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FBI probed whether Trump was working for Moscow: Report

IANS  |  Washington 

The (FBI) had opened an inquiry in 2017 into whether US was secretly working on behalf of after he fired the agency's James Comey, the media reported.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, reported on Friday that counterintelligence officials weighed whether Trump's actions were undermining national security and whether he was knowingly working for or had "unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence".

Trump has repeatedly denied that he colluded with and called Robert Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt".

Reacting to the report, said: "This is absurd. was fired 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.

"Unlike (Barack) Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push around, Trump has actually been tough on Russia."

In 2016, agencies concluded that Russia had launched cyberattacks and planted fake news stories on the in a bid to boost Trump and damage his rival Hillary Clinton's chances for the presidency.

The investigation the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect that whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice, the report said.

The FBI investigation was later folded into Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow, the paper said, adding that it was unclear if the counterintelligence aspect was still being pursued.

said that the FBI had been suspicious of Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign. But it held off on opening an investigation till the President sacked Comey, who refused to swear his allegiance and roll back the Russia investigation.

Trump's told the daily that he had no knowledge of the inquiry but said that since it was opened a year and a half ago and they hadn't heard anything, apparently "they found nothing".

Nonetheless, the inquiry put some of the President's closest associates in the dock. His former personal was sentenced to three years in prison for and fraud crimes, while his was convicted of financial fraud.

Trump's former had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his ties.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 12 2019. 17:44 IST