Sen. John McCain published a statement Wednesday morning outlining his involvement with the allegations of Trump's ties to Russia.
“Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public. Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue," the statement read.
Trump and Russia have denied the authenticity of the claims. Sources confirmed to Circa that the information in the documents was presented to President Obama and President-elect Trump.
The two-page summary was not included in the classified report about Russian hacking that was more widely distributed, but rather in an annex only shared at the most senior levels of the government: President Obama, the President-elect, and the eight Congressional leaders.
Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Trump decried the allegations on Wednesday morning in a four-part tweetstorm.
I win an election easily, a great "movement" is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
The Kremlin does not engage in collecting compromising information.
Dmitry Peskov, head of the Russian presidential administration, called them "pulp fiction" and " "complete fabrication[s] and utter nonsense."
"We should treat it with humor, but there is a sad side to it, too," he said. "There are people who are whipping up this frenzy, who are doing their best to keep this witch hunt going."
Here's Trump's initial denial.
Trump targeted BuzzFeed specifically in social media. BuzzFeed and CNN reported different aspects of the same story.
CNN reported Tuesday that intelligence officials briefed Trump and President Obama on allegations that Russia had compromising information on Trump and presented them a summary of unverified memos compiled in part by a former British spy. BuzzFeed published those unverified memos, stating themselves the memos were not verified.
Trump also linked an article posted on Laura Ingraham-run LifeZette to prove his point.
WikiLeaks has a 100% record of accurate authentication. We do not endorse Buzzfeed's publication of a document which is clearly bogus.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
WikiLeaks insisted the BuzzFeed-published memos were "bogus."
The 4chan ties
Shortly after news of the allegations broke, Trump supporters pointed to a post on 4chan, claiming it was evidence the story was fake.
"They took what I told Rick Wilson and added a Russian spy angle to it. They still believe it. Guys, they're truly [expletive] desperate - there's no remaining Trump scandal that's credible," the post says. However, the post's author says nothing about what he or she told Wilson, a prominent Republican strategist, or how it reached intelligence agencies.
You're wrong if you believe— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) January 11, 2017
1. What we had came from /pol.
2. That I was Buzzfeed's source.
Try again, boys.
Wilson refuted those claims on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.