In the days following President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, the FBI opened a counterintelligence probe to investigate whether the President was working for Russian interests, the New York Times reports.
The public has already been aware that special counsel Robert Mueller was looking at a possible criminal case against Trump over whether he obstructed justice when he fired Comey. But the new revelation that there also may be a national security component to the investigation brings the country into shocking new territory as it grapples with Trump’s relationship with a hostile foreign power.
The newly reported interest by federal counterintelligence officials into Trump’s relationship with Russia is the capstone to the concerns that have underlaid the Russia investigation from the start. Trump has long held views that are in alignment with Russia’s, from his anti-trade position, isolationist stance and skepticism of traditional Western allies.
But the association of some of his aides with Russian interests and his own surprisingly-friendly behavior towards Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign, even as it became clear that Russia was launching an attack on the core exercise of American democracy, raised alarms in the U.S. intelligence community. According to the New York Times, top FBI officials had already grown suspicious of Trump during the campaign but at first balked at starting a counterintelligence investigation, in part because they were “uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.”
“We’ve really never had… a President of the United States who was considered to be possibly an asset of a foreign government,” presidential historian Jon Meacham told MSNBC of the report.
“This,” said Meacham, “is what the Founders were worried about.”
Trump and his allies reacted furiously to the bombshell report Saturday morning, with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders calling the story “absurd,” and Trump tweeting that the investigation was opened “for no reason and with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!”
Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
Source:: Time – Politics