Moscow denied allegations Wednesday that the Kremlin has collected compromising information about President-elect Donald Trump and called news reports on the matter “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”
There has been unverified reports that Russia possessed compromising personal and financial information on Trump. A U.S. official told The Associated Press that intelligence officials had informed Trump about the unsubstantiated report.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.
After news reports were published about the briefing, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
The New York Times and CNN, citing unnamed officials, reported that the summary was presented last week as an annex to the findings regarding alleged Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign.
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
The information reportedly was based on memos created by anti-Trump operatives including a former British intelligence operative. According to CNN, the FBI is investigating the credibility of the claims – which supposedly come from Russian sources.
The FBI reportedly has not confirmed many key details from the memos, which contain salacious allegations about information the Russian government could use as leverage against Trump.
BuzzFeed published the 35-page document that contained unverified allegations. The news site said it published the document “so that Americans can make up their own minds” about the allegations.
The editor reportedly wrote in a memo to staff that the decision was not an easy one, “but publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.”
Kelly McBride, a media ethicist and vice president at Poynter, wrote in a post that “publishing an entirely unvetted document is a significant departure from the way editors of the most significant publications would define the role of reporting.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report