Friday, May 12, 2017

FBI Agents Worry White House Will Kneecap Russia Probe

The acting FBI director may promise that the investigation into Trump-Russia connections will continue. Many agents aren’t buying it.

By Jana Winter and Betsy Woodruff

On Tuesday night, after James Comey got fired, FBI agents tasked with thwarting Russian intelligence operations started drinking.

Two well-connected former FBI employees told The Daily Beast that counterintelligence agents working on the Russian counterintelligence program out of FBI headquarters in downtown Washington met for drinks in the hours after their boss’s firing and shared their concerns: that they would be reassigned elsewhere, and their work on the Russian-Trump associates investigation would come to a grinding halt.

“We do not have any comment,” an FBI spokeswoman said in an email to The Daily Beast Friday morning.

These are worries that have spread through the bureau in the days since Comey was fired: that the new administration will find ways to stymie investigations that could create political problems—especially on Russia. It’s a concern the president himself exacerbated in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt that aired Thursday evening.

“And in fact 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, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won,’” the president said, discussing his reasoning for firing Comey.

Among current and former agents who worked on Russian counterintelligence, concern about political meddling is palpable.

“It’s complete bananas,” said one FBI source. “Management in counterintelligence are insanely concerned, worried about the overreaching obstruction and political influence from the White House.”

And a former high-ranking FBI official who worked on aspects of the case said there’s “no doubt the investigation can be damaged.”

“This particular case is within HQ with pieces in other field offices,” the source continued. “Hard to stop, but definitely subvert.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

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