Russian operatives reportedly sent introductory emails to Hope Hicks

Frederick Owens
December 11, 2017

Notably, the sources, privy to the matter, said that Hicks was warned by Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year about alleged enhanced activity of Russian operatives trying to reach her via online correspondence during the presidential transition, the New York Times reported.

The Russian outreach efforts show that, even after American intelligence agencies publicly accused Moscow of trying to influence the outcome of last year's presidential election, Russian operatives were undaunted in their efforts to establish contacts with Mr. Trump's advisers.

Mueller has already unveiled charges against four former campaign aides, including campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn. In a meeting in February, Ms. Hicks was told generally about the Russian intelligence efforts and pressed them for more information.

Following her discussions with the FBI, Hicks reportedly informed White House counsel Donald McGahn about the meetings.

The FBI agents warned Hicks against several specific Russians who emailed her, saying they were not who they said they were, according to the Times, and that the messages may have been part of a larger operation conducted by Russian intelligence officials.

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Flynn pleaded guilty on December 1 to lying to FBI investigators over his Russian contacts in a plea deal that made clear he is assisting in the Mueller investigation of more senior campaign and White House figures.

Hicks previously served as the White House Director of Strategic Communications and as Trump's press secretary at the start of his presidential campaign.

U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence officials warned White House communications director Hope Hicks that Russian operatives attempted to reach out to her earlier this year.

In some ways, the Russian outreach to Ms. Hicks undercuts the idea that the Russian government had established deep ties to the Trump campaign before the election.

The report does not say whether Hicks responded to any of the overtures or how the government came to know about the Russian contacts.

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