FBI probed whether Trump was Russian agent

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

The New York Times reports that law enforcement officials became so concerned by President Donald Trump's behaviour in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey that they began investigating whether he had been working for Russian Federation against United States interests. Investigators have to consider if Trump's own actions constituted a possible threat to the national security, the paper reported on Friday. Agents also sought to determine whether Trump was knowingly working for Russian Federation or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence.

When the special counsel was announced on May 17, 2017, Robert Mueller took over the FBI's investigation, wrapping it into his larger pursuit of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election.

Citing unnamed former law enforcement officials, the New York Times reported on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened the combined criminal and counterintelligence probe in May of 2017.

The president is later also said to have told Russian officials at the Oval Office thus: "I faced great pressure because of Russia".

Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, was quoted by the Times as saying that the investigation seems to have gone nowhere.

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The Hill noted that until Giuliani's comments, speculation had centered on whether the White House might push back on some of Mueller's eventual report by citing executive privilege. The Times said it was unclear whether Mueller was still pursuing it.

During the campaign, FBI officials were troubled by Trump's ties to Russia, and opened an investigation into the campaign in August 2016, two months after the Trump Tower meeting between campaign senior officials and Russian surrogates. American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russian Federation was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential effort.

Court documents submitted by Paul Manafort's lawyers accidentally revealed that, while serving as Trump campaign chairman, Manafort handed over internal campaign polling data to Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian businessman linked to the GRU intelligence agency GRU.

In a statement to press, Sanders called Comey a "disgraced partisan hack" and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe a "known liar". He did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Trump to congressional investigators. "Unlike President Obama who let Russian Federation and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russian Federation".

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