United States President Donald Trump is not new to investigations, be it over his reported affairs or tax evasion allegations. However, things got quite serious in 2017 when law enforcement officials reportedly became so suspicious of the president's behaviour that they launched an investigation to determine if Trump was, in fact, a Russian agent.
The probe began after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and investigators were asked to find out if the president could be secretly working on behalf of Russia and was a threat to the US, reported the New York Times. And if it was found that Trump was indeed working on behalf of Russia, the FBI officials also intended to determine if the president was working voluntarily or was being forced to do so.
While similar suspicious were raised even during his presidential campaign in 2016, officials said that the probe couldn't be carried out then as they did not really have a plan on how go about it considering how sensitive the issue was. However, the FBI reportedly grew extremely concerned after Comey's firing as Trump himself seemed to hint that the director was let go due to the Russian investigation.
Such hints were made on two instances — one, in the early draft of Comey's firing letter in which Trump thanked Comey for saying that he was not a target of the Russia probe and another when Trump told NBC that Comey was fired due to the Russia investigation.
The president is later also said to have told Russian officials at the Oval Office thus: "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
Robert Mueller, who was appointed as the special counsel after Comey's firing, then took over the investigation in regard to Russian election interference. However, it is not known if he is still looking into the investigation against Trump.
Meanwhile, if Comey was indeed fired over the Russian investigation, James A. Baker, former FBI general counsel, believes that this would be a national security issue. "Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security," the NYT quoted a part of Baker's testimony as saying.
Until now, there is no proof on if Trump colluded with the Russian government or took any direction from the officials.
The president's lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said that nothing came out of the investigation, but admitted that he did not know much about it. "The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing," he said.
The White House too has now released a statement on the issue calling the reports "absurd."
"This is absurd. James Comey was fired because he's a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI. Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia," said press secretary Sarah Huchabee Sanders.