FBI opened probe into whether Trump was working for Russians

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Law enforcement officials became so concerned by President Donald Trump's behavior in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey that they began investigating whether he had been working for Russian Federation against USA interests, The New York Times reported Friday.

"Agents and senior FBI officials had grown suspicious of Trump's ties to Russian Federation 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", the paper reported.

The investigation the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has always been publicly known: whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Rudolph Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, also downplayed the significance of the investigation.

In a statement reported by NBC News' Geoff Bennett, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted The Times report as "absurd".

The decision to investigate Trump himself was an aggressive move by FBI officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president's verbal assaults on the Russian Federation investigation as a "witch hunt," the Times reported.

The probe later expanded into whether Trump committed a felony crime of obstruction of justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

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She went on to say that Trump has "actually been tough on Russian Federation", unlike former president Barack Obama. An FBI spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel's office both declined to comment.

Image: Screenshot of President Trump telling NBC's Lester Holt he fired Comey because of Russian Federation. But the evidence so far shows a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communication.

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.

Trump is facing criminal investigations in Washington and NY.

It added the criminal portion related to Trump's firing of Comey.

Friday's remarkable report is sure to ramp up the pressure for a White House already feeling the heat from months of investigations.

Trump's longtime lawyer and aide Michael Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in March after pleading guilty to fraud, campaign finance violations and lying under oath.