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FBI opened counterintelligence investigation on Trump: report



The FBI reportedly grew so concerned about some of President Donald Trump’s early actions in office, including his move to fire director James Comey, the agency opened a counterintelligence inquiry on the matter.

According to a New York Times report published Friday night, Trump’s actions and behaviors had national-security implications, including whether Trump was intentionally or unintentionally undermining US interests at the behest of Russia.

FBI agents had already been suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia since his 2016 presidential campaign but, according to The Times’ sources, there was some concerns within the agency about how to approach the situation given its sensitivity.

Trump’s move to fire Comey also triggered a criminal obstruction-of-justice inquiry, a matter that has only escalated since the special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to oversee the Russia probe in May 2017.

Read more: Here are all the key developments you might have missed in Russia news this week

US President Donald Trump takes his seat as he attends the multilateral meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, Belgium.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Trump’s interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt in May 2017, in which the president confessed he had asked Comey whether he was under investigation for his alleged links to Russia, raised alarms at the FBI and fueled the counterintelligence inquiry, according to The Times.

Trump’s other public statements, including encouraging Russia to hack his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails, also attracted scrutiny from the FBI, the newspaper’s sources reportedly said.

It is unclear whether Mueller is still looking into the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation, according to The Times.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who the newspaper said had no knowledge of the FBI inquiry, appeared to be unfazed: “The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing,” he said to The Times.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and frequently rails against Mueller and the Russia investigation.

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