However, the FBI reportedly grew extremely concerned after Comey's firing as Trump himself seemed to hint that the director was let go due to the Russian investigation. Was he working ... wittingly or unwittingly working on their behalf?
In addition to determining whether or not the President was working for Russian Federation, the FBI also opened a criminal investigation to determine if the President's firing of Comey was obstruction of justice. However, what has not been made public is that law enforcement officials also sought to determine whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security, according to the Times.
Mr. Whitaker took over supervision of Mr. Mueller's investigation on 7 November after President Trump appointed him as the chief USA law enforcement official to replace Jeff Sessions, who the president ousted.
The decision to investigate Trump himself was an aggressive move by FBI officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president's verbal assaults on the Russian Federation investigation as a "witch hunt," the Times reported.
In a statement Friday night, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the Times story "absurd".
The investigation was one part criminal, into possible obstruction of justice, and one part counterintelligence, looking into possible national security concerns, the Times reports.
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But while Trump has slammed the probe as baseless, Mueller has issued dozens of indictments and steadily chalked up convictions of some of the president's close associates - including his former national security advisor, his former personal lawyer, and his ex-campaign chief.
"Unlike President Obama, who let Russian Federation and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russian Federation", she said.
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.
'I was going to fire Comey - there was no good time to do it, ' Trump said.
"This is a big deal when you think about the president of the United States being under FBI investigation", Campbell added.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly criticized Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and questioning the political motivations of his investigators.