US lawmakers to look into reported FBI probe into Trump | News | DW | 13.01.2019
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US lawmakers to look into reported FBI probe into Trump

A committee in the US Congress will seek more information about the reported FBI investigation into Donald Trump, a Democratic congressman said. The FBI allegedly probed if Trump was working on behalf of Russia.

A New York Times (NYT) report claiming that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence investigation against President Donald Trump prompted a heated response from the president and his political opponents on Saturday.

The NYT article claims that the FBI was considering whether or not Trump was working against US interests on behalf of Russia. Trump first drew the attention of agents during the 2016 campaign, when he called for Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails, and notably praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read more: Robert Mueller's US-Russia probe: What you need to know

FBI officials reportedly discussed opening a probe after Trump urged loyalty from the FBI's then-director James Comey and apparently asked him to end a Russia-linked investigation. However, according to unnamed sources cited by the NYT, the counterintelligence probe was only launched after Trump fired Comey. With Special Counsel Robert Mueller starting his collusion inquiry days later, the FBI investigation was soon folded into Mueller's probe, which is still ongoing.

For 'no reason & with no proof'

Posting on Twitter on Saturday, Trump said that "the FBI was in complete turmoil" at the time due to "Comey's poor leadership."

"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 wrote. 

He also called Comey a "Crooked Cop" who was "being totally protected by his best friend Bob Mueller."

FBI move 'unprecedented'

In turn, the head of the US Congress Judiciary Committee, Democrat Jerrold Nadler, said that his committee would "take steps to better understand both the president's actions and the FBI's response to that behavior," he said.

"We have learned from [the NTY report] that, even in the earliest days of the Trump Administration, the President's behavior was so erratic and so concerning that the FBI felt compelled to do the unprecedented — open a counterintelligence investigation into a sitting president and his possible co-optation by a hostile foreign government."

"There is no reason to doubt the seriousness or professionalism of the FBI, as the president did in reaction to this story. Indeed, his go-to complaints — about former Director Comey and Secretary Clinton — do nothing to address the incredibly serious nature of these allegations," Nadler said, adding that lawmakers would also work to protect FBI investigators from Trump's "increasingly unhinged attacks."

Separately, an article in the Washington Post reported that Trump has sought to hide details of his face-to-face conversations with Putin, including the notes made by his own interpreter. Trump denied the allegations.

dj/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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