After Comey firing, Federal Bureau of Investigation probed whether president was Russian agent

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball in Washington DC

The probe into Trump also looked into possible criminality, in particular the May 2017 firing of Comey and whether that could be deemed an obstruction of justice.

The report says no evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, and FBI officials refused to comment on the alleged investigation. Was he working ... wittingly or unwittingly working on their behalf?

The investigators working on the inquiry had to assess whether Trump's actions could constitute a possible national security threat.

The Times reports that it's unclear if the Mueller team is still on the counterintelligence angle, and that former law enforcement officials believe that the agents who opened it may have overstepped their bounds.

The inquiry is now part of special counsel Robert Mueller's broader investigation into the 2016 election and whether any of Trump's associates conspired with any Russian interference.

In a strongly worded reaction, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "This is absurd".

The probe followed Trump's decision to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, but reportedly came amid a backdrop of suspicions dating back to his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency.

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"Unlike President Obama, who let Russian Federation and other foreign adversaries push American around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russian Federation", she added.

Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in August 2018 was convicted of financial crisis and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. and conspiring to obstruct justice.

Such hints were made on two instances - one, in the early draft of Comey's firing letter in which Trump thanked Comey for saying that he was not a target of the Russian Federation probe and another when Trump told NBC that Comey was sacked due to the Russian Federation investigation. The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, appointed Mueller soon after Comey's firing in May 2017 to lead the investigation.

One of those biggest charges is onto Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison for financial crimes and arranging hush money payments to two women who claimed to have affairs with Trump before the 2016 election. It's not clear how far the FBI's probe progressed before Mueller took it over. Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians.

"I acknowledge that", Giuliani said.

President Trump said he was unaware of Mr. Whitaker's past statements about Mr. Mueller's probe and that he would "not get involved" if Mr. Whitaker moved to curtail it.

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