Fired FBI Director James Comey was concerned by potential evidence of collusion, reports the Wall Street Journal tonight. Comey got daily instead of weekly updates on Russia investigation three weeks ago, and had been providing updates to top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump didn't like any of this.
In the weeks before President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a federal investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government was heating up, as Mr. Comey became increasingly occupied with the probe.
Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing potential evidence of collusion, according to these people.
White House officials said Wednesday that Mr. Trump had for months been contemplating the possibility of removing Mr. Comey, and that the dismissal this week wasn't connected to the Russian probe.
Later in the WSJ report, details on how Senate Intelligence Committee investigators became increasingly horrified by the intelligence reports they were tasked with reviewing.
To date, the inquiry has produced no "smoking gun," these people said, but some investigators are persuaded that the evidence will show more than just casual contacts. One area of particular interest for the committee is Mr. Trump's business dealings. The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked for information from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a division of the Treasury Department.
The goal of the financial inquiry is to understand the nature of any financial ties Mr. Trump may have to foreign interests, including Russia, and to determine to what extent, if at all, Mr. Trump or his associates have investments that may be tied to the Russian government, people with knowledge of the inquiry said.
There currently are 11 congressional staff working on the Senate probe, a number that some lawmakers have said publicly isn't enough to handle the voluminous intelligence reporting and leads that have been generated by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.
FBI Director James Comey arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016. REUTERS