Federal counterintelligence brokers started an investigation of Donald Trump final 12 months that aimed to seek out out whether or not the president had a clandestine agenda to assist Russia, the New York Occasions and CNN reported Friday.
The revelation, which the White Home referred to as “absurd” in a late-evening assertion, means that the FBI felt Trump’s firing of director James B. Comey in Might 2017 was motivated by Russian pursuits and would possibly represent a risk to U.S. nationwide safety, the Occasions reported.
Whereas the allegation of Trump’s potential collusion with the Russian authorities has been raised earlier than, up to now there was no proof.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, was quoted by the Occasions as saying that the investigation appears to have gone nowhere. “The truth that it goes again a 12 months and a half and nothing got here of it that confirmed a breach of nationwide safety means they discovered nothing,” Giuliani mentioned on Friday.
White Home Press Secretary Sarah Sanders mentioned in a press release that Comey was fired for simply trigger and that Trump has by no means favored Russia.
“That is absurd. James Comey was fired as a result of he’s a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in cost on the time, is a recognized liar fired by the FBI. Not like President Obama, who let Russia and different international adversaries push America round, President Trump has truly been powerful on Russia.”
The Occasions and CNN reviews each cite unnamed sources.
The choice to analyze Trump himself was an aggressive transfer by FBI officers who had been confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president’s verbal assaults on the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt,” the Occasions reported.
CNN reported that counterintelligence brokers had been investigating why Trump was appearing in ways in which appeared to profit Russia.
The obstruction probe was an thought the FBI had beforehand thought of, nevertheless it did not begin till Comey was fired, CNN reported. The justification went past Trump’s firing of Comey, CNN mentioned, in accordance with its sources, and included the President’s dialog with Comey within the Oval Workplace asking him to drop the investigation into his former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump insisted final 12 months that he did not hearth FBI Director James Comey due to the Russia investigation, regardless of video and documentary proof on the contrary, in accordance with several USA TODAY stories at the time.
“Not that it issues however I by no means fired James Comey due to Russia!” Trump tweeted shortly after the firing. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media likes to hold pushing that narrative, however they know it isn’t true!”
The FBI director’s firing is central to an obstruction of justice investigation being carried out by particular counsel Robert Mueller, who can be wanting into Russian makes an attempt to affect the 2016 election as a way to assist Trump.
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: FBI investigated President Trump for possible secret Russian favors, reports say