Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing four current and former US officials.
US law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said, according to the Times.
The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election, the newspaper said.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said they had seen no evidence of such cooperation so far, it said.
However, the intercepts alarmed US intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Trump was speaking glowingly about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The intercepted calls are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, and Sergei I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, the Times said.