Politics Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say

23:04  19 may  2017
23:04  19 may  2017 Source:   MSN

Comey fired for intensifying investigation of Trump, Russia ties: report

  Comey fired for intensifying investigation of Trump, Russia ties: report A source says former FBI director James Comey was fired by President Trump for two reasons: refusing to offer personal loyalty to Trump, and the FBI's intensifying investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.The source, a person close to Comey, shared the two reasons with CNN Wednesday.The source, a person close to Comey, shared the two reasons with CNN Wednesday. The information contradicts the reasoning for Comey's firing as explained by the Trump administration.

Dem Intel Committee member Adam Schiff: We now have more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump staffers. Trump: I feel “somewhat” vindicated knowing that members of my transition team were incidentally surveilled.

The people familiar with the matter said the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House , the FBI and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take, the people said .

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The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

In Robert Mueller, Russia Probe Gets Fresh Blood With Familiar Credentials

  In Robert Mueller, Russia Probe Gets Fresh Blood With Familiar Credentials The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that Robert Mueller will serve as special counsel for the investigation of Russia's connection to November's election. Mueller served as FBI Director before the recently-terminated James Comey, and has a long record of public service before that. Mueller is a Marine vet who received Purple Heart after his service in Vietnam. After graduating from law school at the University of Virginia, he worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Northern California and Massachusetts. He then went back and forth between the public and private sectors, working at Boston law firms as well as the U.S.

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people familiar with the matter said the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House , the FBI and the Justice Department – particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take, the people said .

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The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

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The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Trump says Russia probe will reveal no collusion with his campaign

  Trump says Russia probe will reveal no collusion with his campaign <p>President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a special counsel's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election would show there was "no collusion" between his campaign and a foreign power.</p>"As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know –- there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity," he said in a statement released by the White House.

The ongoing probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign has reportedly identified a current White House official as "a significant person of interest," The Washington Post reports. The individual was described as being "someone close to the president

no connect. What people are saying about White House call for inquiry.

Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

People familiar with the investigation said the intensifying effort does not mean criminal charges are near, or that any such charges will result. Earlier this week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special counsel and lead the investigation into Russian meddling.

President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 19, 2017, to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is leaving for his first foreign trip, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, and a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily.© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 19, 2017, to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is leaving for his first foreign trip, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, and a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily.

It is unclear exactly how Mueller’s leadership will affect the direction of the probe, and he is already bringing in new people to work on the team. Those familiar with the case said its significance had increased before Mueller’s appointment.

Trump: Special counsel appointment 'hurts the country'

  Trump: Special counsel appointment 'hurts the country' President Trump on Thursday slammed the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia as something that “hurts he country.”Load Error

World Cup hooligan threat 'fake' - Russian official . Brazil's Temer recorded agreeing corruption case hush money. White House knew sacked adviser was under investigation. The daily, citing two people familiar with the case , said Flynn told the presidential transition team's chief lawyer Don

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While the case began quietly last July as an effort to determine whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian operatives to meddle in the presidential election campaign, the investigative work now being done by the FBI also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president. The people familiar with the matter said the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House, the FBI and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take, the people said.

When subpoenas are issued or interviews are requested, it is possible the people being asked to talk or provide documents will reveal publicly what they were asked about.

A small group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight were notified of the change in tempo and focus in the investigation at a classified briefing on Wednesday evening, the people familiar with the matter said. FBI Director James Comey had publicly confirmed the existence of the investigation in March.

Graham: Russia probe seems to be 'criminal investigation'

  Graham: Russia probe seems to be 'criminal investigation' Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday that the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia appears to be a criminal investigation. "It seems to me now to be considered a criminal investigation," Graham told reporters.Graham's remarks came shortly after the Senate met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel on the Russia in vestigation Wednesday.Graham said that the creation of the special counsel will likely hamper congressional probes.

mysql server not found. Yates reportedly to testify she warned White House about Flynn's Russia

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Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations or targets of investigations.” An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, “as the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity.’’

