WASHINGTON—U.S. intelligence officials learned about contacts between President Donald Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials last year, sparking concerns that the Kremlin could try to cultivate people close to Mr. Trump, former CIA director John Brennan testified Tuesday.
The testimony by Mr. Brennan, while not citing evidence of collusion by Trump associates in Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, sheds new light on why federal agents decided last year to initiate a full investigation. The Central Intelligence Agency helped start the probe by turning over information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials,” Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee.
The former CIA director’s comments came as the Senate Intelligence Committee said it would issue two new subpoenas to business entities controlled by Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after giving false statements about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.