President Trump, "There was no collusion, Matt Whitaker is right".

Hugh Fox
January 12, 2019

"In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russian Federation against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation", The Times reports.

The sources noted that Trump's own admission that he fired Comey in May 2017 over his refusal to end the investigation into his campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation was one of the motivations for the probe into the president's personal ties to Moscow. Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians.

The White House on Friday night dismissed The New York Times report as "absurd".

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The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called the Times' report "absurd" and said Comey was sacked for being "a disgraced partisan hack".

The Times reports that it's unclear if the Mueller team is still on the counterintelligence angle, and that former law enforcement officials believe that the agents who opened it may have overstepped their bounds. She also disputed that Trump had ever been soft on Russian Federation. But the Times noted that several former law-enforcement officials outside the inquiry wonder whether Federal Bureau of Investigation agents overreached by launching it in the first place.

The special counsel's team is investigating whether Russian Federation and the Trump campaign colluded during the 2016 presidential election and any obstruction of justice claims.

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Mr. Trump submitted his written answers to Mr. Mueller in November after months of negotiation between his legal team and the special counsel team.

The justification went beyond Trump's firing of Comey, CNN said, according to its sources, and included the President's conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The criminal probe had focused on interactions between Russian officials and Trump associates, and was originally in the summer of 2016, during the presidential election campaign. Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in August 2018 was convicted of financial crisis and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the USA and conspiring to obstruct justice.

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Now, Trump said Thursday before he left for Texas that he "didn't know anything about" Manafort's dealing with Kilimnik - or the fact that his campaign chairman shared polling data with the Russian.

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