New York Times: FBI Investigated Whether Trump Worked for Russia
I guess it makes sense now that Rosenstein appointed a special counsel, huh?
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.
Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.
Of course, it’s absurd to think that Trump was in contact with the Kremlin, and no evidence has emerged of that. In fact, not a scrap of evidence has come out that anyone even connected to Trump was in secret contact with Kremlin officials, with the following small exceptions I typed from off the top of my head:
- Trump’s campaign manager gave internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller has described as someone who has “ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016.”
- Trump’s campaign manager, son-in-law, and so met with a Russian operative to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. That operative has since been indicted for obstruction of justice, for her secret collaboration with the Russian prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika, on behalf of a ompany run by a Putin-connected Russian oligarch.
- Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer contacted “Russian Official 1” (Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary) regarding a Trump Tower Moscow proposal.
With the exception of these contacts, and probably a few dozen others that are not occurring to me off the top of my head, there is no reason to think that Trump’s people had anything to do with Russia. And anyway, Trump himself says so:
And Donald Trump is a fearless truth-teller.
The Deep State strikes again. They are the true enemy of the American people.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]