during a call to the head of the Russian intelligence service on Aug. 4.

Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that he was the first U.S. official to call out the Russians for their activities. Brennan says he told the head of the FSB that if Russia continued to interfere, it would backfire and prevent any warming of relations.

He says the Russian intelligence official denied that Russia was meddling, but said he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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10:30 a.m.

The Justice Department says Robert Mueller’s work at a law firm that represented relatives and associates of President Donald Trump does not disqualify him from overseeing an FBI investigation into possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

The former FBI director was appointed last week to serve as special counsel overseeing a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

He left his position at the WilmerHale law firm, whose clients include former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that under professional responsibility rules, Mueller may participate in matters involving his former firm’s clients as long as he wasn’t involved in representing them and has no confidential information about them.

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10:15 a.m.

The nation’s intelligence director says he won’t comment on a news report that President Donald Trump asked him to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Dan Coats is testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He was asked about a Washington Post that said Trump asked Coats and Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to push back against an FBI investigation that’s been examining potential coordination between Moscow and the presidential campaign.

Coats did not deny the report but said he didn’t want to characterize or comment any private conversations with the president.

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3:05 a.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to testify publicly about the intelligence underpinning the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Brennan could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday comes one day after Flynn invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the Senate intelligence committee.

Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees are investigating Flynn and other Trump campaign associates as part of probes into Russia’s election meddling. The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign.

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