McCarthy: Russia Investigation Has Been About Trump 'From the Beginning'

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on border security at the White House on Friday

The New York Times reported on Friday that the FBI opened the counterintelligence investigation in 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey out of concern the president's actions may have presented a threat to national security. They also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russian Federation or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow.

Without hesitation, the president fired back, "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked".

A published report shows federal law enforcement officials were so concerned about Mr Trump's behaviour after he fired James Comey from the FBI that they began investigating whether he had been working for the USA adversary against American interests.

But Mr Trump's behaviour in the days around Mr Comey's May 2017 firing as FBI director, specifically two instances in which he seemed to tie Mr Comey's ousting to the Russian Federation investigation, helped trigger the counter-intelligence part of the investigation, according to the newspaper. Trump frequently says the United States would be better off if it got along better with Russian Federation - and that position, right or wrong, is certainly not criminally suspect.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement calling the Post story "so outrageously inaccurate it doesn't even warrant a response".

The reports come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation looms large in the background, punctuated by guilty pleas, convictions and indictments of former Trump associates.

In their message to Trump, the chairmen of the Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight committees say: "Our nation's laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress".

A new report said Trump has kept details of his one-on-one interactions with Russian president Vladimir Putin hidden even from his senior officials. In addition to the Comey dismissal in May 2017, the President had raised concern in the Federal Bureau of Investigation for comments he made to Russian officials in the Oval Office about firing his Federal Bureau of Investigation director, according to the source familiar with the matter.

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President Trump addressed the Post's reporting during an on-air phone call with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and denied the allegations. Manafort was convicted of financial crimes related to political work he did in Ukraine before the 2016 election as well as witness tampering.

And there is reportedly no record of his one-on-one, two-hour discussion with Mr Putin in Helsinki past year. Little is known about what transpired behind closed doors.

Trump described the news report as "ridiculous".

"I know what the president likes to do". Pirro asked on Saturday.

He compared his conversations with Putin to what "every president does - you sit with the president of various countries".

"Anybody could have listened to that meeting", he said.

What did the Washington Post report?

Responding to that report during his interview on Sunday, Durbin concluded, "When he takes the interpreter's notes and wants to destroy them so no one can see what was said, and the written transcript... it raises serious questions about the relationship between this president and Putin". He and other Democratic senators said this report and others within the past week questioning Trump's behavior toward Russian Federation give new urgency to the need for the Mueller investigation to be allowed to run its course. "I couldn't care less", he said.

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