While there has been a loud public debate in recent days over the question of whether the president might have attempted to obstruct justice in his private dealings with FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last week, people familiar with the matter said investigators on the case are more focused on Russian influence operations and possible financial crimes.

The FBI’s investigation seeks to determine whether and to what extent Trump associates were in contact with Kremlin operatives, what business dealings they might have had in Russia, and whether they in any way facilitated the hacking and publishing of Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails during the presidential campaign. Several congressional committees are also investigating, though their probes could not produce criminal charges.

Why Trump Can't Stop the Russia Investigation

  Why Trump Can't Stop the Russia Investigation In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer talked too much. Boasting to a colleague, he said that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The officer was "bragging about the systematic attempt to cause chaos into our electoral cycle," a senior U.S. intelligence official told TIME for the magazine’s current cover story on the Russian operation. What the officer didn’t know was that U.S. spies were listening. Looking back as part of their effort to uncover the details of the 2016 Russia operation, U.S. investigators now realize the GRU officer’s boast was the first indication they had from their sources that Russia wasn’t just hacking U.S. email accounts to collect intelligence, but was actually planning to interfere in the vote, several senior intelligence officials told TIME. A year later, that single scrap of intelligence has grown into a multi-pronged investigation to uncover the full extent of Russia’s election-meddling, an attack on the core exercise of democracy in America. The probes have uncovered the possibility that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign cooperated with Moscow’s agents, according to the ousted head of the FBI, James Comey, and other senior Justice Department and intelligence officials.

Current and former officials have described ongoing tensions between the Trump administration and the FBI over the issue of the Russia probe and leaks. U.S. intelligence intercepts showed they had discussed the topic at length, according to people familiar with the matter.

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A grand jury in Alexandria, Va. recently issued a subpoena for records related to Flynn’s business, The Flynn Intel Group, which had been paid more than $500,000 by a company owned by a Turkish American businessman close to top Turkish officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump to set up 'war room' to repel attacks over Russia probe: officials

  Trump to set up 'war room' to repel attacks over Russia probe: officials <p>President Donald Trump’s White House is preparing to establish a 'war room' to combat mounting questions about ties between Russia and his presidential campaign, administration officials and persons close to Trump said.</p>Load Error

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Current and former officials have described ongoing tensions between the Trump administration and the FBI over the issue of the Russia probe and leaks. U.S. intelligence intercepts showed that they had discussed the topic, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Flynn Intel Group was paid for research on Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who Turkey’s current president believes was responsible for a coup attempt last summer. Flynn retroactively registered with the Justice Department in March as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests.

Separately from the probe now run by Mueller, Flynn is being investigated by the Pentagon’s top watchdog for his foreign payments. Flynn also received $45,000 to appear in 2015 with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner for RT, a Kremlin-controlled media organization.

Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, and he withheld that fact from even the Vice President. That prompted then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to warn the White House’s top lawyer he might be susceptible to blackmail. Flynn stepped down after The Washington Post reported on the contents of the call.

The president has nonetheless seemed to defend his former adviser. A memo by fired FBI Director Comey alleged Trump even asked that the probe into Flynn be shut down.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president’s son in law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.

Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy.

That man – Evgeny Buryakov – ultimately pleaded guilty and was eventually deported. He had been in contact with former Trump adviser Carter Page, though Page has said he shared only “basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents” with the Russian. Page was the subject of a secret warrant last year issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, based on suspicions he might have been acting as an agent of the Russian government, according to people familiar with the matter. Page has denied any wrongdoing, and accused the government of violating his civil rights.

Ellen Nakashima and Ashley Parker contributed to this report.

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Trump to set up 'war room' to repel attacks over Russia probe: officials .
<p>President Donald Trump’s White House is preparing to establish a 'war room' to combat mounting questions about ties between Russia and his presidential campaign, administration officials and persons close to Trump said.</p>Load Error

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