FBI probed whether Trump secretly worked for Russia
Story Code : 771622
The investigation consisted of a counterintelligence and criminal aspect and was launched after Trump fired Comey in May 2017, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources.
The inquiry forced counterintelligence investigators to evaluate whether Trump was a potential threat to US national security, and they also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russia or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow, the newspaper reported.
FBI agents and some top officials became suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential election campaign but didn’t launch an investigation at that time because they weren’t sure how to approach such a sensitive and important probe, the report said.
But Trump’s behavior in the days around Comey’s firing, specifically two instances in which he seemed to tie Comey’s ousting to the Russia investigation, helped trigger the counterintelligence part of the investigation, according to the Times’ sources.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over the investigation soon after Comey’s firing.
The federal investigation is looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow.
Trump has slammed the probe as baseless and has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia to allegedly help him defeat former Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the Times’ report “absurd” and said Comey was fired for being “a disgraced partisan hack.”
She also disputed that Trump had ever been soft on Russia. “Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”