The Trump Russia FBI investigation has been going on longer than you think. Some people believe it began when Comey was fired, others would say it got going when news of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower was revealed, but it goes back farther than that. National intelligence agencies knew for some time that there was Russian interference in the election and exactly one year ago today, January 24, 2017, Michael Flynn, just newly sworn in as National Security Adviser had a private meeting in his West Wing office with the FBI. The FBI was investigating Flynn’s dealings with the Russian ambassador, and this meeting took place in the White House, but without the knowledge of Donald Trump or other White House officials. This is the meeting at which Flynn lied to the FBI, which got the snowball rolling which has since become the avalanche of Trump Russia. NBC News:
Flynn’s FBI interview on Jan. 24, 2017, set in motion an extraordinary sequence of events unparalleled for the first year of a U.S. presidency. A national security adviser was fired after 24 days on the job, an acting attorney general was fired ten days after the president took office, an FBI director was allegedly pressured by the president to let go an investigation into the ousted national security adviser, and then eventually fired.
An attorney general recused himself from a federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in a U.S. election and possible collusion with the sitting president’s campaign, and a special counsel was appointed.
The developments ensnared the president in an obstruction of justice inquiry, which resulted in his top intelligence and law enforcement chiefs cooperating in some form with that probe.
The Flynn meeting was not the only one that took place which is now coming to light. Mueller’s team has spoken with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency, and Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA.
NBC News also has learned that former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who informed the White House about Flynn’s interview two days after it took place, has cooperated with the special counsel. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was allegedly asked by Trump to lean on Comey to drop his investigation, has also been interviewed, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
One person familiar with the matter described Pompeo, Coats and Rogers as “peripheral witnesses” to the Comey firing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who played a key role in Comey’s departure and was a top adviser on the Trump campaign, was interviewed by Mueller last week as the investigation inches closer to Mueller’s team possibly questioning the president himself.
This Flynn FBI interview is key. It has basically ignited the flames of Trump’s displeasure with both the FBI and the Department of Justice.
This week, White House spokesman Raj Shah fanned reports of pressure from the White House to fire McCabe by saying in a statement that Trump “believes politically-motivated senior leaders” of the FBI “have tainted the agency’s reputation for unbiased pursuit of justice” and that the new director he “appointed” will “clean up the misconduct at the highest levels of the FBI.”
Now it comes down to an interview with Donald Trump, who believes that the FBI and Justice are conspiring against him to undermine his presidency. Trump’s interview will probably be scheduled after Steve Bannon’s, which is set for January 31.