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Top secret US intelligence file on Putin disappeared during Trump presidency

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The report found no collusion between Mr Trump and Putin, but it ruled that Mr Trump was “receptive” to offers of assistance from the Russians.

The binder is believed to have been held at the CIA, with intelligence officials requiring top-level clearance to handle it within the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

But it later went missing during a frantic attempt to declassify reports relating to Russian interference by Mr Trump and his aides as he prepared to leave office in January 2021, multiple sources told CNN.

One aide to Mark Meadows, Mr Trump’s chief of staff, has testified to Congress that she is “almost positive it went home with [him]”. Mr Meadows denies that allegation.

The binder had not been found in Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where other classified documents were discovered, despite aides’ attempts to track it down, according to the report.

The existence of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago has since become the subject of a federal indictment against Mr Trump, who faces trial in Florida.

While the disappearance of classified documents at the end of Mr Trump’s tenure in the White House has been previously reported and investigated, the disappearance of the Russian interference binder was revealed yesterday.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, appeared to suggest that the Kremlin is hoping Mr Trump will win next year’s presidential election.

Rare interview

Mr Peskov told NBC in a rare interview with foreign press that the Russian president wants a more constructive relationship with the US built on the “importance of dialogue”.

Asked directly about Mr Trump, Mr Peskov said Putin wants to work with “anyone who will understand that from now on, you have to be more careful with Russia, and you have to take into account its concerns”.

Mr Trump has previously been criticised for his approach to Russia, and has described Putin as “smart” and a “genius” for his approach to the invasion of Ukraine.

He has also promised to end the war in Ukraine “in one day” if he was elected president, by brokering negotiations between the two countries.

In return, Putin has said he “cannot help but feel happy” about Mr Trump’s plan to “resolve all burning issues within several days”. The former US president responded: “I like that he said that, because that means what I’m saying is right.”

However, on Friday, Mr Peskov said the conflict was “too complicated” to end so quickly, and admitted for the first time it was a “war” rather than a “special military operation” – the phrase Russia has used until now to describe its activity in Ukraine.

Attacking the US, the Russian spokesman said the Biden administration was fuelling the war and putting Ukrainians at risk.

He said: “You are telling them: ‘Go and die. Don’t worry, we will give you enough money and enough armaments, but you should go and die.’ And you know pretty well that they cannot win.”

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