The Justice Department secretly curtailed the investigation into Trump's links to Russia in 2017: NYT

The Justice Department secretly curtailed the investigation into Trump's links to Russia in 2017: NYT
<img class="caas-img has-preview" alt="President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan June 28, 2019.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/AEEVOuvXLoULy5gqokVGIw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM1Mi41/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/business_insider_articles_888/72d73628b26ee444cb24ba2e45a44a00″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/AEEVOuvXLoULy5gqokVGIw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM1Mi41/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/business_insider_articles_888/72d73628b26ee444cb24ba2e45a44a00″>

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan June 28, 2019.

  • The Justice Department made an effort to curtail the 2017 investigation into Russian election interference, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

  • Former Justice Department and FBI officials told The Times that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein secretly narrowed the investigation by ordering special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct the investigation as criminal, not counterintelligence.

  • Citing journalist Jeffrey Toobin’s book that first reported their conversation, Rosenstein told Mueller: “I love Ken Starr. But his investigation was a fishing expedition. Don’t do that. This is a criminal investigation. Do your job, and then shut it down.”

  • The Times report comes after a bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee found that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a “grave counterintelligence threat” due to his extensive ties to pro-Russian individuals and entities.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former law enforcement officials told The New York Times that the Justice Department made an effort to curtail the 2017 investigation into the Russian election interference and any potential ties to President Donald Trump.

When appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel of the investigation, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Mueller to look for “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government,” which falls under the purview of a counterintelligence investigation to scope out threats to national security, The Times reported Tuesday.

But Rosenstein privately told Mueller to conduct it as a criminal investigation, thus building a staff equipped to investigate crimes, not national security threats, former Justice Department and FBI officials told The Times.

Citing journalist Jeffrey Toobin’s book that first reported their conversation, Rosenstein told Mueller: “I love Ken Starr. But his investigation was a fishing expedition. Don’t do that. This is a criminal investigation. Do your job, and then shut it down.”

A representative from the Justice Department did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The Times report comes after a bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee found that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a “grave counterintelligence threat” due to his extensive ties to pro-Russian individuals and entities.

“Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly [Konstantin] Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat,” the report said.

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe told The Times that Rosenstein did not run the order to Mueller by him, and if he had known, then the FBI would instead have taken over the investigation.

“We opened this case in May 2017 because we had information that indicated a national security threat might exist, specifically a counterintelligence threat involving the president and Russia,” McCabe told The Times. “I expected that issue and issues related to it would be fully examined by the special counsel team.”

“If a decision was made not to investigate those issues, I am surprised and disappointed,” he continued. “I was not aware of that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *