Panel to look into re­port that FBI probed Trump

The Witness - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON — A U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee will look into a news me­dia re­port that the FBI in­ves­ti­gated whether Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been work­ing on be­half of Rus­sia, against U.S. in­ter­ests, the panel’s Demo­cratic chair­per­son said on Satur­day.

The New York Times re­ported that the probe be­gan in the days after Trump fired James Comey as FBI di­rec­tor in May 2017 and said the agency’s counter-in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tors had to con­sider whether Trump’s ac­tions con­sti­tuted a pos­si­ble threat to na­tional se­cu­rity.

The White House re­jected the Times ar­ti­cle as “ab­surd” late on Fri­day, while Trump him­self lashed out at Comey and the FBI in half-a-dozen tweets on Satur­day.

House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee chair­per­son Jer­rold Nadler said his panel “will take steps to bet­ter un­der­stand both the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions and the FBI’s re­sponse to that be­hav­iour” in com­ing weeks. He also said law­mak­ers would seek to pro­tect in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the pres­i­dent’s “in­creas­ingly un­hinged at­tacks”.

“There is no rea­son to doubt the se­ri­ous­ness or pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the FBI, as the pres­i­dent did in re­ac­tion to this story,” Nadler, a New York Demo­crat, said in a state­ment.

“We have learned from this re­port­ing that, even in the ear­li­est days of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, the pres­i­dent’s be­hav­iour was so er­ratic and so con­cern­ing that the FBI felt com­pelled to do the un­prece­dented — open a counter-in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a sit­ting pres­i­dent,” Nadler said.

House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee chair­per­son Adam Schiff said he could not com­ment on the specifics of the re­port, but said his com­mit­tee would press ahead with its probe of Trump’s con­tacts with Rus­sia.

“Counter-in­tel­li­gence con­cerns about those as­so­ci­ated with the Trump cam­paign, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent him­self, have been at the heart of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion since the be­gin­ning,” said Schiff, a Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat.

Schiff said meet­ings, con­tacts, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween Trump as­so­ciates and Rus­sians, as well as “the web of lies about those in­ter­ac­tions, and the pres­i­dent’s own state­ments and ac­tions”, have height­ened the need to fol­low the ev­i­dence where it leads.

The Times said FBI of­fi­cials be­came sus­pi­cious of Trump’s ties to Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign but held off on open­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til Trump tied his dis­missal of Comey to a probe into al­le­ga­tions of elec­tion med­dling by Rus­sia. The FBI also con­sid­ered whether the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s fir­ing of Comey amounted to ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. — Reuters.

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