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White House aides instructed to preserve Russia-related materials

In a memo sent to White House staffers on Tuesday, lawyers ordered them to preserve any materials they might have that involve contacts between President Trump's administration or his campaign and transition teams and Russian government officials or their associates, three administration officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Several of Trump's advisers have been linked to Russia, and intelligence agencies have determined that Russia hacked Democratic groups in order to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in last year's presidential election. Congressional aides have said they do not know of any materials being destroyed, and a White House spokesperson said they are "simply taking proactive steps" and any accusations of ties between Trump and Russia are "false and politically motivated attacks." Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said there is "real concern that some in the administration may try to cover up its ties to Russia by deleting emails, texts, and other records that could shine a light on those connections."