After Comey firing, FBI began investigating if Trump was working for Russia

“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”

You don’t read a headline like this one very often in a lifetime.

A late-Friday bombshell of a story from the New York Times tonight says President Donald Trump’s actions freaked out the FBI so badly after Trump fired James Comey, the FBI began investigating if Trump was working on behalf of Russia.

The counterintelligence probe into Trump’s strange alliance with Russia began after Comey was fired, and was later taken over by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

This is a a phenomenal act of reporting that connects many dots, from Adam Goldman, Michael Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos at the Times:

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.

IS THE PRESIDENT WORKING FOR A FOREIGN ADVERSARY.

The FBI asked.

America does not yet have an answer.

<!–

xeni jardin

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing’s in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

–>

Leave a Reply