The FBI Reportedly Investigated Whether Trump Was a Russian Agent, and Trump Is Furious

The bureau opened the investigation in 2017, after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on border security in Washington Friday. Chris Kleponis/CNP via ZUMA

An irate President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to defend himself against a shocking New York Times report that the FBI opened an investigation in 2017 to determine whether the president was working on behalf of Russia.

Trump took aim at familiar targets—James Comey, Hillary Clinton, and Robert Mueller—portraying them as corrupt and in cahoots with each other. He also defended his own record on Russia, claiming (as if the Cold War never happened) that he has been “FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President.”

According to the Times, Trump’s own FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation into whether he was working on behalf of Russia, and against the interests of the United States, after alarming behavior in May 2017 around the firing of Comey. When Mueller took over the Russia investigation that same month, he assumed this piece of it as well. Whether this area of the special counsel’s broader investigation remains open is unknown.

The investigation was prompted by circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing. The first was a letter that Trump drafted to Comey, which he never sent, in which he justified Comey’s firing and thanked Comey for confirming that Trump was not a subject of the Russia investigation. The second incident, according to the Times, was Trump’s NBC interview two days later in which he cited the Russia investigation as a reason to dismiss Comey. “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself—I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” he said. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”