With new Washington Post reporting that President Donald Trump may have taken unprecedented, and potentially illegal, measures to hide the contents of private conversations with President Vladimir Putin, we are providing you with an update on several ongoing Russian threat streams.
The House Republican would not further describe the contents of the Baker transcript but said it was clear, based on his direct questioning of Baker, that in May 2017 "FBI senior leadership could not accept Comey was sacked for cause and the president had the constitutional authority to terminate Comey".
The Post reported that Trump has gone to "extraordinary lengths" to hide details of his conversations with Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials.
The Times article revealed that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired former bureau director James Comey in 2017, suspecting the president could be working on behalf of Russian Federation.
He added, "I was very concerned by President Trump's steadfast and public refusal to embrace the conclusion of our own intelligence community that Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation had interfered in our 2016 election". And Trump's efforts to keep meetings with Putin under wraps only exacerbate this threat.
Graham, for his part, told The Hill on Sunday, "I, for one, don't trust what I read in the New York Times", but also that he plans to ask current Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray to confirm the details of the reporting. Yet White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the story by The New York Times by saying "This is absurd".
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Comey was dismissed, the White House said at the time, on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
US Congress passed a bill Thursday to compensate them when the government reopens, but there was worries now that could take a while. Part of the Witch Hunt.
"I do think it's curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you had (Russian President) Vladimir Putin's policies nearly being parroted by Donald Trump", Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said on the CNN "State of the Union" program. "Anyone could have listened to that meeting".
Robert Mueller took over the investigation when he was appointed special counsel soon after Comey's firing.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.
Senate Democrats will force a vote this week to overturn the Treasury Department's move to relax sanctions on companies connected to a Russian oligarch, pushing the various facets of the 2016 Russia election meddling probe back to the forefront. That's led Trump to have called Cohen a "rat".
Manafort, meanwhile, has admitted to sharing polling data with a Russian during the 2016 presidential race, according to a court filing inadvertently made public by his lawyers. The overall investigation is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump's campaign coordinated with the Russians, as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump.