Was Donald Trump working for Russia? The FBI tried to find out

Adjust Comment Print

Trump insisted a year ago that he didn't fire FBI Director James Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation, despite video and documentary evidence to the contrary, according to several USA TODAY stories at the time.

President Donald Trump added new heat to his attacks on former FBI Director James Comey after a New York Times Friday night report on an investigation the FBI opened in the days following his firing of Comey.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed reporting that the FBI launched an investigation into whether President Donald Trump was a potential national security threat as "absolutely ludicrous". They also sought to determine whether the president was, in fact, knowingly working for Russian Federation. Calling Comey a "crooked cop" and a "total sleaze", Trump went on to say that the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director was now "being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller" and his team of investigators who he argued had no interest in investigating "the Real Collusion... by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee". Eventually, Trump claimed he has "been FAR tougher with Russia.maybe than any other President".

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times he didn't know of that probe while also downplaying it. There are reports that the special counsel's probe could wrap up as soon as next month.

Robert Mueller, who was appointed as the special counsel after Comey's firing, then took over the investigation in regard to Russian election interference.

At this point in the campaign, there were two key developments: Mr. Trump had made it clear he wanted better relations with Russia President Vladimir Putin, praising the autocratic leader at times. The FBI, however, apparently felt vindicated after Trump remarked that Comey's firing had helped relieve Russia-related political pressure.

Trump Orders FEMA to 'Send No More Money' for California Forest Fires
In this file photo taken on November 10, 2018 Flames from the Camp fire burn near a home atop a ridge near Big Bend, California. He doesn't have the power to unilaterally cancel federal funding for a particular agency's activities in a particular state.

Whether Mueller is still probing the counterintelligence aspect of that inquiry remains unclear.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, citing a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that sharply criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The decision to secretly investigate the president for possibly threatening national security triggered a "vigorous debate" within the Justice Department.

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.

"I think there's a little bit of looking at history through a different perspective now", he said on Fox & Friends.

But days after the FBI opened the probe, Peter Strzok, the bureau's lead investigator on the Russian Federation matter, expressed concern that "there's no big there there" regarding the collusion investigation.