The US media and intelligence community have been lashed out by President Trump, after new reports of contacts between members of his team and Russia. Trump accused the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI of giving out information illegally.
Some US media say that important Trump aides were in constant communication with Russian officials in the campaign. Intelligence officials previously declared they believed Russia tried to influence the vote in favour of Trump.
Moscow has dismissed the claim, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the latest reports of contacts with Trump aides were not based on facts. On Thursday Rex Tillerson is due for his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at a G20 gathering in Germany.
Trump attacked the intelligence services and the Democrats
The latest allegations reignited tensions between the US president and his own intelligence services. They come a day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid reports he discussed US sanctions with Russia before Trump took office.
Trump attacked the NSA and the FBI for what he described as leaks to the media. "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?)," Trump tweeted.
In another tweet Trump suggested that the reports were "non-sense" produced by the Democratic opposition. The intercepted communications were between Trump campaign officials and other associates, and Russian intelligence and government officials.
Flynn and Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, were said to be among those mentioned by the officials. Manafort declared that he has never spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and that he has never been involved with the Russian government.
As well as an FBI investigation, the Senate and House intelligence committees are examining Russian involvement in the US election. It is unclear if the latest claims will be included in their scope.