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Russian intelligence officials made repeated contact with members of President Trump's campaign staff, according to new reports that cite anonymous U.S. officials. American agencies were concerned about the contacts but haven't seen proof of collusion between the campaign and the Russian security apparatus, the reports say.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Top U.S. intelligence officials have briefed leaders in Washington about an explosive — but unverified — document that alleges collusion between Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, NPR has learned.

The brief, which NPR has seen but not independently verified, was given by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Details from it have been part of presentations by Comey and other intelligence leaders to Trump, President Obama and key leaders in Congress.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

The intelligence report on Russia's interference in the U.S. elections concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an "influence campaign" that aimed to help President-elect Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz Dismisses Concerns Over Russian Role In Election

Jan 5, 2017
Allison Shelley for The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, dismissed concerns Thursday about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, calling them an effort to undermine Donald Trump's victory. 

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

The White House has announced new actions targeting Russia in response to what U.S. officials say were cyberattacks intended to interfere with the U.S. election.

Turkey and Russia have launched a joint investigation into the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey at the opening of a photo exhibit in the capital, Ankara, on Monday.

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was gunned down as he gave a speech at an art gallery. Turkey has identified the attacker as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old riot police officer, who shouted to the crowd, "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" He was killed by Turkish special forces at the scene.

Editor's note: An image below shows Ambassador Andrei Karlov on the ground after he was shot.

Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after he was shot Monday evening at an art exhibition in the capital, Ankara, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments broadcast on Russian state television.

Two intelligence sources say the FBI agrees with the CIA assessment that Russia interfered in the U.S. election, in part to help Donald Trump, clearing up any confusion and other reporting that the agencies weren't in sync.

The entire intelligence community, in fact, is now in alignment that the hacks were partly motivated to try and install Trump as president. The FBI and others continue to say that Russia didn't actually think that was going to happen.

President Obama says the United States will respond to Russian cyberattacks that the intelligence community has concluded were part of an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

A few years ago, when ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson hobnobbed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, they didn't draw much attention. But photos of those meetings re-emerged over the weekend, as multiple media reports named the Texas oilman as the favorite to become Donald Trump's secretary of state.

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