Special adviser Robert Mueller took over the Trump investigation when he was appointed, some days after the opening of FBI officials. This survey is part of Mueller's broader scrutiny of how Russian operators have interfered in the 2016 election and whether some Trump members have conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mueller is still pursuing the issue of counterintelligence, and some former officials of the order outside the investigation have questioned the overrun of agents in opening it.
The criminal and counterintelligence elements have been united in an investigation, former officials of the order forces have said. in interviews over the last few weeks, because if Trump had ousted the head of the FBI to prevent or even end Russia's investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security problem. The counterintelligence division of the FBI deals with national security issues
No evidence has emerged publicly that Trump was secretly in touch or taken over by officials of the Russian government. A spokesperson for the FBI and a spokesperson for the special adviser's office both refused to comment
Rudy Giuliani, a president's lawyer, sought to minimize the importance of the investigation. "The fact that dates back to a year and a half and has not derived anything that has demonstrated a violation of national security means that they have not found anything," said Giuliani on Friday, although he acknowledged that he did not understand the investigation .
The cloud of investigations into Russia has remained looming over Trump since he took office, although he has long denied any unlawful connection with Moscow. The obstructionism investigation, revealed by The Washington Post a few weeks after the appointment of Mueller, posed a direct threat that was not able to simply graze like an overzealous examination of a handful of consultants. But a few details have been made public on the counter-espionage aspect of the investigation.
The decision to investigate Trump himself was an aggressive move by FBI officials who were facing the chaotic consequences of Comey's dismissal and enduring the verbal assaults of the President on the Russian Investigation as a "chase "witches.
A vigorous debate took shape among some former law enforcement officials outside the case that the FBI investigators reacted exaggeratedly in the opening of the inquiry of counterintelligence during a tumultuous period at the Department of Justice. Other former officials noted that those critics were unaware of all the evidence and claimed that sitting on it would be an abdication of duty.
The FBI conducts two types of investigations, criminal investigations and counterintelligence. Unlike criminal investigations, which are typically aimed at solving a crime and can result in arrests and convictions, counterintelligence investigations are usually investigative missions to understand what foreign power is doing and to stop any anti-American activity, such as theft of the United States government secrets or secret efforts to influence politics. In most cases, surveys are conducted silently, sometimes for years. Often, they do not cause arrests.
Trump had attracted the attention of the FBI counterintelligence agents when he called Russia during a campaign press conference in July 2016 to hack his opponent's e-mails, Hillary Clinton. Trump had refused to criticize Russia for the election campaign, praising President Vladimir Putin. And the investigators had looked on with alarm as the Republican Party softened its platform of convention on the Ukrainian crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.
Other factors fueled the concerns of the FBI, according to people who were familiar with the investigation. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an informant for the FBI, had made remarks in mid-2016 with unfounded claims that Russian officials were trying to get influence on Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.
In the months leading up to the 2016 elections, the FBI was already investigating four of Trump's colleagues on their ties to Russia. The constellation of events disturbed the FBI officials who were watching at the same time as Russia's campaign unwrapped to undermine the presidential elections by exploiting the divisions between the Americans.
"In the Russian Federation and President Putin himself, you have an individual whose purpose is to destroy the Western alliance and whose purpose is to make Western democracy more irritable in order to weaken our capabilities, the ability of America and the ability of the West to spread our democratic ideals ". Lisa Page, a former lawyer at the office, told investigators in the Chamber to testify in private The Times .
"This is the goal, to make us less a moral authority to spread democratic values," he added. Some parts of his testimony were reported for the first time by The Epoch Times .
And when Trump, just inaugurated, sought a loyalty commitment from Comey and later demanded that an investigation be done on the president's national security adviser, requests would trigger discussions among FBI officials on the # 39; Opening of an inquiry into the fact that Trump had attempted to impede that case.
But officials of the order forces postponed the decision to open the investigation until they had learned more, according to the people who were familiar with their thinking. Regarding a counterintelligence investigation, they concluded that they would need concrete evidence to carry out the delicate step of investigating the president, and they were also concerned that the existence of such an investigation could be leaked to the media, undermining the whole investigation on Russia Entrapment in the elections.
After Chey was fired on May 9, 2017, two more Trump shares led them to quickly abandon those reserves.
The first was a letter that Trump wanted to send to Comey about his dismissal, but never done, in which he mentioned the investigation of Russia. In the letter, Trump thanked Comey for telling him earlier that he was not a subject of Russia's investigation of the FBI.
Even after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a more contained draft of the letter and told Trump he did not do it I must mention Russia's investigation – Comey's manageability for email inquiry of Clinton would have been a dismissal offense, he explained – Trump ordered Rosenstein to mention the Russian investigation anyway.
He ignored the president's order, irritating Trump. In the end, the president added a reference to Russia's investigation of the note he had delivered, thanking Comey for telling him three times not to be under investigation.
The second event that upset the investigators was an interview with NBC News two days after Comey's firing when Trump seemed to say that he had fired Comey because of Russia's investigation.
"I was about to fire Comey knowing that there was not the right time to do it," he said. "And in fact, when I decided to do it, I said to myself – I said, you know, this matter of Russia with Trump and Russia is a made up story.It's an excuse for the Democrats for losing an election they should have won. "
Trump's aides said that a more in-depth examination of his comments shows that he did not fire Comey to end Russia's investigation. "I could also lengthen the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people," added Trump. "He's the wrong man for that position."
While FBI officials were discussing the opportunity to open an investigation, some of them urged them to move quickly before Trump could appoint a director who could slow or even end investigations on the matter. interference from Russia. Many involved in the case saw Russia as the main threat to American democratic values.
"Compared to Western ideals and who is and for what we Americans represent, Russia represents the most dangerous threat to that kind of life" Page told investigators of a joint investigation of the Judicial Commission and the Moscow Electoral Interference Surveillance Office
FBI officials saw their decision to proceed quickly as validated when a comment made by the President to Russian officials visiting the Oval Office after firing Days later it was revealed.
"I just fired the head of the FBI … He was crazy, a real fool," said Trump, according to a document summarizing the meeting. "I had to face great pressure because of Russia, which took off."
The New York Times