Trump Blasts FBI For Probe Into Possible Co-operation With Russia

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President Donald Trump blasted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Saturday, insisting it acted “for no reason & with no proof” when it opened an investigation into whether he was acting on Russia’s behalf after he fired the agency’s director, James Comey, in May 2017.

The New York Times reported that the FBI launched the previously undisclosed counterintelligence investigation to determine whether Trump posed a national security threat, at the same time that it opened a criminal probe into possible obstruction of justice by the president.

The FBI investigation was subsequently folded into the broader probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign.

No evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said.

“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 tweeted.

According to Trump, “the FBI was in complete turmoil … because of Comey’s poor leadership” and the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send some government emails.

“My firing of James Comey was a great day for America,” Trump claimed, describing the former FBI director as “a Crooked Cop who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller.”

The Times said that the FBI had been suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.

But it held off on opening an investigation until the president sacked Comey, who refused to pledge allegiance to Trump and roll back the nascent Russia investigation.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and views it as an attempt to besmirch the legitimacy of his presidency.

His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement Saturday that the latest charges are “absurd,” adding, “James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack… (and) President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”

Mueller, meanwhile, has issued dozens of indictments and steadily chalked up convictions of some of the president’s close associates — including his former national security advisor, his former personal lawyer, and his ex-campaign chief.

The ex-national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been sentenced to three years in prison for multiple crimes, including felony violations of campaign finance laws that prosecutors allege were carried out under Trump’s direction.

And Trump’s former presidential campaign chair, Paul Manafort, has been convicted in one case brought by Mueller and pleaded guilty in another, over financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine before the 2016 campaign, and for witness tampering.

Mueller’s grand jury investigation has been extended by a judge beyond its original 18-month mandate.

 

AFP

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