FBI opened probe into Trump’s link with Rus­sia

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Washington, US - The Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) opened an in­quiry in 2017 into whether US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was work­ing on be­half of Rus­sia, The New York Times re­ported on Fri­day.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion - a dual coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence and crim­i­nal probe - was launched after the Pres­i­dent fired FBI di­rec­tor James Comey in May 2017, the Times said, cit­ing anony­mous sources.

The coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence as­pect con­sisted of de­ter­min­ing whether Trump was know­ingly or un­know­ingly work­ing for Moscow and whether he was a threat to national se­cu­rity, the news­pa­per re­ported.

It added the crim­i­nal por­tion re­lated to Trump’s fir­ing of Comey.

The FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion was soon folded into Robert Mueller’s in­quiry into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 vote and pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween his cam­paign and Moscow, it said, adding that it was un­clear if the coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence as­pect was still be­ing pur­sued.

The Times said that the FBI had been sus­pi­cious of Trump’s ties to Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign.

But it held off on open­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til the Pres­i­dent sacked Comey, who re­fused to swear his al­le­giance and roll back the nascent Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is now be­ing spear­headed by Mueller.

Trump has repeatedly crit­i­cised the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a ‘witch hunt’ and views it as a stain on the le­git­i­macy of his pres­i­dency. But while Trump has slammed the probe as base­less, Mueller has issued dozens of in­dict­ments and steadily chalked up con­vic­tions of some of the Pres­i­dent’s close as­so­ci­ates - in­clud­ing his for­mer national se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, his for­mer per­sonal lawyer, and his ex-cam­paign chief.

The ex-national se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to ly­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors about his Moscow ties. The lawyer, Michael Co­hen, has been sen­tenced to three years in prison for mul­ti­ple crimes, in­clud­ing felony vi­o­la­tions of cam­paign fi­nance laws he un­der­took, pros­e­cu­tors al­leged, un­der Trump’s direc­tion.


This file photo shows US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump (right) and Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin dur­ing the G20 Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in Buenos Aires on Novem­ber 30, 2018

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