According to an explosive report by the New York Times, shortly after president Donald Trump removed James Comey as director of the FBI, the FBI opened an inquiry to investigate if Donald Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia.
What’s more, the FBI would have had to coordinate their efforts with the Department of Justice, meaning deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had to approve of the inquiry (as former attorney general Jeff Sessions had recused himself).
According to the New York 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.
To be completely fair, this was not a formal investigation, and was supposed to be kept completely secret without the general public ever knowing.
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 times noted that Trump piqued the interest of counterintelligence officials during his 2016 campaign when he called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. And as we all know, Russia obliged Trump’s request.
You can read the full story on the New York Times’ website.