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

Saturday January 12, 2019. 02:53 AM , from BoingBoing
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.

The FBI asked.
America does not yet have an answer.

This is an important analysis of tonight's @nytimes bombshell, by @benjaminwittes at @lawfareblog.
— Xeni Jardin (@xeni) January 12, 2019

What this does likely mean is that sometime soon a reporter is going to straight up have to ask Trump: “are you a Russian asset?” And it will be a legit question.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) January 12, 2019

Trump’s obstruction of the Russia investigation was the “collusion,” writes @benjaminwittes, analyzing the new @nytimes bombshell that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation to determine if Trump worked to help Russia against our interests.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 12, 2019

The NYT report highlights the fact that many assume Trump has only ever been officially under investigation for obstruction of justice. The new takeaway (though probably already assumed by most) is that Trump himself was also an individual subject of a counterintel investigation.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 12, 2019

If Trump is working on behalf of Russia & against American interests, unnecessarily shutting down the government would be a huge piece of evidence
— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) January 12, 2019

The imputed subtext of the Mueller probe is now in stark relief, via @adamgoldmanNYT @nytmike @npfandos
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 12, 2019

Big?’s - does AG nominee Barr see the evidence and then ensure the Mueller investigation is seen through? Think Senate needs to guarantee Mueller investigation remains in tact. Hope is not a method.
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) January 12, 2019

Stepping back for a minute: If no other reporting existed on Trump/Russia, the fact that the FBI started a CI investigation to determine whether or not the sitting president of the US was either comprised by or an agent of Russia, it would be the biggest political story...ever.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 12, 2019

Trump to Comey: say I'm not under investigation personally
Comey: no, it could change
Trump: you're fired
FBI: You're under investigation
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) January 12, 2019

This has always been the underlying question of the investigation, but what a call it must have been to make it explicit so early. Bold.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 12, 2019
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