Agents considered whether the president's actions were a possible threat to national security, The New York Times reported. Baker privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the FBI's handling of the full Russian Federation inquiry, it said.
They were also motivated by his reported statements during a May White House meeting with visiting Russian officials that he had fired Comey because "he was insane, a real nut job". 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. The Times says it's unclear whether Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence angle.
At the same time the FBI opened a probe into President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey, counterintelligence agents were investigating why Trump was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russian Federation, according to a source familiar with the matter.
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.
Also fueling the FBI's concerns was Christopher Steele's "dirty dossier" of unsubstantiated allegations, which had been funded by Democrats but at that point was justifying probes across the Justice Department.
There has been no communication between either the special counsel or the president's legal team since before Christmas, Mr. Giuliani told Reuters.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation engaged in a campaign of hacking and propaganda to sway voters during the 2016 election, largely aimed at bolstering Trump's chances at the presidency.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly criticized Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and questioning the political motivations of his investigators. Trump also plays a central role in a separate case in NY, where prosecutors have implicated him in a crime.
'And in fact, when I made a decision to just do it, I said to myself - I said, you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story. Apparently, the bureau's knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting, and Trump's July 2016 press conference request - "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing - wasn't enough to pull the trigger on an inquiry". She also disputed that Trump had ever been soft on Russian Federation.