Key Republican to ask Federal Bureau of Investigation about report of Trump counterintelligence probe

The New York Times reported Friday that law enforcement officials were so concerned about Trump's behavior after he fired James Comey as FBI director that they launched a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was acting as a Russian agent, either intentionally or unwittingly.

There has been a confusing and sometimes even alarming tendency on the part of President Trump to complement President Putin and to do things like his abrupt announcement of a withdrawal from Syria that led his own secretary of defense to resign, that has led many of us to question his closeness to and his affinity for President Putin. The Times reported Mueller also took over the counterintelligence investigation, but the paper said it is unclear whether that aspect of his investigation is ongoing. Trump repeated to Pirro his frequent criticism that the investigation is a "hoax".

There is "no detailed record, even in classified files" of Trump's face-to-face meetings with Putin, the Post reported.

The Post reported that Trump has gone to "extraordinary lengths" to hide direct conversations he has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation", similarly dismissed the Post report, arguing that Trump's administration has been tough on Russian Federation and that concerns about the president's affinity for Putin are unfounded.

The paper says Mr Trump concealed details of his conversations with Mr Putin from senior officials in his administration, quoting unnamed current and former United States officials.

The Times said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been suspicious of Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign.

"James Comey was sacked 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", Sanders said.

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John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat who has announced a run for the White House, called Trump's behavior toward Russian Federation "highly suspicious", adding, "We haven't had a president who has been as supportive of Vladimir Putin in decades".

She pointed out that the investigation was looking into whether the president was "actively working for Russia" and asked, "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?" "It suggests to me that the Mueller investigation needs to continue to its logical conclusion". "Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is up for grabs".

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump and chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he intends to ask the FBI director if there was a counterintelligence investigation into the president.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership".

Schumer, however, contends the Russian oligarch maintains significant influence on these companies, including the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal, and said it's important the sanctions remain in place while Mueller's investigation proceeds.

These include his former national security adviser Michael Flynn; former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort; and Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Warner predicted some Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate would join Democrats in voting to override the removal of these sanctions. "I mean, it's so ridiculous", he told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, without directly denying the Post story.

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