This is a major change, as former FBI director James Comey confirmed in recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, that he had, as Trump claimed, three times told POTUS he was not personally under investigation in the bureau’s probe of Russian interference in the election and possible Trump campaign collusion. Comey confirmed same last week in testimony before the committee.
“What changed was, after the firing of James Comey, and Trump said it was because of the Russia investigation, the FBI began to investigate the president for obstruction of justice,” WaPo‘s Sari Horwotz told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday night, referencing Trump’s May 11 interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt.
Horwitz is one of the journalists who worked on the Washington Post report headlined “Special Counsel Is Investigating Trump For Possible Obstruction of Justice, Officials Say.”
“And now we know … [special counsel Robert] Mueller is continuing that, and expanding that, and interviewing senior intelligence officials that also were witnesses to conversations with the president about the Russia probe,” she added.
Mueller, the special counsel appointed to oversee the FBI’s Russia investigation by DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Trump canned Comey, has widened the probe to look at whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. He’s also looking for evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, WaPo reports, citing anonymous officials.
Comey was a “showboat” and “grandstander” who needed to go, Trump said in that mid-May exclusive interview with Holt.
Trump brushed aside Holt’s question about the timing of the firing, which raised eyebrows coming as it did while Comey was overseeing an investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russians who meddled in the election. Trump told Holt was OK with sacking Comey while the bureau was probing his campaign because Democrats made up “Russia thing.”
“There was no good time to do it,” Trump said. “And, in fact, I when decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia, is a made-up story.’ It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.”