Reporters with CNN interviewed federal investigators who confirm for the first time that some elements in that mysterious British spy's dossier on Donald Trump's Russia hijinks are legit.
The claims were first written up in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent that began making the rounds with journalists and members of the intelligence community last year. That spy has since gone missing.
The dossier included salacious details of unusual sexual conduct with Russian sex workers. CNN's sources offered no information on that material.
In today's report, CNN cites unnamed current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials as the sources of this new confirmation.
Until today, American intelligence and law enforcement had repeatedly said they were unable to verify any portion of the dossier.
Officials say the intercepted communications revealed individuals known to the US intelligence community as "heavily involved" in collecting dirt to damage Hillary Clinton and assist to Donald Trump, during the presidential campaigns.
As CNN reported earlier, Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on dossier's existence before Trump was inaugurated, and before Buzzfeed published a portion of the material online.
From the CNN report by Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez:
None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. Rather it relates to conversations between foreign nationals. The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. Sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of those discussions due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs.
But the intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier, according to the officials. CNN has not confirmed whether any content relates to then-candidate Trump.
The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement "greater confidence" in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.
Reached for comment this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting."
Spicer later called back and said, "This is more fake news. It is about time CNN focused on the success the President has had bringing back jobs, protecting the nation, and strengthening relationships with Japan and other nations. The President won the election because of his vision and message for the nation."
Spokespeople for the FBI, Department of Justice, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.