Dec 15, 2017 -

CNN: Trump & Obama briefed on Russian leverage campaign

Evan Vucci / AP

CNN has a lengthy new report by a group of reporters — including Jake Tapper, Evan Perez, Carl Bernstein and Jim Sciutto — claiming that U.S. intelligence officials have warned Trump that Russia is trying to compromise him.

What's new:

  1. Trump and Obama were briefed last week on a two-page synopsis of a report compiled by a former British spy at the behest of opposition researchers.
  2. The briefers were the heads of the four main intelligence agencies: The FBI, CIA, NSA and Director of National Intelligence.
  3. The briefing was on "allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump..."

What we already knew: A former European intel operative had compiled a report claiming ties between Trump and Russia. A story on this ran in Mother Jones the week before the election.

What we still don't know: CNN claims to have seen the memos that sourced the report, but they aren't reporting on details because they can't independently verify them. The FBI is looking into the details and also hasn't verified them. We also don't know the identities of the figures in Trumpworld supposedly tied to Russia.

The original Mother Jones story cites Paul Manafort. CNN doesn't, but gives credit to Mother Jones for the original story.

What's next: Sen. Ron Wyden called out FBI Director Comey today, asking whether the FBI report on this will go public before the inauguration. Comey said no.

What's next

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Impeachment: Then & now

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We are living in a measurably different political and media landscape than when the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton of impeachment charges in 1999.

The big picture: These dynamics are setting the pace as President Trump’s legal team speeds through arguments to seek a fast acquittal.