Trump-Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Dar­lene Su­perville

The Repub­li­can head of the US Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee said yes­ter­day he plans to ask the FBI about a re­port it launched a probe into whether Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been work­ing on Rus­sia’s be­half

The Repub­li­can head of the US Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee said yes­ter­day he plans to ask the FBI about a re­port that it launched a probe into whether Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been work­ing on Rus­sia’s be­half, sug­gest­ing the agency may have gone too far.

“I am go­ing to ask the FBI di­rec­tor was there a counter in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tion opened up re­gard­ing the pres­i­dent as be­ing a po­ten­tial agent of the Rus­sians? I find it as­ton­ish­ing,” Se­na­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham said on the Fox News Sun­day pro­gram. “If this re­ally did hap­pen, Con­gress needs to know about it ,” he said. “How could the FBI do that? What kinds of checks and bal­ances are there?”

Trump has avoided giv­ing a di­rect an­swer when asked if he is or has ever worked for Rus­sia. A pub­lished re­port shows fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials were so con­cerned about Trump’s be­hav­iour after he fired James Comey from the FBI that they be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing if he had been work­ing for the US ad­ver­sary against Amer­i­can in­ter­ests.

Trump said it was the “most in­sult­ing” ques­tion he had ever been asked. The New York Times re­port cited un­named for­mer law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and oth­ers fa­mil­iar with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Trump re­sponded to the re­port dur­ing an in­ter­view broad­cast on the Fox News Chan­nel after host Jea­nine Pirro, who is also a friend of the pres­i­dent, asked whether he is or has ever worked for Rus­sia. “I think it’s the most in­sult­ing thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most in­sult­ing ar­ti­cle I’ve ever had writ­ten, and if you read the ar­ti­cle you’ll see that they found ab­so­lutely noth­ing,” he said.

Trump didn’ t an­swer Pirro’s ques­tion di­rectly, but went on to say that no pres­i­dent has taken a harder stance against Rus­sia than he has. “If you ask the folks in Rus­sia, I’ve been tougher on Rus­sia than any­body else, any other ... prob­a­bly any other pres­i­dent, pe­riod, but cer­tainly the last three or four pres­i­dents.”

The New York Times re­ported that FBI agents and some top of­fi­cials be­came sus­pi­cious of Trump’s ties to Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign but did not open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion at that time be­cause they were not sure how to ap­proach such a sen­si­tive and im­por­tant probe, said the un­named of­fi­cials.

How­ever, Trump’ s be­hav­iour in the days around Comey’s May 2017 fir­ing as FBI di­rec­tor, specif­i­cally two in­stances in which he seemed to tie Comey’s oust­ing to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, helped trig­ger the counter-in­tel­li­gence part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

In the in­quiry, counter in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tors sought to eval­u­ate if Trump was a po­ten­tial threat to na­tional se­cu­rity. They also sought to find out if Trump was de­lib­er­ately work­ing for Rus­sia or had un­in­ten­tion­ally been in­flu­enced by Moscow. On Satur­day Trump tweeted that the re­port showed the FBI lead­er­ship “opened up an in­ves­ti­ga­tion on me, for no rea­son & with no proof” after he had fired Comey.

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