NYT: FBI opened inquiry into whether Trump was working for Russia

CNN's John Berman talks with New York Times reporter Adam Goldman about the FBI investigation into President Trump working on the behalf of Russia.

Posted: Jan 13, 2019 11:21 AM
Updated: Jan 13, 2019 11:54 AM

At the same time the FBI opened a probe into President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey, counterintelligence agents were investigating why Trump was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia, according to a source familiar with the matter.

As CNN first reported, the FBI opened the Trump probe, in the hectic days after the President fired Comey, after considering various options for dealing with the firing.

It was a tense time. In addition to the Comey dismissal in May 2017, the President had raised concern in the FBI for comments he made to Russian officials in the Oval Office about firing his FBI director, according to the source familiar with the matter.

The source spoke to CNN after The New York Times reported Friday that law enforcement officials were so concerned they began investigating whether the President was working on behalf of Russia against US interests.

In a strongly worded reaction, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "This is absurd. James Comey was fired because he's a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI. Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia."

In a flurry of tweets Saturday morning, Trump slammed Comey, arguing that his firing of the former FBI director "was a great day for America" and accused him of being a "crooked cop" protected by Mueller.

"Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin' James Comey, a total sleaze!" Trump wrote Saturday, adding in a separate tweet that he's been far tougher on Russia than his predecessors.

FBI agents and senior officials began to suspect connections between Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign but pushed off an investigation partially because they were unsure how to execute such a massive and sensitive operation, sources told the Times.

But when Trump then tied Comey's firing to the Russia investigation two separate times, the FBI opened the probe, the people said to the Times.

The case was then referred to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into whether Russian agents interfered with the 2016 election, the Times reported, adding that it is not clear whether the special counsel has continued that part of the investigation.

Comey was dismissed, the White House said at the time, on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They cited Comey's handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, a controversy that many believe helped Trump defeat the Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential election.

CNN reported last month that the dismissal set off a flurry of activity by Rosenstein and top FBI officials.

They discussed a range of options, including Rosenstein wearing a wire while speaking with Trump, which Rosenstein later denied. Ultimately, then-acting FBI Director McCabe took the extraordinary step of opening an obstruction of justice investigation even before Mueller was appointed, sources told CNN.

The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn't start until Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump's firing of Comey, according to the sources, and included the President's conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
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Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
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Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
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Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
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Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
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