The memos also suggest that Russian officials proposed various lucrative deals, essentially as disguised bribes to win influence over Trump.
The memos describe several purported meetings during last year’s presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including Russian hacking of the US Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
If some of the unproven claims in the memos are merely titillating, others would amount to extremely serious, potentially treasonous acts.
One of the opposition research memos quotes an unidentified Russian source as claiming that the hacking and leaking of Democratic e-mails was carried out “with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”
In return, the memo said: “The TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue,” because Putin “needed to cauterize the subject.”
Michael Cohen, a lawyer and adviser to Trump, also denied on Twitter a specific claim in the opposition research involving him. One of the memos claims that Cohen went to Prague in August or September last year to meet with Kremlin representatives and to talk about Russian hacking of Democrats.
“I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews,” Cohen said on Twitter on Tuesday night.
In addition, in a recent interview with the New York Times, one of the Russian officials named in the memo as having met with Cohen, Oleg Solodukhin, denied that he had met with Cohen or any other Trump representative.
“I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Solodukhin, of the Russian organization Rossotrudnichestvo, which promotes Russian culture and interests abroad, said in a telephone interview.
The FBI obtained the material long before the election and some of the memos in the opposition research dossier are dated as early as June last year. However, agents have struggled to confirm it, according to federal officials familiar with the investigation.
Allies of former US senator Harry Reid, who retired at the end of the year, said the disclosures validated his call last summer for an FBI investigation into Trump’s links to Russia.
Democrats on Tuesday night pressed for a thorough investigation of the claims in the memos.
US Representative Eric Swalwell, a member of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called for law enforcement to find out whether the Russian government had had any contact with Trump or his campaign.
“The president-elect has spoken a number of times, including after being presented with this evidence, in flattering ways about Russia and its dictator,” Swalwell said. “Considering the evidence of Russia hacking our democracy to his benefit, the president-elect would do a service to his presidency and our country by releasing his personal and business income taxes, as well as information on any global financial holdings.”