The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Trump had ousted the head of the FBI to impede or even end the Russian Federation investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern.
Attorney Rudy Giuliani said President Donald Trump's team of attorneys should be permitted to "correct" special counsel Robert Mueller's final report before it is released to Congress and to the public.
They were also motivated by his reported statements during a May White House meeting with visiting Russian officials that he had fired Comey because "he was insane, a real nut job". The overall investigation is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump's campaign coordinated with the Russians. The Times said it was unclear whether Mueller was still pursuing it.
The investigation - a dual counterintelligence and criminal probe - was launched after the president fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017, the Times said, citing anonymous sources.
During the campaign, FBI officials were troubled by Trump's ties to Russia, and opened an investigation into the campaign in August 2016, two months after the Trump Tower meeting between campaign senior officials and Russian surrogates.
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Rudolph Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, also downplayed the significance of the investigation.
"James Comey was sacked because he's a disgraced partisan hack", Sanders continued, "and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation". "Unlike President Obama, who let Russian Federation and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russian Federation", said press secretary Sarah Huchabee Sanders.
Mr. Trump submitted his written answers to Mr. Mueller in November after months of negotiation between his legal team and the special counsel team. But, added to everything already known about contacts between Trump associates and Russian individuals - all of which were initially denied - this raises multiple red flags.
"Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia", Sanders said. He did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Trump to congressional investigators.
Shortly after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAnalyst says Trump's base will support him if he backs off wall funding demand "Green Book" writer apologizes for Islamophobic tweet: "I will do better" Poll finds Trump's approval rating at 44 percent amid shutdown MORE fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyVeteran behind GoFundMe for Trump's wall allegedly pocketed money meant for wounded veterans Democrats lay impeachment trap, but will the president step into it?