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Sat Jan 12, 2019, 10:11 AM

Ex-FBI Officials Say Spy Inquiry into President Trump Is 'Uncharted Territory'

If the Times’ story is right, retired agents and officials say that means the highest levels of Justice and the FBI knew the president was—and may still be—under investigation.

Spencer Ackerman, Erin Banco, Betsy Woodruff

01.11.19 11:34 PM ET

The White House is blasting as “absurd” a blockbuster new report that the FBI opened an investigation into the whether the president of the United States was working on behalf of the Kremlin. But respected former FBI special agents tell The Daily Beast such a momentous step would not be taken without “serious and substantial evidence.”

They told The Daily Beast that the senior-most levels of the FBI and Justice Department would have known about an event they considered without precedent in bureau history.

“This is uncharted territory,” said Ali Soufan, a retired FBI counterterrorism special agent. “I don’t believe that it had happened before… Ever.”

On Friday night, The New York Times reported that FBI agents opened a counterintelligence investigation in May of 2017 into whether President Trump had been operating “on behalf of Russia against American interests.”

If the Times is correct, then the FBI overcame its reluctance to investigate Trump after he fired one of its own: former director James Comey, whom the president dismissed that same month. One implication of that timeline is that Robert Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel a week later, would have had access to their investigation for at least substantial portions of his own.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the committee that oversees the FBI, said the Times’ reporting was intriguing, and “another powerful piece of the mosaic” on Trump’s relationship with Russia.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/ex-fbi-officials-say-spy-inquiry-into-president-trump-is-uncharted-territory?ref=home

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