U.S. intelligence overheard Russian government officials discussing President Trump even before he'd declared he was running for office, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Such conversations were intercepted in spring 2015 and apparently referred to "meetings held outside the U.S. involving Russian government officials and Trump business associates or advisers." Trump has sold properties in Russia and produced the Miss Universe pageant there in 2013. The Journal noted it's unclear whether the conversations were at all tied to Trump's plans to run for president.
The conversations were intercepted during routine intelligence monitoring that was not specifically targeted at Trump. However, intelligence agencies are now returning to the transcripts since Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday released emails confirming he'd set up a meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed she had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. In the emails, Trump Jr. is offered "very high-level and sensitive information" that's "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
Back in 2015, intelligence agencies weren't sure what to make of the conversations. One former official said they were wondering, "What's going on?"
Read more on the story at The Wall Street Journal.