AMID President Donald Trump’s fabricated “emergency” crisis at the border that has caused the longest government shutdown in U.S. history because he won’t sign a spending bill without his wall, the United States of America may have been facing a REAL EMERGENCY crisis based on a report that came out revealing that the 45th president of the United States’ own actions may have constituted a possible threat to national security.
As the New York Times reported, citing information from former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigations, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began doing a counterintelligence investigation whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.
The probe was launched in the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director, although the debate as to whether to proceed with the counterintelligence investigation has started as early as during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.
According to the Times report, “Agents and senior FBI officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry.”
The investigators of the counterintelligence investigation, tasked to handle national security matters, had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence, or if the president is innocent.
The investigation that the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect alongside the national security issue: to determine whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice.
How do the criminal and counterintelligence investigations relate to the Russia Probe that Trump has been denigrating as a” witch hunt”? The Times explained “Special Counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after FBI officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them” to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump win.
The actions, rhetoric and decisions of Trump during the campaign and as president have been deemed as contrary to the democratic principles and interests of the United States, while appearing to be working to help the agenda of Vladimir Putin and Russia, especially when it comes to the foreign policy positions and decisions of Trump as President of the United States.
Quoting the Times’ report, “Trump had caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.”
Also explained in the report are other factors that fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, including Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an FBI informant, who had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.
As we already know, the FBI was also already investigating four of Mr. Trump’s associates over their ties to Russia months before the 2016 US Presidential Election. The constellation of events disquieted F.B.I. officials who were simultaneously watching as Russia’s campaign unfolded to undermine the presidential election by exploiting existing divisions among Americans.
“In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself, you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability, America’s ability and the West’s ability to spread our democratic ideals,” Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told House investigators in private testimony reviewed by the New York Times.
The FBI was also alarmed by the fact that when Trump was sworn into office, he “sought a loyalty pledge from Mister Comey and later asked that he end an investigation into the president’s national security adviser” Michael Flynn.
Trump’s eventual firing of Comey compelled FBI to launch the investigation. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” according to the testimony of James A. Baker, who served as FBI general counsel until late 2017. Mr. Baker said this in his testimony when he privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the FBI’s handling of the full Russia inquiry.
Strengthening the case against Trump would be the revelation of a Washington Post report which stated how Trump Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to keep the specifics of his conversations with his Russian counterpart under wraps.
According to the Post citing statements from current and former U.S. officials, “Trump’s efforts include confiscating the notes from his interpreter and not allowing them to discuss the details of the meetings with other officials in his administration.”
ALL OF THESE are now part of the other pieces of the puzzle being pieced together based on evidence in the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We, the People, need to know if the 45th president of the United States has been betraying the American people by acting as an “asset” or “agent” of Putin and Russia, instead of fulfilling his oath:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos