Thursday, 21 March, 2019

FBI investigated how Trump's actions seemed to benefit Russia

Rudy Giuliani Believes Trump Has the Right to Trump's behavior before and after Comey firing prompted FBI suspicions of Russian influence
Leonard Rios | 12 January, 2019, 11:41

Image: Screenshot of President Trump telling NBC's Lester Holt he fired Comey because of Russian Federation.

As of Friday night, the president has yet to respond to the report, one of the most damning yet in the Russia-Trump saga.

The Times cited anonymous former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation Friday who said counterintelligence investigators looked into whether "Trump was knowingly working for Russian Federation or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence".

The Times reported that FBI investigators looked into whether Trump's actions could be considered a threat to national security. Mueller is reportedly also investigating whether the president tried to impede the investigation into any role Russian Federation played in the election.

In a statement reported by NBC News' Geoff Bennett, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted The Times report as "absurd".

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Trump had ousted the head of the FBI to impede or even end the Russian Federation investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern.

The obstruction probe was an idea the Federal Bureau of Investigation had previously considered, but it didn't start until Comey was sacked, CNN reported.

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Mr Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told the Times that he had no knowledge of the inquiry.

"Unlike President Obama, who let Russian Federation and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russian Federation", the statement concluded.

"Our collective understanding, the public's understanding of the Trump investigation [and] the Mueller investigation of Trump, has been focused to the past year and a half on the question of criminal obstruction", NYT reporter Michael Schmidt explained to MSNBC's Chris Hayes after the report was published.

Mueller took over the FBI's counter-intelligence investigation after being appointed, The New York Times reported, just days after it was first opened.

Trump and his allies have repeatedly criticized Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and questioning the political motivations of his investigators.

In response to the events, according to the Times, the FBI began investigating whether Trump was a secret Russian agent.

The report casts pressure on the White House, which is already feeling the heat from months of investigations.

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