McCarthy: Russia Investigation Has Been About Trump 'From the Beginning'

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US President Donald Trump avoided giving a direct answer when asked if he now is or has ever worked for Russian Federation after a published report said federal law enforcement officials were so concerned about his behaviour after he fired James Comey from the FBI that they began investigating whether Trump had been working for the US adversary against American interests.

Trump told Judge Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night that the Times article was "the most insulting" thing ever written about him.

The interview comes as the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee intends to investigate the claims made in the New York Times report. The Times reported Mueller also took over the counterintelligence investigation, but the paper said it is unclear whether that aspect of his investigation is ongoing.

They discussed a range of options, including Rosenstein wearing a wire while speaking with Trump, which Rosenstein later denied.

Democratic lawmakers on Sunday said the report underscored the need for legislation to protect the Mueller probe.

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Democrats also expressed concern about a report in the Washington Post on Saturday on alleged efforts by Trump to hide details about his conversations with Putin.

Trump never answered Pirro directly, but went on to assert that no president has taken a harder stance against Russian Federation than he has. The justification went beyond Trump's firing of Comey, according to the sources, and included the President's conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

No evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said.

As CNN first reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened the Trump probe, in the hectic days after the President fired Comey, after considering various options for dealing with the firing. But the White House, and Trump himself, disagree. "Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is up for grabs". But Trump has disregarded the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies to avoid condemning Putin.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership". Trump frequently says the United States would be better off if it got along better with Russian Federation - and that position, right or wrong, is certainly not criminally suspect.

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Schumer, however, contends the Russian oligarch maintains significant influence on these companies, including the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal.

Former officials say this is at odds with practices of previous USA presidents.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

And Trump's former presidential campaign chair, Paul Manafort, has been convicted in one case brought by Mueller and pleaded guilty in another, over financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine before the 2016 campaign, and for witness tampering.

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